Re: The McCain Problem, By Friedrich Nietzsche

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Waterboard Hillary! Find out the truth about Whitewater!!!one!!


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 10:29 AM
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So maybe the real problem is that we're not torturing enough Americans.

Not enough Americans with a political voice, in any case.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 10:30 AM
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This "Nietzsche" person hits the nail on the head. My orphan girlfriend refuses to laugh at my "yo mama" jokes, and it really bothers me.


Posted by: James Monroe | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 10:33 AM
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So maybe the real problem is that we're not torturing enough Americans.

Au contraire!.Plenty of Americans are still getting tortured.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 10:35 AM
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the real problem is that we're not torturing enough Americans

If ogged ever achieves a position of responsibility in the Obama campaign, and is subsequently outted as the blogger known as "ogged", this will be the quote that gets non-stop airplay on FNC and gets him fired.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 10:44 AM
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Nietzsche cheats at misery poker.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 10:46 AM
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Plenty of Americans are still getting tortured.

Like, for example, the three-month period around the end of the year where I hear the same 12 Christmas songs every fucking place I go, including the bathrooms at work.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 10:48 AM
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Freddy got it right. It's disgustingly seductive to see oneself as "special" after nasty things happen and it's easy to fall back on "they just don't understand".

Some of it might even be valid but I don't see McCain's experience in Hanoi being relevant to running a country.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 10:52 AM
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his will be the quote that gets non-stop airplay on FNC and gets him fired.

They won't need that: unlike Obama, ogged really is a Muslim.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 10:53 AM
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the same 12 Christmas songs every fucking place I go, including the bathrooms at work

Nothing ruins a good wank like hearing Brenda Lee crooning "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," eh, apo?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 10:53 AM
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Pa rumpum pum pum, rumpum pum pum, rumpum pum pum.............


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 10:54 AM
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10: I generally phrase it as "not even being able to take a crap without my chestnuts roasting on an open fire."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 10:57 AM
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I generally phrase it as "not even being able to take a crap without my chestnuts roasting on an open fire."

Unfortunately, the archives are down, otherwise I would have linked to the comment where apo says his bowels are reliably empty before he arrives at work.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 10:59 AM
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At my last holiday retail job I walked in on Santa Claus while he was on the john. He didn't even break character.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:00 AM
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He didn't even break character.

"Santa's got a Yule log for you, Michael. Ho ho ho!"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:02 AM
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13: They are, but we all must work late sometimes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:02 AM
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13: Speaking of which, one of the DC/NY commenters should take the opportunity to give the Pope some coffee and a bran muffin and follow him around while he's here, so we can find out if he really shits in the woods.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:03 AM
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14: "Ho! Ho! Ho! I know a naughty boy who wants a blowjob for Christmas!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:03 AM
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Can the official archivist / historian of unfogged, whoever he/she may be, render an opinion on whether this is the steepest and most rapid descent into degeneracy of any unfogged thread ever?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:08 AM
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17: Or ask him whether he's sorry about what he did to Hans Kung.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:09 AM
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The present Pope looks like a Gorey cartoon.

That is all.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:10 AM
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15, 18: the early worm pwns the fruit, or whatever they say.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:10 AM
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whether this is the steepest and most rapid descent into degeneracy

I'm pretty sure that record is one comment.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:16 AM
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Gotta be two comments: you need to measure the slope.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:17 AM
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The present Pope looks like a Gorey cartoon.

That's why we love him.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:19 AM
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Nice post, it seems apt, and reminds me of what I like about Nietzsche.

It also reminds me that, when I did debate, one of our topics in a practice round was, "resolved: this house believes that suffering is redemptive." It was a terrible practice round because it turned out that the topic was too slippery to be able to come up with arguments on the fly that got much traction. Our culture does believe that suffering is redemptive, but it's hard to articulate why.

It is also a strong but not exclusive trope, there is certainly the counter narrative of suffering as embittering.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:20 AM
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23 -> 24 is the most rapid ascent out of degeneracy and into de-nerd-ereacy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:21 AM
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you need to measure the slope.

Wait, I thought it was girth.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:25 AM
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26: That which does not kill me makes me progressively weaker until something does kill me.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:27 AM
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The intellectual haughtiness and loathing of every man who has suffered deeply

Ha ! McCain's a piker. I'm able to pull this off without ever having suffered at all worth mentioning.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:33 AM
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I'm pretty sure that record is one comment.

