1999-2000 Reading Notes
Goethe 81: Nobody dreams that the true power of a poem consists in the situation—in the motifs. 1. Modesty of a Serbian girl, who never raises her beautiful eyelashes. 2. Conflict in the mind of a lover, who, as groomsmen, is obliged to conduct his beloved to another. 3. Being distressed about her lover, the girl will not sing, lest she should seem gay. 4. Complaint of the corruption of manners; how youths marry widows, and old men virgins. 5. Complaint of a youth that a mother gives her daughter too much Liberty. 6. Confidingly joyous talk of a girl with the Steed, who betrays to her his master's inclinations and designs. 7. The maiden will not have him she cannot love. 8. The fair barmaid: her lover is not among the guests. 9. Finding and tender Awakening of the Beloved. 10. What trade shall my husband be? 11. Joys of love lost by babbling. 12. The lover comes from abroad, watches her by Day, surprises her at night.
Goethe, ECK, 125: “[Dr. Wolff] is a decided talent without a doubt, but he as the general sickness of the present day—subjectivity—and of that I would fain heal him. I gave him a task to try him: ‘Describe to me,’ said I, ‘your return to Hamburg.’ He was ready at once, and began immediately to speak in melodious verses. I could not but admire him, yet I could not praise him. It was not a return to Hamburg that he describes, but merely the emotions on the return of a son to his parents, relations, and friends; and his poem would have served just as well for a return to Merseburg of Jena, as for a return to Hamburg. Yet what a remarkable peculiar city is Hamburg! and what a rich field was offered him for the most minute description, if he had known or ventured to take hold of the subject properly!”
SOCIETY [Listening] Carnegie, 92: “A man who met Freud described his manner of listening: “It struck me so forcibly that I shall never forget him… Never had I seen such concentrated attention. There was none of that piercing ‘soul penetrating gaze’ business. His eyes were mild and genial. His voice was low and kind. His gestures were few. But the attention he gave me, his appreciation of what I said, even when I said it badly, was extraordinary. You’ve no idea what it meant to be listened to like that.” Carnegie, 93: “A person’s toothache means more to that peson than a famine in China which kills a million people.” It is important to remember that Freud listened for his own personal advantage—either pay or research—not out of ‘the kindness of his heart.’ Either listen to someone, or don’t. HATH, I, 328: “The humanity of celebrities of the spirit when they traffic with those who are not celebrated consists in being courteously in the wrong.”  HATH, I, 332: “Arrogance on the part of the meritorious is even more offensive to us than the arrogance of those without merit: for merit itself is offensive.” HATH, I, 301: “The best means of coming to the aid of people who suffer greatly from embarrassment and of calming them down is to single them out for praise.” Ibid, 303: “We often contradict an opinion for no other reason that that we don’t not like the tone in which it is expressed.” Ibid, 310: “A sure means of irritating people and putting evil thoughts into their heads is to keep them waiting a long time. To have this happen makes one immoral.” Ibid, 340: “We do well to tolerate accusations against us without refusing them even when wronged by them when it is the case that our accuser would consider us even more in the wrong if we contradict him, let alone refute him. It is true, of course, that in this way a man can always be in the wrong and appear to be in the right, and in the end become with the clearest conscience in the world the most unendurable tyrant and bore.” Ibid, 293: “Benevolent dissimulation [hide under false appearance].—When trafficking with men we often need to practice a benevolent dissimulation; we have to pretend we do not see through the motives of their actions.”
[Dissimulation] D, N., 306: “What did the Greeks admire in Odysseus? Above all, his capacity for lying, and for cunning and terrible retribution; his being equal to contingencies [possible chance events]; when need be appearing nobler than the noblest; the ability to be whatever he chose; heroic perseverance; having all means at his command; possession of intellect—his intellect is the admiration of the gods, they smile when they think of it. The remarkable thing is that the anti-thesis of appearance and being id not felt at all and thus of no significance morally. Have there ever been such consummate actors?” HATH, I, 313: “Whether a man conceals his bad qualities and vices or openly admits them, in both cases his vanity is seeking its advantage: one has only to observe how subtly he distinguishes before whom he conceals these qualities, before whom he is honest and open-hearted.” [Pride] Ibid, 373: “One should permit oneself…a proud demeanor only where one can be quite sure one will not be misunderstood and regarded as presumptuous; it is worse than having failed to learn how to tell polite lies.” HATH, II, 83: “The more [a] person indulges himself the less others are willing to indulge him.” Goethe, Eck, 214: “The law restraining the press can have only a beneficial effect; especially as its limitations concern nothing essential, but are only against personalities. An oppositionthat has no bounds is a flat affair; while limits sharpen its wits, and this is a great advantage. To speak out an opinion directly and coarsely is only excusable when one is perfectly right…therefore the indirect method in which the French have ever been great models is the best. I say to my servants plainly, ‘Hans pull off my boots,’ and he understands; but if I am with a friend and wish the service from him, I must not speak so bluntly, but must find some pleasant friendly way, to ask him to perform this kind office. This necessity excites my mind; and for the same reason as I have said, I like some restraint upon the press.” [restraint + limits ‘sharpens his wits’] HATH, II, 63: “Those who have arrived at their works and deeds they know not how usually go about afterwards all the more pregnant with them: as though later to prove that these children are theirs and not those of chance.” Ibid, 183: “Do not be a warrior of culture if you do not need to be.—At long last we learn that of which our ignorance in our youth caused us so much harm: that we have first to do what is excellent, then seek out what is excellent…but avoid all that is bad and mediocre without combating it, and that to doubt the goodness of a thing—as can easily happen to a more practised taste—may already count as an argument against it and a reason for ignoring it completely: [though this must be at the risk of blundering and confusing goodness accessible only with difficulty with the bad and imperfect]. Only he who can do nothing better should assault the baseness of the world as a warrior of culture. But the teachers and promoters of culture destroy themselves when they desire to go about in arms and through precautions, night watches and evil dreams transform the tranquility of their house and calling into uncanny lack of tranquility.”
LEADERSHIP GS, 33 (Poems): “The Solitary I hate to follow and I hate to lead. Obey? Oh no! And Govern? No Indeed! Only who dreads himself inspires dread. And only those inspiring dread can lead. Even to lead himself is not my speed. I love to lose myself for a good while, Like animals in the forest and the sea. To sit and think on some abandoned isle, And love myself back home from far away, Seducing myself to come back to me.”
