Thursday, 15 August 2013

Nietzsche and History (Part One)

Be-tween the Walls of Past and Future – The Wille zur Macht in History and Time


That history is Nietzsche’s main and most forceful source of material, the “ground” from which nearly all of his philosophy originates both factually (as Ent-stehung) and thematically (as Her-kunft) is evinced not just by his philological formation or by his earliest major study, The Birth of Tragedy, but above all by the next series of “meditations” in which he provides the first sketch (Entwurf) of what will be his entire philosophy and in which he proclaims so early his “divorce” or “breakaway” from the idols of his youth – Wagner and Schopenhauer. The Unzeitgemasse Betrachtungen are “un-timely” in a sense very far from that of being “ana-chronistic” (or “dys-synchronic”, as Deleuze and Agamben [‘What Is An Apparatus?’] construe them, going even so far as to opine a certain “dis-jointedness” in Nietzsche!), of being “in-appropriate” (un-gemasse) for their “time” (Zeit). If the “un-time-liness” of the Meditations could be con-fined to their being “non-contemporary” or “un-fashionable” (Deleuze and Agamben again – but they represent an almost ecumenical and platitudinous misinterpretation), then we would truly deliver Nietzsche to the rank and file of superficial philosophers (which philosophy is not “untimely”?).

Rather, the meditations are “un-timely” in a much more meta-physical sense – because they point to a revolutionary new intuition of time, a new way of understanding “time”. Hand in hand with the realization of the “eristic” a-spect of all life, which we have described already, Nietzsche tackles the problem of how it is possible for us to be “conscious” of the “value-lessness” of life and the world, of how it is “possible” to understand values – not just “moral”, but also “scientific” - in an “extra-moral” and in a “trans-valuational” sense.

The Untimely Meditations deal not just or merely with the “confutation” or rejection of the enlightened optimism implicit in Hegel’s rationalist trans-figuration of Kant’s “formal logic” (where A equals A, and therefore the two sides of the equation “annihilate” each other, end up as tautology) into his “concrete dialectical logic” of the Aufhebung (supersession), of Being-as-Becoming. They do not merely confute the Kantian and Schopenhauerian notion of the Freiheit, the intelligible freedom of the Will. The Meditations go much, much further than that! They completely revolutionise and invert our understanding of time itself! Only such an “inversion” (similar to the Verkehrung [reversal] performed by Schopenhauer on Kant’s metaphysics) can allow us to reach a “viewpoint”, an “a-spect”, a “per-spective” from which it will be possible to com-prehend life and the world coherently, “connectedly”. Nietzsche needs an “ontological” standpoint from which to be able “to view” and com-prehend the historical or “ontic” status of life and the world as he inter-prets them. Not that he ever pretended that any theoria could “en-compass” or en-capsulate” life and the world; but Nietzsche needed an ontological foundation upon which to justify coherently their “ontic”, intra-temporal and intra-mundane interpretation. He was far too brilliant and coherent a thinker – despite the apparent disjointedness of his aphoristic style – “to think disconnectedly”, to leave theory and practice to their separate destinies.

The Meditations are “un-zeit-gemasse” because they “stand outside” our conventional notion of time: they are “extra-temporal” and “extra-mundane” because they are the Entwurf (pro-ject, not “system”!) against which intra-temporal and intra-mundane events can be com-prehended. Just as Nietzsche’s critique of morality is “extra-moral” in that it com-prehends the “strategic” ontic status of moral “values”, so his Meditations are “extra-temporal” in the sense of “un-zeit-gemasse” in that they are not “measurable” (ge-masse, Mass, measure) by the conventional understanding or “metre” or “unit” of “time”. The tremendous change of perspective of time that this involves deserves close attention. Nietzsche seeks to e-nucleate it in what is doubtless one of the most beautifully enthralling passages in the entire Nietzschean oeuvre. Such is the disproportionate importance of this fragment of the Meditations for understanding Nietzsche’s philosophy - a passage more akin to poetry than to prose - that we propose to parse it carefully, “verse by verse”. (Heidegger will adopt this “a-spect” [Bild] ostensibly to re-interpret Kant’s epistemology, but in reality to hide the Nietzschean derivation of his phenomenology – only to avow it nearly ten years after the publication of Sein und Zeit and of the Kantbuch with his monumental work on Nietzsche. For a detailed discussion of the distinction of intra-temporal and intra-mundane as against extra-temporal and extra-mundane see our study on ‘Heidegger’s Kantbuch’.)

The reason why it is even “possible” for us to conceive that there are no “values” in history is that we have the ability to con-ceive of a “viewpoint” from which we can per-ceive history as “that which is” (Greek, to on, being) – a history resembling the a-methodon hyle (form-less matter) of Greek historiography. Such a perception or perspective of time involves a “mimesis” (Italian “im-medesimare” – to be at one, to be as one, to identify with, to em-body), an “em-bodi-ment” into life and the world such that “time” is intuited as the hic et nunc – the “now” that is separate from the moment that has just elapsed and the moment that is just to come.  