Like Tony Dorsett's 99-yard touchdown run from scrimmage, it is a record that can only be matched, never broken.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:38 AM
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That which does not kill me maims me makes me progressively weaker until something does kill me.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:50 AM
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31. I remember watching that game. It should have been around a five yard gain, but when the safety missed the tackle, goodbye!


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 11:59 AM
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Like Tony Dorsett's 99-yard touchdown run from scrimmage, it is a record that can only be matched, never broken.

Shameful anti-Canadian sentiments once again abound at this blog.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 12:02 PM
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I particularly liked how the Supreme Court celebrated the Pope's visit by ginning up the executions machine again. Even better than the two tax decisions on April 15 -- APRIL 15, GET IT?

Such comedians, those justices.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 12:16 PM
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I'm reporting this thread to Brian Leiter.

it almost determines the order of rank HOW deeply men can suffer

Nietzsche was obviously not talking about physical suffering in itself. The quotation may even not be pertinent to McCain; or perhaps more pertinent to the submissive stance he had to take in the Bush administration. Great sufferers Nietzsche would have thought of:Oedipus, Philoctetes, hell even the shaming of Achilles.

I also, on first reading, feel it is in conflict with some of the criticisms of the "ascetic ideal" in Geneaology. This doesn't feel like the general tone or message of "What Is Noble" The key must be the word "profound"

My Kaufmann is right over there.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 12:25 PM
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Back on topic (BGE # 270), I suppose it was inevitable that Nietzsche would endorse McCain, given the alternatives.

Not that N's romanticization of suffering has ever been the strongest part of his work; isn't there a touch, more than a touch, of "slave aesthetics" there? What kind of people have any *incentive* to valorize suffering?


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 12:26 PM
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I suppose it was inevitable that Nietzsche would endorse McCain, given the alternatives that he was a syphillitic madman.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 12:39 PM
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isn't there a touch, more than a touch, of "slave aesthetics" there? What kind of people have any *incentive* to valorize suffering?

It shows how strong you are. See also the preface to GM. Cf. Samuel Johnson saying that all self-criticism is indirect self-praise, as it shows how much one can spare.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 12:40 PM
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Didn't we have a thread on shame versus guilt? Nietzsche was in touch with the ancient & medieval "death before dishonour" ethos, and probably understood the profound shame and resentment of Thucydides, and the cold vengeance he took on Athens. For example.

I think even in Vietnam McCain experienced little shame, confessing under torture is not shameful, at least not admitted to be so. But embracing Bush after the South Carolina campaign...


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 12:44 PM
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See also the preface to GM

I'm not finding whatever it is.

As for "it shows how strong you are," only someone contaminated by slave morality would even feel the need for such self-testing. The genuinely strong person would demonstrate his strength by kicking someone else's ass.

Of course, N's overarching point is that we are all heirs of the great slave-morality tradition, Christianity/Platonism. Thinking ourselves *out* of this is a challenge. I think it's in one of the Will to Power notes that N. remarks that his insight into nihilism (= slave morality for most purposes) comes from his having been a nihilist for so long.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 12:47 PM
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the profound shame and resentment of Thucydides

Interesting, but neither of those are qualities N. admired. The only discussion of Thucydides that I recall in N. is the one at the end of Twilight, where T. is the anti-Plato, the pure, cold realist.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 12:49 PM
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There is no way Nietzsche would endorse McCain. There is nothing creative in that man.

Nietzsche might endorse Obama. Nitzsche was not a fan of democracy, but then Obama...never mind.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 12:51 PM
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Interesting, but neither of those are qualities N. admired.

I shouldn't have used the word resentment.

Shame is not a quality? It is something that happens to you? What did Achilles feel when Bryseias (?) was taken from him?

For the ancients, I don't think the injustice of an exile mitigated the shame of exile. Oedipus is transcendentally shamed, but not guilty.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 1:03 PM
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And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.*

*Does not apply if you subsequently windsurf or become a metrosexual or other kind of liberal.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 1:14 PM
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I have a book that says Thucydides was just a conservative reaffiming conservative Spartan of oligarchy and alliance. Maybe.

But T places the Athenian speech early, about how "we are only acting on the truth, how life is and how the world really works". And then goes on to show, coldly & logically, how the Athenians were unrealistic bullshitters who deluded themselves to their doom.

Anyway, back to the election, did Nietzsche write about Alciabades?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 1:14 PM
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My Kaufmann is right over there.