[Active leadership] HATH, II, 295: “Assertion safer than proof: an assertion produces a stranger effect that an argument, at least among the majority of mankind: for argument arouses mistrust.” HATH, I, 350” “[Artifice—]He who wants to demand something hard of another must not conceive the matter as any kind of problem but simply present his plan as if it were the only possibility; if objection or contradiction begin to dawn in the eye of his opponent, he must know how to break off quickly and allow him no time to develop them.” Prince?—wait till last second to ask someone to join you. GS, 96: Two speakers.—Of these two speakers, one can show the full rationality of his cause only when he abandons himself to passion; this alone pumps enough blood and heat into his brain to force his high spirituality to reveal itself. The other one may try the same now and then—to present his cause sonorously, vehemently, and to sweep his audience off their feet with the help of passion—but usually with little success. Soon he speaks obscurely and confusedly; he exaggerates; he omits things; and he arouses mistrust about the rationality of is cause. Actually, he himself comes to feel mistrust, and that explains sudden leaps into the coldest and most repugnant [forceful] tones that lead his audience to doubt whether his passion was genuine. In his case passion always inundates the spirit, perhaps because it is stronger than in the first speaker. But he is at the height of his powers when he resists the flood of his emotions and virtually derides it; only then does his spirit emerge fully from its hiding place—a logical, mocking, playful, and yet awesome spirit.” GS, 40: “On the lack of nobel manners.--… What the workers see in the employer is usually only a cunning, bloodsucking dog of a man…Employers probably have been too deficient so far in all those forms and signs of a higher race that alone make a person interesting. If the nobility of birth showed in their eyes and gestures, there might not be any socialism of the masses. For at the bottom the masses are willing to submit to slavery of any kind, if only the higher-ups constantly legitimize themselves as higher, as born to command—by having noble manners. The most common man feels that nobility cannot be improvised and that one has to honor in it the fruit of long periods of time. But the lack of higher manners and the notorious vulgarity of [employers] with their ruddy fat hands give the idea that it is only accident and luck that have elevated one person above another. Well, then, he reasons: let us try accident and luck! Let us throw the dice! And this socialism is born. Choosing the right path Society v. Solitude Habits Faith Action vs. Contemplation!
SELF-ACTUALIZATION [Self Discipline] HATH, II, 2, 305: The most needful gymnastic.—A lack of self-mastery in small things brings about a crumbling of the capacity for it in great ones. Every day is ill employed, and a danger for the next day, in which one has not denied oneself some small things at least once: this gymnastic is indispensable if one wants to preserve in oneself the joy of being one’s own master.” D, 533: “Does [my philosophy] do more than translate into reason a strong and constant drive, a drive for gentle sunlight, bright and buoyant air, southerly vegetation, the breath of the sea, fleeting meals of flesh, fruit and eggs, hot water to drink, dayling silent wanderings, little talking, infrequent and cautious reading, dwelling alone, clean, simple and almost soldierly habits?” [c.f. 566; e.f. 6, 21] [c.f. D, 218] GS, 290: “One thing is needful.—To ‘give style’ to one’s character—a great and rare art! It is practised by those who survey all the strengths and weaknesses of their nature and then fit them into an artistic plan until every one of them appears as art and reason and even weaknesses delight the eye. Here a large mass of second nature has been added; there a piece of the original nature has been removed—both times through long practice and daily work at it. Here the ugly that could not be removed is concealed; there it has been reinterpreted and made sublime. Much that is vague and resisted shaping has been saved and exploited for distant views; it is meant to beckon toward the far and immeasurable. In the end, when the work is finished it becomes evident how the constraint of a single taste governed and formed everything large and small. Whether this taste was good or bad is less important than one might suppose, if only it was a single taste!... For one thing is needful: that a human being should attain satisfaction with himself, whether it be by means of this or that poetry and art; only then is a human being at all tolerable to behold.” HATH, II, I, 65: “What is needed first.—A man who refuses to become master over his wrath, his choler and his revengefulness, and his lusts, and attempts to become a master in anything else, is as stupid as the farmer who stakes out his field beside a torrential stream without protecting himself against it.” HATH, II, I, 70: “We drew up rational plans in all coldness to counter our emotions: then, however, we commit the crudest blunders with respect to these plans, because at the moment we are supposed to act we are often overcome with shame at the coldness and circumspection with which we conceived them. And what we then do is precisely the irrational act of that species of defiant magnanimity that every emotion brings with it.” [c.f. CRAFTSMANSHIP, G.S., III, 46, 246]
G.S., 41: “Against remorse—A thinker sees his own actions as experiments ans questions—as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all. To be annoyed or feel remorse because something goes wrong—that he leaves to those who act because they have received orders and who have to reckon with a beating when his lordship is not satisfied with the result.”
[II, 1, 37]; [II, 1, 220]
HATH, II, 1, 93; “Not seriously.—…Men who lived for long outside themselves and finally turned to the philosophical inner life know that the heart and the spirit can get bedsores. This is…no argument against the mode of life they have chosen as a whole, but it makes a few little exceptions and apparent relapses necessary.”
D, 331: “Ascetism is the right discipline for those who have to exterminate their sensual drives because the latter are raging beasts of prey. But only those!”
Ibid, 440: “Do not renounce.—To forgo the world without knowing it, like a nun—that leads to a fruitless, perhaps melancholy solitude. It has nothing in common with the solitude of the vita contemplation of the thinkers when he chooses that he is renouncing nothing; on the contrary, it would be renunciation, melancholy, destruction of himself if he were obliged to persist in the vita practica: he forgoes this because he knows it, because he knows himself. Thus he leaps into his element, thus he gains his cheerfulness.”
HATH, II, 1, 5: “I conducted with myself a patient and tedious campaign against the unscientific basic tendency of…romantic pessimism to interpret and inflate individual personal experiences into universal judgments and, indeed, into condemnations of the world…in short, it was then that I turned my perspective around. Optimism, for the purpose of restoration, so that at some future time I could again have the right to be a pessimist.”
[Choosing the Right Path]
[c.f. II, 1, 366]
HATH, II, 2, 310: “The two principles of the new life.—First principle: Life should be ordered on the basis of what is most certain and most demonstrable, not as hitherto on that of what is most remote, indefinite and no more than a cloud on the horizon.” Second principle: the order of succession of what is closest and most immediate, less close and more immediate, certain and less certain, should be firmly established before one orders one’s life and gives it a definitive direction.”
HATH, I, 538: “The talent of many a man appears less that it is because he has always set himself too great tasks.”
HATH, II, 2, 59: “The shortest route is not the most direct but that upon which the most favorable wins swell our sails: thus, do seafarers teach us. Not to follow this teaching is to be obstinate: firmness of character is here polluted by stupidity.”
HATH, II, 2, 329: “When it is …time to vow loyalty to oneself.—Sometimes we stray onto a spiritual course that contradicts our talents; for a time we struggle heroically against wind and tide, at bottom against ourself: we grow weary, grasping: what we achieve brings us no real joy, we feel we have paid too highly for it. Indeed, we despair of our fruitfulness and of our future, perhaps in the midst of victory. At long last we turn around—and now the wind is blowing into our sails and driving is into our own channel. What happiness! How sure of victory we feel! Only now do we know what we are and what we want, now we vow to be loyal to ourselves and have a right to do so—because we know what it means.”
