onsdag 10 augusti 2011

Zarathushtra - The Anti-Esseentialist!

Zarathushtra is an anti-essentialist too. Or rather, he is historically PRIOR to essentialism.
Zarathushtra reveals this when he argues for CHOICES to be made prior to speaking and acting. He is fascinated with the process of choice, IN ITSELF, not as a result of some nature of some inner soul (an essence).


2011/8/10 Special Kain

Perhaps this is off-topic, but the discussion on Nietzsche's Zoroastrian attitude towards meaning "forces" me to bring up this topic: the anti-essentialist self.

Nietzsche was totally against essentialism - much like his many followers, from French existentialists to postmodernists to the new pragmatists like Richard Rorty. There is no essence to begin with. There is no "true self" hidden underneath multiple layers (socialization, conditioning and so on). There are habits only. And we are what we repeatedly do - we are the total sum of our habits (see also Aristotle, David Hume and Gilles Deleuze). The "true self" doesn't exist.

What we have instead is "inner plurality": a multitude of forces and counter-forces such as urges, desires, interests and convictions. These forces bond and create "sub-personas" that can be in peace or in conflict with other inner "sub-personas". But there is still no HOLISTIC SELF.

Nietzsche wrote in "Die fröhliche Wissenschaft" (The Gay Science) that one should give style to one's character ("seinem Charakter Stil geben") - I don't know if there's a better English translation. That is, we are requested to integrate and coordinate this inner plurality in order to create such a holistic self. In other words, we become the choices we make, we are the habits we take. And the holistic self is therefore always "under construction", since there is no closure (please see Deleuze). So there are two communities to deal with: the outer community (society) and the inner community (the self). And different members from the inner community correspond with members from the outer community, and vice versa. And, of course, there are conflicts between inner members and outer members as well.


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