On “Nietzsche is dead”

Nietzsche’s solution to the “Death of God” was to punish the people available at the time (the living). His was the philosophy of self-punishment – the celibacy which he fantasized was moral strength in an immoral world or romantic as the day saw fit – the ascetic removal from the human world into the world of superior animals (those particular ones he supposed to be for no good reason) and the world of his fantasies (the superman). Nietzsche’s idea was that this removal would give humanity the freedom to create the next step in human development.

The natural extension of Nietzsche’s philosophy is the removal from the world into an artificial world. JRR Tolkien and World of Warcraft are direct descendants of Nietzsche’s philosophy.

People are supposed to enter these worlds, learn from them, and then *come back* to the real world with the knowledge gained and triumph over the problems of the real world. That’s why it’s ridiculous to call these worlds “escapes” – they were never intended as such. JRR Tolkien intended (as I interpret him) his world as an analogy for the real world, and hoped it would help people learn about and deal with the real world.

People recognize the joke, they recognize the impossibility of this at the same time as holding the conviction that maybe, just maybe, it’s not completely impossible. And if it’s not completely impossible, then maybe, like Neo in the Matrix, they are “The One” who will save the real world after entering a fake one.

So both the joke and the impossible hope build their own cultures and realities, and the two are mutually incompatible. Those who honor the impossible enter fake worlds and strive, while those who honor the joke enter the world of humanity, as seen broadly. Cell phones and constant communication are aspects of this world.

The problem, and why I’m on the side of understanding Nietzsche as a joke, is that EVEN IF I’m wrong and it’s not impossible to achieve this method of triumphing over the real world, how many corpses, how many failed attempts, will it require before the triumph is obtained? How many wasted lives will it require before success? How many would-be Neos will be required before the real one happens?

It’s like playing the lottery. There are 10 million losers for every winner, and that’s not a ratio that any sane human being can accept.

But we don’t even know that it IS a lottery. We don’t even know that there *can be* a Neo. So there may be millions and then billions of wasted lives, for nothing at all.

Those who understand Nietzsche as a joke are building a solution not through the “triumph of the will”, but through a new social reality. Building a new appreciation of humanity, a new human intimacy. Despite their problems, projects like Facebook, Twitter, cell phones and constant communication are part of this culture.

More and more, that’s what I believe. So, Nietzsche is dead.

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