In thus spoke Zarathustra

Nietzsche is very playful. I think he must have laughed as he wrote the very playful sections of that book.

Take for instance the part where Zarathustra says laughter killed the gods when one of them said there’s no gods but god.

In part four in conversation with the retired pope, Zarathustra says pity for man killed god, that is, god could not stand the man on the cross and died out of pity. In the same place he says

He was a concealed god, addicted to secrecy. Verily, even a son he got himself in a sneaky way. At the door of his faith stands adultery.

Elsewhere he writes about god this

When he was young, this god out of the Orient, he was harsh and vengeful and he built himself a hell to amuse his favorites. Eventually, however, he became old and soft and mellow and pitying, more like a grandfather, but most like a shaky grandmother. Then he sat in his nook by the hearth, wilted, grieving over his weak legs, weary of the world, and one day he choked on his all too great pity.

And finally on love( especially the way Christians and religious people don’t tire to tell us god is love, Zarathustra says

Whoever praises him as a god of love does not have a high enough opinion of love itself. Did this god not want to be a judge too? But the lover loves beyond reward and retribution.

Have yourselves a humorous day, won’t you!

On Christianity

When we hear the ancient bells growling on a Sunday morning we ask ourselves: is it really possible! this for a Jew, crucified 2000 y.a, who said he was God’s son. The proof of such a claim is lacking. Certainly the Christian religion is an antiquity projected into our times from remote prehistory; and the fact that the claim is believed- whereas one is otherwise so strict in examining pretensions- is perhaps the most ancient piece of this heritage. A god who begets children with a mortal woman; a sage who bids men work no more, have no more courts, but look for the signs of the impending end of the world; a justice that accepts the innocent as a vicarious sacrifice; someone who orders his disciples to drink his blood; prayers for miraculous interventions; sins perpetrated against a god, atoned for by a god; fear of a beyond to which death is the portal; the form of the cross as a symbol in a time that no longer knows the ignominy of the cross- how ghoulishly all this touches us, as from the tomb of the primeval past! Can one believe that such things are still believed?

Nietzsche.

On the possibility of moral progress

Odera Oruka notes

….in matters of morals, man appears to be several centuries behind scientific and technological progress, in spite of the fact that great religions such as Christianity and Islam have existed since antiquity. The lag in moral progress must partly be blamed on these religions. Perhaps if in their place we had had the systems more oriented to earthly and worldly progress right from the beginning, the world would have been more positively different.

Science and philosophy

Philosophers should be scientists and scientists philosophers. The current rigid separation of science from philosophy is dangerous, for it encourages acquiescence in partial knowledge, leaving the ultimate and all embracing concern with truth only to faith and ideological and racist obscurantism. The separation denies scientists human wisdom and philosophers the sober knowledge of nature. Science without philosophy is wrongly authoritative, while philosophy without science is seriously limited.

Odera Oruka

two things i like

First is the Martin Scorsese’s movie Irishman that was released not long ago. You will need to have 3 free hours to watch the film. It has some of my favourite characters.

Next is this paragraph from Man without qualities

The train of events is a train that lays down its own tracks as it goes along.

The river of time carries its own banks along with it.

The traveler moves on a solid floor between solid walls, but the floor and the walls are strongly influenced by the movements of the travelers, though they do not notice it.

On the mind

In Musil’s very readable book, the man without qualities, he writes thus of the mind, and which I find both quite interesting and to provide some pause for though

[…] It analyses a substance and notes that it is a poison in large quantities, a stimulant in smaller ones….. To the mind, good and evil, above and below, are not skeptical, relative concepts, but terms of a function, values that depend on the context they find themselves in. The centuries have taught it that vice can turn into virtues and virtues into vices, so the mind concludes that basically only ineptitude prevents the transformation of a criminal into a useful person within the space of a lifetime.

It doesn’t accept anything as permissible or impermissible, since everything may have some quality that may someday make it part of a great new context. It secretly detests everything with pretentions to permanence, all the great ideals and laws and their little fossilized imprint, the well adjusted character. It regards nothing as fixed, no personality, no order of things; because our knowledge may change from day to day, it regards nothing as binding; everything has the value it has only until the next act of creation, as a face changes with the words we are speaking to it.

And so the mind is the great opportunist, itself impossible to pin down, take hold of, anywhere; one is tempted to believe that all of its influence nothing is left but decay. Man feels dangerously close to repeating the fate of those gigantic primeval species that perished because of their size; but he cannot stop himself.

Ulrich, the man without qualities, sees this whole thing in a comical light and concludes

there is certainly an abundance of mind around, the only thing wrong was that mind itself was devoid of mind.

Happy weekend everyone.