Consider the herds that are feeding yonder : they know not the meaning of yesterday or to-day; they graze and ruminate, move or rest, from morning to night, from day to day, taken up with their little loves and hates, at the mercy of the moment, feeling neither melancholy nor satiety.
Man cannot see them without regret, for even in the pride of his humanity he looks enviously on the beast's happiness. He wishes simply to live without satiety or pain, like the beast; yet it is all in vain, for he will not change places with it. He may ask the beast — "Why do you look at me and not speak to me of your happiness?" The beast wants to answer — "Because I always forget what I wished to say": but he forgets this answer too, and is silent; and the man is left to wonder.

Astounding is the similarity found here between Nietzsche’s opening lines to the “Historie fur das Leben” in the Meditations (“Betrachte die Heerde, die an dir voruberweidet; sie weiss nicht was Gestern, was Heute ist…”) and Cicero’s depiction (one of the rarest in Antiquity) of the “progress” of humanity from the time when “in agris homines bestiarum more vagabantur” (“men roamed in the fields like beasts”, De Inventione, I, 2). Contrarily to Cicero, Nietzsche decries, as he will do in all his future writings, the loss of “happiness” (Gluck) that the development of memory occasions in the human psyche. The dawn of “consciousness” in humans and of “the memory of the will”, the forced abandonment of “forgetfulness” implies the loss for humans of the ability “to id-entify”, to be “at one” - “the same entity”, as it were [Latin ens, being] - with the world. Just like our primordial “forgetfulness”, the “a-historical sense” of the Greeks made “action” possible and a-voided paralysis or the vis inertiae by making human action “spontaneous”, un-reflective, unencumbered and unalloyed by the burden of memory or the “distance” that consciousness and reflection inevitably introduce between thought and action. Above all, there is a loss of “innocence” (Unschuldigkeit [cf. also ‘Der Unschuldig des Wesens’ section of the Nachlass]) that this loss brings about, together with the parallel rise of “responsibility” (Verantwortlichkeit, answerability) and “conscience” (Gewissen, resolve) and their “negative” correlates, “guilt” and “bad conscience”.

Yet this is not to be read in the sense of a “deterioration” of the type a perfectione ad defectum that often surfaces in ancient historiography. In essence, the Eternal Return, opposed to what Nietzsche believed was the Christian “linear” concept of time, was meant to recuperate this bucolic state of Unschuldigkeit (the absence of blame, fault or flaw, in-nocuity rather than ‘innocence’, as the Nietzschean word is too often wrongly translated) – the mental state of the Ubermensch. What Nietzsche calls “the historical sense [Geist]” is not the ability to draw “lessons” from history, the ability to dis-cover a concealed “purpose” in it, either an accidental “agreement” or “harmony” (homo-noia) or a divine design or a telos (pro-noia), that attributes its “development” [Entwicklung] to a conscious human “intention” or “pro-ject”, to a “merit” or “virtue” to which can be op-posed an accidental “fortune” as in classical historiography. To do this would be to fall from one error - the reductionist hypostasis of “utility” operated by the empiricist “English psychologists” -, into another error of opposite sign: - the reading back into history (understood as the journal of events, the log-book of res gestae, of “happenings” or Geschehen) of a “sense” or “purpose”, of a “Providence” [pro-noia] or “meaning”; - it would be to fall into the trap of “Historicismus”.

We discussed already the idea of “decadence” in Nietzsche as a “corruption”, a Dis-gregation of the “instinct of freedom” – which “instinct” is “tra-duced” and “mortified” (“le mort saisit le vif” seems the theme of the “debt” that communities “owe” to their “ancestors” [see below]) and “weakened” or  rendered “power-less” (ohnmachtig) by the “interiorisation” (Verinnerlichung) operated by communal living and the erection of a “State”, the Ver-geistigung – which “interiorisation” or “spiritualization” con-cludes ultimately in the Ent-seelung of “consciousness” and “memory”, then “bad conscience” (schlechte Gewissen) and the ascetic ideal – into Nihilism. But again, this parallel Ent-wicklung (e-volution, meta-morphosis) is the “onto-geny of thought” that mani-fests the Will to Power as “the rationalization of the world”. Far from pining for a lost paradise, a tarnished “innocence”, Nietzsche is warning against the “voluntarism” that such “sentimental illusions” infuse, this diseased notion of “freedom of the will”, this faith in “the Subject” which is itself “a sign, a symbol”, indeed a “symptom of decadence”, of a fall from grace, of a “slavish destiny”.


He wonders also about himself, that he cannot learn to forget, but hangs on the past: however far or fast he run, that chain runs with him. It is
THE USE AND ABUSE OF HISTORY.
matter for wonder : the moment, that is here and gone, that was nothing before and nothing after, returns like a spectre to trouble the quiet of a later moment. A leaf is continually dropping out of the volume of time and fluttering away—and suddenly it flutters back into the man's lap. Then he says, "I remember . . . ," and envies the beast that forgets at once, and sees every moment really die, sink into night and mist, extinguished for ever.


