'Dual value response’

A new key to Nietzsche?
Colin Wilson is the internationally renown author of such classic texts as The
Outsider, Religion and the Rebel, The Strength to Dream: Literature and the
Imagination, Origins of the Sexual Impulse, an other works such as Chords &
Discords: Purel Personal Opinions on !usic, Introduction to the "e#
$xistentialism, Poetr & !sticism, "e# Path#as in Pscholog: !aslo# and the
Post%&reudian Re'olution( !e has also written novels, works on cri"e, an stuies on
a vast ran#e of fi#ures fro" $asputin to $uolf %teiner, Carl &un#, Wilhel" $eich,
&or#e 'uis (or#es, !er"ann !esse an others)
*ur "onthly essay, +Dual ,alue $esponse-, is fro" his work The )icameral Critic
an is reprinte with kin per"ission .y the author) /f you wish to respon to this
essay, please visit our iscussion .oar)
0/ "ust, / "ust, .efore / ie, fin so"e way to say the essential thin# that is in "e,
that / have never sai yet - a thin# that is not love or hate or pity or scorn, .ut the very
.reath of life, fierce, an co"in# fro" far away, .rin#in# into hu"an life the vastness
an the fearful passionless force of non-hu"an thin#s)’
1he 2uotation, oly enou#h, is .y (ertran $ussell, fro" a letter written to
'ay Constance 3alleson in 45467 he was havin# a love affair with her at the ti"e,
which "ay explain the uncharacteristically ro"antic tone) /t has always struck "e as
one of the "ost Nietzschean sentences written in the twentieth century) /t also helps to
answer a .asic 2uestion a.out Nietzsche8 why his work has shown such extraorinary
vitality since his eath in 4599) All philosophers who are worth anythin# keep tryin#
to say that 0essential thin#’8 that feelin# of the infinite worl of o.:ective "eanin#s
that surrouns us, waitin# to .e #athere like apples in an enless orchar) (ut
philosophy atte"pts to say it .y circu"scri.in# a su.:ect, ploin# aroun it like that
#reey peasant in 1olstoy’s 0!ow 3uch 'an Does a 3an Nee?’ An when he has
finishe, he is .reathless an exhauste, an the 0thin#’ re"ains unsai) 1his is the
challen#e of Nietzsche) 1here is so"ethin# a.out hi" that cannot .e pinne own)
;"inent interpreters have .een tryin# for years8 <eor#e (ranes, A)$) *ra#e, =arl
&aspers, Walter =auf"ann, 3artin !eie##er) !eie##er pro.a.ly co"es closest to
the essence of Nietzsche7 not in that "onstrously prolix .ook, which loses the essence
in co"parison with >lato an Descartes, .ut in so"e of the shorter pronounce"ents,
such as the essay 0Nietzsches Wort +<ott ist tot-’ in !olztve#e) ?or !eie##er allows
us to see that what fascinates hi" a.out Nietzsche is also what fascinates hi" a.out
!@lerlin - so"ethin# elusive, .ut oly real - so"ethin# like a s"ell or taste, or that
"aeleine ippe in tea that re"ine >roust of his chilhoo) 0=nowle#e is in
essence the sche"atization of chaos’ says !eie##er in his .ook on Nietzsche) (ut in
that case, is the ai" of philosophy really knowle#e? We can a#ree that the ai" of
physics or che"istry is 0to know’, for when / know so"ethin# a.out nature, it #ives
"e power over nature, or rather, an ai to power, :ust as a railway ti"eta.le #ives "e
an ai to travel) (ut / a" a livin# .ein#, in continual irect contact with the worl,
with 0life’, an philosophy is .asically "y atte"pt to a:ust to the worl, to "y own
life) A .a.y’s pro.le" is not si"ply to know his "other, .ut to suck her "ilk) 1he
philosopher’s pro.le" is not si"ply to know 'life', .ut to #et to #rips with it) An .y
that, / o not "ean 'co""it"ent’ to so"e "erely hu"an pro.le") / "ean in the sense
that $ussell "eant, so"ehow contactin# the 0.reath of life, fierce an co"in# fro"
far away', an the 'fearful passionless force of non-hu"an thin#s’) ?or it is this actual
contact that #ives the philosopher what he nees "ost - his vision, his feelin# of
irection an "eanin#) >hilosophy cannot operate in 'acua, .ecause, unlike science,
it oes not have a clear an well-efine o.:ect) /ts 0o.:ect’ is illu"inate .y flashes
of vision, .y a sense of woner)
Nothin# is harer to #rasp than this) ?or after all, when a philosopher has
written a .ook, it looks like a .ook on physics7 it see"s to .e full of 0propositions’
that relate to the 0real worl’, an so on) /t is only when you exa"ine it "ore closely
that you realize that its 0content’ is "uch closer to the content of a poe" or a
