Thursday, February 03, 2005

k-punk writes on those who critique Christianity. As ever, he draws some very incisive theoretical links.

However, I am not 'entirely sold' on a few points:

1) I have trouble with Mark's assertion that Nietzsche believed in History as Progress. I always thought that Nietzsche was in fact a most vocal critic of this very position - thus ridiculing those who would see this age as 'the most moral', et cetera. Surely the idea of history as Eternal Return, as loop (a day repeating itself over and over again - thus Nietzsche invokes the image of Daybreak, of Twilight), is antithetical to belief in progress? The notion of 'redemption', furthermore (Mark writes that the "Anti-Christ ubermensch" is a figure of redemption, which I will agree with for the moment), does not lend itself easily to a conception of history as progression: as Walter Benjamin points out, the Messianic redeemer in fact stops time - he appears with a "cessation of happening". If history can be ground to a halt, how could its logic be 'progress'?

I wonder, then, what Mark k-p is referring to when he thinks of Nietzsche as a believer in progress?

2) I find that there is somewhat of a leap made in equating the Last Man with Oedipus - though perhaps this is something that would seem more obvious to me if I had read Deleuze and Guattari on the issue. Even so - how is Oedipus a last man? What features do they share?

Also, though Nietzsche does get a little 'hysterical' about his anti-Christianity, I think it is somewhat insensitive to paint Nietzsche as a "pantoGoth God-baiter". I say 'insensitive' because there is a real ambivalence in Nietzsche about Christianity - he seems to admire and hate it simultaneously. Nietzsche is quite aware of this conflicting position, however, which differentiates him enormously from the overly-vocal Christianity-basher of today, whose distinguishing feature is her or his total obliviousness to the paradoxes and contradictions of his or her own position. The whining secularist, repeating the mantra - surely, we have freed ourselves from those stifling, primitive superstitions by now - is patently unaware of her/himself. And though Nietzsche may well protest too much about Christianity, I don't believe that you can use this in order to charge him with the crime of a lack of self-knowledge.

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