Angèle KREMER MARIETTI

NIETZSCHE’ S USE OF LANGUAGE, 21-23 September 2000, Nijmegen University

 

NIETZSCHE’S PHILOSOPHICAL INTERPRETATION OF METAPHOR : A METAPHORICAL GENEALOGY

In my first book on Nietzsche [1], I discovered the Zarathustra’s bestiary and was interested in it; also in the identification of Nietzsche/Dionysus/Zarathustra ; as well as in the theories of knowledge and morals which were attached to it. Zarathustra’ s symbolism was a synthesis of all the consequences drawn from the ideas of the Eternal Return : "the wheel of existence rolls for ever" [2], "the ring of existence is true to itself for ever" [3] in the "Ring of Recurrence" [4]. Behind that exhibition - if I may say - there was a deeper hidden issue concerning epistemology ; but this Urgrund was to be discovered already in the previous works of Nietzsche ; and it is what I did afterwards in the books L’homme et ses labyrinthes [5] and Nietzsche et la rhétorique [6]. I would like to present now a further level in this orientation.

I am concerned with a hidden epistemology which reveals the symbolic processes in the human mind. Indeed, in the early texts of the Philosopher’s book we can find a genesis of thought from the point of view of an artistic power selecting the images on the basis of similarity and dissimilarity (or contradiction). Then, effective symbolic processes in Nietzsche’s mind are evident with The Birth of Tragedy where he begins a metaphorical genealogy, with the diptych of Apollo and Dionysus, two energies, two powers and two tendencies, from which ancient tragedy was born. Euripides and Socrates with his daimonion come at the end of the realm of myth. Instead of tragedy, we find the conflict between art and science and the Nietzschean hope that art would be recognized as the power dominating science. We must have now an examination about these artistic processes further developed into the scientific mind.

 

I. Symbolic processes in the human mind

Nietzsche’ s own interest for symbolic processes can be noticed in all his texts and especially as much in The Birth of Tragedy [7] and the Philosopher's Book [8] as in Human All Too Human. Nietzsche’s philosophy teaches us that modern man has overvalued his Apollinian (that is consequently Socratic) nature and denied his Dionysian qualities according to which reason, art and nature are not separated. We were jointly and severally liable to the universe before knowing it. Also we might know that now "the natural process is carried on by science" [9].

In the beginning of human history, when reason started to be active in human minds, there would have been «artistic powers», producing images and making a choice among them [10]. And we must consider that this archaeological process goes on still in modern times. Signs, symbols and overall the original metaphors are mediating the human beings and all their objects :

Conscious thinking is nothing but a process of selecting representations. It is a long way from this to abstraction.

(1) the power which produces the profusion of images ; (2) the power which selects and emphasizes what is similar.[11]

Nietzsche interpreted all symbolic processes as belonging to «fiction» (Erdichtung), that is as being artistic creations. This thinking activity would have been developed according to the rhetorical laws of metaphor [12] (and of metonymy [13] and synecdoche [14]), for ever at work in human thought and language:

"The drive toward the formation of metaphors is the fundamental human drive, which one cannot for a single instant dispense with in thought, for one would thereby dispense with man himself. This drive is not truly vanquished and scarcely subdued by the fact that a regular and rigid new world is constructed as its prison from its own ephemeral products, the concepts." [15]

In his course on Rhetoric (1872-1873), Nietzsche evoked the « power to discover and to make operative that which works and impresses, with respect to each thing » [16]. Therefore, abstraction itself has its genesis in a sensible impression from which it comes through metaphor : it is, in fact, a product of metaphorical processes, as an enduring impression which is retained and solidified in the memory :

"There are many more sets of images in the brain than are consumed in thinking ; the intellect rapidly selects similar images ; the image chosen gives rise, in turn, to a profusion of images ; but again, the intellect quickly selects one among them, etc." [17]

Nietzsche gives a genesis of thought from the point of view of an artistic power selecting the images on the basis of similarity. Then, space, time and cause are metaphors : they look like original forms that they are not. Space and time are not exactly a priori forms of sensitiveness (Sinnlichkeit for Kant) but metaphors of knowledge ; and it is the same for causality. They come from our senses thanks to metaphorisation. At the very beginning of the phenomenology of mind, Nietzsche believed that some « moral phenomenon » arose, which became then esthetically generalized [18] through metaphors, metonymies, synecdocs. Tropes have been used as processes of substitution, displacement and derivation. Human thought obeyed originally to laws of rhetoric. We know that rhetoric has been imitated by the Freudian Traumdeutung. For Nietzsche, truth itself finally came to us through symbolic processes:

