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June 30, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

Antonio 1995 Double-Bind?

This card should explain the more linguistic consequences

Rickels 90 (Looking After Nietzsche: Interdisciplinary Encounters with Merleau-Ponty Front Cover Laurence A. Rickels Laurence Arthur Rickels (born December 2, 1954) is an American literary and media theorist, whose most significant works have continued the Frankfurt School’s efforts to apply psychoanalytic insights to analysis and criticism of modern mass media culture. SUNY Press, 1990 – Philosophy – 265 pages)

The first consequence of the will’s structure of interpretation is that the will is not the subject of the explicating. This conclusion runs counter both to what Nietzsche suggests quite often and to any interpretation of his philosophy that, like Heidegger’s in particular, hypostasizes the will as transcendental subject. The belief in the will to power as the subject of interpretation is already the result of an interpretation which is imposed upon reason by the restrictions of language and, furthermore, bythe process of interpretation itself. Nietzsche sees his task here as one of bringing about a Copernican revolution (Wende) according to which not the will but the revolving (Wendung) itself, as it were, the alteration and the decentering, stands at the center of the world. In Twilight of the Idols he writes: It is no different here than with the movements of the sun: in that case, the error is defended by our eyes, and in this case, the error is defended by our language. … It sees a doer and a deed everywhere: it believes in the will as the principal cause. . . . Being is projected and insinuated everywhere as a cause. However, from the concept ‘ego’ follows the concept “being’ as a derivation. … In the beginning stands the great and fateful error that the will is something that acts, that will is a faculty. . . . Today we know that it is merely a word. … I fear we have not yet rid ourselves of God because we still believe in grammar. (TI, ”Reason in Philosophy,” § 5) It is not the will which interprets. Rather, interpretation creates the idea of the will as subject of interpretation in the first place—and with it, the idea of God. A late note confirms this conclusion: “One may not ask: ‘So who is it who interprets?’ Rather interpretation itself, as a form of the will to power, has existence (but not as ‘being,’ but as process, becoming) as an affect” (WP, III, § 556). The second decisive consequence of the wills structure of interpretation, which distinguishes Nietzsche’s theory of interpretation from all previous hermeneutics, concerns the will’s relationship both to the sphere of objects and to the objectivity of that to which it refers. The point of departure for Schleiermacher and the romantic theorists was the principle that every act of interpretation refers to a linguistic or semiotic fact in order to reconstruct the meaning located within it. Nietzsche’s concept of interpretation, however, refers to the process by which the perceiving consciousness and its perspectivism, like the will itself, also produce their objects.Interpretation, as laying out, is the process not of its reconstruction, but of its constitution. This idea that the sphere of objectivity is not immediately accessible but must be sketched out time and again in historically varying figurations does not conceal latent subjectivism. On the contrary, one could call it historical-transcendentalist. In fact, Nietzsche insists with the pathos of a phi-ologist that it must be possible to read a text “as text . . . without the intervention of an interpretation.” With the ethos of a philosopher, however, he states in the same sentence that the ability to grasp an object or an experience without perspectival distortions is “the latest form of ‘inner experience’—one that is perhaps hardly possible” (WP, III, § 479). The experience free of interpretation is itself the product of the history of interpretation. It cannot appear until reason reaches the point where it doubts its own ability to grasp reality as it is in itself. In the rape and terror imposed on reason by itself, Nietzsche sees “the ability to have power over one’s pro and contra, to use or dispose of them, so that one knows how to put precisely the variety of perspectives and affective interpretations in the service of knowledge” (GM, III, § 