On Wings of Light over Canyons of Blight

On Wings of Light over Canyons of Blight

Beam me up, Scotty!

I’ve got to get off this doomed planet dominated by Archie Bunkers, Gomer Pyles, Karen Dingbats, and their Toxic Bratspawn!

Power up the Phasers and load in the Photon Torpedoes when I get there!

We’ve got to blow all this wasted cytoplasm and ectoplasm back into the Gravitational Recycler of the Galaxy!

What I’ve learned from 9/11 ‘truthers’, anti-vaxxers and climate change deniers is that there is comfort in stupidity because it offers certainty in a world of doubts!

What can I teach? Nothing! Everybody already knows how they want to be ignorant!

Isn’t it amazing how something as brainless as a virus can outwit multitudes of the most pampered technologically-enriched populations of humanity: an emotional commitment to suicide by anti-thinking!

I am living out the opposite polarity of The Cabinet Of Doctor Caligari!

And so I cry out today… But…, a century earlier:

Nikola Tesla is sitting on his park bench on a crystalline crisp February morning tossing seeds and crumbs to New York City’s flocks of Rock Doves, who know him well for the regularity of his largesse. They wheel about him gracefully and wing down so elegantly to scuttle about his feet, pecking at the bounty of nourishing granules offered to them.

I have no doubt he would long watch them approvingly, delighting in their cooing and motions, while thinking to himself:

How different they are from the race of men: reliable in their behaviors, in expressing their wants honestly and without shame, and never pretending to be unselfish or — despicably — to be betrayers. How admirable they are as pure, unpolluted works of Nature. If only men could be like this instead of the myopically petty self-absorbed self-limiting disappointments they insist on condemning themselves into being.

It is so refreshing and enlivening to just sit in this cathedral of bright chill sunlight, sliced by long fingers of canyon-wall shade, immersed in the expansive subaural hum of Nature’s breath, and just watch the infinite cascade of Life’s eddies surrounding and enveloping me.

How sad that all the midget blind cyclopses of my species will never know they can live — transformed — in a Paradise they could extend forever. But here on this bench, at least, I have the comfort of experiencing that infinitude of joy for myself, alone.

“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

I sat out under the high sun in front of my tall trees this morning, looking out across my modest wooded creek canyon as the gliding shadows of two hawks — their trailing edges emblazoned by the warm cascading radiance — passed over me in waves. What fools these mortals be that blind themselves to wonders such as these.

ON BEING A SUCCESS:

My great discovery — and rueful awakening — about “being successful” occurred when I was at ‘peak career’, and had gained enough experience and produced enough technical successes to apply for and deserve a promotion into “management.” Then it was all made very clear to me, not just by rejection, but by seeing who got promoted and why. The essential quality sought by higher-ups for moving ‘you’ up — below them — is a proficiency at lying to bring money into the organization and making the boss look good, and a demonstrated bullet-proof reliable loyalty at servicing the career advancement schemes of your boss and the boss class above you.

YOUR advancement comes when a bigger boss poaches you from your smaller boss, and your success is assured by applying the same technique for acquiring your own growing troop of faithful vassals below you. The organizational hierarchy looks like a troop of monkeys in a tree. The leader sits at the top, and the other monkeys are arrayed in the branches below him in descending rank order. The leader looks down to see a sea of smiling faces. The bottom ranked monkey looks up to see a sea of assholes. And the shit always rains down.

What I also learned from this awakening was that the merit and value, or venality and worthlessness, of any organization is entirely expressed by the actual (not public relations crafted) personal merit and (always cloaked) venality of the management leading and controlling the organization. Successful liars being in charge indicate a lying and exploitative organization — by design.

This may all seem obvious when stated as I have here, but it is not lived and felt as obvious by most people in the real ‘working’ and ‘political’ worlds. And this is why the rueful awakening — if it occurs — leads its no longer naïve sleepers startled out of their dreams, to the sinking realization: everything is a lie.