sy"phony, that it su##ests a way of seein#, of feelin#, an not 0knowle#e’ at all)
What is a sy"phony for? /t is esi#ne to put you in a certain "oo, to "oul your
feelin#s7 .ut not in the sa"e strai#htforwar way as a ci#arette or a #lass of whisky) /t
ai"s to cause you to 0open up’, so as to chan#e your nor"al relation to the worl
aroun you, to see thin#s you han’t notice .efore, to experience a sense of "ystery
an excite"ent) An ieally, to an intelli#ent reaer, a volu"e of philosophy oes
exactly that) >hilosophy is very closely relate to "usic7 an harly at all to physics)
&aspers re"arke in an essay A0*n 3y >hilosophy’B that Nietzsche .eca"e i"portant
to hi" 0as the "a#nificent revelation of nihilis" an the task of #oin# .eyon
nihilis"’ - a stran#e-sounin# re"ark if one thinks of Nietzsche as the philosopher of
the 0.reath of life’, of the Dionysian upsur#e of vitality) An !eie##er also lays
e"phasis on Nietzsche’s nihilis", his anti-"etaphysical tren, in the essay
0Nietzsche’s Wort +<ott ist tot-’) !ow is it possi.le for two 0existential’ philosophers
to re#ar Nietzsche as pri"arily a nihilist? What is nihilis" anyway? 1he $ussian
revolutionary >isarev state its creo7 0What can .e s"ashe shoul .e s"ashe,’
which souns like Nietzsche an his ha""er7 .ut >isarev was talkin# a.out the
political institutions of 1sarist $ussia, an Nietzsche was not re"otely intereste in
this kin of nihilis") 1he nihilis" of 1ur#eniev’s (azarov consists lar#ely in atheis"
an "aterialis" a la (Dchner, an Nietzsche's atheis" Aif that is what it wasB has
nothin# in co""on with (Dchner’s) 1he 0<o’ who was ea was closer to (lake’s
*l No.oay) %o what precisely oes it "ean to call Nietzsche a nihilist? What
Nietzsche wante to 0s"ash’ is state clearly an repeately in his work, in 1he
Antichrist for exa"ple8 0All these #reat enthusiasts an proi#ies .ehave like our little
fe"ales8 they consier +.eautiful senti"ents- ae2uate ar#u"ents, re#ar a heavin#
.oso" as the .ellows of the eity, an conviction a criterion of truth’) What is .ein#
attacke here is <er"an ro"anticis" - %chiller, &ean >aul, et al) - with its 0=antian’
"oral tone an $ousseau-istic #ush) /f this "akes Nietzsche a 0nihilist’ then &ane
Austen is a nihilist for satirizin# the sa"e kin of thin# in "orthanger *bbe) &ane
Austen's "ockery spran# fro" a fir" sense of reality7 so i Nietzsche's
philosophizin# with a ha""er) >eople who islike Nietzsche - (ertran $ussell, for
exa"ple - islike hi" .ecause they o not share his sense of reality) When they attack
hi", they have the relatively easy task of pointin# out the contraictions inherent in
his 0irrationalis"’, an the potentially an#erous nature of his super"an octrine)
>eople who a"ire Nietzsche - incluin# &aspers an !eie##er - share his .asic
intuition7 they o not o.:ect to his 0contraictions’ .ecause they can see how each
opinion was an expression of this .asic intuition) /n so"e cases, the expression was
"ore careless or .a-te"pere than in others7 hence the 0contraictions’)
Now if that is true, then real unerstanin# of Nietzsche can only co"e fro" a
#rasp of this .asic intuition) An in orer to efine this, we "ust speak of a
psycholo#ical pheno"enon which, as far as / know, has never .een escri.e in
stanar text.ooks) / have calle this, for want of a .etter ter", 0ual value response’,
an it has so"e relation to the reli#ious conversions escri.e .y Willia" &a"es) A
situation that has arouse a neutral or ne#ative reaction 2uite suenly arouses a very
positive response7 .lack .eco"es white, as it were) /t is "ost typical of poets an
"ystics, .ut / think that everyone experiences it at so"e ti"e) Feats escri.es such an
experience in the poe" 0,acillation’7 it took place in a 'onon teashop8
While on the shop an street / #azeG3y .oy of a suen .laze7GAn twenty
"inutes "ore or lessG/t see"e, so #reat "y happiness,G1hat / was .lesse an
coul .less)
/f we choose to take a reuctionist viewpoint, we can, of course, is"iss this as a
"ere 0feelin#’) / shall try to show that it is, in fact a perception of value, an can .e
analyze precisely in pheno"eno-lo#ical ter"s)
Nietzsche was unusually su.:ect to 0ual value response’, perhaps .ecause of
his invaliis") A "an whose health never fluctuates seriously takes up a certain
attitue towars the worl - what he en:oys, what is a nuisance - an "aintains it year