The memory of the will inhibits forgetfulness and saddles man with the burden of the past even as he would wish to live in the moment, like the herd. This “conscious-ness” of the passing of time, this memory, that situ-ates and loc-ates (Ort [locus], not Raum [space]) our intuition of time also pre-vents our mimesis with nature, the burying or “sinking” of our be-ing “into night and mist, [where it is] extinguished for ever”. We cannot learn to forget; we cannot un-learn memory. But we still re-tain the “in-tuition” of time – “the moment, that is here and gone, that was no-thing before and no-thing after”. Time therefore is not the succession of moments as if they were things: time is “the” moment, the “now” in which “everything [not “every thing”] happens” – the e-vent or happening (Geschehe). In each moment, in this “intuition”, is encapsulated the “mimesis” of life and the world, the co-incidence of being and time – time as the “horizon”, the finest line of being, the “boundary” that con-tains all being. But this be-ing thus de-fined is a dimension that cannot be mistaken for a “sequence” or a “succession” of moments, of “nows” – and therefore in this “instantaneous be-ing”, in this Da-sein (being there), in this ec-sistence everything, every event and happening, can re-cur because there is no “sense”, no meaning in a teleological sense and no direction (Richtung), no uni-verse to this “time”, to this be-ing.

It is Christianity that for Nietzsche uses the Parousia (the coming of Christ) to give a linear “sense” and “direction” to historical time – as in Augustine’s denunciation of the revolutio saeculorum [the pagan notion of eternity and the one of the Eternal Return dating from Antiquity] in Book XII of De Civitate Dei. And it is this “linearity” that allows the “spatial” and “cumulative” intuition of time as “duration”, as chronos rather than aion (Greek for aeon; Latin aevum, era) that Nietzsche confronts. Nietzsche eschews and refutes this “spatial” interpretation of time through which Newtonian science “measures” time in “units”. For “normal science”, for instance, two seconds equal two identical “inter-vals” of time called “seconds”. Yet it is precisely this “inter-val” that cannot be measured! The “distance” be-tween two “in-stants” in time is impossible to measure because time itself is “im-measurable”; it is in a “dimension” or locus (Ort) wholly distinct and dif-ferent from any notion of “measure” or indeed even “duration”. In this re-spect, Nietzsche’s vision of being and time differs significantly and dramatically from the related visions of Kant, Schopenhauer and Bergson. (Again, we refer to our study ‘Verkehrung: Schopenhauer’s Reversal of Kant’s Metaphysics’.) For these three, despite their distinction between physical time and the “intuition” of time (or “duree” for Bergson), time still ec-sists in a Newtonian and Kantian “physical” or “spatial” dimension so that “the Body”, as “the objectification of the Will” and its “operari” are sub-jected to physical time like everything else in the “physical world” that is “re-presented” (recall Kant’s phenomena [appearances] and Schopenhauer’s Vorstellungen [representations]) to the Will. As a “meta-physical” entity, Schopenhauer’s Will is “the thing in itself” and lies wholly “out-side” the boundary or horizon of the physical world, of space and time as perceived by human intuition! (The same is valid for Bergson [Evolution Creatrice] who takes up entirely Schopenhauer’s approach and ignores Nietzsche’s contemporary critique.)


But for Nietzsche, instead (and in this he entirely anticipates Heidegger’s phenomenology) both time and space dif-fer “categorically” (toto caelo, he would say, borrowing a Schopenhauerian phrase) from their “scientific” or “physical” re-presentations (Vor-stellungen), which are “ontic” and sub-ordinate to a con-ception of life and the world that wholly e-lides the notion of be-ing as “coming-into-be-ing”, as “be-coming”, as active “dynamis” (Greek for “to be able”, power) rather than as a “static” essence, as quid-ditas, as “supreme being” or as a “chain of causality” ending in a causa causans, into an Aristotelian Demi-urgos or a “thing in itself”, a qualitas occulta. Nietzsche’s conception of the Eternal Return, of the amor fati, is all here: it is what allows him to interpret human history and institutions not “sub specie aeternitatis” but certainly in a “physical” or “physiological” sense, “like a number that leaves no curious remainder” - where the Greek physis prevails over nomos, spontaneity over reflection, action over contemplation, metabolism over stasis, growth over stagnation and paralysis, Being-as-Becoming (Wesen als Werden) over Nothingness.

Nietzsche reaches his most lyrical heights as he surveys with nostalgic languor the intransitable mimesis of philosophy and nature:

The beast lives unhistorically; for it "goes into" the present, like a number, without leaving any curious remainder. It cannot dissimulate, it conceals nothing; at every moment it seems what it actually is, and thus can be nothing that is not honest. But man is always resisting the great and continually increasing weight of the past; it presses him down, and bows his shoulders ; he travels with a dark invisible burden that he can plausibly disown, and is only too glad to disown in converse with his fellows—in order to excite their envy.