The one consolation (needed after the loss of income, perhaps precipitous) that can be gained after this point is the thought: do I really want to be the kind of person that becomes a careerist success by being a completely servile lying sycophant and back-stabbing betrayer? If your answer is “no,” you have discovered your self-respect as your central treasure and source of freedom, and you will have saved your soul. I can’t say this will fill your belly, but I can say this will let you die at peace with yourself and without shame.

Acknowledging the achievements of others — especially in your own field, and especially if superior to yours — is a mark of superior character, which too few have.

In the vastness of their popular cranial vacuity, Americans are enthralled with a celebrity culture to which they abjectly submit with expressions of envy over their own insignificance, and for the most deluded with pathetic expressions of self-inflationary grandiosity. Thus, American popular culture is an ocean of bullshit acidified with envy.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

<><><><><><><>

From: Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Portrait of Nietzsche, by Edvard Munch, 1906

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

From: Thus Spoke Zarathustra

by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Great star! What would your happiness be,
if you had not those for whom you shine!

Behold! I am weary of my wisdom,
like a bee that has gathered too much honey;
I need hands outstretched to take it.

— Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900),
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, (1883-1885)

<>
“As the bee takes the essence of a flower and flies away without destroying its beauty and perfume, so let the sage wander in this life.”

— The Dhammapada, 49
<>

Zarathustra answered: ‘I love mankind.’
’Why’, said the saint, did I go into the forest and the desert? Was it not because I loved mankind all too much? Now I love God: mankind I do not love.
Man is too imperfect a thing for me.
Love of mankind would destroy me.’
Zarathustra answered: ‘What did I say of love?
I am bringing mankind a gift.’
‘Give them nothing,’ said the saint. ‘Rather take something off them and bear it with them — that will please them best;
if only it be pleasing to you!

But when Zarathustra was alone,
he spoke to his heart: ’Could it be possible!
This old saint has not yet heard in his forest that God is dead!

I teach you the Superman.
Man is something that should be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?
All creatures hitherto have created something beyond themselves;
and
do you want to be the ebb of this great tide, and
return to the animals rather than overcome man?
What is the ape to men?
A laughing-stock or a painful embarrassment. And just so shall man be to the Superman:
a laughing-stock or a painful embarrassment. You have made your way from worm to man, and much in you is still worm.
Once you were apes, and even now
man is more of an ape than any ape.
But he who is the wisest among you,
he also is only a discord and hybrid
of plant and of ghost.
But do I bid you become ghosts or plants?
Behold, I teach you the Superman.
The Superman is the meaning of the earth.
Let your will say:
The Superman shall be the meaning
of the earth!
I entreat you, my brothers,
remain true to the earth,
and do not believe those who speak to you
of superterrestrial hopes!
They are poisoners,
whether they know it or not.
They are despisers of life,
atrophying and self-poisoned men,
of whom the earth is weary:
so let them be gone!
Once blasphemy against God
was the greatest blasphemy, but God died,
and thereupon these blasphemers died too.
To blaspheme the earth is now
the most dreadful offence,
and to esteem the bowels of the Inscrutable more highly than the meaning of the earth.
Once the soul looked contemptuously upon the body:
and then this contempt was the supreme good — the soul wanted the body lean, monstrous, famished.
So the soul thought to escape from the body and from the earth. Oh, this soul was itself lean, monstrous, and famished:
and cruelty was the delight of this soul!
But tell me, my brothers:
What does your body say about your soul?
Is your soul not poverty and dirt and
a miserable ease?
In truth, man is a polluted river.
One must be a sea, to receive a polluted river and not be defiled.
Behold, I teach you the Superman:
he is this sea, in him your great contempt
can go under.
What is the greatest thing you can experience? It is the hour of the great contempt.
The hour in which even your happiness
grows loathsome to you,
and your reason and your virtue also.
The hour when you say:
‘What good is my happiness?
It is poverty and dirt and a miserable ease.
But my happiness should justify existence itself!’
The hour when you say:
‘What good is my reason?
Does it long for knowledge as the lion for its food?
It is poverty and dirt and a miserable ease!’
The hour when you say:
‘What good is my virtue?
It has not yet driven me mad!
How tired I am of my good and my evil!
It is all poverty and dirt and a miserable ease!’
The hour when you say:
‘What good is my justice?
I do not see that I am fire and hot coals.
But the just man is fire and hot coals!’
The hour when you say:
‘What good is my pity?
Is not pity the cross
upon which he who loves man is nailed?
But my pity is no crucifixion!’
Have you ever spoken thus?
Have you ever cried thus?
Ah, that I had heard you crying thus!
It is not your sin, but your moderation
that cries to heaven,
your very meanness in sinning cries to heaven!
Where is the lightning to lick you
with its tongue?
Where is the madness,
with which you should be cleansed?
Behold, I teach you the Superman:
he is this lightning, he is this madness!