I call mine Spanky Johnson.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 1:15 PM
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As for "it shows how strong you are," only someone contaminated by slave morality would even feel the need for such self-testing.

Who said anything about self-testing? It's the capacity for suffering that determines the order of rank, not the tendency to inflict suffering on oneself.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 1:15 PM
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Wouldn't it be proof of the capacity for suffering that determines the order of rank?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 1:17 PM
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ahhhh. ogged. the elipsis(?) sucks.

"...finds all kinds o disguises necessary to protect itself against contact with obstrusive and prying hands...

There are free, insolent spirits who would like to conceal ad deny that they are broken, proud, incurable (the cynicism of Hamlet -- the case of Galiani) and occasionally even foolishnes is the mask for an unblessed all-too-certin knowledge.

From which it follows that it characteristic of more refined humanity to espect "the mask" and not indulge in psychology and curiousity in the wrong place."

Emphasis mine.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 1:24 PM
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Shame is not a quality?

That N. admired, I said.

It's the capacity for suffering that determines the order of rank

Yeah, but again, that's verging on valorizing suffering for its own sake. I would argue -- and if it hasn't been done better by someone else, it would take me a while -- that the noble spirit is *indifferent* to suffering. He attaches no meaning to it.

N. seems to me to have waffled w/ this, probably b/c of his own suffering, but I think I see a trend away from some of the less plausible sections of BGE and towards a more plausible theory in GM and in the late prefaces he wrote for BT and GS.

Part of the problem in construing him is of course his perennial irony. Suffering makes us more "profound," he says in GS, but as was already implicit in BGE (sec. 7 is much better on suffering & cruelty than anything in sec. 9), profundity itself is highly suspect. The Greeks, remember, were superficial *because* they were profound -- only when Greece was in decline did you get a Socrates and a Plato (& Euripides) interested in *plumbing* the depths.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 1:26 PM
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My typos betray a careless shallow soul.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 1:26 PM
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occasionally even foolishnes is the mask for an unblessed all-too-certin knowledge

Well, that would explain McCain, then. "Sunni, Shiite, who cares? What is trivia like that, compared to the oracular wisdom of my suffering?"


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 1:28 PM
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51:I wrote it badly, ironically:try "Shame is not a quality." It is of course a relation.

And I would argue the the parts of 270 that ogged left out do support a certain admiration for shame disguised and hidden.

What is Hamlet if not a study of shame?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 1:32 PM
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54: Right, but N. would not have admired Hamlet (the character) either. Sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, that's Hamlet for N. (Or so I wildly assert on my half-remembered readings of years past. This *is* the internet.)


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 1:39 PM
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BGE is my fave. But it may the most written and well-written of Nietzsche's works...except maybe Twilight. BGE is tightly structured and progresses, architectonic. 270 needs to be read in context. (Having just read Fish on deconstruction the beginning of 268 is neat)

The context appears to be the nausea of the great soul at what she has in common with the crowd, being misunderstood and understood. The great soul has to disguise that nausea because she cannot bear to be pitied. The collapse of great people is in pity for the crowd, and accepting flattery and adulation. "Protect itself from contact"

What does the great soul know? She knows she is alone, in a solitude of values...and that it is good. What is her suffering? That she may not publicly celebrate and enjoy her solitude.

All the meanings in "common", whatever word Nietzsche used, is why I like Kaufmann. And "nausea", in allusion to Sartre.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 2:03 PM
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Anderson, I don't think Nietzsche was being ironic in 270:we just need to understand "profound suffering"

The emphasis on disguise in cheefulness and foolishness, superficiality...lightness...in paragraph 2 implies that it is a real ...and good...suffering that must be disguised.

271.2:"The highest instinct of cleanliness places those possessed of it in the oddest and most dangerous lonesomeness...the highest spiritualiation of this instinct...justas such a propensity distinguishes...it is a noble propensity...it also separates."

272 is an anti-Kant.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 2:14 PM
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And "nausea", in allusion to Sartre.

Nietzsche uses "der Ekel," which this online dictionary says does indeed mean "nausea" among other things. However, all the English-to-German ones that I find give "√úbelkeit" for "nausea."

Kaufmann is sometimes too quick to make N. seem a hip, happenin' cat.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 2:15 PM
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I don't think 270 is ironic, I think it's bad. However accurate about McCain (good catch, Ogged).

It makes no sense to automatically equate separation with nobility; at best, this is how the slave views things -- the slaves live in common and the master holds himself above and apart.