12). In this way Nietzsche offers a concealed defense of Kant’s concept of the intelligible character of things. The “objectivity” of knowledge grows with the degree to which the perspectives of the will and its “interpreting forces” are multiplied. But it can grow only because the perspectives of the will repudiate themselves by this multiplication. Knowledge would thus attain the highest degree of objectivity only once the will itself has been eliminated, the intellect castrated. The entire sphere of objectivity would disappear with the will, however, at that moment when a text can be read as text, that is, at that moment without the perspective “through which seeing becomes for the first time seeing-something” (GM, III, § 12). Hence, the object, in its pure appearance, is nothing. A third consequence of the will’s structure of explication is that the idea of totality, which is bound up with the concept of knowledge, can no longer be maintained. We can neither take for granted that “all existence is essentially interpreting existence,” nor can we be certain that another kind of existence besides interpreting existence exists. “The world has become . . . once again ‘infinite’ for us insofar as we cannot deny the possibility that it contains within itself infinite interpretations” (GS, V, § 374). These “infinite interpretations,” however, are not such that they would be in toto accessible to mankind or could expand the closed universe of knowledge to an open world of poly-perspectival interpreting. Since the idea of an infinity of possible interpretations cannot be denied by the one humanly possible interpretation, there is no rea-son for the one interpretation to lay claim to a privileged access to the world, an access that would allow it to unite all interpretive worlds into a single world of worlds. No such human world could produce the totality of knowledge denied to the other interpretive worlds. Because it is merely one of infinitely many possible interpretations, human interpretation is radically finite. Even if its per-spectives could multiply, an infinity of other perspectives that it could not incorporate would remain. Human interpretation leaves behind an infinity of interpretations that it cannot exhaust. As long as other possibilities remain open, however, the ones that have been perceived remain incapable of grasping the world and inadequate for providing a total concept of interpretation itself. The possibility of infinite interpretations renders the very concept of interpretation contingent. The world, the perspective of the will, and interpretation could thus always be different or other than the respective one under consideration. This inexhaustible potential of other possibilities introduces into the concept of interpretation itself an uncontrollable alterity and prevents, strictly speaking, the possibility of speaking about interpretation itself. A fourth consequence of Nietzsche’s theory of interpretation concerns the traditional concept of truth as adaecfuatio. It is meaningful to speak of measuring an exegetical statement against an object only if the object of the statement is given in advance. An interpretation can correspond to or falsify what is to be interpreted only if what is to be interpreted has a self-supporting reality vis-a-vis every possible interpretation. A theory of interpretation that deals with its objects not as givens but as something to be constituted can offer no correspondence theory of truth, but only a theory of its imperative positing. In a fragment from the period of Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche writes of (the act of) willing (and interpreting is a form of the will): ” ‘To will’ is not the same as ‘to desire,’ to strive for, to long for: it distinguishes itself from them by the sense of the command.”35 The truth of interpretation is imperative. The will commands, and whatever corresponds to this command of the will possesses, as its correspondence, truth. At first, however, by means of its interpretation, the will commands only itself as not yet corresponding to the will. Since the interpreting will is structurally imperative, its correspondence must remain absent. Only in the law of the will, which is the claim to correspond to itself, can the will be in agreement with itself as in a remainder of correspondence. Its interpretation—and its truth, the will itself—remains, without any substance, a promise.