If one considers Nietzsche’s point that, for instance, the master and slave moralities can “co-exist” in a society and even in the same individual (!), that certainly does not mean that a “communion of wills” is possible (cf. his angry tirade against David Strauss [par7 of homonymous Meditation] on this very topic and his rejection of Schopenhauer’s Mit-leid and con-scientia!). Nor does it mean that these moralities can be dis-embodied and exist as “forces”, active and reactive, independently of their “physiological”, “material”, “historical” carriers (Trager)! (Such is the absurdity into which the “humanistic” and “bio-political” interpreters of Nietzsche’s Entwurf, from Fink to Deleuze, ignominiously fall [!], though Heidegger warns against just such error [v. Nietzsche, I, ch.7].) It means rather that no “progress” and therefore no “liberation” is possible in human history from the manifestation of the Will to Power because our “perspective” is necessarily “intra-temporal” and therefore “life” can be “com-prehended” only and absolutely from the individual intuition of time – through time as the horizon of being - through the affirmation of the Eternal Return. Be-tween “the first thing” (Genesis, birth) and “the last thing” (Eschaton, death) (the heading of the first section of ‘Human, All Too Human’) is the time and place that the Will to Power in-habits in life and the world. Yet there is no “distance” be-tween these two “places”; their dif-ference must not be perceived as a “space” (Raum) even though Nietzsche refers meta-phorically to “a happy blindness between the walls of the past and the future”. For the now is rather a breadthless line, a dimension (Ort). “ The now, the moment”, the hic et nunc, is not a “point” – it is an entirely “dif-ferent” dimension from “the sequence of now-moments” (Heidegger in Kantbuch) – not a space (Raum) but a place (Ort), a locus, a “horizon”; the horizon of ec-sistence (Da-sein) that reveals the be-ing of beings, or better “merely a continual ‘has been’, a thing that lives by denying and destroying and contradicting itself”.

There is no “authenticity” for Nietzsche. Knowledge can only be “critical”, it can be only a matter of correctly interpreting and then utilizing the signs and symptoms of health and, above all, of disease, even as we are be-aware of the “need-necessity” of what ec-sists! Outside of or in the absence of such knowledge, all being is “authentic” because it is the “state-of-being” intra-temporally – being-in-the-now, that is, be-tween the now-past and the now-future, Her-kunft and An-kunft, as in the Exordium of “Use and Abuse of History” in ‘UB’: the moment, that is here and gone, that was nothing before and nothing after.

Here it is the “intuition of time”, be-tween memory (a-letheia) and forgetfulness (lethe) that fixes the “horizon” of Being, like the Wanderer between the city walls and the desert wilderness, or the “innocence of the children”, and the Eternal Return.



And so it hurts him, like the thought of a lost Paradise, to see a herd grazing, or, nearer still, a child, that has nothing yet of the past to disown, and plays in a happy blindness between the walls of the past and the future.

Deshalb ergreift es ihn, als ob er eines verlorenen Paradieses gedächte, die weidende Heerde oder, in vertrauterer Nähe, das Kind zu sehen, das noch nichts Vergangenes zu verläugnen hat und zwischen den Zäunen der Vergangenheit und der Zukunft in überseliger Blindheit spielt.

And yet its play must be disturbed, and only too soon will it be summoned from its little kingdom of oblivion. Then it learns to understand the words "once upon a time," the "open sesame" that lets in battle, suffering and weariness on mankind, and reminds them what their existence really is, an imperfect tense that never becomes a present. And when death brings at last the desired forget-
THOUGHTS OUT OF SEASON.
fulness, it abolishes life and being together, and sets the seal on the knowledge that "being" is merely a continual "has been," a thing that lives by denying and destroying and contradicting itself.

Und doch muss ihm sein Spiel gestört werden: nur zu zeitig wird es aus der Vergessenheit heraufgerufen. Dann lernt es das Wort „es war“ zu verstehen, jenes Losungswort, mit dem Kampf, Leiden und Ueberdruss an den Menschen herankommen, ihn zu erinnern, was sein Dasein im Grunde ist — ein nie zu vollendendes Imperfectum. Bringt endlich der Tod das ersehnte Vergessen, so unterschlägt er doch zugleich dabei die Gegenwart und das Dasein und drückt damit das Siegel auf jene Erkenntniss, dass Dasein nur ein ununterbrochenes Gewesensein ist, ein Ding, das davon lebt, sich selbst zu verneinen und zu verzehren, sich selbst zu widersprechen.


The child is “nearer still” to time because, like the adult, it will learn to remember – and yet, like the herd, like other animals, it is “nearer still” to their mimetic status with life and the world in that the child has very few memories and does not need “to unlearn remembering” - “has nothing yet of the past to disown”. The child “plays in a happy blindness between the walls of the past and the future”. These “walls” are very narrow indeed because “being is merely a continual ‘has been’” because our “existence really is, an imperfect tense that never becomes a present”. The pre-sent is so fleeting, the instant now so transitory that it cannot be described as “being” but only as “has been”.