GS, 87: “The vanity of artists.—I believe that artists often do not know what they can do best, because they are too vain and have fixed their minds on something prouder than those small plants seem really can grow on their soil to perfection and are new, strange, and beautiful. They do not think much of what is actually good in their own garden or vineyard; and their love and insight are not of the same order…He is the master of the very small. But that is not what he wants to be. His character prefers large walls and audacious frescoes. He fails to see that his spirit has a different taste…concealed from himself, he paints his real masterpieces all of which are very short, often only a single measure in length; there he becomes wholly good, great, and perfect—perhaps only there.—But he does not know it. He is too vain to know it.”
Society vs. Solitude D, 448: “Honoring reality.—How can one see this rejoicing crown without feeling with them and being moved to tears! Previously we thought little of the object of their rejoicing and would still think little of it if we had not now experienced it! To what, then, may our experiences not impel us! What really are our opinions! If we are not to lose ourselves, if we are not to lose our reason, we have to flee from experiences! Did not Plato flee from reality and desire to see things only in pallid mental pictures; he was full of sensibility and knew how easily the waves of sensibility could close over his reason.—Would the wise man consequently have to say to himself: ‘I shall honour reality, but I shall turn my back on it because I know and fear it?—ought he to do as African tribes do in the presence of their princess: approach them only backwards and thus show their respect and at the same time their fear?’” Ibid, 473: “Where one should build one’s house.—If you feel yourself great and fruitful in solitude, a life in society will diminish you and make you empty: and vice versa. Powerful gentleness, like that of a father:--where you are seized by this mood, there found your house, whether it be in the midst of a crowd or in a silent retreat. Uber pater sum, ibi patri [my country is wherever I am with my family]. How ‘bout vacillating between? GS, 311: “Refracted light [bent by passing through mediums of different density].—One is not always bold and when one grows tired then one of us, too, is apt to man like this: “It is so hard to hurt people—oh, why is it necessary! What does it profit us to live in seclusion [and give offense] when we refuse to keep to ourselves what gives offense [self-consciously commit]? Would it not be more advisable to live in the swarm and make up to individuals the sins [hypocrisies] that should and must be committed against all? To be foolish with fools, vain with the vain, and enthusiastic with enthusiasts? Wouldn’t that [putting on a social face] be fair [to the swarm], given such overweening [arrogant, excessively proud, exaggerated] deviation on the whole [I am such a sicko, e.g.]? When I hear of the malice of others [all examples of ‘overweening deviation’ and ‘unfairness’] against me—isn’t my first reaction one of satisfaction? Quite right! I seem to be saying to them—I am so ill-attuned to you and have [mocking himself] so much truth on my side that you might as well have a good day at my expense whenever you can! Here are my faults and blunders, here my delusion, my bad taste, my confusion, my tears, my vanity, my owlish seclusion, my contradictions. Here you can laugh. Laugh, then, and be merry! I do not resent the law and nature of things according to which faults and blunders cause merriment [mocking ghe self-confident sicko]. ‘To be sure, times used to be more ‘beautiful’ when anyone with a halfway new idea could still feel so indispensable [needed, essential] that he would go out into the street and shout at everyone [heedless of the response]: ‘Behold, the kingdom of Hod is at hand!’—I should not miss myself if I were not there [here]. All of us are dispensible.’ [So, if my discoveries are not so original, indispensable, essential, necessary, needed, why seclude myself and give offense?] But, to repeat it, this is not how we think when we are bold; then we don’t think of this” [though it still may be true].
Kaufmann, GS, 249: “Thus section reveals a great deal about N.’s personality. Cf. N.’s letter to Gast., August 20, 1880: “…To this day, my whole philosophy totters after an hour’s conversation with total strangers: it seems so foolish to me to wish to be right at the price of love, and not be able to communicate what one considers most valuable lest one destroy the sympathy. Hine meae lacrimae [hence my tears].”
Life of Goethe, 36: “He could be charming and forthcoming or brusque and intimidating, often quite unpredictably and whimsically. He quarreled violently with Herder…”
E.H., “Clever,” 1: “Alcohol is bad for me: a single glass of wine or beer in one day is quite sufficient to turn my life into a vale of misery [isn’t this what an artist needs? Not truth but an emotional “vale”?]…to believe that wine exhilarates I should have to be a Christian—believing what is for me an absurdity…I cannot advise all more spiritual natures earnestly enough to abstain entirely from alcohol. Water is sufficient.”
Ibid. “A few more hints from my morality. A hearty meal is easier to digest than one that is too small. That the stomach [as a whole] becomes active is the first presupposition of a good digestion. One has to know the size of one’s stomach. One should be warned against …long drawn-out meals…No meals between meals, no coffee: coffee spreads darkness. Tea is wholesome only in the morning…Everybody has his own measure.”
Ibid. “Sit as little as possible; give no credence to any thought that was not born outdoors while one moved about freely—in which the muscles are not celebrating a feast, too. All prejudices come from the intestines. The sedentary life—as I have said once before—is the real sin against the holy spirit.”
GS, 295: “Brief habits. –I love brief habits and consider them an inestimable means of getting to know many things and states do.”
D, 22: “The most confident knowledge or faith cannot provide the strength or the ability needed for a deed, it cannot replace the employment of that subtle, many-faceted mechanism which must first be set in motion if anything at all of an idea is to translate itself into action. Works, first and foremost! That is to say, doing, doing, doing! The ‘faith’ that goes with it will soon put in an appearance—you can be sure of that!”
Ibid, 519: [Being deceived—.] ‘If you want to act you have to close the door on doubt—said a man of action.—And aren’t you afraid of thus being deceived?—replied a man of contemplation.
GS, 347: “Believes and their need to believe.—How much one needs a faith [or method or practice, working given from the external] in order to flourish, how much that is firm and that one does not wish to be shaken because one clinfs to it [music theory], that is a measure of the degree of one’s strength 9or, to put the point more clearly, of one’s weakness)… Metaphysics is still needed by some; but so is that impetuous demand [the feeling of]certainty that today discharges itself among large numbers of peoples in a scientific-positivistic form. The demand that one wants by all means that something should be firm (while on account of the ardor of this demand one is easier and more negligent about the demonstration of this certainty)—this, too, is still the demand for a support, a prop, in short, that instinct of weakness which, to be sure, does not create religious, metaphysical systems and convictions of all kinds but—conserves them… Faith is always coveted most and needed most urgently where will is lacking; for will, as the affect of command, is the decisive sign of sovereignty and strength. In other words, the less one knows how to command the more urgently one covets someone who commands, who commands severely—a god, prince, class, physician, father confessor, dogma, or party conscience…Conversely, one could conceive of such a pleasure and power of self-determination, such a freedom of the will that the spirit would take leave of all faith and every wish for certainty, being practiced in maintaining himself on insubstantial ropes and possibilities and dancing even near abysses. Such a spirit would be the free spirit par excellence.”
[idle Patience v. forced industry Boredom Pregnancy fear of pain, aversion]
[c.f. II, 2, 118]
HATH, I, 192: “ The best author will be he who is ashamed to become a writer.”
