Notes for Heidegger Nietzsche Volume 4
Adapted from notes with a transitional name 19960104b.html and early journal entries.
BOOK IV. NIHILISM
A. EUROPEAN NIHILISM
1. The Five Major Rubrics of Nietzsche's Thought
(4) Nihilism is the historical process whereby the dominance of the 'transcendent' becomes null and void, so that all being loses its worth and meaning.
(5) “Nihilism,” thought now in its classic sense, calls for freedom from values as freedom for a revaluation of all (such) values.
(6) But for Nietzsche "revaluation" means that the very "place" for previous values disappears, not merely that the values themselves fall away. This implies that the nature and direction of valuation, and the definition of the essence of value are transformed. The revaluation thinks Being for the first time as value. [built from Descartes' subiectum and res extensa] With it, metaphysics begins to be value thinking. In accordance with this transformation, prior values do not merely succumb to devaluation but, above all, the need for values in their former shape and in their previous place--that is to say, their place in the transcendent--is uprooted. . . .But if the interpretation of beings as a whole cannot issue from a transcendent that is posited "over" them from the outset, then the new values and their standard of measure can only be drawn from the realm of beings themselves.
Absolute rule of pure power characteristic of overman: does this imply the temporal precedence of representation, power only if overpowering, no external end, therefore spiraling cycle.
It is the fundamental experience of a thinker;
that is, one of those individuals who have no choice but to find
words for what a being is in the history of its Being. . . . To the
extent that it is truly power, alone determining all beings, power
does not recognize the worth or value of anything outside of itself.
That is why will to power as a principle for the new valuation
tolerates no end outside of being as a whole. Now, because all being
as will to power--that is, as incessant self-overpowering--must be a
continual "becoming," and because such "becoming"
cannot move "toward an end" outside its own "farther
and farther," but is ceaselessly caught up in the cyclical
increase of power to which it reverts, then being as a whole too, as
this power-conforming becoming, must itself always recur again and
bring back the same.
(9) The Overman, the absolute rule of pure power, is the "meaning" (the aim) of what alone has being; namely, the "earth." . . . the Overman is not meant to be a mere amplification of prior man, but the most unequivocally singular form of human existence that, as absolute will to power, is brought to power in every man to some degree and that thereby grants him his membership in being as a whole. . . . The Overman simply leaves the man of traditional values behind, overtakes him, and transfers the justification for all laws and the positing of all values to the empowering of power.
(10) Thus Nietzsche's metaphysics is grasped only when what is named in these five headings can be thought--that is, essentially experienced--in its primordial and heretofore merely intimated conjunction. . . . But to have such knowledge is to stand within the moment that the history of Being has opened up for our age.
(10) To grasp here means consciously to experience what has been named in its essence and so to recognize in what moment of the hidden history of the West we "stand"; to recognize whether we do stand in it, or are falling, or already lie prostrate in it, or whether we neither surmise the one nor are touched by the other two, but merely indulge in the illusions of common opinion and the daily round, floundering in utter dissatisfaction with ourselves. . . . Thoughtful knowing is in itself comportment, which is sustained in being not by some particular being but by Being.
Also retains contrast between what a thinker communicates and "his inner vision, a context whose pure form we neither know nor can ever 'open up' with the fragments of his work that have been preserved." (like Socrates' µ)
This belongs to my project; see also on inner dialogue, dialog of a thinker with himself bookmark.
(11) True, everything published in this “book” is Nietzsche's, but he never thought it like that.
Because he did not have the experience of Being and Time, only Being and Thought; also (I add) because he relied upon writing as his computer, or that with which he ruminated (cud), as well as the medium of his communications (besides musical composition); give him credit, at least, for thinking through his letters, too.
(12) The thoughts of a thinker of Nietzsche's stature are reverberations of the still unrecognized history of Being in the word which that historical man utters as his "language."
Nihilism as the "Devaluation of the Uppermost Values"
(15) a good is a good on grounds of value, is that in which a value becomes an object and thus a “valuable.”