in an year out, until it .eco"es a ha.it) 1he invali swoops up an own like a
swallow7 in the "ornin#, life see"s a .uren7 .y evenin# he feels "a#nificent, an
life is self-eviently #oo)
1he exact "echanis" of this .eco"es clear if we consier how we "ake our
"o"ent-to-"o"ent :u#"ents on situations) 'et us take a hypothetical situation) / a"
on holiay, an "y car .reaks own in a lonely place) 3y first response is #loo", for
there is no 'positive sie' to this situation, no 0.ri#ht sie’ to look on) 1his is 499 per
cent nuisance) Another car co"es alon#) 3y spirits rise) 1he "otorist offers to take a
look uner the hoo) !e says that it coul .e a .roken pu"p, which is fairly serious7
"y spirits sink) 1hen he notices that the lea is off one of the spark plu#s7 the trou.le
"ay .e less .otherso"e than / thou#ht7 "y spirits rise) >erhaps the a.surest thin# is
this8 that if / succee in effectin# so"e kin of repair, an / rive on, / "ay fin that /
feel "uch happier than / felt .efore the .reakown - an a.surity .ecause / ha
nothin# to worry a.out then, an now / know that / "ay have to spen an hour
han#in# aroun at the next #ara#e) *.viously, our 0value response’ to thin#s that
happen to us is, to so"e extent, 2uite ar.itrary) 0An aventure is only an
inconvenience ri#htly consiere,’ says Chesterton, 0an inconvenience is only an
aventure wron#ly consiere)’
Why is this? (ecause our 0responin# "echanis"’ has the power to chan#e
focus) /t is as if / possesse a sort of co".ination of telescope an "icroscope) / can
cither look at a situation 0fro" a istance’, to #et the over-all effect, or / can focus
upon so"e "inute particular) / chan#e focus as / nee to) ?or exa"ple, if / a" in
process of chan#in# the spark plu#s, an / rop the spanner in the eep #rass, / switch
instantly fro" "y over-all view of the whole :o. to this s"aller pro.le" of finin#
the spanner) (ut in switchin# to the s"aller task, / "ust not lose si#ht of the lar#er
one) /f / #lance up fro" "y search for the spanner, an see that the car is runnin#
away ownhill .ecause / for#ot to leave it in #ear, / realize that / have "ae a
funa"ental "istake - of for#ettin# the #eneral in orer to concentrate on the
Nietzsche’s life affors "any exa"ples of 0ual value response’, two of which
are particularly strikin#) 1he first is escri.e in his letter to Carl von <ersorff) /t
took place in the year 46II, when Nietzsche was C4, an often in a state of fati#ue
an epression) Cli".in# a hill calle 'eusch, he took refu#e fro" the rain in a
peasant’s hut, where the peasant was slau#hterin# two kis, while his son looke on)
Nietzsche was not fon of the si#ht of .loo) (ut 0the stor" .roke with a tre"enous
crash, ischar#in# thuner an hail, an / ha an inescri.a.le sense of well.ein# an
zest’) !e ae8 0'i#htnin# an te"pest are ifferent worls, free powers, without
"orality) >ure will, without the confusions of intellect - how happy, how free)’
1he secon experience occurre in 46J9, when he was servin# in the
a".ulance corps urin# the ?ranco->russian war) !e ha .een in the cavalry, .ut a
fall fro" a horse ha cause severe co"plications) *ne evenin#, after a har ay’s
work with the woune, Nietzsche was walkin# alon# the %tras.our# roa, alone)
Cavalry ca"e up .ehin hi"7 he rew uner a wall to allow the" to pass) /t was his
ol re#i"ent7 as he watche the" pass, he experience a#ain the sense of tre"enous
exaltation) 'ater, he tol his sister that this incient was the ori#in of his philosophy
of the will of power8 that as he watche these "en riin# to .attle, perhaps to eath,
he realize suenly that 'the stron#est an hi#hest will to life oes not lie in the puny
stru##le to exist, .ut in the Will to war, the Will to power’)
(oth are clear exa"ples of suen an total chan#e of focus, fro" a state of
fati#ue an self-pity into a state of exaltation) What happens is, to so"e extent,
explaine in Willia" &a"es's i"portant essay 01he ;ner#ies of 3en’8
;very one is fa"iliar with the pheno"enon of feelin# "ore or less alive on
ifferent ays) ;very one knows on any #iven ay that there are ener#ies
slu".erin# in hi" which the incite"ents of that ay o not call forth, .ut
which he "i#ht isplay if these were #reater) 3ost of us feel as if a sort of
clou wei#he upon us, keepin# us .elow our hi#hest notch of clearness in
iscern"ent, sureness in reasonin#, or fir"ness in eciin#) Co"pare with