This card goes more into grammatical relations and how they reduce action to appearance, just as the actor reduces roles to themselves

Rickels 90 (Looking After Nietzsche: Interdisciplinary Encounters with Merleau-Ponty Front Cover Laurence A. Rickels Laurence Arthur Rickels (born December 2, 1954) is an American literary and media theorist, whose most significant works have continued the Frankfurt School’s efforts to apply psychoanalytic insights to analysis and criticism of modern mass media culture. SUNY Press, 1990 – Philosophy – 265 pages)

Language separates the event from itself, even if by no other means than by simple doublingIt dissolves an occurrence into imaginary constituent parts; it disintegrates the occurrence into a grammatical relation between a subject and predicateinto a complementary causal relation between cause and effect. In this way it abstracts inductively from the factual event and its traumatic experience; “seduction of language” is a topos of Nietzsche’s epistemological reflections. By articulating the occurrence, language masks it. The sentence “The lightning bolt flashes” can make no claim to correspondence with its object; for lightning is the non-referential and meaningless identity of its appearance and its being, while the sentence is a referential structure, an appearance that refers to a being outside of itself. By splitting the event, separating it out into subject and predicate, language suggests behind one world a second world of ideal, unmoved, self-enclosed, constant essences and first principles. Language immobilizes becoming into being, and reduces the former’s action to the latter’s appearance. In short: language extricates (legt auseinander) what belongs together and explicates (legt aus) by fabricating what does not exist (BCE, II, § 34; 111, § 52; Tl,”Reason in Philosophy,” § 5).Freedom itself has no substantial being. It attains this only after the fact by its linguistic explication as freedom, i.e., only when and where it is already past, by means of “that sublime self-deception . . . that interprets and explicates weakness itself as freedom and its mere being-so-and-so as merit” (GM, I, § 13). The spirit of ressentiment is not the origin of this idealism of language, but it is the origin of its stubborn survival. For with the aid of this language’s grammar and the “fundamental errors of reason ossified in it,” ressentiment can articulate its “No,” its “No to what is ‘outside,’ to what is ‘other,’ to what is ‘not itself’ ” (GM, I, § 10). Nietzsche’s “lightning bolt” is an example of “driving, willing, acting (and) becoming” (GM, 1, § 13), of the immediate self-affirming Yes. It also serves as an example of his agents in the pseudo-historical history of it that Nietzsche writes, that is, of “any pack of blond beasts of prey, who come like fate without cause, reason, consideration, or pretext, who are simply there like lightning, too terrible, too sudden, too persuasive, too ‘other’ even to be hated” (GM, II, § 17). Against this lightning bolt of the Yes and the sheer alterity of becoming and disappearing, a “No” must be raised which inhibits, delays, defers, and differentiates the bolt so that the lightning itself is at least “something” and so that everything does not disappear under its flash. The speculative grammar of ressentiment is the apotropaic interpretation and explication of the lightning bolt; its sentence is the articulated and articulating No to the essentially unarticulated, undivided Yes of the will. The “self-affirming Yes-saying” (GM, I, § 10) is incapable of sense or meaning since it refers without mediation to itself and never to an object external to itself. It is the speech act par excellence that glows and fades in the punctual intensity of the lightning bolt, since in it there is no difference between doer and doing, deed and effect, outer and inner, no restraint and no precondition, no reserve and no precedent. The No that interprets and explicates this Yes, however, doubles, splits it into a deed of a deed, and imposes its deed like an exchangeable mask upon it, rendering it a fixed subject-substratum. In this way the Yes is dissolved into a linguistic relation even though it cannot strictu sensu belong to language as a conventional system of meaning, since it means the very sphere of pure speaking. The individual members of this relation are equipped with a sturdy function and meaning, but because of their constitution they fall short of whatever it is they are speaking about. As a result of its disjunction into a will and (an act of) willingwilling which in itself is actually already an act, becomes reduced to the mere possibility of willing. By being expressed in language, willing is differentiated into a will and (an act of) willingof which the will is capable, yet to which it should not be compelled. But the will does not will. It is the simple tautology of willing—without subject, intention, or object. Iflanguage makes (the act of) willing into a mere predicate of the will that can be either attributed to or removed from it, then language is the locus not of the will, but of ressentiment against the will. It is language which isolates the will from (the act of) willing and, in this way, uses the interpretative and explicative fiction to make the will independent. Itself unfree, the fiction liberates the will. And only where the will is free of its own (act of) willing can it raise itself as will to law and subjugate itself freely to this law. The free will is the will of ressentiment. By differentiating the will, the inability of ressentiment to unite will and deed is interpreted and explicated as the ability not to will this identity. The incapacity to will thereby bestows a will unto itself by means of this interpretation. The hermeneutics of ressentiment—the hermeneuein of language—is the art of interpreting and explicating the absolute otherness of (the act of) willing as the will of the other. It distances and fixes the movement of (the act of)willing from an outside of itself and reinterprets the will’s deficit as will. This interpretation and explication, itself subjectless and unfree, is the invention of the subject, of freedom, and of meaning. To the same extent, however, that the will is betrayed by this interpretation and explication, it is saved by them. The sheer alteration, which announces itself in the speech act of the Yes, is also at work in its explication; for the alteration takes no consideration of the explication’s “own, proper” structure. Alteration subjects explication, as the act that it is, to a violent change and has no explanation or reason. Explication is the alteration to which alteration must surrender itself if it does not want to stop being absolutely other.


