SHOULD I BE GOOD?
Whenever we make judgements we go with something that sounds right, good, proper. Nietzsche discusses the paradox of truth in the Genealogy, where he argues that even those who are often seen as most distant from faith like scientists and empiricists still commit to a fallacy of identifying truth with good. One might wonder why is this a problem. One of the most obvious consequences is that it categorizes the world into black and white, good and bad, pure and impure. But how do we know, how can we be certain that truth is good and falsity is bad? A famous example of the categorical imperative springs to mind. If a murderer is asking where your friend is and you know that if you told the murderer the truth your friend would die, would you be completely certain then that telling the truth is still a good thing? Judgements like these are difficult and many tried rationalising them into coherent systems.
The main issue that we usually have with rational activity is that it functions in a void, where there are no human contingencies. This is done so that solutions that apply to all circumstances could be fabricated. Our lives are full of contingencies – life is only a contingency – and any promise of stability induces euphoria. It helps overcoming life - that at times seems unbearably random. This is the flaw in human reasoning that Nietzsche points to. We started believing in truth. But truth itself does not have any moral judgement. Today’s politics and even scientific research is poisoned by this absence. For example, if research shows that people have implicit racial bias does that mean that we can never tackle racism as long as we have different races? Or does it show that society conditioned us so well that we are subconsciously racist? In making any decision like this one falls back to his own interests. If you are arguing for segregation of races you will se implicit racism as a reason to separate people by race. If you think it is a problem best tackled by exposing people from different races to one another the former decision seems to be destructive.
Here my biggest issue with people placing themselves on a political spectre lies. People see their truth as the only truth, often disregarding opposition as unenlightened, false and plainly wrong. I will give an example of a situation I find myself in. I find merit (as in dedication, hard work, usefulness) to be vital to human flourishment. While AnCap idea of promoting merit is by throwing people into a world where only those with merit will survive - that individualism impedes greater progress in the long run. Collectivism on the other hand bets on the societal potential, yet one is naturally inclined to first of all think of himself, and then for others due to the potential abuse of the state. One has to have faith in NAP on one hand and abate fairness on the other. If only it was black and white... Yet most young people see politics like that. How many times have I been called a sexist for pointing out biological differences. How many times I was called a Nazi by pointing out the inherent tribalism of people. It does not matter to those who call me names that I believe that social constructs made the difference between men and women greater than our biological difference entails. It seems like it doesn’t matter that I would prefer unifying people by their merit – dedication to one’s people, faith in the community, personal excellence, no matter your genetic background. By just pointing to the shadow I am seen as the enemy of light.
I cannot indulge in a naïve belief that truth is good. Many people betrayed that trust. I do not want to be delusional, I do not have a stable opinion that is set in stone. I am only human and I am only pointing to the different colours that are present to me. How I wish to see life in black and white. How I wish to be ignorant. Ignorantia beatitudo est. But such wishes are futile. They are as comforting as cigarettes are helping with stress by slowly killing a person. I am cursed. I will never be wise and I can never be ignorant either. I am human. I cannot advocate mediocracy for it would just help me get cosy to the unknown by merely turning away from it. As a reflective man I am free from shackles of dogma only to be shackled by a dogma of confidence in myself. I can be as original and as expressive as words can make me.
Learning all the words would not make me any better off. And this is where Nietzsche is so comforting. He does not neglect the human aspect of ourselves. He puts it forth! He does not say we should go back to the times when brute force was the animating force of life. On the other hand he does not want us to be disconnected from the creativity of animal behavior. We have to compose, see more than is given to us. Twist everything you see, hear or think. Think but don’t axiomise thinking. Act but don’t announce strength as your god. Exist and express yourself. Even what I am saying is up for scrutiny. If you don’t neglect the beauty of the dance, the randomness of thought, the feelings that poetry gives rise to you might be a more complete individual. I don’t want to say happier, for happiness is not necessary and it even might be detrimental to creativity. Happiness can be comforting, but as Mill once said, ‘it better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied’. Let this be the manifest for creativity.