what we ou#ht to .e, we are only half awake) *ur fires are a"pe, our rafts
are checke) We are "akin# use of only a s"all part of our possi.le "ental
an physical resources) /n so"e persons this sense of .ein# cut off fro" their
ri#htful resources is extre"e, an we then #et the for"ia.le neurasthenic an
psychasthenic conitions, with life #rown into one tissue of i"possi.ilities,
that so "any "eical .ooks escri.e)
!e #oes on to point out that when "ental patients sink into a conition of epression
an exhaustion, 0.ullyin# treat"ent’ often works) 0?irst co"es the very extre"ity of
istress, then follows unexpecte relief)’
Now &a"es is o.viously ri#ht to e"phasize that what we are ealin# with here
are uner#roun ener#ies, invisi.le reserves way .elow the surface of our conscious
awareness) (ein# so far .elow the surface, they are not availa.le for conscious
inspection) When a crisis is force upon us, our first response appears to verify the
certainty of .ein# close to exhaustion, 0the extre"ity of istress’) 1he #au#e see"s to
re#ister an e"pty fuel tank) An then, a.ruptly, the neele swin#s .ack to inicate
0full’) 1he #au#e was tellin# lies) We ha reserve ener#y tanks, an the e"er#ency has
cause the" to connect up)
All this has o.vious i"plications for "orality) ?or what, on the whole, is our
efinition of evil? 0;vil is physical pain,’ sai 'eonaro7 we associate it with the
cruelty, the oppression of the weak .y the stron#) /f you saw an ol lay with arthritis
walkin# painfully upstairs, an you set your .ullo# on her, that woul .e cruel) (ut
suppose the e"er#ency "ae her skip upstairs like a #oat, an the arthritis vanishe? )
) ) 1he whole .usiness of the 0ual value response’ introuces an a".i#uity into
"atters of "orality) Feats’s wise ol China"en, in 0'apis 'azuli’, look own on the
tra#ic confusion of history, .ut their 0ancient #litterin# eyes are #ay’) Lnlike Arnol
1oyn.ee, they arc not appalle .y 0the cruel rile of 3ankin's cri"es an follies’)
(ertran $ussell’s response to this kin of Nietzschean philosophy is whole-
hearte cone"nation) Nietzsche was a sick weaklin# who ha co"pensatory
fantasies of power) ) ) ) (ut it is all ru..ish an ou.le-talk) <oo is #oo an .a is
.a, an if Nietzsche cannot tell the ifference, that is .ecause his ro"anticis" "ae
hi" incapa.le of thinkin# clearly) ) )
Nietzsche’s reply woul .e that it is $ussell who is not thinkin# clearly, or
rather, who "isunerstans the nature of philosophical thinkin#) 1hinkin# is not a
linear process that coul .e carrie out .y an ain# "achine7 it epens upon
insi#ht, an insi#ht epens on an upsur#e of vital ener#y) /t is true that it can occur
without7 so"ethin# "ay 'awn on you' for no particular reason7 .ut a pro.le" is "ore
likely to .e solve in a flash of vitality than not) Current thinkin# on the nature of the
insi#ht process - in >olanyi’s Personal +no#ledge, in (ernar 'onar#an’s Insight, in
3aslow’s Pscholog of Science, in =oestler’s The *ct of Creation - is wholly on
Nietzsche’s sie) !usserl’s pheno"enolo#y ha esta.lishe the sa"e point in the first
ecae of this century, .ut was not #enerally unerstoo then) >erception is
intentional, a reachin# out, not a passive process) (ut philosophical thou#ht is a
process of perception, an therefore epens upon the rive, the ener#y .ehin it) /t
also follows that uner-ener#ize thou#ht will actually falsify the o.:ects of
perception) 1o put it another way, thou#ht re2uires a .ir’s eye view, an a .ir
re2uires the liftin# power to hover in the air) A wor"’s eye view is not necessarily
false, .ut it is a close-up, an its perspectives are istorte)
1hese insi#hts are very #raually .eco"in# fa"iliar to philosophers
nearly a century after Nietzsche went insane) Nietzsche i not possess the concepts
to uner"ine the currently accepte attitues of his ti"e) /f he ha .ou#ht an stuie
?ranz (rentano’s Pscholog from the $mpirical Standpoint, pu.lishe in 46JH, he
"i#ht have realize the si#nificance of the concept of intentionality7 .ut that is
ou.tful, since (rentano hi"self i not #rasp its full si#nificance) A/t was left for
!usserl to evelop it into a powerful philosophical tool)B Nietzsche was force to
attack the 0linear’ philosophy of his ti"e in the "anner of a ive-.o".er, swoopin#
an#erously fro" a.ove) 1his is the reason that Nietzsche’s work is fra#"entary) /t is