This is Nietzsche’s argument that Antonio is applying – not about linguistics, but about action and being.

Nietzsche, 87 (Friedrich, 1887, On the Genealogy of Morals, Aph. 13, JPL)

To require of strength that it should not express itself as strength, that it should not be a wish to overpower, a wish to overthrow, a wish to become master, a thirst for enemies and antagonisms and triumphs, is just as absurd as to require of weakness that it should express itself as strength. A quantum of force is just such a quantum of movement, will, action – rather it is nothing else than just those very phenomena of moving, willing, acting, and can only appear otherwise in the misleading errors of language(and the fundamental fallacies of reason which have become petrified therein), which understands, and understands wrongly, all working as conditioned by aworker, a “subject.” And just exactly as the people separate the lightning from its flash, and interpret the latter as a thing done, as the working of a subject which is called lightning, so also does the popular morality separate strength from the expression of strength, as though behind the strong man there existed some indifferent neutral substratum, which enjoyed a caprice and option as to whether or not it should express strength. But there is no such substratum, there is no “being” behind doing, working, becoming; “the doer” is a mere appanage to the action. The action is everything. In point of fact, the people duplicate the doing, when they make the lightning lighten, that is a “doing-doing”: they make the same phenomenon first a cause, and then, secondly, the effect of that cause. The scientists fail to improve matters when they say, “Force moves, force causes,” and so on. Our whole science is still, in spite of all its coldness of all its freedom from passion, a dupe of the tricks of language, and has never succeeded in getting rid of that superstitious changeling “the subject” (the atom, to give another instance, is such a changeling, just as the Kantian “Thing-in-itself”). What wonder, if the suppressed and stealthily simmering passions of revenge and hatred exploit for their own advantage this belief, and indeed hold no belief with a more steadfast enthusiasm than this – “that the strong has the option of being weak, and the bird of pretty of being a lamb.” Thereby do they win for themselves the right of attributing to the birds of prey the responsibility for being birds of prey: when the oppressed, downtrodden, and overpowered say to themselves with the vindictive guile of weakness, “Let us be otherwise than the evil, namely, good! And good is everyone who does not oppress, who hurts no one, who does not attack, who does not pay back, who hands over revenge to God, who holds himself, as we do, in hiding; who goes out of the way of evil, and demands, in short, little from life; like ourselves the patient, the meek, the just,” – yet all this, in its cold and unprejudiced interpretation means nothing more than “once and for all, the weak are weak; it is good to do nothing for which we are not strong enough”; but this dismal state of affairs, this this prudence of the lowest order, which even insects possess (which in a great danger are fain to sham death so as to avoid doing “too much”), has, thanks to the counterfeiting and self-deception of weakness, come to masquerade in the pomp of an ascetic, mute, and expectant irtue, just as though the very weakness of the weak – that is, forsooth, its being, its working, its whole unique inevitable inseparable reality – were a voluntary result, something wished, chosen, a deed, an act of merit. This kind of man finds the belief in a neutral, free-choosing “subject” necessary from an instinct of self-preservation, of self-assertion, in which every lie is fain to sanctify itself. The subject (or, to use popular language, the soul) has perhaps proved itself the best dogma in the world simply because it rendered possible to the horde of moral, weak, and oppressed individuals of every kind, that most sublime specimen of self-deception, the interpretation of weakness as freedom, of being this, or being that, as merit.


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