Specialist in contradiction

A “spécialiste” article which, left to its own development, ends contradicting itself, point-by-point. No contender is needed.

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THESIS

«Deleuze, whose entire interpretation relies on this sole posthumous note whilst ignoring all the others, comments: “The cyclical hypothesis, so heavily criticized by Nietzsche (VP II 325 and 334), arises in this way.”6 In fact, Nietzsche was not criticizing the cyclical hypothesis but only the particular form of that hypothesis presented in Vogt‘s work. All of Nietzsche‘s texts without exception speak of the eternal return as the repetition of the same events within a cycle which repeats itself eternally.» (p.3)

«In my postface to Montinari, 1996, I had also insisted that Deleuze‘s interpretation of the concept of the will to power too — which totally rests upon an other posthumous fragment which contains a grave deciphering error — is, in sight of the correct transcription of the manuscripts, now untenable. (…) For the sake of exhaustivity, let me recall that Deleuze explains his (unfortunately mistaken) view of the eternal return with reference to his (equally flawed) understanding of the will to power (…)» (footnote, p. 3)

«”The eternal return must be compared to a wheel; yet, the movement of the wheel is endowed with centrifugal powers that drive away the entire negative.” [Deleuze] (…)
There is no need to remind the reader that neither the image of a centrifugal movement nor the concept of a negativity-rejecting repetition appears anywhere in Nietzsche‘s writings, and indeed Deleuze does not refer to any text in support of this interpretation. Further, one could highlight that Nietzsche never formulates the opposition between active and reactive forces, which constitutes the broader framework of Deleuze‘s interpretation. For some years, Marco Brusotti has called attention to the fact that Deleuze introduced a dualism that does not exist in Nietzsche‘s writings. (…) Deleuze has correctly identified the rhetorical progression between the different formulations of eternal return at work in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Only, he interprets those differences as the expression of a shift in the content of the doctrine: as if Zarathustra was gradually realizing that the eternal return is in fact not a circle that repeats the same, but a selective movement which eliminates the negative. (…) It is still a case of a consoling and optimistic teleology, which, instead of confronting the weight of history, the grief and the negative, makes it disappear in one centrifugal stroke of a magic wand. There is reason to worry that this be a case of repression, which, unable to dialectize or accept the negative, simply seeks to exorcise it in one gesture of ―creative selection. But exorcism is a feat of magic and not of philosophy: it is unfortunately not enough to make the negative disappear. In all probability, the negative will come back with a vengeance. In contrast to Deleuze‘s ―affirmation of affirmation, which affirms only affirmation, Nietzsche conceives of the eternal return from a rigorously non-teleological perspective as the accomplishment of a philosophy strong enough to accept existence in all its aspects, even the most negative, without any need to dialecticize them, without any need to exclude them by way of some centrifugal movement of repression.» (p. 4-5)

«…we shall avoid using compilations of posthumous fragments and fake works such as The Will to Power. On the contrary, we shall favor a reliable edition like Colli and Montinari‘s and, above all, we shall return to the study of  his manuscripts, his library, his reading. Otherwise, as we have demonstrated in the case of one of the most famous and brightest interpreters of Nietzsche [Deleuze], we will never escape the vicious circle of misinterpretations.» (p. 38)

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ANTI-THESIS

«To be sure, the German philosopher describes a certain number of ― reactive phenomena (for example, in the second essay of the  Genealogy of Morality, § 11, he talks about ―reactive affects  [reaktive Affekte], ―reactive feelings [reaktive Gefühlen], reactive men [reaktive Menschen]); but these are nonetheless the result of complex ensembles of configurations of centers of forces that remain in themselves  active. Neither the word nor the concept of “reactive forces” ever appears in Nietzsche‘s philosophy.» (p. 4)