A million times wrong, therefore, is the expression “Time is a device to stop everything from happening at once” – because “everything” in time does happen at once! Everything happens now! What stops everything from happening at once are memory and forgetfulness. Without forgetfulness, life and action would not be possible; without the memory of the will, history would not be possible. Children understand best the notion of history as an “Eternal Return” because they have no mnemonic historical re-cord (Latin, re.cor.dor, from cor, heart; literally, learning by heart, re-membering) that can in-duce them to con-fuse the past with a causal chain and sequence of events. (Similarly, Augustine in De Civitate Dei, will conceive of God’s perception of time from the outside, extra-temporally, [“ante omnia tempora tu est”, Bk.XIII] much like the way one recites a poem “recorded”, learnt by heart, and that therefore can be “re-called” at will in each word or in its entirety.) That is precisely the reason why children understand far better than adults the meaning of “once upon a time”:- because in fables “time” is just as much “past” as it is “future” – that is the meaning of “enchantment”. There is no “space” (Raum) be-tween historical events, and certainly no causal sequence or chain con-necting them. History is a locus or a topos (Ort, a place) that belongs to memory. The real “place” of time is now, the moment be-tween the walls of past and present occupied by the oblivious play of children. And when this “play is disturbed… the little kingdom of oblivion” comes to an end.

If happiness and the chase for new happiness keep alive in any sense the will to live, no philosophy has perhaps more truth than the cynic's : for the beast's happiness, like that of the perfect cynic, is the visible proof of the truth of cynicism. The smallest pleasure, if it be only continuous and make one happy, is incomparably a greater happiness than the more intense pleasure that comes as an episode, a wild freak, a mad interval between ennui, desire, and privation.

But in the smallest and greatest happiness there is always one thing that makes it happiness: the power of forgetting, or, in more learned phrase, the capacity of feeling "unhistorically" throughout its duration. 'One who cannot leave himself behind on the threshold of the moment and forget the past, who cannot stand on a single point, like a goddess of victory, without fear or giddiness, will never know what happiness is; and, worse still, will never do anything to make others happy.


False, then, are all those “values”, all those “eudaemonian” delusions that equate truth, virtue and happiness. This “summum bonum”, this “ideal equation” or con-comitance of the three cannot be found in this life and world – because the three simply do not co-incide therein, because the very “contingency” and trans-ience (passing through) of life and the world negates and nullifies them. Once more Nietzsche reminds us of his peculiar notion of “history”, which is not a sequence of conscious and “purposeful” human activity (Vico’s ‘verum ipsum factum’, and least of all Dilthey’s social-scientific research) to which a “finality” (Ziel) or “sense” (Sinn) or “direction” (Richtung) may be attributed (pro-noia, pro-videntia), or in which a “con-ciliation”, an agreement, a “harmony” (homo-noia) can be found or reached. The two “histories” (the double meaning of the Greek word istorein as “account” or res gestae and as “narrative”, historia rerum gestarum) run parallel but discrete lines of “development or evolution” (Entwicklung) – not a progressus, but a istoria (an in-quiry, in-quest) of struggle, synchronic and diachronic at once. The historical record cannot be “re-searched” with “scientific tools” – it is not an empeiria, a methodical search, but rather an autopsia, an in-quest into a com-pleted happening or action (Latin, gestum, from Greek bastaso, carry). Better still, history is a dia-gnosis, an examination (Italian dis-anima, out-souling) of a “body of e-vidence” that allows us “to recognize” (see our later discussion of the relationship between “becoming” and science as “recognition”, “familiarity”) a human condition or disease, not in an “aetio-logical” sense (as a tracing of a “causal chain” of e-vents), but rather as a “patho-logy” (pathos, suffering), in the same way as a disease, a virus is in the historical record but can lie “dormant” and be “inactive”, and therefore “out of time” for very long periods. From the dia-gnosis of disease, it is possible to locate and identify the disease itself, not to discover its “causes” (aetiology) but rather to venture a “pro-gnosis”, a prognostication as to its future course or even to indicate (anzeichen, sign) a remedy, a cure against its “symptoms”, the “decadence” of the body.

For Nietzsche, “history” is the process of tracing out the “deep origins” or “derivation” or “provenance” [Herkunft] of human “affects” (Affekte, emotions, feelings – see Heidegger’s discussion in Nietzsche, Vol.1, for his interpretation of “Wille zur Macht”) back to the “physio-logical” instincts whose real origins [Entstehung, sprouting] are as inscrutable and in-com-prehensible (un-graspable), in short, “un-historical” as “life” itself. What Nietzsche means by “history” therefore is the “un-earthing” of these “fossilized” elemental forces, of a “nature”, a “physis”, whose “manifestations” or “happenings” [Geschehen] are “embedded” in and “ex-hibited” by the present conduct and behaviour of human beings, down to their beliefs, morality and institutions. Not a “history” in the scientific sense then – a de-finite subject-matter made up of “facts” (pragmata) that can be “researched” using specific “tools and methods”- is Nietzsche’s Entwurf; but rather an “archaeology of origins”, an “anthropology” (in ‘WM’ he will compare it to “astrology”; cf. Husserl’s lamenting Heidegger’s deviation from phenomenology to “philosophical anthropology”). His is above all a “Genealogie” – a “genetic research” into morals, remembering the “origin” (Her-kunft) of the word from “gaya” (earth) to “genesis” (birth) to the ancient dynastic and aristocratic “ghens” or “gens” (English “roots”; the Italian word for ancestry, “stirpe” [cf. Latin, ex-stirpate, up-root] is also faithful to these “genealogical roots”). All this is what makes “the Eternal Return” and the Amor Fati both possible and com-prehensible – not in a cosmic sense (the repetition of the exact-same events, palin-genesis) or in a historical sense (the recurrence of cycles or ana-kyklosis), but in an extra-temporal sense.