not that his thou#ht is isconnecte7 only that, since his own .asic insi#ht re"ains
constant, he is always .ein# irritate into pointin# out the fallacy of current attitues)
/t is an unsatisfactory way of oin# philosophy7 to .e#in with, it encoura#es a
continual state of irritation or excite"ent, which is wearin# for the nerves) A
philosopher shoul start fro" 0first principles’ an work outwar, as =ant an !e#el
o - as even %chopenhauer oes) !usserl was luckier) !e was also irritate .y the
psycholo#is", the relativis", the no"inalis", that ha per"eate philosophy since
'ocke) (ut he e"olishe the" with irrefuta.le ar#u"ents in the Logical
In'estigations, an lai his own founations) Nietzsche co"pletely lacke
founations in this sense) !is work is a series of .rilliant #uerilla rais on ene"y
positions7 .ut a #uerilla is at a psycholo#ical isavanta#e, .ein# a "an without a
ho"e, without an esta.lishe position) 1he two pole"ics a#ainst Wa#ner are super.7
.ut one can sense Nietzsche’s unerlyin# envy of Wa#ner) Wa#ner ha his (ayreuth,
his Cosi"a, his isciples7 he coul #et on with the .usiness of creatin#, of .uilin#)
An Nietzsche coul only criticize, like a is#runtle reviewer) ) ) ) Nietzsche’s
funa"ental insi#ht was a feelin# a.out hu"an .ein#s an their relation to the worl,
to 0life’) /t was a vision, in the sense that we speak of the vision of a painter or a
novelist) ;xpresse in wors, it was so"ethin# like this8 hu"an .ein#s are
per"anently 0uner the weather’, per"anently unhealthy - a isease for which the
co"plexity of civilization is partly to .la"e) (ecause they are so poor-spirite -
hu"an, all too hu"an - their vision of the universe is also poor-spirite) 'ike one of
&a"es's neurasthenics, they sta##er aroun in a state of self-pityin# fati#ue,
per"anently listless an "isera.le)
(ut the theory of "eanin# that / a" propounin# in this essay states that
"eanin# is perceive correctly an o.:ectively only when the "in can perceive it
fro" a istance, fro" a.ove, like a .ir) An this in turn re2uires a certain ener#y - in
fact, a tre"enous ener#y an rive) ;arly space rocket en#ineers worke out that a
space vehicle woul have to travel at seven "iles per secon to escape the earth's
#ravity) An thou#ht nees a co"para.le kin of spee an rive to escape its own
li"itations an to .eco"e o.:ective) *r one "i#ht co"pare hu"an thinkin# to an
uner-capitalize .usiness that can never #et clear of its e.ts) 0Close-upness eprives
us of "eanin#’, an hu"an .ein#s are per"anently too close-up to their lives, to their
trivial pro.le"s, to see thin#s o.:ectively) 1hey nee a touch of the frenzy of
Dionysus to "ake the" snap out of their neurasthenic state, to #rasp their own
possi.ilities an those of the worl) ) ) ) Nietzsche's philosophical .ooks are a series of
:u#"ents on the nineteenth century fro" his own 0.ir's eye view’ - a view that
struck "ost of his conte"poraries as 0ruthless’ an a little paranoi)
Nietzsche suffere uner one tre"enous isavanta#e that has never .een
sufficiently e"phasize .y his .io#raphers) 'ivin# in an a#e of >russianis" an
pruery, he was una.le to #ive sex the central place that it shoul occupy in his
philosophy) D)!) 'awrence an ?rank Weekin were the first "oerns to .e a.le to
o this)
We o not fin "uch a.out sex in .ooks on Nietzsche8 a few para#raphs a.out
'ou %alo"e, speculations as to whether he actually picke up a venereal isease fro"
a prostitute) ) ) /t was natural for (ranes an *ra#e to think of Nietzsche as the
solitary thinker, .rooin# iealistically on =ant an %ocrates an Wa#ner, an only
occasionally wishin# that he ha a wife) ) ) (ut in this a#e of frankness, we know that
sex occupies a central position in the lives of "ost hu"an .ein#s) /n the "i-thirties,
.efore the ays of =insey, A.raha" 3aslow i a stuy on the relation .etween
o"inance feelin#s an sex in wo"en) !is conclusions, .riefly, were that wo"en fall
rou#hly into three classes8 hi#h o"inance, "eiu" o"inance an low o"inance)
'ow o"inance wo"en actively islike sex7 it fri#htens the", an they re#ar the
"ale sexual "e".er as u#ly) !i#h o"inance wo"en, with rare exceptions Aue to
puritanical up.rin#in#B love sex, ten to .e pro"iscuous, "astur.ate, an re#ar the
"ale sexual "e".er as an interestin# an eli#htful o.:ect) A3eiu" o"inance
wo"en, preicta.ly, share characteristics of .oth classes)B / a" not sure whether