"What then is truth ? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and anthropomorphisms : in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding. Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions ; they are metaphors that have become worn out and have been drained of sensuous force, coins which have lost their embossing and are now considered as metal and no longer as coins." [19]

The activity of rational understanding, or the "knowledge drive" [20], is, consequently according to Nietzsche, "mastered by the imagination" [21], which gives us what we seek in order to think [22]. And, from a certain point of view, I think we can say that the transcendental imagination was the most original of Kant's findings in the Critique of Pure reason, thereafter it is also Nietzsche's idea, but mixed with an original intuition about the unconscious processes :

"There are many more sets of images in the brain than are consumed in thinking ; The intellect rapidly selects similar images ; the image chosen give rise, in turn, to a profusion of images ; but again, the intellect quickly selects one among them, etc." [23]

 

2. Symbolic processes in Nietzsche’s mind : The Birth of Tragedy

Deliberately, Nietzsche thinks and writes himself according to the fundamental opposition between images and concepts : his choice went at first to the imagery of myth and ancient thought and language with applying a prolific polysemy.

Later on, he was to become conscious of the state of mind in which he had been during the years before 1872 : he became aware of the distance between his first constitution of mind and the new one when, in spring 1877, he affirms that his previous works were like pictures for which he used to take colours from the subjects he represented, like an artist [24].

Effectively, The Birth of Tragedy began to put the problems in the manner of artists, since the book is full of images of Greek art and myth. Nevertheless, in 1886 he depicts his work with severely excessive formulas : "images frenzied and confused, sentimental, in some places saccharine-sweet to the point of effeminacy" [25]. Indeed, symbolic processes in Nietzsches’s mind appear clearly in his first book, The Birth of Tragedy in which the central and huge metaphor is that of the dualism of two great opposites, that is of the diptych of Apollo and Dionysus : the first as the sun-god and the second as an agrarian god. Nietzsche qualifies this contrast as "Gegensatz-Begriff".

This fundamental metaphor is concentrated on a complementary opposition between the two gods - both sons of Zeus, but half-brothers : Apollo’s mother is the goddess Leto (who is also the mother of Arthemis or Diana), Dionysus’ mother is the goddess Semele or the Earth (said as earth-Mother). Because this duality presents contrasting characteristics not understood in a logical sense but in existential interacting like the duality of the sexes living in a mutual dependency which brought "the metaphysical miracle of the Hellenic ‘will’"(BT, 1, 14). And we can recognize here the Nietzschean combination of mythical thought and Schopenhauerian philosophy.

The opposition Apollo/Dionysus was established at first by Plutarch (46-120 before. J.-C.), well known by Nietzsche [26], who complained that Plutach would not be read any longer in the century : for Plutarch, superstition was a "wrong judgment inflamed by passion" (De superstit., I). Michelet noticed the same opposition Apollo/Dionysus in his Bible de l'humanité (1864). This fundamental antithesis connects us to multiple contrasts of meaning on the basis of many several antithesis : moderation/excess, order/disorder, justice/hubris, form/force, beautiful/mis-shapen, law/arbitrariness. We can distinguish in it the Kantian opposition beautiful/sublime, or the Rousseauist opposition nature/culture. Similarly, we can recognize a constant analogy : here between Apollo and "representation" and there between Dionysus and "Will"- representation and Will being as well two Schopenhauerian concepts [27].

2.1. Metaphorical genealogy : two energies, powers and tendencies

Nietzsche found out that there were two principles acting in Greek tragedy and that they were identified with the gods Apollo and Dionysus. Therefore, the opposed or joined images of Apollo and Dionysus are in themselves loaded by many superposed and then polysemic meanings. At the bottom, for Nietzsche, together Apollo and Dionysus had to play the part of the parents of tragedy ; they were lying at the very beginning of the metaphorical genealogy. Attic tragedy was born from the "struggle of the opposition only apparently bridged by the word ‘art’ ". And Nietzsche explains how such a struggle is possible :

" that art derives its continuous development from the duality of Apolline and Dionysiac ; just as the reproduction of species depends on the duality of the sexes with its constant conflicts and only periodically intervening reconciliation." (BT,1, 14)

Beside this basic and generative opposition, their minds are also deeply different : Apollo is moderate and orderly, Dionysus is frenzied and excessive. About Apollo, there is no atmosphere of mysticism : he is all lucidity. However Apollo could not live without Dionysus" (BT, 4, 26), because the merely contemplative Apollinian humour is not sufficient in order to accomplish the total artwork (allusion to the Wagnerian aesthetics) : for Nietzsche, it depends only on dream. And we see that the first derived opposition between these two figures consists in the separation of the two art worlds of dream and intoxication.