There is a certain hypostatization of “instincts” here. But Nietzsche is aiming “to hammer down” those “idols” he denounced – a task he announced early in the ‘HL’ essay of the “UB” when he sought to expose Cartesian transcendence and replace it with “immanence” (“cogito ergo sum” he turned into “vivo ergo cogito”). Indeed, the entire aim of Nietzsche’s work was to fulfil this task whereby “theory” and “practice” co-incide in a “history” (Geschichte) that is a “fate and destiny” (Geschick) and yet is simultaneously “decipherable” or interpretable from its “signs” or “indications” (Zeichen and Anzeichen) – its Semeiotik - and “symptomatology” (Symptomatologie). Just like the Etruscan haruspices who could divine the future from inspecting the entrails of animals, Nietzsche aims at a “physio-logy”, a Schematismus (Entwurf) or “classi-fication”, a taxonomy (Her-kunft, pro-venance) of its historical origins (Ent-stehung or “coming out” in the sense of “sprout” or “physical source ”, fons et origo).

Again, the nexus with Cicero and his treatise De Divinatione with its examination of signs and auguries, of Chaldeian astrologers and Etruscan haruspices is hard to overlook.
Nietzsche associates Herkunft with “derivation” or provenance, and Entstehung (prefixed to Geschichte) with historical and physical genesis. The Entstehung/Herkunft distinction is reprised in Schumpeter’s Statik/Dynamik dichotomy in economic theory – the first tracing the “physiology” or “morphology” and the second the “evolution” [Entwicklung] of the economy. This perspective on history and historical perspective allows Nietzsche to combine “critically” (like Hegel and Marx or Schumpeter) the philosophy of history with the history of philosophy – histoire raisonnee with raisonnement historique.

There is also a devastating if implicit critique of Schopenhauer’s Entsagung (ascetic renunciation). Schopenhauer had made the error of “thinking historically”, of transforming the Will to Life into “a sleepless man” who is incapable of happiness because he cannot for-get, because in his denial of life and exclusive concentration on the “aim” of life, he bears the entire burden of life and the world – the “sym-pathy”, the “con-scientia”, the “guilt” of living, “the past to disown”.

The extreme case would be the man without any power to forget, who is condemned to see "becoming" everywhere. Such a man believes no more in himself or his own existence, he sees everything fly past in an eternal succession, and loses himself in the stream of becoming. At last, like the logical disciple of Heraclitus, he will hardly dare to raise his finger. 'Forgetfulness is a property of all action; just as not only light but darkness is bound up
THE USE AND ABUSE OF HISTORY. P
with the life of every organism.' One who wished to feel everything historically, would be like a man forcing himself to refrain from sleep, or a beast who had to live by chewing a continual cud.

Thus even a happy life is possible without remembrance, as the beast shows: but life in any true sense is absolutely impossible without forgetfulness. Or, to put my conclusion better, there is a degree of sleeplessness, of rumination, of "historical sense," that injures and finally destroys the living thing, be it a man or a people or a system of culture.

Happiness is accessible only to those who can forget, who therefore can “select” from experience and knowledge only those “bits” that are needed so that “action”, and “responsible action” especially, may be possible! Schopenhauer’s Nirvana is in-action, it is in-ertia, it is satis-faction, not in the beatific sense but as a ful-filment that paralyses all “activity” because it is “like a dyspeptic man who cannot forget and therefore assimilate experience”. Or else Nirvana is complete forgetfulness that, whilst allowing for a “cynical” happiness, does not admit of any “historical sense” or “action” or change. And as Hellenic historiography reminds us, the lack of metabole (assimilation, change) leads invariably to stasis (paralysis, stagnation, civil war) – to No-thingness. We shall turn next to Nietzsche’s “ontogeny of thought”, that is, to his account and analysis of how consciousness can arise from the instincts and develop into memory, then thinking, then into “resolve” (Gewissen, usually if inaccurately translated as “conscience”) and finally degenerate into “bad resolve” (schlechte Gewissen).




Consider the herds that are feeding yonder : they know not the meaning of yesterday or to-day; they graze and ruminate, move or rest, from morning to night, from day to day, taken up with their little loves and hates, at the mercy of the moment, feeling neither melancholy nor satiety.

