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gveranon
06-17-2016, 03:55 AM
Misanthropic Pessimism | The Anarchist Library (http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/georges-palante-misanthropic-pessimism)

The essay is by Georges Palante.

The character of [misanthropic] pessimism appears as a universal coldness, a willed impassibility, an absence of sentimentalism that distinguishes it from romantic pessimism, ever inclined to despair or revolt.

ToALonelyPeace
06-17-2016, 04:04 PM
Misanthropic Pessimism | The Anarchist Library (http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/georges-palante-misanthropic-pessimism)

The essay is by Georges Palante.

The character of [misanthropic] pessimism appears as a universal coldness, a willed impassibility, an absence of sentimentalism that distinguishes it from romantic pessimism, ever inclined to despair or revolt.

I find his claim of misanthropic pessimism as a "realistic" pessimism full of "clearsightedness" incredible. I'm not sure how disdaining the stupidity and mediocrity of one's species is more realistic than the spirit of "revolt" in romantic pessimism. The one focuses on human species, the other on...human species. Some of the tack-on characteristics of misanthropic pessimism are not explained: "universal coldness, a willed impassibility, an absence of sentimentalism." I would say focusing on the human species is sentimental and gets as far as the universal coldness as possible. It doesn't matter if the human is stupid or immoral in Lovecraft and Ligotti's stories, the universal chaos will unwind them.

gveranon
06-17-2016, 05:32 PM
Misanthropic Pessimism | The Anarchist Library (http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/georges-palante-misanthropic-pessimism)

The essay is by Georges Palante.

The character of [misanthropic] pessimism appears as a universal coldness, a willed impassibility, an absence of sentimentalism that distinguishes it from romantic pessimism, ever inclined to despair or revolt.

I find his claim of misanthropic pessimism as a "realistic" pessimism full of "clearsightedness" incredible. I'm not sure how disdaining the stupidity and mediocrity of one's species is more realistic than the spirit of "revolt" in romantic pessimism. The one focuses on human species, the other on...human species. Some of the tack-on characteristics of misanthropic pessimism are not explained: "universal coldness, a willed impassibility, an absence of sentimentalism." I would say focusing on the human species is sentimental and gets as far as the universal coldness as possible. It doesn't matter if the human is stupid or immoral in Lovecraft and Ligotti's stories, the universal chaos will unwind them.

I have a mixed reaction to the essay myself.

I've often noticed that those who claim to be paragons of lucid intelligence have a massive lack of awareness of their own deficiencies and irrationalities, something that is all too laughably obvious to other people. I would never claim to be a paragon of lucid intelligence myself.

Palante does mention that Schopenhauer, whom he first categorized as a romantic pessimist, also has some aspects of misanthropic pessimism in his philosophy. I would contend that it precisely because of this admixture that Schopenhauer seems (to me at least) a deeper thinker than Voltaire or Swift, who are typed by Palante as more purely misanthropic pessimists.

What I like about the essay is that it recommends an emotionally colder and more passive form of pessimism than we often see discussed here or elsewhere. I don't think this necessarily entails any kind of dangerous sociopathy, just a recognition that neither despair nor revolt gets you anywhere; you might as well chill out, be contemplative, and appreciate the bitter ironies when and where you can. Perhaps this appeals to me because I'm a half-century old now (!) and can no longer sustain a fever pitch of emotion for long nor believe in any kind of utopian or metaphysical remedy for our condition. Abyssal despair and indignant idealism are for those who can still honestly inhabit those mind-sets for longer than an hour or two at a time.

There are still traces of romanticism and sentimentality and even optimism and religion in my mind, and there probably always will be. I do find claims of uber-rationality, whoever makes them, to be unconvincing. I'm not as fixated on the stupidity or mediocrity of others as Palante and his exemplars are, because I don't have that high a self-regard, and because people one takes to be simpletons or brutes are sometimes surprising. Solitude is necessary, though. "Can’t you, in thought, establish that superb line of interior defense that keeps you an ocean’s width from your neighbor?" -- a great line from Flaubert quoted by Palante.

ToALonelyPeace
06-18-2016, 04:50 AM
Palante does mention that Schopenhauer, whom he first categorized as a romantic pessimist, also has some aspects of misanthropic pessimism in his philosophy. I would contend that it precisely because of this admixture that Schopenhauer seems (to me at least) a deeper thinker than Voltaire or Swift, who are typed by Palante as more purely misanthropic pessimists.
My initial reaction to his categorization of Schopenhauer as a romantic pessimist was "Maybe this guy knows a different Schopenhauer than me..." :) From what I gather, Schopenhauer advocates for passive resignation into art and meditation-doubtful method as effective "revolt" goes; and the idea of associating Schopenhauer with romanticism (any kind) seems ludicrous.