Ibid, “Quiet fruitfulness.—The born aristocrats of the spirit are not too zealous: their creations appear and fall from the tree on a quiet autumn evening unprecipitately, in due time, not quickly pushed aside by something new. The desire to create [a finished product?] is vulgar and betrays jealousy, envy, ambition. If one is something one does not need to make anything—and one nonetheless does very much. There exists above the ‘productive’ man a yet higher species.”
I think what Nietzsche means (in HATH, I, 210) is that no step should be taken simply for the sake of finishing a work. Each step must be heard).
HAT, II, 2, 118: “He really did possess fire and enthusiasm, but his ambition was much greater! This last blew on the flame impatiently and made it flicker, crackle and smoke—his style flickers, crackles, and smokes—but he desired a great flame, and this never broke forth! He never sat at the table of the actual creators: and his ambition did not allow partakers. Thus he was a restless guest…never truly happy and satisfied…envy sometimes came and sat on his bed, and hypocrisy too paid him a visit. Something injured and unfree continued to adhere to him: and he lacks simply sturdy manliness….”
HATH, II, 216: “Ground of unfruitfulness.—There are highly gifted spirits who are always unfruitful simply because, from a weakness in their temperament, they are too impatient to wait out the term of their pregnancy.”
HATH, I, 538: “ The talent of many a man appears less than it is because he has always set himself too great tasks.”
Ibid, “Industriousness and conscientiousness are often at odds with one another because industriousness wants to pluck the fruit from the tree while it is sour whereas conscientiousness lets it hang too long until it falls and smashes itself to pieces.”
HATA, II, 2, 307: “When it is necessary to depart.—From that which you want to know and assess you must depart, at least for a time. Only when you have left the town can you see how high its towers rise above the houses.”
GS, III, 231: “The “thorough.”—Those who are slow to know suppose that slowness is of the essence of knowledge.” [“The swiftness of N.;s tempo and his distaste for academic heaviness, which he associated with a lack of seriousness, are easily understood. He did live day and night with the problems that he discussed in his inimitable way…he dived into them again and again, often from different vantage points, to explore them more and more fully” (GS Kaufman 345).
[idle; c.f. D 173]
GS, 21: “Blindly raging industriousness…is represented as the way to wealth and honor and as the poison that best cures boredom and the passions, but one keeps silent about its dangers, its extreme dangerousness…How often I see that [it] does create wealth and reap honors while at the same time depriving the organs of their subtlety, which alone would make possible the enjoyment of wealth and honors; also that this chief antidote to boredom and the passions at the same time blunts the senses and leads the spirit to resist new attractions.”
GS, III, 210: “Moderation and industriousness.—One should not try toe xcel one’s father’s industriousness; that makes one sick.”
GS, 92: “Work and boredom.—[An artist’s—“contemplative men”] idleness is resolute, even if it spells impoverishment, dishonor, and danger to life and limb. They do not fear boredom as much as work without pleasure; they actually require a lot of boredom if theor work is to succeed. For thinkers and all sensitive spirits, boredom is that disagreeable ‘windless calm” of the soul that precedes a happy voyage and cheerful winds. They have to bear it and must wait for its effect on them. Precisely this is what lesser natures cannot achieve by any means. To ward off boredom at any cost is vulgar, no less than work without pleasure. Perhaps Asians are distinguished above Europeans by a capacity for a longer, deeper calm…”
HATH, II, 2, 200: “The solitary speaks.—As a recompense for much ennui, ill-humor and boredom, such as solitude without friends, books, duties or passions [or girls, soccer, or TV] must entail, one harvests those quarters of an hour of the deepest immersion in oneself and in nature. He who completely entrenches himself against boredom also entrenches himself against himself: he will never get to drink the most potent refreshing draught from the deepest well of his own being.”
GS, 329: “Leisure and idleness. –There is something of the [stereotypical: warlike, savage, Apache] American Indians, something of the ferocity peculiar to the Indian blood, in the American lust for gold [gold rush of 1849]; and the breathless haste with which they work—the distinctive vice of the new world—is already beginning to infect old Europe with its ferocity and is spreading a lack of spirituality like a blanket. Even now one is ashamed of resting, and prolonged reflection almost gives people a bad conscience. One thinks with a watch in one’s hand, even as one eats one’s midday meal while reading the latest news of the stock market; one loves as if one is always ‘might miss out on something.’ ‘Rather do anything than nothing:’ this principle, too, is merely a string to throttle all culture and good taste. Just as all forms are visibly perishing by the haste of the workers, the feeling for form itself, the ear and the eye for the melody of movements are also perishing. The proof of this may be found in the universal demand for gross obviousness on all those (‘rare hours’, below) situations in which human beings wish to be honest with each other for once—in their associations with friends, women, relatives, children, teachers, pupils, leaders, and princes: one no longer has time or energy for ceremonies [lack of manners in the name of ‘honesty’], for being obliging [courteous, accommodating, helpful] in an indirect way, for spirit [vivacity, wit] in conversation, and for any otium [leisure] at all. Living in a constant chase after gain compels people to expend their spirit to the point of exhaustion in continual pretense and overreaching [get the better of by cunning or cheating, outwit] and anticipating others. Virtue has come to consist of doing something in less time than someone else. Hours in which honesty is permitted have become rare, and when they arrive one is tired and does not only want to ‘let oneself go’ but actually wishes to stretch out as long and wide and ungainly as one happens to be. This is how people now write letters, and the style and spirit of letters always be the true “sign of the times.” If sociability and the arts still offer any delight, it is the kind of delight that slaves, weary of their work, devise for themselves. How frugal [not spending for luxary] our educated—and enducated—people have become regarding joy! How they are becoming increasingly suspicious of all joy! More and more, work enlists all good conscience on its side: the desire for joy already calls itself a “need to recuperate” and is beginning to be ashamed of itself. ‘One owes it to one’s health’—that is what people sat when they are caught on an excursion into the country. Soon we may reach the point where people can no longer give into the desire for a vita contemplative (that is, taking a walk with ideas and friends) without self-contempt and a bad conscience. Well, formerly it was the other way around: it was work that was afflicted with the bad conscience. A person of good family used to conceal the fact that he was working if need(?) compelled him to work. Slaves used to work, oppressed by the feeling that they were doing something contemptible: ‘doing’ itself was contemptible. ‘Nobility and honor are attached solely to otium [leisure] and bellum [war?]. That was the ancient prejudice.”
[rest] GS, II, 164: “The spirits who seek rest I recognize by the many dark objects with which they surround themselves: those who want to sleep male their room dark or crawl into a cave.—A hint for those who do not know what it is that they seek most, but who would like to know.” [!]
D, 376: “What can one do to arouse oneself when one is tired and has had enough of oneself? One person recommends [as stimulants] the casino, another Christianity, a third electricity. The best thing, however, my melancholy friend, is plenty of sleep, real and metaphorical! Thus one will again awake to a new morning! The art in the wisdom of life lies in knowing how to fall asleep in either sense at the proper time.”
Goethe, ECK, 251: “My counsel is, to U force nothing, rather to trifle and sleep away all unproductive days and hours, than on such days to compose something that will afterwards give no pleasure.”