The idea of Apolline dream implies illusions which are a response to sufferings and transcend them; but Nietzsche adds, "with restraining boundaries" : that is the beautiful form of illusion as "the precondition of all visual art". In Apollo, dream is associated with clarity and also with healing and comfort. The symbol of the Olympian Apollo means consciousness and also individuation [28], a Schopenhauerian concept, through the principle of individuation which is together form of phenomenon [29] and form of knowledge relative to individuals [30]. Then finally Apollo is :

"as the glorious divine image of the principium individuationis, from whose gestures and looks all the delight, wisdom and beauty of ‘illusion’ speak to us" BT, 1, 16).

In conclusion, the principium individuationis corresponds to definite boundaries and limits, concerning political laws and individual consciousness. Besides, Apollo had also the power of punishing the individuals. He represented culture opposed to wild nature. He was the father of civilization.

On the contrary of dream and reasonable illusion, intoxication implies a return to the dark memory of the Titanic origins and sufferings, and on another side, the necessary oblivion of individual reality, outside the province of the principle of sufficient reason (according to which nothing happens unless there would be a cause or reason) [31] which is another form of the principle of individuation [32]. Schopenhauer suppressed the principle of sufficient reason in the concern of the will ; and so did Nietzsche for the power of Dionysus. Therefore, intoxication is invoked by Nietzsche and associated with collectivity, excess and will (Schopenhauerian) : "Excess was revealed as truth, contradiction ; the bliss born of pain spoke from the heart of nature" (BT, 4, 27). "The Dionysiac drunkenness and mystical self-negation" (BT, 2, 18) is a state "abolishing the habitual barriers and boundaries of existence" (BT, 7, 38) : it has its philosophical interpretation which is :

"the tremendous dread that grips man when he suddenly loses his way amidst the cognitive forms of appearance, because the principle of sufficient reason, in one of his forms, seems suspended" (BT,1, 16).

As an individualistic expression, Apollo has been identified by Nietzsche with the plastic art of the sculptor and with the objective epic poetry whose genius was Homer. As a collective expression submersing the ego because it "contains […] a lethargic element into which all past personal experience is plunged" (BT, 7, 39), Dionysus has been identified by Nietzsche with the non-visual art of music, with dithyramb and with the subjective lyric poetry whose genius was Archilochus :

"Homer, the aged, self absorbed dreamer, the prototype of the Apolline naïve artist, is now astonished to behold the passionate head of the warlike votary of the muses, driven wildly through life." (BT,5, 28)

Now, through Nietzsche’s representation, myth, art, and folk culture have shown their identical roots, which are "the fears and horrors of existence". Each one of the two poets, Homer and Archilochus, is interpreted by Nietzsche differently. Homer symbolizes the objective epic poet, the "self-absorbed dreamer" ; on the other side, Archilochus symbolizes the subjective lyric poet out of the sphere of the ego. Facing Homer’s world of images, there is Archilochus becoming the Dionysian world-genius "who symbolically expresses his primal pain in that symbol of the man Archilochus" (BT, 5, 30). While Homer is lost in the contemplation of images, on the contrary being himself all these images, Archilochus ceased to be the individual Archilochus in order to becoming the world-genius. Then, according to Nietzsche, epic is the equivalent of moderation, while lyric is the equivalent of excess, as much as Apollo is the veil of illusion – that is civilization – a veil spread over the horror of existence unveiled by Dionysus.

From now on, exactly like tragedy, folk song (for example, Des Knaben Wunderhorn also evoked by Schopenhauer [33]) is to be said as being born from "the unification of the Apolline and Dionysiac" (BT, 6, 32), and is to be seen "as a musical mirror of the world". If lyric poetry depends on the spirit of music of Dionysus, music itself has nothing to do with language, images or concepts (over them reigns Apollo), but indeed it tolerates them. On one side, there are images, words, poetry - which are classified by Nietzsche as secondary in the folk song - , on the other, there are music, sounds and melody – which are primary in the folk song :

"In the poetry of the folk song, then, we see language doing its utmost to imitate music : hence, with Archilochus, we see the beginning of a new world of poetry that most profoundly contradicts the Homeric world" (BT, 6, 33).

Exactly like folk song, tragedy comes from music alone, because, as Nietzsche explains, "tragedy arose from the tragic chorus" (BT,7, 36). Thanks to the chorus, a balance is possible between the two Apollinian and Dionysian temperaments. Apollo becomes a part of the Dionysian community in the celebrating of life.

