Monday, December 14, 2015

I wrote this nineteen years ago

I imagine Nietzsche's ghost hovering over bombed-out Berlin in April of 1945, realising what his philosophy of the will had led to. He becomes severely depressed and exclaims, "I wish my philosophy had not been thought at all." Then Clarence pops in and tells N. that he mustn't wish such a horrid thing. But N. insists that the world would have been a better place had his philosophy not been "born" at all. And so Clarence grants him his wish.

All of a sudden Berlin appears new, shiny, and thriving. Germany still has Silesia. Clarence and N. run into Heidegger who is now only a crazy bum panhandling for spare change. N. exclaims, "Martin, what has happened to you?" Clarence says, "He couldn't call you the last metaphysician and get tenure." "Oh, no, one of the major architects of atheistic existentialism!" Nietzsche is nearly in tears. Clarence explains, "But he could not be an architect for atheistic existentialism because your thought wasn't there to lay its groundworks."

Nietzsche timidly asks what has happened to Sartre. "You don't want to know, Fritz, you just don't want to know." But Nietzsche is so importunate that Clarence finally blurts out, "He's an organ grinder in front of Ste Marie des Batignolles." They go to Paris (which, incidentally, was never occupied by Nazi forces because a Nazi movement never developed) and N. runs up to Sartre and begs that he recognize him but Sartre can only grind out the tune of "Frere Jacques". N. is devastated.

Clarence then gives him the worst news of all, "Because your thought was never thought, Sartre could not have a major impact on academia. Deconstruction will not develop and Derrida will have to make a living writing stand-up. Because your genealogy was not thought, Foucault will have to make a living as a male prostitute. And because your Fröhliche Wissenschaft was not thought, everyone now thinks God is alive and well and all is right with the world and neo-thomism is now the academically chic philosophy. No undergraduate will ever wear black, smoke clove cigarettes, and act morbid because he knows your nauseating truth--for your nauseating truth was never thought. And Allan Bloom will not make ragging on you into a cottage industry for conservatives. So, you see how one man's philosophy can have a major impact on all our lives."

Nietzsche runs back to the Brandenburg Gates and cries, "I want my thought to live again, I will it back into being, please, Clarence, let it be willed back again, let it be willed back again." He rests his poor desperate brow on the pillar of the gate, and when he raises his head, he sees to his surprise bombed-out buildings again. He is ecstatic. He runs through the center of Berlin, passes a theatre where The Triumph of the Will is playing, and yells, "I love you, Frau Liefenstahl!" He passes the Reichstag and yells to it, "I love you, you old bombed-out Reichstag." He throws a snowball at a Russian soldier, and the Russian soldier shoots him.

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