(16) The question about value and its essence is grounded in the question of Being. "Values" are accessible and capable of being a standard of measure only where things such as values are esteemed and where one value is ranked above or below another. Such esteeming and valuing occurs only where something "matters" for our behavior. Here alone is the kind of thing educed to which any comportment first, last, and always returns.
(16) No matter how these questions are resolved, they at least sketch in outline form an inner bond connecting value, aim, and ground. However, the most pressing issue that still remains unclarified is why Nietzsche's valuative thought has far and away dominated all "world view" thinking since the end of the last century.
Our age positing values as standards is an innovation.
(17) Only in the modern era have spirit and culture been deliberately experienced as fundamental modes of human comportment, and only in most recent times have "values" been posited as standards for such comportment. It does not follow, of course, that earlier periods were "uncultured" in the sense that they were submerged in barbarism; what follows is that with the schemata "culture" and "lack of culture," "spirit," and "value," we never touch in its essence the history, for example, of the Greeks.
(19) The root meaning of the Latin word nihil, which even the Romans pondered (ne-hilum), has not been clarified up to the present day.
(21) Perhaps the essence of nihilism consists in not taking the question of the nothing seriously.
this new way of taking-to-heart, on account of the new way of
letting-lie-before-me, that results from the shift from 8.5x11 paper
to SVGA displays of Word Perfect 6.1, comes to presence at all, or
whether it remains undisclosed. But I am thinking about it, at least.
The default of the withdrawal of the Being of beings has not
completely escaped notice, if I am using the figure properly.
(22) But correct thinking [logic] can be called on as a court of last resort only if one has previously established that what is to be "correctly" thought according to the rules of "logic" also exhausts everything thinkable, everything that is to be thought and is given over to thinking.
(22) What if in truth the nothing were indeed not a being but also were not simply null? And what if the question about the essence of the nothing, with the help of that either-or, had not yet been adequately formulated? Finally, what if the default of a developed question about the essence of the nothing were the grounds for the fact that Western metaphysics had to fall prey to nihilism?..Nihilism would then be the essential nonthinking of the essence of the nothing.
Heidegger thesis is that valuative thought unwittingly thinks being as nonessence.
(23) In valuative thought the essence of Being is--unwittingly-- thought in a definite and necessary aspect; that is, in its nonessence.
4. Nietzsche's Conception of Cosmology and Psychology
Quoting the fragment Decline of the Cosmological Values naming nihilism as a psychological state: discouraged (no meaning in becoming, events); lost faith in own value (we do not really have a place in a totality to give us value); no metaphysical afterworlds (only the earth); cosmology points to anthropological nature of Nietzsche psychology.
(28) Man is what lies at the bottom of
all beings; that is, in modern terms, at the bottom of all
objectification and representability. No matter how sharply Nietzsche
pits himself time and again against Descartes, whose philosophy
grounds modern metaphysics, he turns against Descartes only because
the latter still does not posit man as subiectum in a way that is
complete and decisive enough. The representation of the subiectum as
ego, the I, thus the "egoistic" interpretation of the
subiectum, is still not subjectivistic enough for Nietzsche. Modern
metaphysics first comes to the full and final determination of its
essence in the doctrine of the Overman, the doctrine of man's
absolute preeminence among beings. In that doctrine, Descartes
celebrates his supreme triumph.
(29) (quoting Nietzsche) To conceive of psychology as the morphology and doctrine of the development of will to power, as I do – no one has yet come close to this in his thought.
The Provenance of Nihilism and Nihilism's Three Forms
(31) And, because volition is to will oneself, even the will to nothingness still permits willing--that the will itself be.
Death drive, unconscious as feeling?
(34) Nihilism now becomes outright disbelief in anything like a meta-physical world, that is, a world set "above" what is sensuous and what becomes (the "physical"). . . .the world of becoming shows itself to be the "only reality"; that is, the one authentic "true" world.
Punk view could be woven into this conclusion; bootstrapping and grand style other ways out.
It is not simply the feeling of the valuelessness of reality that
dominates but also a feeling of helplessness within what alone is
real. What is missing is an insight into the grounds for the
predicament and the possibility of overcoming it.