Now we see how the way of Nietzschean thinking is labyrinthic : it began with the opposition Apollo/Dionysus heading to the birth of tragedy ; then it went from tragedy to the folk song ; and now it comes from the remote folk song once more to the Attic tragedy. The fact is that, for Nietzsche, music is identified with Dionysus and also with Will as it is with Schopenhauer [34]: section 58 of The World as Will and Representation has for theme happiness which is for Schopenhauer "negative only and never positive" because with satisfaction the desire and the pleasure cease. A genuine happiness cannot be a subject of art : music and especially melody express story of the Will conscious of itself. We have finally the reason why "the chorus as such, without the stage - [is] the primitive form of tragedy" [35].

In conclusion relatively to these Apollinian and Dionysian multiple identities, a total art has the power to turn all the "thoughts of repulsion at the horror and absurdity of existence into ideas compatible with life" [36]; for instance, the idea of the sublime which can tame horror.

2.2. The realm of myth

A metaphor opens Section 9 with the dialogue as being the image of "the Hellene whose nature is revealed in dance, because in dance the greatest strength is only potential" (BT, 9, 46). Note that Schopenhauer treats of dance in section 52 : "The short intelligible phrases of rapid dance music seems to speak only of ordinary happiness which is easy with attainment". And Nietzsche assimilates this quick dancing to the Greek dancing. Dancing and speaking are alike : the sound of voice may be considered as a gesture directed to express feelings or thoughts.

Then, another stronger metaphor follows that of Greek dancing : the metaphor concerning language with a contrast between the brightly reflecting myth and the dark screen. Myth is compared to bright words illuminating the dark depth of nature. Then the Apollinian and the Dionysian present now a new relationship : in order to understand it, we must accept to experience an inverted optical phenomenon : light-patches before our eyes substituting for dark-coloured patches. Nietzsche tells and explains this curious experience :

"If we make a concerted effort to stare into the sun and turn away blinded, we have dark-coloured patches before our eyes as what we might call remedies. The light-image manifestations of the Sophoclean hero – the Apolline mask, in short – are the inevitable products of a glance into the terrible depths of nature : light-patches, we might say, to heal the gaze seared by terrible night" (BT, 9, 46).

Indeed, starring the sun blinds us ; then, we see dark stains all around us in the daylight ; but, inversely, Nietzsche speaks of light patches which would help us to see into the terrible night !

There is a Dionysian wisdom illustrated by Oedipus, and which is "an abominable crime against nature". And Nietzsche evokes the terrible trinity that will condemn Oedipus : as the solver of the riddle of nature, and then as his father’s murderer and his mother’s lover, Oedipus is like Nietzsche a Wahrheitssucher, someone who seeks the truth of nature (Naturwahrheit) and who gets suffering as payment for his labour. The sentences of the myth are severe, but, for Nietzsche, however, the metaphoric Memnon’s Column of the myth is not only terrible, it is also sublime (BT, 9, 48). Therefore, the only tragic hero has always been Dionysus : all the recognized heroes have only been his masks ; so were Oedipus and Prometheus (BT, 10, 51).

The multiplicity of figures of Dionysus and the numerous Dionysus’ masks mobilize numerous metaphors. And, beyond the efficiency of the Apollinian and Dionysian symbols, also many small metaphors occur in Nietzsche’s writing ; so it is in numerous phrases gathered in only one page (for instance in section 10, page 52) and often several metaphors are found in only one phrase as the following ones :

"the one real Dionysus appears in a multitude of figures, in the mask of a warrior hero, and we might say, entangled in the net of the individual will."- "In fact, however, this hero is the suffering Dionysus of the mysteries, the god who himself experiences the suffering of individuation, of whom marvellous myths relate that he was dismembered by the Titans and that, in this condition, he is worshipped as Zagreus." –

Other examples of combined metaphors :

"From the smile of this Dionysus were born the Olympian gods, from his tears mankind." -

"the Homeric epic is the poetry of Olympian culture, its own song of triumph about the terrors of the battle with the Titans." -

"This hope alone casts a ray of joy across the face of the world, torn and fragmented into individuals, mythically symbolized by Demeter, sunk in eternal grief, who rejoices once more only when told that she can give birth to Dionysus again.".

Myth does not know the principle of contradiction and Nietzschean myth has the same privilege. Everyone may signify anyone according to his proper qualities. As representing dream, nevertheless Apollo may be together rational and irrational in spite of his clarity and distinctness. Dionysus may be Zagreus. In fact, it is what the myth teaches us. Zagreus is Dionysus’ name in Orphism under of which influence he became the symbol of universal life. Zagreus was worshipped because he was dismembered by the Titans and came again to life ; then he could be anywhere under the form of an element : air, water, earth and fire. Therefore, Dionysus is everywhere and everything. Through his two-phased intoxication, he could be under the effect of a fermented drink [37], or under the sublime pleasure of music [38]. Nietzsche’s intuitions have been followed by the great studies of Greek religion : I mean particularly Jane Harrison’s works.