«Nietzsche, in Twilight of the Idols (…): “Such a spirit, who has become free stands in the middle of the world with a cheerful and trusting fatalism in the belief that only the individual is reprehensible, that everything is redeemed and affirmed in the whole—he does not negate anymore. Such a faith however, is the highest of all possible faiths: I have baptized it with the name of Dionysus.» (p. 5)

«Zarathustra replies: “No deed can be annihilated: so how could it be undone through punishment! This, this is what is eternal in the punishment ‘existence’: that existence itself must eternally be deed and guilt again! ‘Unless the will should at last redeem itself and willing should become not-willing’: but you know, my brothers, this fable-song of madness!» (p. 7)

«After the chapter “On Redemption”, where Zarathustra dares not expose his doctrine, the eternal return begins to be enunciated in part three of the work. In the first place, it is the dwarf who formulates it in the chapter “On the Vision and the Riddle”. Facing the “gate of the instant” which symbolizes the two infinities that stretch towards the past and the future, the dwarf whispers: “all truth is crooked, time itself is a circle“. The dwarf represents the spirit of gravity, and he embodies the herd morality, “the belittling virtue” which is the title of another chapter from part III.» (p. 8)

«…it is not Zarathustra who formulates his own doctrine (…). As a result, the animals dutifully remind him of his doctrine, the one he must teach: (…)
“Behold, we two know what you teach: that all things recur eternally and we ourselves with them and that we have already been here an eternity of times, and all things with us. You teach that there is a Great Year of Becoming, a monster of a Great Year, which lust, like an hourglass, turn itself over anew again and again, that it may run down and run out ever new —
— such that all these years are the same, in the greatest and smallest respects — such that we ourselves are in each Great Year the same as ourselves, in the greatest and smallest respects. […] I come again with this sun, with this Earth, with this eagle, with the serpent,—not to a new life, or a better life or a similar life:—I come eternally again to this self-same life, in the greatest and smallest respects, so that again I teach the eternal return of all things.”» (p. 10)

«Nietzsche, on his part, awaits a man who could declare to every instant: “pass away and return, identical, in all eternity!” This man is the overhuman, he is not an esthete, an athlete, or a product of some Aryan, slightly Nazi eugenics. He is he who can say ‘yes’ to the eternal return of the same on earth, while taking up the weight of history and keeping the strength to shape the future. The notebooks indicate that this very reasoning applied to the individual Nietzsche, who had scribbled in the midst of his Zarathustrian fragments: “I do not want my life to start again. How did I manage to bear it? By creating. What is it that allows me to bear its sight? Beholding the overman who affirms life. I have attempted to affirm it myself — Alas.” And shortly after, on another page, he replied to his own question thus: “The instant in which I created the return is immortal, it is for the sake of that instant that I endure the return.”25» (p. 16)

«Only the chronological arrangement of the posthumous material offered by Colli and Montinari allows us to follow step by step the relations between the occurrence of the hypothesis of the eternal return, the attempts at a rational demonstration attached to it, and the other lines of thought developed in the same period.» (p. 19)