D, 552: Ideal Selfishness. –Is there a more holy condition than that of pregnancy? To do all we do in the unspoken belief that it has somehow to benefit that which is coming to be within us!—has to enhance its mysterious worth. In this condition we avoid many things without having to force ourself very hard! We suppress our anger, we offer the hand of reconciliation: our child shall grow out of all that is gentlest and best. We are horrified if we are sharp or abrupt; suppose it should pour a drop of evil into the dear unknown’s cup of life!...we wait and try to be ready…we have no right to determine…the hour of its coming. All the influence we can exert lies in keeping it safe…we prepare everything for it so that it may come happily into the world: not only everything that may prove useful to it but also the joyfulness…of our soul.—It is in this state of consecration [made sacred] that one should live! It is a state one can live in!...Towards every bringing forth we have essentially no other relationship than that of pregnancy and ought to blow to the winds all presumptuous talk of ‘willing’ and ‘creating.’ This is ideal selfishness: continually to watch over and care for and to keep our soul still, so that our fruitfulness shall come to a happy fulfillment! Thus, as intermediaries, we watch over and care for to the benefit of all; and the mood in which we live, this mood of pride and gentleness, is a balm which spreads far around us and on to restless souls too.—But the pregnant are strange! So let us be strange too…”
To become pregnant one must of course be inseminated, which may involve some disturbance if not downright violence.
Nietzsche, Anti-, #30: “The instinctive hatred of reality: the consequence of an extreme susceptibility to pain and irritation—so great that merely to be ‘touched’ becomes unendurable, for every sensation is too profound. The instinctive exclusion of all [implying that to exclude some is ok] aversion, all hostility, all bounds and distances in feeling: the consequence of an extreme susceptibility to pain and irritation—so great that it senses all resistance, all compulsion to resistance, as unbearable anguish (–that is to say, as harmful, as prohibited by the instinct of self-preservation), and regards blessedness (joy) as possible only when it is no longer necessary to offer resistance to anybody or anything, however evil or dangerous… These two physiological realities…I call…a sublime superdevelopment of hedonism upon a thoroughly insalubrious soil. What stands most closely related to them, though with a large admixture of Greek vitality and nerve-force, is epicureanism, the theory of salvation of paganism. Epicurus was a typical decadent…--The fear of pain, even of infinitely slight pain—the end of this can be nothing save a religion of love.
CRAFTSMANSHIP [methods/systems v. instincts; genius v. workman]
STRAV, 27: “I cannot begin to take an interest in…music except insofar as it emanates from the integral man. I mean from a man armed with the resources of his senses, his psychological faculties, and his intellectual equipment.”
GS, III, 258: “The denial of chance.—No victor believes in chance.”
Ibid, 246: “Mathematics.—Let us introduce the refinement and rigor of mathematics into all science as far as this is at all possible, not in the faith that this will lead us to know things but in order to determine our human relation to things. Mathematics is merely the means for general and ultimate knowledge of man.”
Ibid, 46: “Our amazement.—It is a profound and fundamental good fortune that scientific discoveries stand up under investigation and furnish the basis, again and again, for further discoveries. After all, this could be otherwise. Indeed we are so convinces of the eternal change of human laws and concepts that we are really amazed how well the results of science stand up.”
HATH, I, 145: “The artist knows that his work produces its full effect when it excites a belief in an improvisation, a belief that it came into being with a miraculous suddenness; and so he may assist this illusion [in the case of Wagner, Pinkerton] and introduce those elements of rapturous restlessness, of blindly groping disorder, of attentive reverie that attend the beginning og creation into his art as a means of deceiving the soul of the spectator or auditor into a mood in which he believes that the complete and perfect has suddenly emerged instantaneously.—The science of art has…to counter this illusion and display the bad habits and false conclusions of the [observer’s] intellect..which allow the artist to ensnare it.”
Ibid, 155: “Artists have an interest in the existence of a belief in the sudden occurrence of ideas [why?], in so-called inspirations; as though the idea of a work of art, a poem, the basic proposition of a philosophy flashed down from heaven like a ray of divine grace. In reality, the imagination of a good artist or thinker is productive continually, of good, mediocre and bad things, but his power of judgment, sharpened and practised to the highest degree, rejects, selects, knots; together as we cannot see from Beethoven’s notebooks how the most glorious of melodies were put together gradually and as it were culled out of many beginnings. He who selects less rigorously and likes to give himself up to his imitative memory can [previous-me], under the right circumstances, become a great improviser; but artisitic improvisation is something very inferior in relation to the serious and carefully fashioned artistic idea. All the great artists have been great workers, inexhaustible not only in invention but also in rejecting, sifting, transforming, ordering.”
35. HATH, I, 162: “The activity of the genius seems in no way fundamentally different form the activity of the inventor of machines, the scholar of astronomy or history, the master of tactics…who employ everything as material, who always zealously observe their own inner life and that of others, who perceive everywhere models and incentives, who never tire of combining together the means available to them. Genius too does nothing except learn, first how to lay bricks, then how to build, except continually seek for material and continually form itself around it.”
- Ibid, 163: “The serious workman.—Do not talk about giftedness, inborn talents! One can name great men of all kinds who were very little gifted. They acquired greatness, became ‘geniuses’ (as we put it) through qualities the lack of which no one who knew what they were would boast of: they all possessed that seriousness of the efficient workman which first learns to construct the parts properly before it ventures to fashion a great whole; they allowed themselves time for it, because they took more pleasure in making the little, secondary things well than in the effect of the dazzling whole. The recipe for becoming a good novelist, for example, is easy to give, but to carry it out presupposes qualities one is accustomed to overlook when one says ‘I do not have enough talent.’ One has only to make a hundred or so sketches for novels, none longer than two pages but of such distinctness that every word in them is necessary; one should write down anecdotes each day until one has learned how to give them the most pregnant and effective form; one should be tireless in collecting and describing human types and characters; one should above all relate things to others and listen to others relate, keeping one’s eyes and ears open for the effect produced on those present, one should travel like a landscape painter or costume designer; one should excerpt for oneself out the individual sciences everything that will produce and artistic effect when it is well described, one should, finally, reflect on the motives of human actions, disdain no signpost to instruction about them and be a collector of these things by day and night. One should continue in this many-sided exercise some ten years: what is then created in the workshop…will be fit to go out into the world.—What, however, do most people do? They begin, not with the parts, but with the whole. Perhaps they chance to strike a right note, excite attention and from then on strike worse and worse notes, for good, natural reasons.—[Sometimes when the character and intellect needed to formulate such a life-plan are lacking, fate and need take their place and lead the future master step by step though all the stipulations of his trade.]”
- Ibid, 164: “For the great spirits…it is…beneficial if they acquire an in[s]ight into the origin of their powers, if they grasp…what purely human qualities have come together in them and what fortunate circumstances attended them: in the first place undiminishing energy, resolute application to individual goals, great personal courage, then the good fortune to receive an upbringing which offered in the early years, the finest teachers, models and methods.”