In The Birth of Tragedy, metaphorizing is a current way for Nietzsche’s thinking and convincing. Indeed, it is for Nietzsche a way to imply a certain heuristic effect ; then we could ask whether it is a way to be demonstrating in front of rational auditors. But myth does not need demonstrations : showing is enough for it - analogically we can remember that Wittgenstein [39] has told us : what can be shown cannot be said. In the myth, there are associations of words and encounters of images which give the way of manifested effects and which are enough to persuading people (if not scientists). Indeed, in the proper domain of Greek civilization, scientists understood what Nietzsche meant.

The metaphor of the birth of tragedy will flow into tragedy’s death, and particularly into suicide : from the divine summit brought by Aeschylus and Sophocles, tragedy fell into the drama of ordinary beings with Euripides - whose aims were allied to those of Socrates, "an enemy of the art of tragedy" (BT, 13, 65) and the proper spectator of Euripidian drama (BT, 12, 64). Euripides abandoned the chorus in its important role of founding the tragic action ; he changed it in musical interludes. Since he abandoned Dionysus, in his turn Apollo abandoned him (BT, 10, 54) when Euripides introduced sophistry into tragedy : this can confirm how much Apollo and Dionysus were affiliated to each other.

2.3. Socrates’ daimonion

Curiously, a daimonion inspired the Socratic wisdom and its logical nature against any mystical talent. Then, Nietzsche is staring with resentment at "the great Cyclops eye of Socrates" (BT, 14, 67). And symbolically eye means knowledge. Nietzsche believed that the philosophical contrast between art and science could have been found by the "music-making Socrates" (BT,17, 82) asking in prison : "Might art even be a necessary correlative and supplement to science ?" (BT, 14, 71). Therefore, in Dawn, 509, there is even a third eye looking through the two others.

Socrates is "the prototype of the theoretical man" (BT, 15, 72), a new type opposed to the tragic man ; he is "the archetype of the theoretical optimist" (BT,15,74), in front of the practical pessimism. A metaphor gives him the character of somebody "bearing the torch of a thought" : he is "the first man who was able not only to live by this instinct of science but […] to die by it as well" (BT, 15, 73). The same page brings two more metaphors concerning knowledge : the one evoking the "high pyramid of knowledge of the present day" in the light of which the other makes Socrates "the vortex of world history". Then the tragic conception of the world has received its most illustrious antagonist with science, Socrates being its "ancestor" (BT, 16, 76) !

From section 16 to section 22, we can read represented a new development of the dialectic relation between Apollo and Dionysus until its next conclusion. The question is put in another way ; it is no more mythical, but philosophical : "what is the aesthetic effect that arises when the divided aesthetic powers of the Apolline and Dionysiac are made to work side by side?" (BT, 16, 77). As the language of the Will, Dionysian music is then convincing of the delight of existence and will perhaps permit "the artistic reawakening of tragedy and the tragic philosophy" (BT, 17, 82). These philosophical metaphors are certainly less strong than the mythical ones, because they are directed not towards the senses but towards the intellect. But, in particular, the intellectual metaphor of Greek history is working analogically for German history as a model of civilization (BT, 20,96).

Socratic culture is "the culture of opera" (BT, 19,89) without a notion of "the Dionysiac depths of music" (BT, 19, 91). With the aim of reversing history it remained in 1872 the hope of "the opposite process, the gradual awakening of the Dionysiac spirit, in our contemporary world"(BT,19, 94). It remained the "faith in a future rebirth of Hellenic antiquity" (BT,20, 98).It remained Wagner !

The last paragraph of section 21 is finally the very conclusion of the fundamental antithesis Apollo/Dionysus with the return of the ancient metaphor : "the Apolline in tragedy has by means of its deception carried off a complete victory over the Dionysiac essence of music" (BT, 21, 104). The effect was the clarification of drama.

 

3. Art, science and divine dancing

Finally, since tragedy and myth had been declining together (BT, 23, 111), the metaphorical genealogy included in The Birth of Tragedy has sanctioned a modern opposition which became evident to Nietzsche and which was between, on one side, art, that was the mixed Apollonian/Dionysian inheritance, and, on the other side, science, that was the Socratic offspring, born of the Apolline tendency "cocooned within its logical schematism" (BT, 14, 69). Then, it would be exactly the case if the concept of science was derived from the metaphor of the decadent culture of tragedy inherent to the person of Socrates, being himself represented as "the prototype of the theoretical man" (BT, 15, 72) together with "the mystagogue of science" (BT, 15, 73) !

