« Philosophize This!

Episode #159 ... The Creation of Meaning - Nietzsche - Amor Fati

2021-11-10 | 🔗

Today we continue our discussion on the creation of meaning.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hello everyone, I'm Stephen West. This is philosophize this, so I have a bit of a special announcement. I'd like to make for an EU that support the show unpatriotic, and I I guess this also applies to the people that contribute what they think the shows worth and to anybody to gets March up. There too, formal announcement. I am thankful for what you do hope you love the show today so that Syria has been called the creation of meaning so far, and the hope has been that we might be but to get some sort of insight into how to go about doing that by looking at the work of various different thinkers, but if there's anything from last it's important to reiterate from the very outset here it's up when it comes to nature in particular, it was not his ambition, nor is it the ambition of this pond gas for that matter, to relay you some high resolution, image of which system of values you should be constructing in your life. Nobody wants to give you all the colors on all the details of the picture that you're gonna paint. Nature was even trying to give you a paint by numbers in his work. To many other
existentialist. It is your responsibility to paint your own kind, this and will no doubt you are going to take Inspiration from the paintings of other people around you, other famous paintings, had been created throughout history, while you're no doubt take inspiration, You should see it as an immediate red flag if someone's we're trying to sell you that high resolution image of what kind of person you should be in many ways it might be, a good strategy to proceed with the mindset that the more detailed of a picture someone's trying to get you to buy the more scepticism, you should have towards the whole transaction overall sea needs, thought there wasn't a field manual or rules for life. and by the way, even if there was as some when that listens to this kind of show. Are you really The kind of person is going to follow the rules given to you anyway. All we can do is try to learn to navigate our own subjective internal experience meet? You thought it was obvious that different values at different levels of intensity would favour different people facing different resistance points.
in the world is our job to create them. So knowing this, what can nature even do for you If you're someone trying to navigate this home, meaning creation process, I think the best description of what does is to lead by example in his work. You know over the course of his entire career. won't get much in the way of specific high resolution advice, but what you will get our lines of thought, thought, experiments, tools and recurring emphasis placed on certain themes that can serve as an example of inspiration for developing our own system of values. To continue the metaphor, what you'll get are different mix in how to use the brushes and the paints and the canvas to start creating the picture that you actually want to look at every day. I'll try to point out these. Take it as we go along this journey, but less jump into one line of thought from his work. That might prove to be useful to some people say because any conversation bout? This creation of meaning process has to start somewhere and as We now need just uninterested in providing some stable foundation or aspect of the universe from which work
build a system of values, but for the sake of us being able to have a conversation about anything at all in this area, can we, agree on one thing that seems to be pretty uncontroversial, that, regardless of how we got here, where we should be going, how we should all beginning there at a very a general level. We seem to be some sort of creature that looks at the world around us once things and then desires and strides towards getting them then, along the way, were often met with resistance towards getting what we want and the overcoming of that resistance in our path usually involve some level of suffering that we have to endure. This could be a sin. was getting your next meal. This could be as complicated as running for political office Point is rooted within us seems to be some sort of engine that generates desires, and it doesn't seem to matter who it is like an ever talk to a five year old kid, one second to talking about Teddy grams ten seconds. After that, its paper airplanes, ten seconds after that, the Tonia, something that cuts to the core of your being in your deepest insecurities this not malicious. This is a very human
experiences. Kid is having because we all know what it feels like to have thousands upon thousands of desires, many these desires, mutually exclusive, like it would defy the laws of physics to get everything this desiring machine convinces. You is so important in the moment and part of getting first finding ways to govern this chaotic influx of fleeting desires and emotional states, and when it comes to create a system of meaning to live by picking and choosing which of these desires mean something to you learning to phone, on them and learning to let go the small desires that don't mean as much to you. The seems like it would be a pretty important part of this whole process so beginning from this, baseline, might give us some inspiration into what kind of relationship we want to create surrounding the management of desire, starting from this place, understand that this aspect of our It has been well documented, all throughout the history of religious, historical and philosophical interpretations, of the human condition, and what s interesting is that there's an
but different ways. You can look at the situation we find ourselves in as Desiring machines. One way of looking at it is through the end of a sort of rational pessimism on the popular philosophical side of this there is probably no bigger poster child out there. Then one of the guys needs us directly spawned into his work, the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, we heard his whole story on the episodes we already did on him, and many people seem to relate that there was a pause a mystic way. We can be looking at all the stuff going on around us. I mean think of what it's like to be you for a second were condemned to a life of restless. Striving for things, then you supper at different levels throughout process of striving with no good Don T ever going to actually get what it is your striving for. Then, even if you actually do get what you want the Abbe salute best case scenario, for you is that you get temporary alleviation of this, otherwise constant state of suffering that you existing for open. How, in particular, you can't even call the state of getting what you want happiness all we
ever have access to as just a very short term temporary respite from suffering. Only have the new state of affairs become normalized within your experience of the world, at which point you find something else. You desire strive towards that and begin whole process of suffering all over again so through the eyes of someone with a rational, pessimistic outlook. They might believe that to exist is to exist in an almost constant state of decided faction about where your currently at two a pessimist. This desiring engine inside of us effectively becomes an inn gin for dissatisfaction and suffering that we can't escape this engine desire becomes your enemy, so unless, if you want your inner thoughts to sound like those dark parts, a twitter where people just endlessly complain about nothing, the The way to achieve any level of peace is you have to find way to develop? Some level of mastery over this voice, its constantly desiring things. So how do we do that, while one common strategy for doing this is to approach these desires with an attitude of negation?