(35) We can easily see that the three forms of nihilism designated sustain an inner relation to one another and together constitute a particular movement; that is to say, history. True, nowhere does Nietzsche identify any historically recognized and demonstrable forms of the positing of the uppermost values, nor the historically representable contexts of such positings, which we might describe as fundamental metaphysical positions.
6. The Uppermost Values as Categories
Like Deleuze and Guattari molar items, with fuzzy belongingness.
Depending on the matter at hand, the terms category, class, or sort
are used to delineate a region, a schema, or pigeonhole into which
something is deposited and so classified.
(36) Katgorein therefore means that,in an explicit view on something, we reveal what it is and render it open.
Any point in reading this with Classification and its Consequences?
(37) Katgorein is then the
addressing of a thing to what it is, in such a way that through the
address the being itself is, as it were, brought into the openness of
publicity. . . . A category is the addressing of a being to the
particularity of its aspect, and so is its proper name in the widest
(37) The Aristotelain usage just cited corresponds much more fully to the spirit of the Greek language, which, to be sure, is implicitly philosophical and metaphysical and is therefore, along with Sanskrit and cultivated German, distinguished above every other language.
Categories as basic words of metaphysics, names for the fundamental philosophical concepts; Heidegger toots his horn (compare with GTE ad, Seneca) talking about Herr Diesel. This might be a quote I've been looking for..though I'm sure it has something to say about how thinking abides (..) machine technology!
(39) There is nothing wrong if the "man
in the street" believes that there is a "diesel engine"
because Herr Diesel invented it. Not everyone needs to know that the
whole business of invention would not have been able to advance one
step if philosophy, at the historical moment in which it entered the
realm of its nonessence, had not thought the categories of nature and
so first opened up this realm for the research and experiments of
inventors. Of course, that does not mean that one who knows the true
provenance of modern power machinery is thereby in a position to
build better motors. But he is perhaps uniquely situated to ask what
machine technology is within the history of man's relationship to
(40-41) But throughout these differences [in Aristotle, Kant, Nietzsche] what is essential and telling is preserved-- that the determinations of beings as such are secured and grounded with respect to logos, assertory thinking. . . . The Being of beings is grasped and comprehended on the guidelines of assertion, judgment, or "thinking." This way of defining the truth of beings as a whole, metaphysics, thinks beings by means of categories.
Technology and culture signify the same thing; to Aristotle assertion is judgment of what categories belong to domain of philosophy; Nietzsche betrays his allegiance to the tradition.
(41) As an earmark of the essence of all metaphysics, therefore, we can inscribe the title Being and Thinking or, more specifically, Beingness and Thinking, a formulation which stresses that Being is conceived by way of thinking from beings and back to beings as their "most universal" element, whereby "thinking" is understood as assertory speech. Such thinking of beings, in the sense of physei and technei on, "something present that rises up of itself or is produced," is the guiding thread for the philosophical thinking of Being as beingness.
Different modes of recording (books for others, dialogue of a thinker with himself) links to handwriting (his was horrible, as was that of Heidegger), as well as paragraph 29 of La Pensee Radicale); see (IV,12) on his language.
(42) The sketch that lies before us in this fragment is not a section of a book meant for "publication," nor part of a textbook, but the dialogue of a thinker with himself. Here he is speaking not with his "ego" and his "person" but with the Being of beings as a whole and within the realm of what has already been said in the history of metaphysics.
7. Nihilism and the Man of Western
(43-44) What is happening here? Nihilism is our deposition of values that are at our disposal with respect to their being posited. . . . A world must arise that enables a man to develop his essence from his own fund of values. But for that we need a transition, a way through the predicament in which the world appears value-less but at the same time demands a new value.
(44) Nietzsche wants to make clear to us the inner richness of the essence of nihilism.
(64) Beings as such are perspectival.
8. The New Valuation
We ourselves are included in the psychological reckoning and calculation, despite the ethical conclusion that man is never merely standing-reserve; now we belong to command of nihilism, for example, decision theory does not care about its content (see journal notes on standing reserve).
[from Section B] Result: Faith in the categories of reason is the
cause of nihilism--we have measured the value of the world according
to categories which relate to a purely fictitious world.
