Michelle Bentsman

What is the Meaning of Ascetic Ideals: A dialogue between Friedrich Nietzsche and X



The artist, the philosopher, the woman.
The deformed and deranged human majority.
The ideal bespeaks my intimacy with that which I seek to critique.

Collapse everything. You named me thrice, deformed and deranged we make the minority—make no mistake, you who mold me and enter. Fold me into that feeling — binding sensual contemplation, overwhelming focus — and let me lie there.

Schopenhauer said: This is the painless condition that Epicurus praised as the highest good and the condition of the gods; for a moment we are delivered from the vile urgency of the will.

We gain release from a torture, I say.
Philosopher's pain, you might say.

You have closed my lips with longing for a phantom — release that never comes.

Every philosopher would speak as Buddha did when he was told of the birth of a son:
                Rahula has been born to me, a fetter has been forged for me.

I swear I shall lie barren for you, but fertile ground is a fetter all its own.

A philosopher is bound to rejoice and clap his hands when he hears the story of all those resolute men who one day said No to all servitude and went into some desert.

Earthly noise and the demands of daily life sap us of our powers.

Will you listen for me when I am gone?

A philosopher affirms his existence and only his existence, I say.
The cheerful asceticism of an animal become fledged and divine, floating above life rather than in repose.

Floating toward supreme repose, to become the serpent on the waters — cosmic-infinite repose.

All good things were formerly bad things, I say.

Contemplative man, power-hungry hermit, innovator of ideas.
Pose, cloak, mask.
The repulsive and gloomy caterpillar form in which alone the philosopher could live and creep about.

I have become the disconsolate ooze.

Even parasitic and hiding, the philosopher might reveal a shining inner light.
In masquerade, we conceal a many-colored and dangerous winged creature.

Yours quietly exploits another.

That life-inimical species, they who poison the already ill.
The sickly sufferer is turned from one who is like an animal shut up in a cage thirsting for reasons to a hen imprisoned by a chalk line, I say.

Each day is a chalk line. We hens squawking-seeking to become roosters, roosting on the same voices, winged without flight, we cannot float.

The last idealists of knowledge believe they are liberated,
But alas.
They have faith in truth.

We have sought the same voices — they speak so sweetly of truth. It was embedded deeply in the heart of the philosopher—so deeply we cannot see it.

Truth was not permitted to be a problem.
The lie of God.
The longest lie.

You must murder the beast in order to wear its skin.

Not to question is supremely contemptible.

Call the question the new cloak.

What is the value of truth?

One should look with a thousand eyes. More eyes, different eyes.

One should look with a thousand eyes. More eyes, different eyes.

The philosopher must sever his ties with the last stronghold of the ascetic ideal, buried deep within, through the power of the question, hurled from as many perspectives as possible, to deflate that power which putrefies the will to live from the inside out.

Must we sharpen our spears and don the question, piercing everything that threatens to swallow us whole?



Statement of Process and Intention

Upcycled from a critical reading response, the unitalicized text is a combination of direct quote and analysis culled from the original. Rather than take out my voice completely, I blend the analytical voice with that of the original author, as any critical reading requires embedding oneself into the writer's argument. In doing so, I intend to draw out the dubious distinction between author and reader during the act of interpretation. The italicized text is the response of the creature formerly known as the close reader, which together with the previous text gives voice to the act of close reading itself. The dialogue represents an internal division: one becomes the author insofar as one must parse their words; one merges oneself with the author insofar as one must cleverly clarify and even innovate the argument from the inside out; one becomes intimately fused, and yet remains distinct throughout this process, still a separate self that is stirred in reaction to these words.

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