The only way I can save 270 is in fact to read it *as* ironic -- as the application to McCain certainly suggests it can be read -- and to base that reading on the final lines: "it is a sign of a more subtle humanity to revere 'the mask' and not pursue psychology or curiosity in the wrong place."

Assuming that this more subtle humanity is the desirable state, it suggests that we should ignore whatever romantic self-aggrandizing fantasies the sufferer weaves about himself, and accept the facade.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 2:22 PM
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What did Achilles feel when Bryseias (?) was taken from him?

I'm pretty sure it was wrath. (Also: Briseis.)


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 2:24 PM
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As an aside, my German is nonexistent, but I looked at the first line of BGE sec. 1 in German -- "The will to truth, which will seduce us to many a risky venture ..." -- which reads: "Der Wille zur Wahrheit, der uns noch zu manchem Wagnisse verfuehren wird ...."

At the risk of overreading, I see a pun on "Wagnisse/Wagner" -- "seduced to Wagner" describes the part of N.'s life where "truth" was something he pursued without questioning the pursuit.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 2:27 PM
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I'm pretty sure it was wrath

Check. See Aristotle on anger:

Anger may be defined as an impulse, accompanied by pain, to a conspicuous revenge for a conspicuous slight directed without justification towards what concerns oneself or towards what concerns one's friends.

Achilles is pissed at the slight imposed by Agamemnon. Bob may be right that this modulates into shame when Achilles can't retaliate -- I honestly don't remember the Iliad well enough to say.

Aristotle again: we feel shame at such bad things as we think are disgraceful to ourselves or to those we care for. Was his inability to retaliate shameful, and is that why he stayed in his tent? Aristotle gives one kind of shame: Another sort of bad thing at which we feel shame is, lacking a share in the honourable things shared by every one else, or by all or nearly all who are like ourselves. E.g., Briseis.

N.b. that Aristotle quotes Achilles in discussing anger:

One sort of insolence is to rob people of the honour due to them; you certainly slight them thus; for it is the unimportant, for good or evil, that has no honour paid to it. So Achilles says in anger: "He hath taken my prize for himself and hath done me dishonour," and "Like an alien honoured by none," meaning that this is why he is angry.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 2:35 PM
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whatever romantic self-aggrandizing fantasies the sufferer weaves about himself

I knew I didn't want to waste my time on a 40-yr-old who felt the need to write two autobiographies.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 2:38 PM
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The closest translation of "der Ekel" is "disgust". Ekelhaft has 100% of the connotations of "disgusting". "Nausea" is a stretch.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 2:43 PM
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Bob may be right that this modulates into shame when Achilles can't retaliate

Aristotle, in those quotes doesn't seem to contradict my distinction between shame & guilt.

Scarlett Letter is about shame vs guilt.

Shame is a relation between an individual and society, and "deserve got nuthin to do with it". Except to the degree you are willfully social or anti-social.

Hmm, Unforgiven and The Iliad?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 2:52 PM
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282:"Probably all of us have sat at tables where we did not belong;and precisely the most spritual among us, being hardest to nourish, know that dangerous dyspepsia which comes of a sudden insight and disappointment about our food and our neighbors at the table___the after-dinner nausea.

"after-dinner disgust?" I like Kaufmann.

58:It makes no sense to automatically equate separation with nobility

Is "automatically" doing too much work here? Since Nietzsche is really talking about normative independence, I will claim that that is probably the majority view in ethics, tho not the only view.

273:"...this type of man knows solitude and what is most poisonous in it"

I disagree about ogged's "good catch". ""What is Noble" and BGE is not Geneaology, the suffering and it's implications are different in each, and ogged's post is more appropriate to the GoM.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 3:09 PM
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i like this kind of threads, very educational though i suspect i do not get half of what is said in the comments
i tried to read unfogged reading group before, difficult access
coz i feel so ignorant, when i was a student long ago our philosophy classes were mostly marxism-leninism in conspects
trying to read, but it's so unsystematic, if i could i would attend some classes


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 4:04 PM
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Sausagely thinks ogged is wrong, but he doesn't explain why.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-17-08 6:03 AM
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So maybe the real problem is that we're not torturing enough Americans.

"We" being Iranians?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 04-17-08 8:54 AM
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I'm not sure saiselgy gets it:

I'm skeptical that McCain's life story really explains much of anything about his political ideas for good or for ill.*

I don't think the claim is about McCain's "political ideas"

*(little bitchery: double hedging is irritating)


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-17-08 9:00 AM
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