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Old 11-14-2016   #1
JudeLoranne
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"The Sorrows and the Shade"

Sorry.

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Old 11-14-2016   #2
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Re: "The Sorrows and the Shade"

It sounds interesting. Briefly, what is your opinion regarding Nietzsche's so-called "pessimism of strength" as opposed to Schopenhauer's "pessimism of weakness?" More precisely, how does "Tristessism" compare to Nietzsche's "aesthetics of suffering," for lack of a better title. (I apologize for all the quotation marks).

I ask this simply because Nietzsche's view of suffering is ironically quite close to the Christian view of suffering. I suppose these are things you address in the book.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 11-14-2016   #3
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Re: "The Sorrows and the Shade"

The primary difference between Nietzsche's views on sufferance and my own personal Tristessist views is that I feel Nietzsche was very escapist. He sought to escape from suffering through art and beauty. Even though his thoughts on amor fati - the love of fate - nod to Tristessism, I think that his Dionysian approach to life only affirmed the will to live, denying the intrinsic negativity of existence by trying to change it, even if aesthetically. As a counter to this, I propose the Saturnalian, which, instead of affirming the will to live, affirms the will to die - or, as I reimagine in my book, the will to suffer (which encompasses both aforementioned wills equally). Nietzsche's Dionysian views were what Michelstaedter would have called philopsychia, the god of pleasure, or the deceiver of man. That is, I feel Nietzsche affirms beauty, pleasure, and life with his Dionysian precepts - the three things which, in my view, constitute the will to live, Michelstaedter's philopsychia - whereas Tristessism affirms ugliness, pain, and death, the components of the will to die, the will to suffer.

Put simply, this distinction is the difference between struggling to overcome pain by seeking pleasure and beauty despite suffering, and truly overcoming pain by seeking the pleasure and beauty within suffering.

Even simpler: Nietzsche wanted to turn suffering into art; I want to turn art into suffering.

I know that wasn't all that brief, and I know there are some overlaps between my thoughts and Nietzsche's, but that is a fair summary of my thoughts on Nietzsche and the difference between his Dionysian views and my Saturnalian.
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Old 11-14-2016   #4
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Re: "The Sorrows and the Shade"

Well, it seems you have a strong grasp of the subject matter, which is expected.

In any case, welcome to TLO.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 11-15-2016   #5
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Re: "The Sorrows and the Shade"

Interesting take on suffering, though I don't agree that it can be escaped in any real way. Would it be fair to say your philosophy is the inverse of what Nietzsche described as a "pessimism of strength"?

“Evolution cannot avoid bringing intelligent life ultimately to an awareness of one thing above all else and that one thing is futility.”
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Old 11-15-2016   #6
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Re: "The Sorrows and the Shade"

I agree that suffering cannot be escaped in any genuine or honest sense. After all, suffering is the primordial gun to your head that keeps you eating, keeps you striving, keeps you alive. Without sufferance, we would stagnate. Existence must be founded upon pain, or else we wouldn't run in fear towards life.

But suffering can be redefined as a positive experience. The masochist who takes sexual delight in being whipped quickly gains a tolerance to pain - and not only that, but they experience such pain as joy. I personally have achieved a great satisfaction in sadness - to me, it is the most beautiful thing in the world - so I can, albeit anecdotally, attest to the fact emotional masochism works very similarly. In my opinion, the primary obstacles in our pathway to being happy with the fact we are suffering, are our conceptualizations of beauty, pleasure, and life - the three prejudices that, through contrast, in turn define what we call ugliness, pain, and death as negative experiences. The truth of the matter, in my view, is that every sensation and experience is naked, without any intrinsic subjective quality, and is therefore mutable, controllable. We can choose to see through the pernicious prejudices of beauty, pleasure, and life and learn to love this agonizing existence in all its terror and misery. Likewise, we can learn to love death so wholeheartedly that we no longer fear anything whatsoever. Only then can we live in what Michelstaedter calls Persuasion.

But this does not allow us to escape from sufferance. Quite the opposite. And, unlike what I feel was Nietzsche's goal, there is no desire to "cope" with sufferance. Suffering is not something to be transcended in that you never feel it again; it can only be transcended inasmuch as we might teach ourselves to be unscathed by it. But it will remain omnipresent in our lives - the only difference is that we'll be totally and helplessly in love with it to the point that you can no longer call it "painful", "ugly", or "fatal".

Sorry for the tangent. No one has really read my work before and, more than anything, I just want to share it. Excuse me if I am overzealous.

As for your question:

I would say it is both fair and unfair to say Tristessism is the inverse of Nietzsche's "pessimism of strength". On one hand, both are fairly hedonistic; they both seek to in some way embrace pain; they are very much so aesthetic concepts. On the other hand, however, Nietzsche attempted to conquer suffering through the affirmation of life, whereas Tristessism attempts to self-actualize and then adore suffering through the affirmation of death. There are certain passages of Nietzsche that I feel are very Tristessist, and I'm sure some of mine will seem Dionysian, as well. But I wholeheartedly believe that it is only by living in death, finding beauty in ugliness, and pleasure in pain, that we can exist in total harmony with suffering. And, of course, this can only be accomplished by choosing the will to die, the will to suffer, rather than the will to live, which is what I believe was Nietzsche's aspiration.

Thanks for showing interest in my work.
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Old 11-15-2016   #7
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Re: "The Sorrows and the Shade"

Quote Originally Posted by JudeLoranne View Post
I agree that suffering cannot be escaped in any genuine or honest sense. After all, suffering is the primordial gun to your head that keeps you eating, keeps you striving, keeps you alive. Without sufferance, we would stagnate. Existence must be founded upon pain, or else we wouldn't run in fear towards life.