we see it in religion. We see philosophy we talked about it last time, so I'll keep it short here. The idea is, you have. Bunch of fleeting desires moment to moment, and some Those desires are good. Some of those desires are bad or evil or job as a moral agent approaching things through an attitude of negation is to negate certain specific desires that you have that you see as the worst or the weakest or the most evil parts of yourself pick whatever adjective you want there. The point is that there is a piece of yourself that you were at war with constantly and you can fight this war in any that works for you. You can push these desires down and silence them. You can live in spite of them clinching This, your entire life, you can in denial of these desires, livin embarrassment of them feeling guilty punishing yourself for having them doesn't really matter. How you accomplish. The ultimate goal is to abstain from these week, evil behaviors through a system of self condemnation and self punishment to be able to win it. Daily battle against this force of evil
desires within you is by some accounts. What did he and is to be a strong person. This is why the practice of a set of and with such a common line, the people end up and along the path of spiritual development. Asceticism is the basic Framing obligation digging deeper the ontological side of the slow? The attitude present at the core of this thinking is one of counter naturalism that life in its natural form, as it is needs to be transcended through renunciation to give you access to some higher plane of being applied here. Internal experience, this reads as a feeling that you, as you exist right now, are What you need to be saved or forgiven, somehow for your weakness, are evil theirs. Ideal version of yourself that exists up in your head somewhere and you fight against the weak parts of yourself every day to hopefully get to this ideal self applied to the political around the world as it exists, is not good enough and needs to be transcended. It is infected by evil
forces. Your life becomes a war campaign against this evil that exists in the world to hopefully bring into existence or ideal world were less evil is out there, both religious and secular protests, use this strategy abnegation, and it's important to note here. One of the reason this attitude is so popular historically is because it works guilt. Shame fear, feeling, like you're, fighting against forces of these are all very effective motivators in a universe where nothing really means anything on an objective level, but something meeting I want to point out here that one of the big strengths of their not being any sort of objective meaning, is it you can look at the. diverse anywhere. You want to kind of inspiring actually, because if a god truly did create this universe, programming you with evil desires that it's your job perpetually fight against until you die, you would have to say the universe more or less in that way. But if the He is no meaning to anything. Then you're not living under some celestial mandate?
desiring stuff is a part of life and in order to get that stuff, you're often met with resistance that require suffering these two, acts of life being necessary and unavoidable, then, would you be mad at them? Need just gonna take a different approach toward this renunciation, that's going on he's talking about dropping a new kind of strategy in life. He says quote I why, to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary and things then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful, a more fatty, let that be my love. Henceforth, I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse do not even want to accuse those who accuse Looking away shall be my only negation and all in all and on the whole someday. I wished to be only a yes Sayer end quote, as you heard, he sums up this added he's talking about their with two latin words: a more fatty which translates to love of fate.