What I like about the essay is that it recommends an emotionally colder and more passive form of pessimism than we often see discussed here or elsewhere. I don't think this necessarily entails any kind of dangerous sociopathy, just a recognition that neither despair nor revolt gets you anywhere; you might as well chill out, be contemplative, and appreciate the bitter ironies when and where you can. Perhaps this appeals to me because I'm a half-century old now (!) and can no longer sustain a fever pitch of emotion for long nor believe in any kind of utopian or metaphysical remedy for our condition. Abyssal despair and indignant idealism are for those who can still honestly inhabit those mind-sets for longer than an hour or two at a time.
I understand and agree with you here. I know a few absurd ironist or pessimist who already know the noose is there, but still want to kick higher. I find them on the point about our condition in this neoliberal, postmodern, technocracy days though. There are also those who await the 'breaking point' where people will revolt (perhaps they will, but only to build another monstrous ideal), and I believe-they enjoy the process of waiting more than opening of the curtain. Nonetheless, for all its tiresome characters "romantic pessimism" has its black fire and sharp sword. Words which sometimes are created from real tears. I am still fascinated with tears, though I suppose tears don't stir you anymore @gveranon.

There are still traces of romanticism and sentimentality and even optimism and religion in my mind, and there probably always will be. I do find claims of uber-rationality, whoever makes them, to be unconvincing. I'm not as fixated on the stupidity or mediocrity of others as Palante and his exemplars are, because I don't have that high a self-regard, and because people one takes to be simpletons or brutes are sometimes surprising. Solitude is necessary, though. "Canít you, in thought, establish that superb line of interior defense that keeps you an oceanís width from your neighbor?" -- a great line from Flaubert quoted by Palante.
I agree that one can't underestimate the simpletons around them. Even those who see no evil, hear no evil show hints of knowing something is wrong...

gveranon
06-18-2016, 03:36 PM
Palante does mention that Schopenhauer, whom he first categorized as a romantic pessimist, also has some aspects of misanthropic pessimism in his philosophy. I would contend that it precisely because of this admixture that Schopenhauer seems (to me at least) a deeper thinker than Voltaire or Swift, who are typed by Palante as more purely misanthropic pessimists.
My initial reaction to his categorization of Schopenhauer as a romantic pessimist was "Maybe this guy knows a different Schopenhauer than me..." :) From what I gather, Schopenhauer advocates for passive resignation into art and meditation-doubtful method as effective "revolt" goes; and the idea of associating Schopenhauer with romanticism (any kind) seems ludicrous.


I have a weakness for abstract terms, but I try to keep in mind something Paul Valery wrote: "It is impossible to think seriously with words such as Classicism, Romanticism, Humanism, or Realism. One cannot get drunk or quench one's thirst with labels on a bottle."

So whether Schopenhauer was a romantic is nothing more than an academic question of taxonomy, and ultimately it doesn't matter very much. But Palante is far from the only author who sees Schopenhauer in that way: google "Schopenhauer" and "romanticism." I think there were romantic aspects to Schopenhauer's thought: seeing capital-W Will behind everything, placing such high value on "genius" and on aesthetic experience, etc. But seeing Schopenhauer in terms of a broader movement obscures the particular character of his thought, so it's best not to get hung up on a label.

More Paul Valery: "Observation. All of us are dedicated to becoming bores."



... Nonetheless, for all its tiresome characters "romantic pessimism" has its black fire and sharp sword. Words which sometimes are created from real tears. I am still fascinated with tears, though I suppose tears don't stir you anymore @gveranon.


After Great Pain, A Formal Feeling Comes
Emily Dickinson

After great pain, a formal feeling comes –
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –
The stiff Heart questions ‘was it He, that bore,’
And ‘Yesterday, or Centuries before’?

The Feet, mechanical, go round –
A Wooden way
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought –
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone –

This is the Hour of Lead –
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow –
First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go –

teguififthzeal
06-21-2016, 10:57 PM
Every misanthropic pessimist knows he is carrying a bit of romanticism in his/her pocket. The dichotomy is artificial.