Thursday, May 24, 2018

"What Nietzsche had to strain to see, we would now have to strain to overlook."

“Everywhere language has fallen ill, and the oppression of this dreadful sickness weighs on all of human development. Language has continually had to climb up to the highest level it could reach, in order to grasp the domain of thought, and has therefore had to move as far as can be from its profound impulse simply to correspond with things as they are. Thus, in the short space of contemporary civilization its strength has been exhausted by this excessive effort. It can no longer accomplish precisely that purpose for which alone it exists: to enable suffering people to understand one another’s most basic troubles. Man is no longer recognizable in language. He can no longer give a true representation of himself. In this dimly intuited condition, language has everywhere become a power unto itself, which now grabs the people with ghostly arms and forces them to places they don’t even want to go. As soon as they try to understand one another and come to some agreement they are seized by the madness of general concepts. Man is no longer recognizable in language because language no longer corresponds to his actual troubles but only to the hollowness of those tyrannical words and general concepts. The very sounds of the words enchant them. As a consequence of this inability to make themselves known, whatever people create together carries the sign of their lack of mutual understanding. It corresponds only to the hollowness of these tyrannical words and concepts and not to man’s actual troubles. So to all its other sufferings humanity must add this new suffering: that words lead to actions which no longer correspond with feelings.” Untimely Meditations, IV, 5 — Friedrich Nietzsche
 “What Nietzsche had to strain to see, we would now have to strain to overlook” — David Cayley, 1993.

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