anyone has one a co"para.le stuy on "en, .ut / a" fairly certain that it woul turn
up the sa"e results8 that there is an i""eiate, irect relation .etween "ale
o"inance an sexuality) An "ale sexual o"inance iffers sli#htly fro" its fe"ale
counterpart in havin# an ele"ent of sais") (y this / o not "ean a esire to cause
pain7 .ut the attitue of a cat towars a "ouse, Ai)e) the feelin# that the "ouse is .oth
a playthin# an a "ealB) ;ven the "ost hi#hly o"inant fe"ales, 3aslow foun,
en:oye havin# a "ore hi#hly o"inant lover7 in fact, they coul not #ive the"selves
co"pletely to less o"inant "en) /n one case, a wo"an woul provoke her hus.an
into a 2uarrel, in which he woul treat her very rou#hly, after which, they "ae love)
?e"ale sexuality has a "asochistic ele"ent7 "ale sexuality has a saistic ele"ent -
the cat lickin# its lips as it watches the "ice wanerin# innocently past) ;ven in the
closest love relationship, this ele"ent re"ains)
Now Nietzsche was .eyon all ou.t hi#hly o"inant) !e was physically
coura#eous7 he ha fou#ht uels Aif only frienly onesB an .een a fine horse"an) !e
ha the o"inant "an’s attitue to wo"en, 0on't for#et your whip’, etc) Lnless one
supposes that Nietzsche’s puritan up.rin#in# inhi.ite hi" for life, it woul .e lo#ical
to suppose that he spent a #oo eal of ti"e in auto-erotic fantasies)
/ "ake this point .ecause we ou#ht to .ear in "in that the sexual or#as" is
the co""onest for" of the 0ual value response’, the "o"ent when the worl is seen
as if fro" a hi#her plane, when the ne#ative .eco"es positive) A#ain / "ust
e"phasize the extre"e nature of 0ual value response’) 3ost "oralists su##est that
orinary values are too "aterialistic, too "uch a co"pro"ise with the trivial values of
everyay life) (ut in /.sen or 1olstoy or $ussell, there is a plain an evient
connection .etween 0everyay values’ an the hi#her values .ein# su##este8 people
shoul .e "ore honest, "ore co"passionate, pu. lie-spirite, etc) /n Nietzsche, as in
D)!) 'awrence, there is a lack of this 0connection’, a feelin# of a #ulf .etween the
everyay stanpoint an this vision of reality) 1he only other exa"ples of a si"ilar
vision who co"e to "in are reli#ious "ystics) >ascal for instance) (ut >ascal’s
vision iffers as funa"entally fro" Nietzsche’s - or 'awrence’s - as Nietzsche’s oes
fro" 1olstoy’s7 it is reli#ious in the "ost essential "eanin# of the ter", involvin# a
sense of "an’s nothin#ness an <o’s #reatness) Nietzsche, like 'awrence, has a
fairly hi#h opinion of hi"self7 he feels this kin of a.ne#ation to .e a for" of
intellectual cowarice) !e is not #enuinely atheistic in spirit, .ein# too "uch of a
poet, .ut his sense of 0another stanar of values’ - other in the "ost profoun sense -
is 2uite unconnecte with any notion of <o) An this, / woul ar#ue - inee, /
woul state o#"atically - inicates that the stanar is erive fro" sexual
experience) / re#ar Nietzsche as a sexual "ystic, in the sa"e sense as Weekin or
'awrence) 1here is no other type of hu"an experience, reli#ious, "oral, aesthetic,
natural, that carries with it this insi#ht of a stanar of values that is alien, non-
hu"an, 0other’) A1he 2uotation fro" $ussell with which / .e#an this essay is an
exception, an / cite it there as an unusual exa"ple of the Nietzschean vision)B /t
coul .e ar#ue that "usic is an exception, an there is so"e truth in this) /t is :ust
possi.le that Nietzsche’s 0ual value response’ ca"e fro" "usic, particularly in view
of Nietzsche’s response to Wa#ner -until we recall the later revulsion fro" Wa#ner,
the preference for the 03eiterranean’ li#htness of (izet) A .afflin# chan#e of loyalty,
why (izet, who is eli#htful, .ut no "ore profoun that Cha.rier? (ut then we "ust
re"e".er which (izet - Car"en, that Weekin-like stuy in sexual slavery, in the
power of the eternal fe"inine)
1he a.ove co""ents shoul not .e interprete too si"ply) / a" not su##estin#
that Nietzsche spent his ays "astur.atin#, an that his .asic vision M of 0ual value
response’ - was erive fro" a kin of pheno"enolo#ical analysis of the "eanin#-
content of the or#as" Aalthou#h / a" not iscountin# this eitherB) / a" su##estin# that
Nietzsche was what we woul now call hi#hly sexe, very hi#hly sexe, that wo"en
represente for hi" an allurin# "ystery, an that his 0ual value response’, like D)!)