and nature, certainly minted in terms of loving your own fate Nietzsche thought. This was one of the most important contributions he was making to the philosophy of his time, because he thought here one of the only people in history to offer serious alternative to this rational, pessimistic outlook, that's poison, the history of how we frame our own existence, the idea is this: what would happen if we looked at our existence and affirm everything about it instead of negating select parts of it now our chance you're thinking here that needs, as essentially saying that you just need the power positive thinking in your life, or they should just start saying yes to everything. You know when you and ask you to go bowling and you'd usually say no go bowling, this time, then you'll actually have friends. No, that's not what I'm saying here. he's not even necessarily talking about a change in any of your potential behaviour or impact on the world. All the peace talks, about really is a psychological shift, its a ship that, as we'll see what huge consequences when it's actually executed well, but nature would
we say that when creating your own system of meaning, you shouldn't feel trapped in this attitude of negation? Just because a tie, your great grandpa, gotta things when he was Chauvelin call on the steam engine. Let's go back to the question and handle why not affirm everything that is necessary about yourself in the world around you. What would happen again, you are a desiring machine and just as one example, short term desires, are often completely incompatible with long term desires. Ok, nature would say that you don't have to deny either of those desires. You can affirm the fact that you want both of these things simultaneously you can affirm every desire that you have you just don't act on all of them, which is just to say to not act on the specific desires that don't course Bond with the values you want to promote your life yet necessarily have to see them as evil. You dont have to feel guilty you're ashamed of them. You dont
to see yourself as condemned to a life of pushing a bolder up: a hill under the magnifying glass of God or the government, or insert whatever group you want in terms of your behavior or the impact are going to have on the world. You can live, two identical lie: one where you see yourself as a condemned victim, struggling and suffering against evil, all the time and the other as a type of Crete that affirms and embraces that there is something that is naturally a part of them that desires that has vow use. They want to state in the world a creature that affirms suffering because any change they want to bring about for the better, is actually a meaningful change. It will require overcoming resistance in the existing world. They understand that these counter forces in their way are evidence of the fact that there are actually changing something meaningful so through the lines of a sort of rational affirmation. This time, the fate of being a key
sure that wants things and then has to suffer and strive to get them. This wouldn't be viewed as some sort of tortuous obstacle course. This universe, turns out is actually a pretty amazing playground for a creature like that. The practitioners, of asceticism traditionally will set out in the cold, though lay on a better nails. Bill abstain from every type of earthly. pleasure? You can imagine the Ulster than the will to become a strong enough person to overcome the weak, it's written into them by the universe. Where is it practitioner of Nietzsche and asceticism. If there was one could engage in more or less the exact same set of behaviors, but they would fall more as an affirmation of values in affirmation. a lack an x russian of the will to power the overcoming of resistance for the sake of shaping the world to your desires. The thinking is yeah. I want stuff in this world. Why spend all the time that I have renouncing the fact that I want stuff what, if taking action to what you want is good for you
what is the meaning of the universe, even matter at tat point? This is a quote from Nietzsche work, the Anti Christ and noticed how different it feels when you read it from an attitude of negation, verses, an attitude of affirmation, he said quote What is good everything that heightens the feeling of power in man the will to power power itself? What is bad everything that is born of weakness? What is happy is the feeling that power is growing? That resistance is overcome, end quote, and what needs are saying is that if this overcoming of reason sense of constant desiring striving and suffering is a necessary part of life. Why can't you in theory as you, as learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary and things. Why he says wage war and what is ugly to affirm life is to affirm all of life, the beautiful parts and the ugly parts, the good days
and the bad through the lens of affirmation. Both of these are part of the absolute privilege that we possess to be alive and as need to suggest a more fought. He let that be. My love henceforth this is an alternative way to frame this desiring portion of what it is to exist. So the bigger question here to answer is when creating your own system, a meaning. What story are you going to choose to tell yourself in a descent did universe, why carry around historical baggage that you don't necessarily have to member in the first section, the genealogy of morality. He describes at slave morality that we inherit societies of the past and how it be very easy it. Just assume that altruism and self sacrifice as a moral absolute, but it is just as you to assume that he counter naturalist, pessimistic self condemning victim centred existence is the place that we just I'll have to start from by virtue of being born pick, would have reproach you want, but once again,
higher the resolution the higher the level of scepticism you might want to be? Bringing now even be getting from a seemingly innocent basic premise like this, that we desire things, that we should affirm life as it is notice, but building your own approach, how easily other values start to creep in simply by implication, think of what's implied by committing yourself too the affirmation of life. Well, let's see, if your gun, to affirm life, then you need to affirm life as it actually is, not a set alight not some random store you been given. So, if you're going to affirm life as it is a crime it's an almost built in commitment towards the pursuit of truth. Truth was without question. One of the values need to talk about the most, and it was dreamily important one, and this may seem a little confusing first wait. A second last time didn't need to talk about this will to truth. This constant pursuit towards objectivity, as being one of the things that poison the minds of people since practically the beginning of recorded history, didn't you
talk about a dynamic perspective. Ism I mean I seems like when it comes to pursuing the truth, Need you didn't think getting there was even possible. How can you say he really even cared that much one way to think about it? Is that, meta cared so much about truth as a value that he didn't want his love, for it undermine what he was even trying to accomplish. By pursuing truth. In the first place, let me explain: the sea needs. It believed that any value taken to the extreme almost always starts to undermine itself. and in the cases where it doesn't directly undermine itself. It always at least begins to me with other values that you're trying to one state or it destroys other parts of your life that are definitely important. He was well let's take a look at example of what he's talking about here for the sake of inspiration, habit, the value of honesty who doesn't like honesty seems tempting to say honesty certainly is gonna, be a cornerstone in my personal system of values will cool, but how honesty are we talking about here, because it doesn't
take too much creativity to come up with examples of when honesty is not necessarily the best policy as it pertains to the maintenance your life over all the acts. Murder. dilemma is obviously the cliche example here Do you like the axe murder when they come to your door and ask where your kids are, but it should be said that the examples really need to be this extreme. To make metres overall point about living under the rotarian rule were bad stuff will happen, say the wrong thing might be better to pick your spots there when it comes to honesty, haven't even less than that have just your workin for a company, and your boss is absolutely clueless about some upcoming Project you're working on like has no idea. What he's talking about comes up to you with his his mid level management confidence in his copy company leans any says a you see my proposal. What do you think my plans for moving forward Johnson Sepsis coffee? Sir sir? I gotta be honest with you because honesty. My thing nature told me to do it.