I love all those who are like heavy drops
falling singly from the dark cloud
that hangs over mankind:
they prophesy the coming of the lightning
and as prophets they perish.
Behold, I am a prophet of the lightning
and a heavy drop from the cloud:
but this lightning is called Superman.

I will not be herdsman or gravedigger.
I will not speak again to the people:
I have spoken to a dead man for the last time.

His wisdom is:
stay awake in order to sleep well.
And truly, if life had no sense and I had to choose nonsense, this would be the most desirable nonsense for me, too.

There have always been many sickly people among those who invent fables and long for God: they have a raging hate for the enlightened man and for the youngest of virtues which is called honesty.
They are always looking back to dark ages: then, indeed, illusion and faith were a different question; raving of the reason was likeness to God, and doubt was sin.

He whom the flames of jealousy surround
at last turns his poisoned sting against himself, like a scorpion.

He who writes in blood and aphorisms
does not want to be read,
he wants to be learned by heart.

Untroubled, scornful, outrageous —
that is how wisdom wants to be:
she is a woman
and never loves anyone but a warrior.

It is true we love life,
not because we are used to living
but because we are used to loving.
There is always a certain madness in love,
but also
there is always a certain method in madness. And to me, too, who love life,
it seems that butterflies and soap-bubbles,
and whatever is like them among men,
know most about happiness.

Learn that everyone finds the noble man
an obstruction.

I do not exhort you to work but to battle.
I do not exhort you to peace, but to victory.
May your work be battle,
may your peace be victory!

The state is the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies, too;
and this lie creeps from its mouth:
‘I, the state, am the people.’

But the state lies
in all languages of good and evil;
and whatever it says, it lies —
and whatever it has, it has stolen.

I call it the state
where everyone, good and bad,
is a poison-drinker:
the state where everyone, good and bad,
loses himself:
the state
where universal slow suicide is called — life.

A free life still remains for great souls.
Truly, he who possesses little
is so much the less possessed:
praise be a moderate poverty!

The market-place is full of solemn buffoons — and the people boast of their great men!
These are their heroes of the hour.
But the hour presses them: so they press you. And from you too they require a Yes or a No. And woe to you if you want to set your chair between For and Against.

— Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900),
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, (1883-1885)

<>
“The preference For or Against
is the mind’s worst disease.”

— Jianzhi Sengcan, 3rd Zen Patriarch (496?-606)
<>

Perhaps what he loves in you
is the undimmed eye and the glance of eternity.

My impatient love overflows in torrents down towards morning and evening. My soul streams into the valleys out of silent mountains and storms of grief.
I have desired and gazed into the distance too long.
I have belonged to solitude too long:
thus I have forgotten how to be silent.
I have become nothing but speech and the tumbling
of a brook from high rocks: I want to hurl my words down into the valleys.
And let my stream of love plunge into impassible
and pathless places! How should a stream not find
its way to the sea at last!
There is surely a lake in me, a secluded, self-sufficing lake; but my stream of love draws it down with it —
to the sea!
I go new ways, a new speech has come to me;
like all creators, I have grown weary of old tongues. My spirit no longer wants to walk on worn-out soles.