STRAV 24: “Art in the true sense is a way of fashioning works according to certain methods acquired either by apprenticeship or by inventiveness. And methods are the straight and predetermined channels that insure the rightness of our operation.”
When Nietzsche and Stravinsky use the word “method” I hope they mean “procedure” (which is in fact the first definition of “method” in the dictionary): a set order for which the parts are laid out into a whole: e.g. chords, then drums, bass, melody, lyrics, B section, etc. The “straight and predetermined channels that insure the rightness of our operation.”
Now handle this: N., A., 35:—“I mistrust all systematizers [method, procedure] and avoid them. The will to a system is a lack of integrity.” [wholeness, sincerity, honesty, completeness].
I can only hope that here “system” means “a set of things arranged as to form a unity” (e.g. solar system) and not an order for going about one’s work.
Pinker, Mind, 361: “Mozart’s manuscripts were said to have no corrections. The pieces must have come from the mind of God who had chosen to express his voice through Mozart. Unfortunately, creative people are at their most creative when writing their autobiographies. Historians have scrutinized their diaries, notebooks, manuscripts, and correspondence looking for signs of the temperamental seer periodically struck by bolts from the unconscious. Alas they have found that the creative genius is more Salieri than Amadeus. Geniuses are wonks.* The typical genius pays dues for at least ten years before contributing anything of lasting value. (Mozart composed symphonies at eight, but they weren’t very good; his first masterwork came in the twelfth year of his career [at 20?]). During the apprenticeship, geniuses immerse themselves in their genre. They absorb tens of thousands of problems and solutions, so no challenge is completely new and they can draw on a vast repertoire of motifs and strategies. They keep an eye on the competition and a finger to the wind, and are either discriminating or lucky in their choice of problems. (The unlucky ones, however, talented, aren’t remembered as geniuses.) They are mindful of the esteem of others and their place in history…They work day and night and leave us with many works of subgenius…Their interludes away from a problem are helpful not because it ferments in the unconscious bit because they are exhausted and need the rest (and possibly so they can forget blind alleys!. They do not repress a problem but engage in “creative worrying” and the epiphany is not a masterstroke but a tweaking of an earlier attempt. They revise endlessly, gradually closing in on their ideal.
[Geniuses, of course, may also have been dealt a genetic hand with four aces. But they are not freaks with minds utterly unlike the rest of ours.]
Sandford, 147: —“[K.C.] wrote [standard product] pop songs because, for all his occasional insight and self-revelation, the mundane part of his talent always surfaced—the meticulous way he polished his songs, the careful planning of the seemingly spontaneous arrangements. In the aura surrounding Cobain the conventional side of his character has been constantly overlooked. He had the lifelong habit of striving for effect through detail and…[toed] the commercial like more readily than the new-wave tightrope.”
INFLUENCE AND TRADITION
GS, Poem 7: “Vademecum—Vadetecum* Lured by my style and tendence You follow and come after me? Follow your own self faithfully— take time—and this you follow me.”
Ibid, 99: “Be a man and do not follow me—but yourself! But yourself! Our life shall remain justified in our own eyes! We…shall grow and blossom out of ourselves, free and fearless, in innocent selfishness…Everyone who wishes to become free must become free through his own endeavor, and…freedom does not fall into any man’s lap as a miraculous gift.”
“I will tell you that very rarely will Woody go see a comedy. Because he’s deathly afraid that something’s going to stay in his mind and influence him.” Los Angeles Times Magazine, September 19, 1999.
D, 553: “Whither does this whole philosophy, with all its circuitous paths, want to go?...[Towards] all those things which taste best and are most endurable to me? A philosophy which is at bottom the instinct for a personal diet? An instinct which seeks my own heights, my own kind of health and weather, by the circuitous path of my head? There are many other sublimities of philosophy—perhaps they too are…nothing other than the intellectual circuitous paths of similar personal drives?...a butterfly…flies about unconcerned that it has but one day more to live and that the night will be too cold for its winged fragility. For it, too, a philosophy could no doubt be found: though it would no doubt not be mine.”
HATA, 1, 381: “Correcting Nature.—If one does not have a good father, one should furnish oneself with one.”
Wise, 19.—I started working on songwriting right away when I got a guitar, rather than learn a bunch of Van Halen covers. I had to develop my own style. I only know a couple of cover songs to this day, and they’re the ones I learned when I first had the guitar—‘My Best Friend’s Girl’ by The Cars and Led Zeppelin’s ‘Communication Breakdown.’” K.C.
Sandford, 85: —“By the time he was sixteen Cobain had what Warren Mason calls ‘an encyclopedic grasp of pop’…endlessly copying not only Scratch Acid and Flipper but mainstream groups like The Who on his guitar.”
HATH, II, 1, 279: “The female expression that one ought to trust one’s feelings means hardly more than that one ought to eat what one like’s the taste of. This may be a good everyday rule, especially for sober natures. Other natures, however, have to live according to a different principle: ‘you must eat not only with your mouth but also with your head, so that you shall not perish by the mouth’s love of sweet-meats.”
D, 35:” ‘Trust your feelings!’—But feelings are nothing final or original; behind feelings there stand judgments and evaluations which we inherit in the form of feelings (inclinations, aversions). The inspiration born of a feeling is the grandchild of a judgment—and often of a false judgment!—and in any event not a child of your own! To trust one’s feelings means to give more obedience to one’s grandfather and grandmother and their grandparents than to the gods which are in us: our reason and our experience.”
A composer has always been bothered by the advice “trust your instincts” in composition. His instincts don’t reust each other, how can he trust them? He looks instead to the instincts of others, to teachers, to other composers, to texts, to friends, to his audience. He feels this is the only way to bypass the seemingly unreasonable conflict of his own mind. Really he is just lazy—or rather one part of his brain is lazy, or undeveloped, the part whose job is is to arbitrate, prioritize and establish order out of the chaos of conflicting instincts. Until he calls this agent into action, his work will be either disorganized or built with tools designed for someone else’s work. The resolving or cultivation of one’s own jungle of instincts is what is called building a style or character.
USA v. Argentina, 13 June 1999, 40th minute:
Bob Levy: What did we ask Kasey yesterday? ‘Do you look at tapes, do you study your opponents?’ he says, ‘I simply re-act. You can’t think too much.’
Ty Keogh: Credit the focus by Kasey Keller…We asked him, ‘do you know these players? Do you follow them at all?’ Ya know, some of them play in Italy, some of them play in Spain, and Kasey Keller in England, they get all of that now on television in England, the great European leagues, he says, ‘I know who these guys are, but once the game starts,’ Keller says, ‘my focus is down low, on the ball. I can’t be thinking about a guy’s tendencies. I have to be ready to react quickly, and keep my mental focus the entire time.’
CD Philips 422 517-2—“Mozart improvised the sonata in C.K. 309, at Augsburg on 22 October, 1777 [with a different slow movement] and subsequently wrote out the piece tr Mannheim. ‘I then played…all of a sudden a magnificent sonata on C major out of my head, with a rondo ar rhe end—full of din and sound,’ he wrote.”