While Apollo was, in The Birth of Tragedy, the master in the subject of dream, and Dionysos, the master in the subject of intoxication, then with Human, All Too Human, Nietzsche went deeper into the analysis of dreams. The methods of natural history which then inspired him let Nietzsche discover in the dream a realm which he said to be for human primitiveness "a second real world" [40]. For modern times art like dream can exactly be said in the same way as being "a metaphysical supplement to [the] truth of nature, coexisting with it in order to overcome it" (BT, 24, 114) ; and it is what could be said also for science as understood by Nietzsche from his point of view. Reminding the teaching of Apollinian/Dionysian mythic inspiration, but in a natural way with a scientific distance, Nietzsche concluded by saying : "this is the origin of all metaphysics" [41].

Relative to the dream, Freud confirmed "Nietzsche's concept of the dream as a means of knowing man's archaic heritage" [42]. Before Freud, Nietzsche had begun trying to render explicit "the logic of dreams" [43]. He used his representation of dream to interpret our daily thought processes with the elements of dream-thought ; he wrote : "Here, then, the imagination keeps pushing images upon the mind, using in their production the visual impressions of the day - and this is precisely what dream imagination does" [44].

Nietzsche's explanation of dream had two precise common points with Freud ' s interpretation of dream : 1) at first, the reference to the past, but for Nietzsche it was the past of humanity, a collective rather than individual past (and in the collective reference we can find again the Dionysian inspiration) ; and then 2) the original observation of the specific way of reasoning during the dream, about which Nietzsche thought that it was a primeval habit of our modern reason (and here we find again the mythical way of thinking) :

" The old aspect of humanity lives on in us in our dreams, for it is the basis upon which higher reason developed, and is still developing, in every man : the dream restores up to distant states of human culture and gives us a means by which to understand them better".[45]

Nietzsche could think exactly like a positivist scientist (see Human, All too human) and he could generally go on either opposing together science and art, or curiously assimilating science to art. In fact, he has always been a Warheitssucher, and remains the one who found out the ‘radical truth’ that is the truth of nature. Will to Power, a form of radical truth, appeared as another appearance of Dionysiac power and "universality" (BT, 21, 102). In the idea of Will to Power [46] we find again Dionysos. The last motto : "The World is the Will to Power and nothing else" implies that man and world are natural forces and may be explained in terms of the truth of nature. Nietzsche meant the same for the idea of Eternal Return and wanted it to be explained as a scientific reality. The idea of Will to Power is nothing else than a projection of the radical truth [47] coming from the Dionysian principle : «the deep mirror of Dionysus reflecting the future » [48].

Dionysus’ mirror reflected the image of a "God who understood how to dance" [49]: I quote a sentence of the year 1882 and of Thus spoke Zarathustra, Book one. For Zarathustra, Words and things were also dancing. He said : "How could I be enemy to divine dancing ?" [50] Fundamentally, Nietzsche believed that in dance was the greatest but potential strength which was proper to the ancient Greek culture mastered through Apollo’s power. Hellene’s nature was told in The Birth of Tragedy as being "revealed in dance, because in dance the greatest strength is only potential" (BT, 9, 46).

Then, the metaphorical genealogy of the Nietzschean philosophy has been going on directly from the point of view of the symbolic processes. Nietzsche did not trust the "high pyramid of knowledge" (BT,15, 73) initiated by Socrates ; he preferred the labyrinth of science understood as a form of art. His position was justified because in the nest of human thinking and acting, Nietzsche saw anytime and anywhere the issue of a natural power, Will to Power. He saw the same in metaphysics [51], morals and science [52]. And when he was expressing this conclusion : ‘denn - es gibt keine «Wahrheit »’ [53], he meant either : "there is no a priori truth" ; or : "there is no individual truth" (but "there are individual errors"). Nietzsche put aside a radical natural truth : for him there was a "Sich-bewuBt-Werden des Willens zur Wahrheit" : becoming conscious was possible for the Will to Truth. In consequence, Socrates’ successor, the philosopher of desperate knowledge, must become the philosopher of tragic knowledge (BT, 75), who "masters the uncontrolled knowledge drive, though not by means of metaphysics" [54].

