By Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm; Bull, Malcolm; Nietzsche, Friedrich
Nietzsche is still what he desired to be - the limit-philosopher of a modernity that by no means ends. This booklet argues that basically to reject Nietzsche isn't really to flee his entice. His appeals to our wish for victory, our creativity, our very humanity are seductions we won't face up to just by disagreeing with him.
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They would drop litter in beauty spots, lean nonchalantly against the paintings in the National Gallery, demolish their listed homes, talk loudly to their neighbours during concerts. There are, of course, many people who occasionally exhibit philistine behaviour, but they are rarely ideologically motivated, and when one investigates the ideological position the philistines supposedly occupy it proves surprisingly empty. Philistinism, for all its supposed ubiquity, is frustratingly elusive. 14 There are no books on its principles,15 no courses available at universities, and no Societies for the Promotion of Philistinism working with the public; there are not even any branches of Philistines Anonymous for those in recovery from the disease.
90 Even if his followers eventually become ‘chained by the Socratic love of knowledge’,91 Socrates himself is not tied to the machinery of domination, but someone through whom the spirit of negation speaks as freely and spontaneously as it does through Silenus. He is not prevented from responding to the music of Dionysus, but liberated from the impulse to do so. Of course, Nietzsche no sooner creates this philistine monster than he seeks to tame it. 92 The wisdom of Socrates leads inexorably back to that of his look-alike, Silenus.
Indeed, the difficulty of upholding more than one type of value simultaneously suggests that the positive is never likely to be more than a tiny oasis in the vast expanses of the negative. Thus, although value may be ineradicable, it may also be fragile, and its existence in any one area a contingent historical fact dependent on local conditions. The imperative of value therefore signals not the omnipresence of value, but the capacity of value to adapt and re-emerge at the very moment when it seemed to have disappeared.