«Nietzsche writes: (…) “Let us beware [hüten wir uns] from regarding the law of this circle as having become, according to the false analogy of the cyclical movements taking place within the ring: there has not been first some chaos and then progressively a more harmonious movement, and finally a stable circular movement of all forces. On the contrary, everything is eternal, has not come once into existence. If there had been chaos of forces, the chaos itself used to be eternal and recurred in every circle. The circular course has no resemblance with what has become, it is the original law just as well as the quantum of force is the original law, without exception or transgression. Every becoming is inside of the circular motion and of the quantum of force. Therefore, making reference to the becoming and transitory circular movements, for example, the stars, or the ebb and flow, the day and the night or the seasons in order to characterize the eternal circular motion pertains to a false analogy (FP 11[157] of 1881). Let us beware [hüten wir uns] from teaching our doctrine like some sudden religion! It must infiltrate slowly, it requires the investment and fecundation of entire generations—in order to become a tall tree whose shadow shall stretch over all future mankind. What are the two millennia through which Christianity maintained itself! (FP 11[158] of 1881). The quantum of force in the universe is determinate and not ―infinite: let us beware [hüten wir uns] from such conceptual extravaganza! Therefore the number of situations, modifications, combinations and developments of this force is doubtless enormous and practically ―immeasurable, but in any case this number is determinate and not infinite. On the other hand, the time in which the universe exerts its force is infinite. That is to say, that force is eternally identical and eternally active: —until the present instant an infinity has already taken place, that is to say that all possible developments must have already taken place. Consequently, the present development must be a repetition and therefore both this that was born from it and this that shall be born from it and so on both forwards and backwards. Everything has taken place an innumerable number of times because the overall situation of all forces always recurs (FP 11 [202] of 1881). Let us beware [hüten wir uns] from believing that the universe would possess a tendency to acquire certain forms, that it aspires to be more beautiful, more perfect, more complex! This is mere anthropomorphism! Anarchy, ugliness, shape—are irrelevant concepts. In mechanics there is no imperfection (FP [205] of 1881).» (p. 35-36)

«”109. Let us beware. — Let us beware of thinking that the world is a living being. Where should it expand? On what should it feed? How could it grow and multiply? We have some notion of the nature of the organic; and we should not reinterpret the exceedingly derivative, late, rare, accidental, that we perceive only on the crust of the earth and make of it something essential, universal, and eternal, which is what those people do who call the universe an organism. This nauseates me. Let us even beware of believing that the universe is a machine: it is certainly not constructed for one purpose, and calling it a ―machine‖ does it far too much honor. Let us beware of positing generally and everywhere anything as elegant as the cyclical movements of our neighboring stars; even a glance into the Milky Way raises doubts whether there are not far coarser and more contradictory movements there, as well as stars with eternally linear paths, etc. The astral order in which we live is an exception; this order and the relative duration that depends on it have again made possible an exception of exceptions: the formation of the organic. The total character of the world, however, is in all eternity chaos — in the sense not of a lack of necessity but of a lack of order, arrangement, form, beauty, wisdom, and whatever other names there are for our aesthetic anthropomorphisms. Judged from the point of view of our reason, unsuccessful attempts are by all odds the rule, the exceptions are not the secret aim, and the whole musical box [Spielwerk] repeats eternally its tune which may never be called a melody — and ultimately even the phrase ―unsuccessful attempt is too anthropomorphic and reproachful. But how could we reproach or praise the universe? Let us beware of attributing to it heartlessness and unreason [Herzlosigkeit und Unvernunft] or their opposites: it is neither perfect nor beautiful, nor noble [edle], nor does it wish to become any of these things; it does not by any means strive to imitate man. None of our aesthetic and moral judgments apply to it. Nor does it have any instinct for self-preservation or any other instinct; and it does not observe any laws either. Let us beware of saying that there are laws in nature. There are only necessities: there is nobody who commands, nobody who obeys, and nobody who trespasses. Once you know that there are no purposes, you also know that there is no accident; for it is only beside a world of purposes that the word ―accident has meaning. Let us beware of saying that death is opposed to life. The living is merely a type of what is dead, and a very rare type. Let us beware of thinking that the world eternally creates new things. There are no eternally enduring substances; matter is as much of an error as the God of the Eleatics. But when shall we ever be done with our caution and care? When will all these shadows of God cease to darken our minds?”» (p.37-38)

«…a sketch of this aphorism, on page 74 of M III 1 (…). “We must figure the fully mechanical and unreasonable universe of matter in such a way that it cannot be affected by any predicate of aesthetical or moral value. — It does not want anything, it neither wants to become more perfect nor more beautiful, nor more noble etc.”» (p. 38)

– Paolo D’Iorio, “The Eternal Return: Genesis and Interpretation“.

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My impression or the second half of the article contradicts the first part (namely, the alleged criticism of Deleuze)? Experts…

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