Final result: All the values . . . therefore devaluated the world--all these values are, psychologically reckoned, results of particular perspectives of utility, for the preservation and enhancement of human constructs of domination; and they have only been falsely projected into the essence of things.
(48) To reckon psychologically means to appraise everything on the basis of value and to calculate value on the the basis of the fundamental value, will to power--to figure how and to what extent "values" can be evaluated in accord with will to power and so prove valid.
(48) Nihilism is no now longer a historical process that we as observers merely have before us, outside ourselves, or even behind us; nihilism reveals itself as the history of our era, which imposes its own effective limits on the age, and by which we are claimed.
There was a link to 971111.wpd here.
No more metaphysics; all thinking conscious (logical, optimizing, etc): see the Cartesian roots, and why Freud stressed the certainty in dreams.
By means of the deposition of prior values, the world, formerly
merely the earthly world, becomes being as a whole as such.
(49) But because the devaluation of uppermost values is a conscious deposition of former values, arising from unequivocally know phenomena, the new valuation must have its origin in a new and enhanced consciousness (reckoning).
(49-50) Here valuation and valuative thought first come to themselves, not simply in the way than an instinctive act also knows and casually observes itself, but rather in such a way that this consciousness becomes an essential moment and a driving force in the whole of behavior. What we describe with the ambiguous name instinct now comes to be not merely something of which we were formerly unconscious but now know; consciousness, "psychological reckoning," and calculation now become instinct proper.
(51) we experience precisely the most extreme nihilism not as a complete downfall but as the transition to new conditions of human existence.
Instincts as constructs of domination bind values to TWP, good side of extreme nihilism, if we can handle it (the others self-destruct: see Twilight on physicians; material in volume II on the experience of the weighiest thought; Hannibal Lechter agrees).
Nietzsche) Overall insight. All major growth is in fact accompanied
by a tremendous disintegration and passing away: suffering, the
symptoms of decline, belong to times of tremendous advance; every
fertile and powerful movement of humanity has also created at the
same time a nihilistic movement. It could turn out to be a sign of
crucial and most essential growth, of transition to new conditions of
existence, that the most extreme form of pessimism, nihilism proper,
comes into the world. This I have grasped.(WM, 122)
(51) The following note stems from the same period. (quoting Nietzsche) Man is beast and Overbeast: the higher man is Nonman and Overman: these belong together. With every growth of man in greatness and height, there is also growth in depth and terribleness: one should not will the one without the other--or rather: the more radically we will the one, the more radically we achieve precisely the other.(WM, 1027)
9. Nihilism as History
(54) By "analysis," Nietzsche does not mean a disentangling, as a dissecting and unraveling, but the scrutinizing of what "is," a depiction of the grounds for a being's being the way it is. . . . The pessimism of weakness seeks to "understand" everything and explain it historically, to excuse it, and let it pass.
(56) Insofar as the supreme powerfulness of the classic-ecstatic nihilism knows nothing outside itself, recognizes no limits over it, and acknowledges nothing as a measure, classical-ecstatic nihilism could be a “divine way of thinking” (WM, 15).
(57) The name nihilism points to a historical movement that extends far behind us and reaches forward far beyond us.
(continue another day)
Meaning of Cartesian cogito joined to Nietzschean concepts ground proper understanding of essence of modern technology.
(116) In the convergence of our Nietzschean concepts with a fuller articulation of the meaning of Descartes' cogito the ground is cleared for a proper understanding of the essence of modern machine technology.
The saving power; a link between Heidegger in the midst of the danger for us reading today and texts and technology. This was thought again in 2011.
(116) The certitude of the principle cogito sum (ego ens cogitans) detemines the essence of all knowledge and everything knowable; that is, of mathesis; hence, of the mathematical. What can therefore be demonstrated and ascertained as a being is only the sort of thing whose placing-alongside guarantees the kind of surety that is accessible through mathematical knowledge and knowledge grounded on mathematics. The mathematically accessible, what can be securely reckoned in a being that man himself is not, in lifeless nature, is extension (the spatial), extensio, which includes both space and time. Descartes, however, equates extensio and spatium. In that way, the nonhuman realm of finite beings, "nature," is conceived as res extensa. Behind this characterization of the objectivity of nature stands the principle expressed in the cogito sum: Being is representedness. As one-sided and in many respects unsatisfactory as the interpretation of "nature" as res extensa may be, when it is nonetheless thought through in its metaphysical import and measured according to the breadth of its metaphysical project, then it is the first resolute step through which modern machine technology, and along with it the modern world and modern mankind, become metaphysically possible for the first time.