'awrence’s, arose fro" the intensity of his consciousness of this "ystery) A/f / ha
space, / coul ela.orate an interestin# parallel with Davi 'insay, the author of that
stran#e "asterpiece * ,oage to *rcturus, a work in which 0ual value response’, the
feelin# that all 0hu"an’ values arc totally false an that 0true’ values are totally other,
is taken even further than in Nietzsche7 for 'insay, althou#h a shy, puritanical "an,
was also o.sesse .y the sexual "ystery)B
%exual response is ual value response, .y its .asic nature) 1his is reco#nize
in popular wiso" - for exa"ple, 0A stanin# prick has no conscience)’ %exual
response is .asically a kin of shock, as all porno#raphy reco#nizes) A "an in a state
of sexual excite"ent is aware that he is channelin# forces that have no connection
with his everyay 0social’ personality) %exual response is a spark leapin# the #ulf
.etween our everyay stanar of values an that 0other’ stanar, oly non-hu"an)
All the atte"pts to o"esticate it with reli#ion, "orality, even hu"or, fail .ecause
they i#nore its non-hu"an- its Dionysian - nature) 1ho"as 3ann’s Nietzschean
co"poser re"arks in Do-tor &austus that the wors of the "arria#e cere"ony
M01hese two shall .e one flesh’ - are nonsense, .ecause if they were 0one flesh’ they
wouln't attract one another7 it is the alienness that causes the attraction, an which
continues to o so as lon# as the "arria#e has a sexual .asis7 it cannot .e
Nietzsche is i"portant .ecause of his unco"pro"isin# honesty, .ecause he
re"ains an honest votary of Dionysus) !e suspects - as we all o - that it "ay .e
i"possi.le to reconcile Dionysus with civilization) 1he <reeks ca"e to ter"s with
Dionysus .y worshippin# hi") Christian civilization trie suppressin# hi" in the
na"e of "orality, an has "ore recently trie turnin# hi" into a ecent "e".er of
society in the na"e of 0sexual freeo"’) 1he ar#u"ent #oes that if "en an wo"en
can fin a new uninhi.ite sexual relation, the ol 0class war’ .etween the sexes will
vanish7 the cat will lie own with the "ouse, an will .e 2uite cure of his esire to
"ake a "eal of her) Nietzsche woul have s"ile #ri"ly an reco""ene a reain#
of The )acchae)
!eie##er sai that Nietzsche was i"portant .ecause he is the cul"ination of
;uropean "etaphysics - in fact, its en) %uch a view o.viously "akes Nietzsche
extre"ely i"portant in hi"self) / a" su##estin# the opposite8 that what we call
Nietzschean philosophy - "eanin# his criti2ue of nineteenth-century values - is not
particularly i"portant, while even his philosophy of evolution, of the super"an - has
.een lar#ely supersee .y %haw, 1eilhar, &ulian !uxley) / woul su##est that
Nietzsche is not particularly i"portant for what he sai, .ut rather for what he foun it
i"possi.le to say) *ne "i#ht say that all his work is a co""entary on the incient on
'eusch, an that unfortunately, he i not possess the analytical tools for
unerstanin# it) ?or the incient on 'eusch su##ests a theory of "eanin# that
Nietzsche was a.le to unerstan intuitively, .ut not lo#ically) /t su##ests that
0"eanin#’ is not availa.le to our orinary, everyay, two-i"ensional consciousness,
an that conse2uently nearly all our hu"anistic values an ieas are false) (ut
"eanin# is availa.le to a far "ore hi#hly ener#ize consciousness) 1he search for
philosophical truth shoul ai" for %haw’s 0seventh e#ree of concentration’ rather
than $ussell’s kin of analytic proceure in which philosophy is not .asically
ifferent fro" "athe"atics)
/f Nietzsche ha .een a conte"porary of !usserl, the two "i#ht have for"e
an unexpecte alliance) ?or the relationship .etween the two is closer than appears at
first si#ht) 1o .e#in with, .oth re#are the"selves as psycholo#ists, in the .asic, pre-
?reuian sense) (ut the relationship #oes eeper than that / will try to eluciate
(rentano, !usserl’s preecessor, reco#nize that all "ental acts "ust .e
irecte at an o.:ect) We love so"eone or so"ethin#, we think a.out so"ethin#, we
