nietzsche, art & blogging
I am slow to get used to blogging, where I should probably be putting out more thoughts, half-cocked if need be, rather than just letting them simmer, trying to get them right. Well, here are some neither fully-formed, nor coherent, but what follows is the begining of some thoughts on Nietzsche and Art and blogging:
Friedrich Nietzsche in Will to Power, fragment 853, outlines the importance of Art in an existence that Neitzsche calls “frightening,” where Truth (God is dead) has been toppled, and we struggle comprehend what it means to live in a world where we have no objective (God) to appeal to in questions of consequence. Says Nietzsche:
Art and nothing but art! It is the great means of making life possible, the great seduction to life, the great stimulant of life….
Art as the redemption of the man of knowledge–of those who see the terrifying and questionable character of existence, who want to see it, the men of tragic knowledge.
Art as the redemption of the man of action–of those who not only see the terrifying and questionable character of existence but live it, want to live it, the tragic war-like men, then hero.
Art as the redemption of the sufferer–as the way to states in which suffering is willed, transfigured, diefied, where suffering is a form of great delight.
OK now all this has something to do with blogging, I think. Nietzsche’s general gist is that with the loss of faith in anything beyond human consciousness, humans can go down two paths: one is pessimist, and sees disaster (chaos will result); the other optimist (sort of), the path of the overman (Übermensch), who sees this loss of objective Truth as liberating… a realization of the creative power of humans to form truth (small-T) around principles of their making. He sees this as a sort of Art — not just artistic art, but life as art, where forming the principles of one’s own morality becomes a creative exercise, and living itself becomes Art. So if you live your own life as a kind of artistic creation, then you manage to acheive a life Nietzsche would be proud of (well probably not, since he was Nietzsche…).
This process of transforming life into art is a magical sort of thing: anyone who has written a brilliant poem after being spurned by that cute girl in calculus class–no matter how poorly the stanzas stand-up to time–can attest to the power of that creation. In producing Art we transform our own existence into something more, and somehow that enables us to turn “suffering into great delight.”
And more, we take even greater pleasure in sharing that with others. I was discussing capital-A Art with with a writer friend over coffee, and he said, more or less, “Art just is, don’t worry about whether it’s important or not. Birds sing, people paint and write and make art. We are creatures who make art, so don’t spend time humming about why that is important.” I agree, though I think Art is important for specific reasons (another post sometime) … but the relevant thing is that humans like to create, we derive benefits from creating, and we like to share our creations with the world. Anyone who has built something, anything–a bookcase, a great script to track who’s bookmarking urls in del.icio.us, a newly landscaped garden, or a novel–can attest to the pleasure not just in looking at one’s own work, but having a close friend admire it as well. Strangers are even better.
Blogging is particularly important because it allows, and encourages, anyone–as long as they have access to technology, never guaranteed–to easily transform bits of their lives into Art which they can share with others, a life-affirming sort of thing that Nietzsche might be happy about. Particularly since blogging by its nature tends to diffract the capital-T Truth that other forms of controlled media try to sell us. (The subject of a future post).
All this is just more rambling, except that it provides some context for a couple of specific projects I am developing, and I encourage any blogger to consider as well: working with groups of people who are often marginalized to help them find the pleasures, and the Nietzschean benefits of blogging, of finding Art in their lives, and finding an audience for their Art in blogging. More on these projects later.