Nietzsche realized future machine economy would bring about the calculative reasoner.
(116) What Nietzsche already knew metaphysically now becomes clear: that in its absolute form the modern “machine economy,” the machine-based reckoning of all activity and planning, demands a new kind of man who surpasses man as he has been hitherto.
Need for form of mankind dominated by essence of technology.
(117) What is needed is a form of mankind that is from top to bottom equal to the unique fundamental essence of modern technology and its metaphysical truth; that is to say, that it lets itself be entirely dominated by the essence of technology precisely in order to steer and deploy individual technological processes and possibilities.
Reduction of Being to fallacious vapor by Nietzsche inspired the lecture course, following Introduction to Metaphysics.
(182) (footnote) In retrospect, Nietzsche's causetic reduction of Being to a “vapor and a fallacy” appears to have provoked, almost singlehandedly, Heidegger's ensuing lecture courses.
Perhaps when I commented upon the growing wasteland in psycho-analytic work with regard to the lost dignity of the hand, the dignity granted it in its ability to embarrass itself by leaving traces of its (and its owners) mistakes, helps to fill up this nothing about which Heidegger speaks, which Freud tried (says Lacan) to illuminate (recalling that often considered page 53, mistakes seem to have replaced the omens or portents of the ancients.). That PHI where physis disappears, and what remains is physics and the rules of the game (Word Perfect governing), the Dwarfs story recorded by the activity of the becoming-reactive: We go to sleep.
(214) Thus matters stand with the
concealment of Being in such a way that the conealment conceals
itself in itself. The staying away of Being is Being itself as this
very default. Being is not segregated somewhere off by itself, nor
does it also keep away; rather, the default of Being as such is Being
itself. In its default Being veils itself with itself. This veil that
vanishes for itself, which is the way Being itself essentially occurs
in default, is the nothing as Being itself
(215) the discussion of Being as just that – Being – still speaks an inadequate language . . . the being, precisely and only when it is a being, stands in the withdrawal of being [sic?] itself. . . . Since the being came into the unconcealed as the being itself. Metaphysics has prevailed ever since this unconcealment occurred; for metaphysics is the history of the unconcealment of the being as such.
(217) in staying away, there comes to be a relation to something like a place, away from which the staying away remains what it is: the default of unconcealment as such. That place is the shelter in which the default of unconcealment essentially persists. But if it is precisely concealment that remains in the staying away of unconcealment as such, then the staying of concealment also retains its essential relation to the same place . . . the abode occurs essentially with them as the advent that Being itself is. The advent is in itself the advent of their abode. The locale of the place of Being as such is Being itself. That locale, however, is the essence of man.
(229) We hardly need to illustrate in detail the spreading violence of actual nihilism, which we all personally experience to a sufficient degree, even without an ivory-tower definition of its essence. Furthermore, Nietzsche's experience, in spite of the one-sidedness of his interpretation, deals with “actual” nihilism so forcefully that by comparison our attempt at determining the essence of nihilism appears insubstantial, not to say utterly useless. When every divine, human, material, and natural thing is threatened in its existence, who would want to trouble himself about something like the omission of the default of Being itself, even granting that such a thing takes place and is not merely the subterfuge of a desperate abstraction?
Being as will to power; read beside Heim Computer as Component.
(231) The putative overcoming of nihilism first establishes the dominion of an absolute omission of the default of Being itself in favor of the being in the form of valuative will to power. Through its withdrawal, which nonetheless remains a relationship to beings, in which form "Being" appears, Being itself releases itself into will to power. As will to power, the being seems to reign above and over all Being. In such reigning and radiating of Being, which is concealed with respect to its truth, the default of Being occurs essentially in such a way that it permits the most extreme omission of itself. It thus aids and abets the advance of the purely actual – of those properly acclaimed realities – which prides itself on being what it is, while at the same time presuming itself to be the measure for deciding that only what is effectual – what is palpable and makes an impression, what is experience and its expression, what is useful and its success – should pass as being.