Man cannot see them without regret, for even in the pride of his humanity he looks enviously on the beast's happiness. He wishes simply to live without satiety or pain, like the beast ; yet it is all in vain, for he will not change places with it. He may ask the beast — "Why do you look at me and not speak to me of your happiness?" The beast wants to answer — "Because I always forget what I wished to say": but he forgets this answer too, and is silent; and the man is left to wonder.

He wonders also about himself, that he cannot learn to forget, but hangs on the past: however far or fast he run, that chain runs with him. It is
THE USE AND ABUSE OF HISTORY.
matter for wonder : the moment, that is here and gone, that was nothing before and nothing after, returns like a spectre to trouble the quiet of a later moment. A leaf is continually dropping out of the volume of time and fluttering away—and suddenly it flutters back into the man's lap. Then he says, "I remember . . . ," and envies the beast that forgets at once, and sees every moment really die, sink into night and mist, extinguished for ever.

The beast lives unhistorically; for it "goes into" the present, like a number, without leaving any curious remainder. It cannot dissimulate, it conceals nothing; at every moment it seems what it actually is, and thus can be nothing that is not honest. But man is always resisting the great and continually increasing weight of the past; it presses him down, and bows his shoulders ; he travels with a dark invisible burden that he can plausibly disown, and is only too glad to disown in converse with his fellows—in order to excite their envy.

And so it hurts him, like the thought of a lost Paradise, to see a herd grazing, or, nearer still, a child, that has nothing yet of the past to disown, and plays in a happy blindness between the walls of the past and the future. And yet its play must be disturbed, and only too soon will it be summoned from its little kingdom of oblivion. Then it learns to understand the words "once upon a time," the "open sesame" that lets in battle, suffering and weariness on mankind, and reminds them what their existence really is, an imperfect tense that never becomes a present. And when death brings at last the desired forget-
THOUGHTS OUT OF SEASON.
fulness, it abolishes life and being together, and sets the seal on the knowledge that "being" is merely a continual "has been," a thing that lives by denying and destroying and contradicting itself.

If happiness and the chase for new happiness keep alive in any sense the will to live, no philosophy has perhaps more truth than the cynic's : for the beast's happiness, like that of the perfect cynic, is the visible proof of the truth of cynicism. The smallest pleasure, if it be only continuous and make one happy, is incomparably a greater happiness than the more intense pleasure that comes as an episode, a wild freak, a mad interval between ennui, desire, and privation.

But in the smallest and greatest happiness there is always one thing that makes it happiness: the power of forgetting, or, in more learned phrase, the capacity of feeling " unhistorically " throughout its duration. 'One who cannot leave himself behind on the threshold of the moment and forget the past, who cannot stand on a single point, like a goddess of victory, without fear or giddiness, will never know what happiness is; and, worse still, will never do anything to make others happy.

The extreme case would be the man without any power to forget, who is condemned to see "becoming" everywhere. Such a man believes no more in himself or his own existence, he sees everything fly past in an eternal succession, and loses himself in the stream of becoming. At last, like the logical disciple of Heraclitus, he will hardly dare to raise his finger. 'Forgetfulness is a property of all action; just as not only light but darkness is bound up
THE USE AND ABUSE OF HISTORY. P
with the life of every organism.' One who wished to feel everything historically, would be like a man forcing himself to refrain from sleep, or a beast who had to live by chewing a continual cud.

Thus even a happy life is possible without remembrance, as the beast shows: but life in any true sense is absolutely impossible without forgetfulness. Or, to put my conclusion better, there is a degree of sleeplessness, of rumination, of "historical sense," that injures and finally destroys the living thing, be it a man or a people or a system of culture.