But suffering can be redefined as a positive experience. The masochist who takes sexual delight in being whipped quickly gains a tolerance to pain - and not only that, but they experience such pain as joy. I personally have achieved a great satisfaction in sadness - to me, it is the most beautiful thing in the world - so I can, albeit anecdotally, attest to the fact emotional masochism works very similarly. In my opinion, the primary obstacles in our pathway to being happy with the fact we are suffering, are our conceptualizations of beauty, pleasure, and life - the three prejudices that, through contrast, in turn define what we call ugliness, pain, and death as negative experiences. The truth of the matter, in my view, is that every sensation and experience is naked, without any intrinsic subjective quality, and is therefore mutable, controllable. We can choose to see through the pernicious prejudices of beauty, pleasure, and life and learn to love this agonizing existence in all its terror and misery. Likewise, we can learn to love death so wholeheartedly that we no longer fear anything whatsoever. Only then can we live in what Michelstaedter calls Persuasion.

But this does not allow us to escape from sufferance. Quite the opposite. And, unlike what I feel was Nietzsche's goal, there is no desire to "cope" with sufferance. Suffering is not something to be transcended in that you never feel it again; it can only be transcended inasmuch as we might teach ourselves to be unscathed by it. But it will remain omnipresent in our lives - the only difference is that we'll be totally and helplessly in love with it to the point that you can no longer call it "painful", "ugly", or "fatal".

Sorry for the tangent. No one has really read my work before and, more than anything, I just want to share it. Excuse me if I am overzealous.

As for your question:

I would say it is both fair and unfair to say Tristessism is the inverse of Nietzsche's "pessimism of strength". On one hand, both are fairly hedonistic; they both seek to in some way embrace pain; they are very much so aesthetic concepts. On the other hand, however, Nietzsche attempted to conquer suffering through the affirmation of life, whereas Tristessism attempts to self-actualize and then adore suffering through the affirmation of death. There are certain passages of Nietzsche that I feel are very Tristessist, and I'm sure some of mine will seem Dionysian, as well. But I wholeheartedly believe that it is only by living in death, finding beauty in ugliness, and pleasure in pain, that we can exist in total harmony with suffering. And, of course, this can only be accomplished by choosing the will to die, the will to suffer, rather than the will to live, which is what I believe was Nietzsche's aspiration.

Thanks for showing interest in my work.
I'll check out your e book and give a more thorough critique later here.

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Old 11-15-2016   #8
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Re: "The Sorrows and the Shade"

One of the things Nietzsche understood quite clearly was that human beings don't have some natural aversion to suffering. The problem concerns the potential lack of meaning found in suffering. It's a question of hermeneutics.

I'm disappointed that the vast majority of available literature on hermeneutics refrains from any kind of substantive discussion regarding this problem. Paul Ricoeur, easily one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century, deals with this issue in some depth, but that's partially because of his Protestant background, which is absolutely fine. However, the inner relationship between hermeneutics and the phenomenon of suffering needs to be recognized on a more universal level. In any case, I think Nietzsche himself was sensitive to this problem, 20th century post-Marxist interpretations of his work notwithstanding.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 11-18-2016   #9
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Re: "The Sorrows and the Shade"

While what you call 'Tristessism' acknowledges suffering as the primordial concern, it seems that ultimately your philosophy is crypto- optimistic. For, as evinced in your book, you keep reiterating that all opposites achieve a sort of gnosis, thus man transcends suffering. I reject this notion, as existence is suffering--a displacement that cannot be rectified. Your idea of learning to love this condition is romantic but shares more in common with religious escapism than a humanity having to examine itself as conscious beings in a seemingly deserted universe.

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Old 11-18-2016   #10
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Re: "The Sorrows and the Shade"

I currently don't have time to read and process your book in full so I apologize for not being aware of the full scope of your ideas. But, I am curious about how you use the word pain, and more specifically, pain in its purest form.

From experience and assumptions I can make from it, the only thing that exists in a state of pure pain is pure pain. The self ceases to exist, which is required to even register concepts of joy and pain. I guess in that sense there is a transcendental nature to pain but it's difficult for me to imagine being able to derive any sense of joy from such a state. I used to know a dude who was into full body suspension, and the way he described the experience and his obsession with it was something akin to a transcendental experience. There is no joy in that moment because there is nothing at all but pain, in that moment, as the self dissolves entirely. That's the attraction to it, I think. People often physically lose consciousness to it. Joy can only be registered after the fact, but he never described his attachment as a joy he wanted to continue experiencing. It was more like a numb, vacant, overriding pain that creates a feeling of purity, internal purging and disconnection from the self. Maybe that is what you are referring to, but what you describe seems more like an active process on behalf of person rather than the natural effects of the experience.

I also think of pain in the case of someone like Junko Furuta, who experienced pain in a much greater state than most ever will. I don't know what joy could possibly be considered from within the experiences of such excessive amounts of psychological and physical pain. How do you embrace a pain that embraces you to such a complete and debilitating degree? What is there to embrace and why? Would there be a will to even consider joy in such a state? Or maybe what constitutes joy in the moment shifts entirely? Again, I don't know what metrics you are using to define "pain in its purest form" or joy. I could be overthinking it and you're referring to more common forms of pain or more basic definitions of joy. But as a philosophy, I think these should be considered.

Lastly, I don't see how pessimism really has anything to do with your tristessism. Pessimism doesn't involve itself with seeking meaning, joy or any experience from any element of life. In my mind pessimism has no ultimate goals other than deriving ideas from observation. I think it's possible to be a contented, functional and successful pessimist.

Anyway, I appreciate your ideas and willingness to share them.
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