Curious as well how Deleuze, and others I have read, quote the passage about the barbarians arrival as allegory to Nietzschean thought itself, They come like fate, without reason, consideration, or pretext; they appear as lightning appears, too terrible, too sudden, too convincing, too different even to be hated, So runs Nietzsches celebrated text on the founders of the state, those artists with the look of bronze Nomad Thought, 145.
(241-242) The epoch of the unconditioned and complete objectification of everything that is begins with the self-fulfilling metaphysics of subjectivity, which corresponds to the most extreme withdrawal of the truth of Being, because it obscures the withdrawal until it is unrecognizable. In that objectification, man himself and every aspect of human culture is transformed into a stockpile which, psychologically reckoned, is incorporated into the working process of the will-to-will, even if some people view that process as free, while others interpret it as purely mechanical. Both mistake the covert essence in the history of Being, that is, the nihilistic essence, which when expressed in the language of metaphysics is always something "spiritual," even the fact that in the process of the absolute objectification of beings as such mankind has become a "human resource," ranked behind natural resources and raw materials, does not betray a supposedly materialistic preference for matter and energy over the human spirit. It is grounded in the unconditioned character of objectification itself, which must bring every stockpile, no matter what its nature, into its own possession and must secure this possession.
Original listing of pages noted.
(9) giving overman absolute dominion over the earth; degrees of becoming in everyone
(10) simultaneously thinking 5 major rubrics; thoughtful knowing = comportment
(29) N™s conception of psychology -> transformational
(42) different modes of recording (books for others -- "dialogue of a thinker with himself")
(50,51) instincts as constructs of domination; good side of extreme nihilism
(61,62) growth in power and alteration of values; values = viewpoints
(64) on the "real"; "Beings as such are perspectival."
(67) values = conditioned conditions, quantum of power; man, type vs. mankind
(116-118) cogito sum; mathesis; machine technology & Overman; dominion of representation; the axiomatic redefined; falling-short in communicating to your contemporaries
(132) adoption of Descartes position; logic as hygenic command
(135) Descartes method on the way to calculative thinking dominating
(148) essence of subjectivity = brutalitas of bestialitas; end of metaphysics
(161) Greek™s Being = physis
(165) metaphysics of WTP: Roman culture, The Prince
(167,168) Being : idea, agathon, condition; Being as ousia in Plato
(171) withdrawal into concealment of essence of Being as physis, aletheia; Aristotle™sthinking Being as entelecheia
(177) "reckoning" = estimating overtaking physis; essential affinity to WTP emerges
(181,182) historiological thread; Schopenhauer & young N; becoming a philosopher; what inspired the lecture course
(199,200) N™s clinging to his fundamental insight; does [it] overcome nihilism?; rule of language
(203) N™s metaphysics the "ultimate entanglement in nihilism"
(205,206) disturbing statements: metaphysics itself is the ground of nihilism; representation lagging behind essence
(212) logic of communication; time of recording - diving into the danger
(214) default of Being veiling itself with itself
(218) grounding concept Dasein; Nirvanna?; cost of representation
(220) "nihilism takes place as metaphysics in its own inauthenticity"; barring path to experience
(223,224) overcoming vs. thinking "to encounter Being in its default as such"
(229) protoform of WICT?; actual nihilism; H™s UA
(231) N™s failing ("the putative overcoming of nihilism"); H™s thesis;ï ¢ 951113.0842 ï £
(235) ordering, "systematic securing of stockpiles" to accomplish surety; turning towards certainty and the service of goods; "world play"
(243) first education; H™s thesis again vs. failure of all wanting-to-overcome
(246) the danger in thinking to encounter the extreme need of Being (trheat to essence)
Heidegger, Martin. Nietzsche, Volume IV: Nihilism. Trans. Joan Stambaugh, David Farrell Krell and Frank A. Capuzzi. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1982. Print.