With The Birth of Tragedy, art justifies human existence and the world. Then, beside his evolution beyond The Birth of Tragedy and over all the positivist time of Human, All Too Human, Nietzsche conceived art as inseparable from self-overcoming and from self-creation. Any interpretation was for Nietzsche a creative action. We have seen that the Greek Apollinian-Dionysian total artwork was dominated by the myth ; inversely and consequently, Nietzsche found out that art was dominating over modern science. The question is : what kind of "art" is dominating science ? An answer to this question can be : the symbolic processes of thought may be seen as "art" ; then, what Nietzsche meant under this aspect can be assimilated to a philosophy of mind. These symbolical processes in the Philosopher's Book are seen by Nietzsche as being brain events, currents of images, selected by the understanding :

"There are many more sets of images in the brain than are consumed in thinking ; the intellect rapidly selects similar images ; the image chosen gives rise, in turn, to a profusion of images ; but again, the intellect quickly selects one among them, etc." [55]

If the "Dionysiac substractum of the world" can be once more overcome by the "Apolline power of transfiguration" and if the two powers can unfold their artistic powers in strict proportion to one another, then art and science are now possible together but in the frame of a metaphysics of art : in a creative process.


 

Notes

1. Nietzsche, Collection « Thèmes et structures », Paris, Lettres Modernes, 1957.

2. Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus spoke Zarathustra. Translated by R. J. Hollingdale. Harmondsworth : Penguin Books, p. 234. Cf. Werke, Kritische Studienausgabe (KSA), G. Colli, M. Montinari : KSA, IV, Der Genesende 2, 272.

3. Ibid.

4. Thus spoke Zarathustra , p. 245 ; KSA, IV, Die Sieben Siegel, 289.

5. L'Homme et ses labyrinthes, Friedrich Nietzsche, Paris, U.G.E., Coll 10/18, 1972. Réédition Paris, L’Harmattan, 1999.

6. Nietzsche et la rhétorique (1992), Paris, PUF. See the introductions to my Nietzsche’s translations (10/18, or Le Livre de Poche, or Kimé). Also « Le ‘terrain de l'art’, une clé de lecture du texte nietzschéen », in Dominique Janicaud, ed., Nouvelles lectures de Nietzsche, Lausanne, L'Age d'Homme, Cahiers L'Age d'Homme, N°1, 1985 ; « Rhétorique et rythmique chez Nietzsche » (1996), in Rythmes et Philosophie, sous la direction de Pierre Sauvanet et de Jean-Jacques Wunenburger, Paris, Kimé ; « Nietzsche’ s Critique of Modern Reason » (2000), in B. E. Babich (ed .).

5. The Birth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Music, translated by Schaun Whiteside, edited by Michael Tanner, London: Penguin Books, Penguin Classics, 1993. Henceforth BT, followed by the section number and the page number ; KSA, I, 23-156.

6. Das Philosophenbuch. Theoretische Studien (1872-1875), Nietzsches Werke, GOA, Kröner, X ; see the different texts without this title in Nachlass, KSA, VII, VIII. The French translation Le Livre du philosophe, was published with an Introduction and Notes by Angèle Kremer Marietti (Paris : Aubier Flammarion, 1969), corrected and reprinted 1978 with a new Introduction  ; now reprinted in GF-Collection (Paris : Flammarion, 1991) with a new Introduction : « Nietzsche sur la vérité et le langage (1872-1875) ». The English translation  : Nietzsche, Philosophy and Truth.. Selections from Nietzsche’s Notebooks of the Early 1870’s, is edited and translated by D. Breazeale, New Jersey : Humanities, 1979.

7. "The Philosopher" § 102 : Philosophy and Truth, p. 38 ; Le Livre du philosophe, p. 79. KSA,VII, 469.

8. "The Philosopher" § 64 : Philosophy and Truth, p. 24 ; Le Livre du philosophe, p. 62. KSA, VII, 445.

9. "The Philosopher" § 63 : Philosophy and Truth, p. 24 ; Le Livre du philosophe, p. 62. KSA, VII, 445.

10. "The Philosopher" § 64 : Philosophy and Truth, p. 24 ; Le Livre du philosophe, p. 62. KSA, VII, 445.

11. "The Philosopher" § 63 : Philosophy and Truth, p. 24 ; Le Livre du philosophe, p. 62. KSA, VII, 445.

12. Metaphor : "the application of a name or descriptive term or phrase to an object or action to which it is imaginatively but not literally applicable" » (The Oxford English Reference Dictionary) .

13. Metonymy : "the substitution of the name of an attribute or adjunct for that of the thing meant" » (The Oxford English Reference Dictionary) .

14. Synecdoche : « a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa » (The Oxford English Reference Dictionary) .

15. Philosophy and Truth, pp.88-89 ; Le Livre du philosophe, pp.129-130; KSA 1.887.

16. See Sander L.Gilman., Carole Blair, David Parent, Friedrich Nietzsche on Rhetoric and Language, New York, Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 20.