1. Betrachte die Heerde, die an dir vorüberweidet: sie weiss nicht was Gestern, was Heute ist, springt umher, frisst, ruht, verdaut, springt wieder, und so vom Morgen bis zur Nacht und von Tage zu Tage, kurz angebunden mit ihrer Lust und Unlust, nämlich an den Pflock des Augenblickes und deshalb weder schwermüthig noch überdrüssig. Dies zu sehen geht dem Menschen hart ein, weil er seines Menschenthums sich vor dem Thiere brüstet und doch nach seinem Glücke eifersüchtig hinblickt — denn das will er allein, gleich dem Thiere weder überdrüssig noch unter Schmerzen leben, und will es doch vergebens, weil er es nicht will wie das Thier. Der Mensch fragt wohl einmal das Thier: warum redest du mir nicht von deinem Glücke und siehst mich nur an? Das Their will auch antworten und sagen, das kommt daher dass ich immer gleich vergesse, was ich sagen wollte — da vergass es aber auch schon diese Antwort und schwieg: so dass der Mensch sich darob verwunderte.
Er wundert sich aber auch über sich selbst, das Vergessen nicht lernen zu können und immerfort am Vergangenen zu hängen: mag er noch so weit, noch so schnell laufen, die Kette läuft mit. Es ist ein Wunder: der Augenblick, im Husch da, im Husch vorüber, vorher ein Nichts, nachher ein Nichts, kommt doch noch als Gespenst wieder und stört die Ruhe eines späteren Augenblicks. Fortwährend löst sich ein Blatt aus der Rolle der Zeit, fällt heraus, flattert fort — und flattert plötzlich wieder zurück, dem Menschen in den Schooss. Dann sagt der Mensch „ich erinnere mich“ und beneidet das Thier, welches sofort vergisst und jeden Augenblick wirklich sterben, in Nebel und Nacht zurücksinken und auf immer erlöschen sieht.  So lebt das Thier unhistorisch: denn es geht auf in der Gegenwart, wie eine Zahl, ohne dass ein wunderlicher Bruch übrig bleibt, es weiss sich nicht zu verstellen, verbirgt nichts und erscheint in jedem Momente ganz und gar als das was es ist, kann also gar nicht anders sein als ehrlich. Der Mensch hingegen stemmt sich gegen die grosse und immer grössere Last des Vergangenen: diese drückt ihn nieder oder beugt ihn seitwärts, diese beschwert seinen Gang als eine unsichtbare und dunkle Bürde, welche er zum Scheine einmal verläugnen kann, und welche er im Umgange mit seines Gleichen gar zu gern verläugnet: um ihren Neid zu wecken. Deshalb ergreift es ihn, als ob er eines verlorenen Paradieses gedächte, die weidende Heerde oder, in vertrauterer Nähe, das Kind zu sehen, das noch nichts Vergangenes zu verläugnen hat und zwischen den Zäunen der Vergangenheit und der Zukunft in überseliger Blindheit spielt. Und doch muss ihm sein Spiel gestört werden: nur zu zeitig wird es aus der Vergessenheit heraufgerufen. Dann lernt es das Wort „es war“ zu verstehen, jenes Losungswort, mit dem Kampf, Leiden und Ueberdruss an den Menschen herankommen, ihn zu erinnern, was sein Dasein im Grunde ist — ein nie zu vollendendes Imperfectum. Bringt endlich der Tod das ersehnte Vergessen, so unterschlägt er doch zugleich dabei die Gegenwart und das Dasein und drückt damit das Siegel auf jene Erkenntniss, dass Dasein nur ein ununterbrochenes Gewesensein ist, ein Ding, das davon lebt, sich selbst zu verneinen und zu verzehren, sich selbst zu widersprechen. Wenn ein Glück, wenn ein Haschen nach neuem Glück in irgend einem Sinne das ist, was den Lebenden im Leben festhält und zum Leben fortdrängt, so hat vielleicht kein Philosoph mehr Recht als der Cyniker: denn das Glück des Thieres, als des vollendeten Cynikers, ist der lebendige Beweis für das Recht des Cynismus. Das kleinste Glück, wenn es nur ununterbrochen da ist und glücklich macht, ist ohne Vergleich mehr Glück als das grösste, das nur als Episode, gleichsam als Laune, als toller Einfall, zwischen lauter Unlust, Begierde und Entbehren kommt. Bei dem kleinsten aber und bei dem grössten Glücke ist es immer Eines, wodurch Glück zum Glücke wird: das Vergessen-können oder, gelehrter ausgedrückt, das Vermögen, während seiner Dauer unhistorisch zu empfinden. Wer sich nicht auf der Schwelle des Augenblicks, alle Vergangenheiten vergessend, niederlassen kann, wer nicht auf einem Punkte wie eine Siegesgöttin ohne Schwindel und Furcht zu stehen vermag, der wird nie wissen, was Glück ist und noch schlimmer: er wird nie etwas thun, was Andere glücklich macht. Denkt euch das äusserste Beispiel, einen Menschen, der die Kraft zu vergessen gar nicht besässe, der verurtheilt wäre, überall ein Werden zu sehen: ein Solcher glaubt nicht mehr an sein eigenes Sein, glaubt nicht mehr an sich, sieht alles in bewegte Punkte auseinander fliessen und verliert sich in diesem Strome des Werdens: er wird wie der rechte Schüler Heraklits zuletzt kaum mehr wagen den Finger zu heben. Zu allem Handeln gehört Vergessen: wie zum Leben alles Organischen nicht nur Licht, sondern auch Dunkel gehört. Ein Mensch, der durch und durch nur historisch empfinden wollte, wäre dem ähnlich, der sich des Schlafens zu enthalten gezwungen würde, oder dem Thiere, das nur vom Wiederkäuen und immer wiederholten Wiederkäuen leben sollte. Also: es ist möglich, fast ohne Erinnerung zu leben, ja glücklich zu leben, wie das Thier zeigt; es ist aber ganz und gar unmöglich, ohne Vergessen überhaupt zu leben. Oder, um mich noch einfacher über mein Thema zu erklären: es giebt einen Grad von Schlaflosigkeit, von Wiederkäuen, von historischem Sinne, bei dem das Lebendige zu Schaden kommt, und zuletzt zu Grunde geht, sei es nun ein Mensch oder ein Volk oder eine Cultur.