What about Billy Joel!? Smokey Robinson
Limits, fetters Similarities v. contrast Parina More than music Tranquility v. Intoxication “Sincerity” Originality
CLASSIC V. ROMANTIC
HATH, II, 2, 179: “The rigorous man recognizes more clearly year by year how vital it is that the individual items of research should be as circumscribed as possible so that they can be resolved without remainder and that unendurable squandering of energy avoided from which earlier periods of science suffered: every task is done ten times, and then the eleventh still offers the best result. But the more the scholar gets to know and practice this resolving of riddles without remainder the greater will be his pleasure in it: but the strictness of his demands is regard to that which is here called ‘without remainder’ will likewise increase. He sets aside everything that must in this sense remain incomplete, he requires a repugnance and a keen nose for the half0resoluable—for everything that can yeield a kind if certainly only in general and more indefinite sense. The plans of his youth collapse before his eyes: all that remains of them is the merest of knots in the unknotting of which the master now takes pleasure and demonstrates his power.”
HATH, II, 2, 195: “Nature and science.—Just as in nature, so in science it is the poorer, less fruitful regions that are first properly cultivated—because it is precisely for this that the means available to budding science are approximately adequate. The cultivation of the most fruitful regions presupposes a carefully developed and tremendous quality of methods, individual conclusions already gained, and an organized host of well-schooled workers—and all tehse come together only late in the day.—Impatience and ambition often make too soon for these more fruitful regions; but the results are almost nil, In nature the revenge for such losses would be that the colonists starved to death.”
HATH, I, 221: “To fetter oneself…can seem absurd; nonetheless there is no way of getting free of naturalization than that of first limiting oneself to what is most severe (perhaps also most capricious). Thus one gradually learns to walk with poise even upon narrow bridges spanning dizzying abysses and brings the highest suppleness of movement home as booty: as has been demonstrated by the history of music. Here the fetters grow looser step by step, until in the end it can appear as if they have been wholly thrown off. This appearance is the supreme outcome of a necessary evolution in art. (Billy Joe)
Ibid, 221: No such gradual emergence out of self-imposed fetters has occurred in the case of [Romantic?] poetry…we forewent the steady continuity of that unfettering and mase a leap into naturalism—that is to say, back to the beginnings of art. Goethe attempted to rescue himself from this situation through his ability again and again to impose differing kinds of constraints upon himself; but even the most gifted can achieve only a continual experimentation once the thread of evolution has been broken. Schiller owed his relative firmness to having modeled himself on French tragedy, which, though he repudiated, he involuntarily respected.”
Ibid: “It is precisely because [Goethe’s] nature held him in a long time on the path of the poetical revolution, precisely because he savoured most thoroughly all that had been discovered in the way of new inventions, views and expedients through that breach with tradition and as it were dug out from beneath the ruins of art, that his later transformation and conversation carries so much weight: it signifies that he felt the profoundest desire to regain the traditional ways of art and to bestow upon the ruins…that still remained their ancient wholeness and perfection.”
STRAV, 6: “The need that we feel to bring order out of chaos, to extricate the straight line of our operation from the tangle of possibilities and from the indecision of vague thoughts presupposes the necessity …to place our…creative activity under the aēgis [shield, patronage] of dogmatism. [a positiveness in stating matters of opinion, esp. when unwarranted or arrogant].
Ibid, 31: “In general it is satisfactory to proceed by similarity rather than by contrast. Music this gains strength…in that it does not succumb to the seductions of variety. What it loses in questionable riches it gains in true solidarity.
Contrast produces an immediate effect. Similarity satisfies us only in the long run. Contrast is an element of variety, but it divides our attention. The need to seek variety is perfectly legitimate, but we should not forget that the One proceeds the many.”
Ibid, 32: “Common sense, as well as supreme wisdom, invites us to affirm both [the One] and [the Many]…The best attitude for a composer …will be of a man who is conscious of the hierarchy of values and who must make a choice. Variety is valid only as a means of attaining similarity. Variety surrounds me on every hand. So I need not fear that I shall be lacking in it, since I am constantly confronted by it. Contrast is everywhere. One has only to take note of it. Similarity is hidden; it must be sought out, and it is found only after the most exhaustive efforts. When variety tempts me, I am uneasy about the facile [superficial, easy] solutions it offers me. Similarity, on the other hand, poses more difficult problems but also offers results that are more solid and hence more valuable to me.”
“More valuable” in that similarity allows for the construction of larger problems to be solved, complexer knots to be untied, stronger adversities overcome, more influential matter to be influences, this more power attained.
The independence of a voice: the degree to which it stands in prominence in the listener’s mind is a measure of to what extent the voice adds to the global rhythm/harmony which can be a [question] of timbre, intensity and range as well as a pitch and rhythm… isn’t that true too of human nature, of human ambition?
HATH, II, 1, 119: “…That pleasure which arises at the sight of anything regular anf symmetrical in lines, points, rhythms is already of a more refined sort; for certain similarity in appearance evokes the feeling for everything orderly and regular in life which alone we have, after all, to thank for all our well being: in the cult of symmetry we thus unconsciously honour regularity and proportion as the source of our happiness hitherto; pleasure is a kind of prayer of thanksgiving…”
HATH, II, 1, 120: “It is a disadvantage for good ideas of they follow upon one another too quickly; they get in one another’s way. That is why the greatest artists and writers have always made abundant use of the mediocre” [anti-Blue Album].
HATH, II, 2, 98: “Bread neutralizes the taste of other foods, expunges it; that is why it is part of every more extended meal. In all works of art there has to be something like bread, so that they can contain varying effects; if the latter followed directly one upon the other undivided by any rest or pause they would soon exhaust the spectator and arouse in him repugnance, so that a more extended artistic meal would be an impossibility” [song intros!].
HATH, 1, 107: “If a work is to make an impression of health its originator must expend at most three-quarters of his strength on it. If, on the contrary, he has gone to the limit of his capacity, the tension in the work produces in its audience a feeling of agitation and distress. All good things have something easy going about them and lie like cows in the meadow.”
Namely, that offhand style of writing, like ‘Undone”…No more grand creations, grand efforts.
STRAV, 39: “The capacity for melancholy is a gift. This means that it is not within our power to develop it by study. But at least we can regulate its evolution by perspicacious self-criticism. The example of Beethoven would suffice to convince us that, of all the elements of music, melody is the most accessible to the ear and the least capable of acquisition. Here we have one of the greatest creators of music who spent his whole life imploring the aid of this gift which he lacked…[developing] his extraordinary faculties in direct proportion to the resistance offered him by the one he lacked, just the way a blind man in his eternal night develops the sharpness if his auditive sense.”
Ibid, 40: “At a time when Beethoven bequeathed the world riches partly attributable to the recalcitrance of the melodic gift…Bellini inherited melody without having even so much as asked for it, as if Heaven said to him, ‘I shall give you the one thing Beethoven lacks.’… Beethoven’s greatness derives from a stubborn battle with rebellious melody.”