with all due respect, you are one of the dumbest human beings. I've ever laid eyes on your your male pattern. Baldness is a metaphor for the progressive lack of covered. You have over major aspects of this organisation. God is dead and your cringe has killed. Congratulations now, if you spoke to people in this way. There is no doubt every one would think you as a really honest person, but they don't I think he was a couple other things things It would have some very real impacts on other areas of your life that you want to preserve, and people do this by the way we ve already seen them people go throughout their life thinking of themselves as some kind of moral exemplar. For acting this way, yeah I'm honest to a fault Europe. learn to love that about me. I tell it how it is all other people to slide of each other's faces, cause they're, they're, fake and scared, and this person look at themselves in the mere at
their areas of their life that are empty and they justify it to themselves by clinging to this ultimate value of honesty, as others. No other considerations to be made in the world about how to talk to people. Let's be entirely clear. The problem here, was not with the value of honesty itself. The problem was with me, trying to oversimplify morality into a system of Mona Zahm philosophers have tried to do thousands of years, but they try to take. One ultimate value and support All the other values to it. You'll hear if only you were more rational, then you don't come all your irrational fears and you'd be more courageous. if only you value freedom as the most important vote, who, in the world then you'd value truth, because you'd want for yourself from the shackles of ignorance or whatever story they came up with today. The ultimate point is to simplify the complexity of in values into imo, mystic Hierarchy, Nick not by any of us here, human values more through the lens of a moral pluralism where many different vat. these are all accomplishing something important, none
These values are subordinate to any others, and we try our best to keep them working together to perform a complex function at one point in his work, he offers the loose metaphor of a tree he says quote, for this alone is fitting for a philosopher. We have no right be single and anything we may need air nor hit upon the truth, singly, rather with them sesame, with which a tree bears its fruit. Our thoughts grow out of us our values our yes as a nose and ifs and weathers a lot related and connected among themselves witnesses to one will one health, one earthly kingdom, one son end quote looking at values from this perspective values within. A functioning system are often interconnected. They work together the fourteen of one value emerges and is implied by another value. Think of how naturally a commitment to the pursuit of truth emerged out of a commitment to the affirmation of life, but again none of these values subordinate to some super value out there, when you over in
x on a single value. For the sake of simplicity, you do so at the expense of other values you may over index on the pursuit of truth at the expense of justice along the way you may over index on. Justice at the expense of truth along the way problem is not found in the values of truth or justice in themselves. No doubt should be valued. Both of these the problem always starts to arise when you lie in too far in the direction of monism. So we can see. How the pursuit of truth to nature, taken today, absolute extreme begins to undermine itself. It begins to mess with other values that we want to promote in our lives and it potentially sabotage as all the undeniable good? The truth could otherwise do for us when it's not taken to an extreme well so too, with honesty so too, with patients so too freedom or any other value we want to promote an exercise, needs us, Just that can be useful is to run a series of experiments in your life our phrasing here, but he essentially says see how
much of a particular value your life can endure before it starts to have negative effects on the whole pluralistic operation. That's going on, in other words, If honesty seems like something that you value, try it out, try telling a kid You don't think. They're really gonna become an astronaut, because, honestly, if I'm betting, statistically sprawling going to work out for you try out, because the that point in your life that honesty or any value becomes toxic will vary. Person to person which valley use and at what level of intensity will serve. You in your culture and time period is an experiment that you have to run, and this liberation and re calibration of the values that serve. You is something It needs to go on the circumstances in your life change and, if you think about it, living during a time where these circles this of our lives change at a rate even faster than during the time of nature, I think this exercise of asking ourselves How much of this thing my spirit can endure before it starts to become toxic in my life, is something too
considering almost every single day, something else to think about when it comes to values and how they connect together. We'll stick with the value of truth. Here is an example, because it's what we ve been exploring so for one recurring theme in natures work is that he asked us to sit on the relationship between truth and art. Now to understand why he even cares about this. We have to look at through the lens of affirmation, rather than negation. remember that a more fatigue will, from earlier nature, says that he wants to learn to see as beautiful what is necessary and things will think of that as a skill. If you wanted to get better at that skill, what kind of person would you want? As a teacher who, would you ask? tips on how to see the beauty and things better. What there's probably a ton of different says here, but one place you might want to start is by asking a great artist one part of the scale of a great artist is that they are essentially hacked and mastered the process of taking pieces of the universe and, as Nita says, cutting them