The enlightened man calles himself:
the animal with red cheeks.
How did this happen to man?
Is it not because he has had to be ashamed too often?
Oh my friends! Thus speaks the enlightened man: ‘Shame, shame, shame — that is the history of man!’

— Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900),
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, (1883-1885)

<>
“Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.”

Mark Twain (1835-1910)
<>

One has to speak with thunder and heavenly fireworks to feeble and dormant senses.
But the voice of beauty speaks softly:
it steals into only the most awakened souls.

For
that man may be freed from the bonds of revenge:
that is the bridge to my highest hope
and a rainbow after protracted storms…
Revenge rings in all their complaints,
a malevolence is in all their praise,
and to be a judge seems bliss to them.
Thus, however, I advise you, my friends:
Mistrust all in whom the urge to punish is strong!

Have you never seen a sail faring over the sea, rounded and swelling and shuddering
before the impetuosity of the wind?
Like a sail,
shuddering before the impetuosity of the spirit,
my wisdom fares over the sea —
my untamed wisdom!

Beauty is unattainable to all violent wills.

You should aspire to the virtue of a pillar:
the higher it rises,
the fairer and more graceful it grows,
but inwardly harder and able to bear more weight.

Alas, whither shall I climb now with my longing?
I look out from every mountain for fatherlands and motherlands.
But nowhere have I found a home;
I am unsettled in every city
and I depart from every gate.
The men of the present,
to whom my heart once drove me,
are strange to me and a mockery;
and I have been driven from fatherlands and motherlands.
So now I love only my children’s land,
the undiscovered land in the furthest sea:
I bid my sails seek it and seek it.
I will always make amends to my children
for being the child of my fathers:
and to all the future — for this present!

Where is innocence?
Where there is will to begetting.
And for me, he who wants to create beyond himself has the purest will.

Is wounded vanity not the mother of all tragedies?

I have found all vain people to be good actors:
They act
and desire that others shall want to watch them —
all their spirit is in this desire.

He wants to learn belief in himself from you;
he feeds upon your glances,
he eats praise out of your hands.
He believes even your lies when you lie
favourably to him:
for his heart sighs in its depths:
What am I?

Now, as Zarathustra was climbing the mountain he recalled as he went the many lonely wanderings he had made from the time of his youth, and how many mountains and ridges and summits he had already climbed.

I am a wanderer and a mountain-climber
(he said to his heart),
I do not like the plains
and it seems I cannot sit still for long.
And whatever may come to me as fate and experience —
a wandering and a mountain-climbing will be in it:
in the final analysis one only experiences oneself.

In order to see much one must learn to look away from one-self — every mountain-climber
needs this hardness.

Courage is the best destroyer:
courage also destroys pity.
Pity, however, is the deepest abyss:
as deeply as man looks into life,
so deeply does he look also into suffering.

For one love from the very heart only one’s child
and one’s work.

To desire — that now means to me:
to have lost myself.

Happiness runs after me.
That is because I do not run after women.
Happiness, however, is a woman.

We do not speak to one another,
because we know too much:
we are silent together,
we smile our knowledge to one another.

Together we learned everything; together
we learned to mount above ourselves to ourselves
and to smile uncloudedly — to smile uncloudedly down from bright eyes and from miles away
when under us
compulsion and purpose and guilt stream like rain.

A little wisdom is no doubt possible;
but I have found this happy certainty in all things:
that they prefer — to dance on the feet of chance.

Never in my life have I crawled before the powerful;
and if I ever lied, I lied from love.

For one person, solitude is the escape from an invalid;
for another, solitude is escape from the invalids.

Once they fluttered around light and freedom
like flies and young poets.
A little older, a little colder: and already they are mystifiers and mutterers and stay-at-homes.

Alas! They are always few whose heart possesses
a long-enduring courage and wantonness;
and in such, the spirit, too, is patient.
The remainder, however, are cowardly.