17. KSA, VII, 445.

18 KSA, VII, 881.

18. "On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense" : Philosophy and Truth, p. 84 ; Le Livre du philosophe, p. 123. KSA, I, 880.

19. "The Philosopher" § 61 : Philosophy and Truth, p. 23 ; Le Livre du philosophe, p. 61. KSA, VII, 444.

20. Ibid.

21. Ibid.

22. "The Philosopher" § 63 : Philosophy and Truth, p. 24 ; Le Livre du philosophe, p. 62. KSA, VII, 445.

23. Ibid.

24. KGW, IV, 2, 22 (64).

25. See "Attempt at a Self-criticism", in The Birth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Music, p. 5. KSA, I, 34.

26. See A. Kirchoff, "Über das delphische Jahr", Monatsberichte der Berliner Akad., 1864.

27. Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, Translated from the German by E. F.J .Payne, in two Volumes, New York : Dover Publications, 1958. Hence WWR.

28. WWR, I, Section 23, p. 112 et sq. See p. 113 : « time and space are the principium individuationis, the subject of so many subtilities and disputes among the scholastics […] It is apparent […] that the will as thing-in-self lies outside the province of the principle of sufficient reason in all its forms".

29. WWR, III, 51.

30. WWR, III, 52, p.267 : "The pleasure of everything beautiful, the consolation afforded by art, the enthusiasm of the artist which enables him to forget the cares of life, this […] is heightened in proportion to the clearness of consciousness".

31. Principle of reason according to which nothing happens unless there would be a cause of it or a determining reason of it, that is to say a reason which could a priori explain why it is existing rather than not and why it is so and not otherwise (see Leibniz, Théodicée, I, 44).

32. WWR, III, 51.

33. "Youth’s Magic Horn" : German folk songs edited by Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano in the nineteenth century. See WWR, III, 51, p. 249.

34. WWR, IV, 58.

35. BT, 7, 37.

36. BT, 7, 40.

37. See Jane Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion (1903), New York, Meridian Books, 1955, p. 450 : "In fig. 137 from a red-figured stamnos [note: Brit. Mus. Cat. E 439, pl. XV] in the British Museum we have the Thracian Dionysos drunk with wine, a brutal though still splendid savage ; he dances in ecstasy brandishing the fawn he has rent asunder in his madness."

38. See Jane Harrison, Prolegomena, op. cit., p. 450-451.: "In the second picture [note : Bibliothèque Nationale, Cat.576] (fig. 138), a masterpiece of decorative composition, we have Dionysos as the Athenian cared to know him. The strange mad Satyrs are twisted and contorted to make exquisite patterns, they clash their frenzied crotala and wave great vine branches. But in the midst of the revel the god himself stands erect. He holds no kantharos, only a great lyre. His head is thrown back in ecstasy ; he is drunken, but with music, not with wine."

39. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, English Translation, D. F. Pears & B. F. McGuinness, trs, B. Russell, intro. Routledge : see 4.1212.

40. Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human. Translated by Marion Faber and Stephen Lehmann. Introduction and Notes by Marion Faber. Harmondsworth : Penguin : Penguin Books, 1984. See 1, §. 5, p. 16.

41. Ibid.

42. See note 11 of the American translators, p. 19 : "Cf. Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams. In an addendum to the fifth edition of this work (1919), Freud refers to Nietzsche's concept of the dream as a means to knowledge of man' s archaic heritage, «of what is psychically innate in him» (Standard Edition, V, p. 549)".

43. Human, All Too Human, I, 1, §. 13, pp. 20-22.

44. Human, All Too Human, I, 1, §. 13, p. 22.

45. Human, All Too Human, I, 1, §. 13, p. 21.

46. "Will to Power" appears in 1882, see KSA, X, 187.

47. See the commentary, Nietzsche : L’homme et ses labyrinthes, Paris, L’Harmattan, pp. 270-282.

48. Nietzsche : L’homme et ses labyrinthes, p. 312.

49. See : "Jenseits von gut und böse." Sentenzen-Buch. Sommer-Herbst 1882 3[1], KSA, X, 69 ; similarly Thus spoke Zarathustra, trans. R. J. Hollingdale. Harmondsworth : Penguin Books, 1969 , p. 68.

50. Op. cit., p. 131.

51. Cf. 38[12], KSA XI, 610-611. See Nietzsche : L’homme et ses labyrinthes, pp. 197-208.

52. Nietzsche : L’homme et ses labyrinthes, pp. 241-258.

53. Cf. 2[108], KSA XII, 114.

54. "The Philosopher" § 37 : Philosophy and Truth, p. 11 ; Le Livre du philosophe, p. 47-48. KSA, VII, 427-428.

55. KSA, VII, 445.

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