in framing them in a way that is beautiful or desirable to us, in a meaningless world were part of our responsibility is to create meaning art is the realm. People have mastered the creation of appearances or illusions that become meaningful to us and this a very important part of life to nature, but wait a second Me too also think that the pursuit of truth emerges out of an affirmation of life because we have to firm things as they truly are right, not just mirror parents. As our illusions, their question nature does not seem to be a bit contradictory to you. Anita, would no doubt say: yes, exactly now you're, starting to understand the pursuit of truth, is not valuable because it provides us with objectivity. Be pursuit of truth is valuable because it gives us a closer upright. summation of truth, and we had yesterday and, more importantly, it rescues us from living in a world of pure illusion and appearances On the other hand, though, art is
valuable, because our goal in life is to live in pure fantasy. All the time art is valuable back you are a human being- and illusions, and appearances, are an undeniable piece of your existence. As well, to deny illusions and appearances simply because you're such a huge fan of the truth is from the gate, a part of life to your detriment. Art is a value worth. Preserving too, because, if for no other reason, it rescues us from succumbing to this monistic oversight, If I'd will to truth, as though truth, what Only consideration to be had in the universe, art and truth both pro I'd, very valuable services, the intensity, either of these services in your particular life is an experiment. You're gonna have to run but Your stand, why Nita wants us to look at the relationship between the two of them? Consider the point that part of what makes either of these values, important lies in opposition to each other truth rescues from pure illusion and illusion rescues us from pure truth the pitfalls of either they are counter forces in the world. They come
her balanced one another and in many ways of either side of this counterbalance cease to exist, Well, we already know what happens when you over index on a value and its left? Unbridled it begins to under mine and sabotage all the good stuff we were even trying to bring about in the first place, you can imagine a single way of thinking, how to total nobly over all the seats in public office somewhere how quickly society, might dissolve in this way part of what makes value, even meaningful or even effective, is the fact that its met with a counter force in the world whether its desires within your own internal experience, whether its people and political round that have different values than you do. Maybe this is a good place to just pause and reflect on the fact that You can tell a lot about somebody by looking at who their enemies are and oftentimes your enemies. teach you a lot more about yourself. Then your friends ever can think of that college education. We stand to gain if we
listen to what the counter forces in our life have to say, rather than just leaving them is evil or done when it comes to your internal desires. When we don't negate the. Short term desire, that's not in keeping with the values, we want to live by. Think of the less we can learn about ourselves. Think of how much more pleasant it might be to exist. Instead of just boiling in your own soup, all the time when its other people family career, political realm, when we don't silence or hate seek to eliminate the people that whole values, contrary to our own, think of all is to learn, but when these people no longer are seen as evil demons and your field of view when their existence as a Counterforce in the world is viewed through the lens of affirmation. These people basically become your personal employees that are working for you, they show you. the strengths and weaknesses in your own positions. They help you calibrate, which values and at what in density actually serve yourself an society? They essentially train you in some
easy, Nietzsche and Rocky Montage on how to beat them. How to overcome resistance. How to exert your will to power and be the values that you want to promote better. So nature is not going to tell you which values to have he's not gonna. Tell you how to live your life. The task at hand here that we're all assigned at birth, is to find a way to navigate your own subjective internal experience. There's no rule book- and all that nature can offer as his own perspective, a set of values. A will to power dead, set on overcoming resistance points within himself within the world and rather than renouncing the nature of the world, spinning every it his life as a man. Scenario against evil and slay from the other side, the strategy he wanted to explore and his life when he encountered people he strongly disagreed with, was to focus harder on his own values
to become stronger to shine brighter as a human being, as he says, to quote let our brilliance make them look dark. No, let us not become darker ourselves on their account. End quote. Thank you for listening I'll talk to an extent
Transcript generated on 2021-11-11.