Ibid: “I am beginning to think in general agreement with the general public that melody must keep its place at the summit of the hierarchy of elements that make up music…but that is no reason to be clouded by melody to the point of losing balance and of forgetting that the art of music speaks to us in many voices at once…If melody were all of music, what could we prize in the various forces that make up the immense work of Beethoven, in which melody is assuredly the least.”
59.5 It sounds like someone (Stravinsky) has a melodic inferiority complex.
- STRAV, 43: “Song, more and more bound to words, has finally become a sort of filler, thereby evidencing its decadence. From the moment the song assumes as its calling the expression of the meaning of discourse, it leaves the realm of music and has nothing more in common with it.
Nothing shows more clearly the power of Wagner and of the kind of storm and stress which he unleashed then this decadence which his work actually consecrated…[He] destroyed an essentially musical form with such energy that fifty years after his death we are still staggering under the rubbish and racket of the music drama! For the prestige of the synthesis of the Arts is still alive.—Is that what is called progress? Perhaps. Unless the composers find the strength to shake off this heavy legacy by obeying Verdi’s admirable injunction: “Let us return to old times, and that will be progress.”
The influence of music-drama of Wagner, of Puccini, of songs with a non-musical message, still dwarf that of Stravinsky and his pure music. Perhaps the music-drama is inferior as music, but if taken for what it is, a newer art form, a hybrid, with its own rules, it must be seen as superior in terms of cultural influence.
[Tranquility vs. Intoxication]
T.S. Eliot, “Tradition:” “[The mind of the poet remains] inert, neutral and unchanged. It may partly or exclusively operate upon the experience of the man himself; but, the more perfect the artist the more completely separate in him will be the man who suffers and the mind which creates; the more perfectly will the mind digest and transmute the passions which are its material.”
Manic-optimism is just as disruptive as the other.
D, 50: “Faith in intoxication. –Men who enjoy moments of exaltation and ecstasy and who, on account of the contrast other states present and because of the way they have squandered their nervous energy are ordinarily in a wretched and miserable condition, regard these moments as their real ‘self’ and their wretchedness and misery and the effect of what is ‘outside the self’…they are insatiable sowers of the weeds of dissatisfaction with oneself…of contempt for the age and the world, and especially of world-weariness…These unruly, fantastic, half-crazy people of genius who cannot control themselves and can experience pleasure in themselves only when they have quite lost themselves…seek…to implant the faith in intoxication as being that which is actually living in life: a dreadful faith! Just as savages are quickly ruined and then perish through ‘fire-water’ so mankind had been slowly and thoroughly ruined through the feelings made drink by spiritual fire-waters…”
Nietzsche, Twilight, 82: “Towards a psychology of the artist.—For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity or perception to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication. Intoxication must first have heightened the excitability of the entire machine: no art results before that happens. All kinds of intoxication, however different their origin, have the power to do this: above all, the intoxication of sexual excitement, the oldest and most primitive form of intoxication. Likewise the intoxication which comes in the train of all great desires, all strong emotions: the intoxication of feasting, of contest, of the brave deed, of victory. Of all extreme agitation; the intoxication of cruelty; intoxication in destruction; intoxication under certain meteorological influences, for example the intoxication of spring; or under the influence of narcotics; finally the intoxication of the will, the intoxication of an overloaded and distended will.—The essence of intoxication is the feeling of plenitude and increased energy.”
Intoxicate. 1. To affect the nervous system of, so as to cause loss of control, make drunk, stupefy, inebriate, said of alcoholic liquor or a drug 2. To excite to a point beyond self-control; make wild with excitement or happiness 3. Med to poison
Schumann, Selected Songs (Dover): “Schumann’s biographers represent him as being ‘caught in a tempest of song,’ transfiguring the emotions aroused by his love for Clara into a splendid outpouring of sublime music for voice and piano…[he] embodies…musical romanticism, emphasizing self-expression, lyricism and extra-musical (e.g. literary) association…’the songs are not only piano pieces with another dimension, and added tone-color; they are explicit, whereas the piano pieces are reserved. The lyrical (element is set free and its emotional content made precise.’”
Lyric [from “lyre”]: adj, 1. Characterized by a relatively high compass and a light, flexible quality (a lyric tenor) 2. Suitable for singing, as to the accompaniment of a lyre; songlike; specif. designating poetry or a poem mainly expressing the poet’s emotions and feelings: sonnets, odes, elegies, hymns.
Lyrical: adj. characterized by or expressing rapture or great enthusiasm.
Nietzsche, EH, II, 4: “The Germans are incapable of any notion of greatness; proof: Schumann…this sugary Saxon…”
Goethe, ECK, 210; “In every stroke of this drawing…we perceive the great clearness and quiet serene resolution in the mind of the artist; and this beneficial mood is extended to us while we contemplate the work. The arts of painting and sculpture have, moreover, the great advantage that they are purely objective, and attract us without violently exciting our feelings.
K.C. (Wise, 19): “When I write a song, the lyrics are the least important thing. I can go through two or three subjects in a song, and the title can mean absolutely nothing at all.”
Riff and chord progression are the skeleton of the arrangement, orchestration, realization, and performance of the chords—These are the various tissues, organs and muscles. Melody is the skin, features, face, expressions and demeanor. But lyrics are the clothes, and the clothes make the man.
Strav, 8: “Sincerity is hardly an explanation and never an excuse.” (Rémy de Gourmont)
“All bad poetry is sincere.” (Oscar Wilde)
HATH, II, 1, 127: To employ innovations or quaint old terms in language to favor the rare and strange to be concerned to augment vocabulary rather than restrict it, is always a sign of an immature or corrupted taste. A noble poverty but a masterly freedom within this unpretentiousness, is what distinguishes…: to have less than the people have—for it is they who are richest in old and new terms—but…to have this less in better shape…There is no end to our admiration if we have an eye for the light and delicate way [the Greeks] have with the everyday and seemingly long since exhausted in words and phrases.”
K.C. (Wise, 25): “’Teen Spirit’ was such a clichéd riff. It was so close to a Boston riff or ‘Louie, Louie.’ When I came up with the guitar part Krist looked at me and said ‘That is so ridiculous.’ I made the band play it for an hour and a half.
HATH, II, 1, 25. “Whoever lacks the courage to allow himself and his work to be found boring is certainly not a spirit of the first rank.”
HATH, I, 146: “How art creates a faction.—Individual beautiful passages, an exciting overall effect and a rapturous mood at the end—this much in a work of art accessible even to the most of the laity: and in an artistic period in which it is desired to…create a faction…the creator will do well to give no more than this: otherwise he will squander his strength in areas where no one will thank him for it. For to do what remains undone—to imitate nature in its organic growth and shaping—would in any case be to scatter seed on water.”
HATH, II, 1, 117: “Overladen.— The florid style in art is the consequence of a poverty of organizing power in the face of a super-abundance of means and ends.