Loneliness is one thing, solitude another:
you have learned that — now!
And that among men you will always be
wild and strange:
wild and strange even when they love you:
for above all they want to be indulged!

Man is difficult to discover, most of all to himself;
the spirit often tells lies about the soul.

He who wants to learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and to walk and to run and to climb
and to dance — you cannot learn to fly by flying!

Meanwhile I talk to myself,
as one who has plenty of time.
No one tells me anything new,
so I tell myself to myself.

You shall love your children’s land:
let this love be your new nobility —
the undiscovered land of the furthest sea!
I bid your sails seek it and seek it!
You shall make amends to your children
for being children of your fathers:
thus you shall redeem all that is past!

Life is a fountain of delight: but all wells are poisoned for him from whom an aching stomach,
the father of affliction, speaks.

To know: that is delight to the lion-willed!

There are many excellent inventions on earth,
some useful, some pleasant:
the earth is to be loved for their sake.
And there are many things so well devised
that they are like women’s breasts:
at the same time useful and pleasant.

And let that wisdom be false to us
that brought no laughter with it!

How sweet it is, that words and sounds of music exist; are words and music not rainbows
and seeming bridges
between things eternally separated?

With music does our love dance
on many-coloured rainbows.

Everything goes, everything returns;
the wheel of existence rolls for ever.
Everything dies, everything blossoms anew;
the year of existence runs on for ever.
Everything breaks, everything is joined anew;
the same house of existence builds itself for ever. Everything departs, everything meets again;
the ring of existence is true to itself for ever.
Existence begins in every instant;
the ball There rolls around every Here.
The middle is everywhere.
The path of eternity is crooked.

For man is the cruellest animal.
More than anything on earth he enjoys tragedies, bullfights, and crucifixions;
and when he invented Hell for himself,
behold,
it was his heaven on earth.

For I count nothing more valuable and rare today
than honesty.

He who cannot lie does not know what truth is.

It is what one takes into solitude that grows there,
the beast within included.

Great love does not desire love —
it desires more.

For fear — is the exception with us.
Courage, however,
and adventure and joy in the unknown.
the unattempted — courage
seems to me the whole pre-history of man.

For the sake of this day — I am content
for the first time to have lived my whole life.

Alas! This world is deep!

Did you ever say Yes to one joy?
O my friends, then you said Yes to all woe as well.
All things are chained and entwined together,
all things are in love;
if ever you wanted one moment twice,
if ever you said:’ You please me, happiness,
instant, moment!’
then you wanted everything to return!

‘My suffering and my pity — what of them!
For do I aspire after happiness?
I aspire after my work!’

<><><><><><><>

— Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900),
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, (1883-1885)

[from the R. J. Hollingdale translation]

<><><><><><><>

On Reading THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA

THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA, by FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. I just finished reading R. J. Hollingdale’s English translation of this book; here is my immediate and short reaction: It is impossible to know the greatest joy unless you have also lived through the deepest and most tragic of sorrows: joy is inextricably entwined with sorrow. Question: What one experience in your life can you say of: “For the sake of this day — I am content for the first time to have lived my whole life.”? I can think of a very few in my life (and you don’t have to reveal yours here). Life must be lived with full intent and enthusiasm, despite all the joys and sorrows it will heap upon you, otherwise we have wasted a unique, precious and miraculous gift. THAT joyful intent for living life to your fullest is your SUPERMAN power! Do I recommend you read this book? “What does it matter!” My own experience of reading it is: “O Nietzsche! Reading your words is like gargling with gravel to sift out gold! I am sinking in my deepening dotage awash in memories of youthful debaucheries! Is this deserved punishment for my unintended cruelties and ignorant harshness, or rewarded grace for my clumsy kindnesses and stumbling harmlessness?” And there is gold in it, plenty, but one must dig, and pan and gargle through the muddy wash and sand and gravel of Nietzsche’s torrent, to extract it. At a minimum know this: whoever invokes Nietzsche to justify their own bigotries and cruelties is DEAD WRONG!

<><><><><><><><>