i"a#ine a situation, etc) (rentano was concerne to oppose !u"e’s view that
thou#hts are a kin of casual .y-prouct of the .rain, create accientally .y its
processes of association7 so (rentano e"phasize the purposive nature of thou#ht)
!usserl went further) !e state, to .e#in with, that there is a reality 0out there’, which
is :ust as fascinatin# an co"plex as it see"s) (ut, he ae, this reality is 2uite
invisi.le to us unless we "ake the necessary 0intentional effort’ to apprehen it) An
o.vious exa"ple is #lancin# at your watch for the ti"e7 if you are en#a#e in
conversation you can see the position of the hans, yet still fail to re#ister what ti"e it
is) An so it is with all perception7 you #rasp the richness an co"plexity of reality
only insofar as you "ake the re2uisite effort to o so) *penin# your eyes is not
/f Nietzsche ha live lon# enou#h to rea !usserl’s /eas A.y which ti"e he
woul have .een I6B, / suspect he woul have instantly seen the connection with his
experiences on 'eusch an the %tras.our# roa) /n .oth cases, an excitin# sti"ulus
cause hi" to "ake an effort of will over an a.ove what he ha intene a few
"inutes earlier) 1he i""eiate result was an enor"ous sense of enrich"ent of
0reality’) 'et us i#nore the feelin#s of eli#ht that acco"panie the insi#ht, which is
irrelevant, an concentrate on what he saw) 1he worl, which, five "inutes .efore,
ha see"e a "isera.le an tra#ic place - an certainly pretty ull - was suenly
perceive as infinitely co"plex an interestin#)
/f Nietzsche ha known a.out separatin# the intention fro" its o.:ect - the
noema fro" the noetic act - he woul have i#nore the sti"ulus itself Athe shepher
killin# the #oat, his ol re#i"ent riin# pastB an concentrate on the way that an act
of will ha 0.ooste’ his perception) %o we "i#ht have .een spare a #reat eal of
"isleain# stuff a.out Cesare (or#ia Athat e#otistic rou#hneckB, an later assertions
that Nietzsche was the forerunner of !itler) (ut - far "ore i"portant - !usserlian
pheno"enolo#y woul have taken an i"portant strie forwar) !usserl "i#ht have
#raspe clearly what is inherent in his philosophy of intentionality) /f our 0#aze’ is a
spear thrown towars its o.:ect, then "eanin# epens on how har you throw it)
>erception is not "erely 0reference to an o.:ect’ A(rentanoB) /t is not "erely the
intelli#ent effort of interpretation A!usserlB) /t is the process of the will) 1he will
enters into it as irectly as into liftin# a heavy o.:ect7 an it can .e intensifie .y an
effort of the will, of concentration) >erception is a process that can .e .rou#ht to the
sa"e kin of perfection as playin# the violin or oin# acro.atics) All this is inherent
in Nietzsche)
>erhaps the "ore i""eiate an useful application of the iea lies in
psychiatry) Neurosis "ay now .e seen as a kin of ialectical process, a 0ownhill
ialectic’ so to speak) *n 'eusch, a violent sti"ulus an a violent effort Afor in
!usserl, a response is an effortB cause Nietzsche to .urst throu#h to a hi#her level of
"ental health an a eeper perception of value) Conversely, a tenency to slip
ownhill Ainto passivityB, to#ether with a .elief that this is the lo#ical response to a
situation in which effort is 0not worth-while’, leas to the e-ener#izin# of
consciousness, a loss of "eanin#, an to a situation in which the "eanin#lessness
see"s to .e the result of honest perception an lo#ical response to it8 in short, a
vicious circle) >erhaps the "ost opti"istic conse2uence to .e rawn fro" 'eusch an
ual value response is that "an is free to choose, an that a choice of effort is
auto"atically a choice of "eanin#, %tuents of "oern existentialis" - particularly as
&aspers, !eie##er an %artre present it - will see that this view flatly contraicts the
currently accepte position on freeo" an "eanin#) /t is an interestin# thou#ht that,
philosophically speakin#, Nietzsche shoul .e re#are as the successor of %artre
rather than as a preecessor)
The )icameral Critic
Colin Wilson