Friedrich Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil

§ An inscrutable thinker

To begin with, and despite the title of the section under which this article is posted, this is not a review, and perhaps not even a commentary on this great work, but rather a series of thoughts around impressions of it held by several groups, in contrast to what may be a more accurate consideration of the man in question and his work. It seems that all that is needed to claim Nietzsche’s ideas as support for an ideological stance is to have somewhat of a thick skin or simply be alright with blunt criticism of anything one disagrees with. The interesting thing about Nietzsche is that he is at once glorified and vilified by people with widely differing ideologies across the full spectrum, with the exception of those explicitly following a Judeo-Christian kind defense of the weak, the mediocre and anything “human, all too human”.

Atheists claim him as one of their own, as they superficially read his words and take them to mean that Nietzsche was the highest kind of independent mind there was. In truth, Nietzsche can be seen criticizing both the dogmatic religious and the modern hubris of the modern atheist, even if he does not name each specifically and in quite such words. The attention of his sledge hammer is directed most of all to the flowering atheism and scientism that was taking Europe by storm at the time of his writing Beyond Good and Evil, and which atheism (or at least crypto-atheism disguised as a kind of philosophical pantheism) and scientism has since become the norm among the educated, and especially among the liberal-minded. Nietzsche dispenses as much injury upon the religious as upon the anti-religious. What he argued for was not the absence of a morality or a tradition, but the distinction between qualities of it, and their origin.

There is MASTER-MORALITY and SLAVE-MORALITY,—I would at once add, however, that in all higher and mixed civilizations, there are also attempts at the reconciliation of the two moralities, but one finds still oftener the confusion and mutual misunderstanding of them, indeed sometimes their close juxtaposition—even in the same man, within one soul.

Aristocrats claim him, even though he devotes large portions of his thought to demolishing any claims of nobility that modern aristocrats might still hold on to. The nobility to which Nietzsche so often alludes is one that is proven through spirit and resulting action thereof: that is, the Will; the Will to Life and Power (alluded to here in the sense that Gwendolyn Taunton has exposed in the past1). His is a nobility that self-creates through this Will, and whose decisions are based upon results and high aims with a vision of centuries, and which does not rest upon vainglorious pride, but rather the question of how to improve. This nobility, however, does reserve a right to determine notions of what should be or what should not be, and there lies the difference between literal nobility, of which Nietzsche speaks, and the allegorical nobility which the humanist modern man would like to believe in.

Purists, and National Socialist types would cringe if they would have actually studied Nietzsche. For, while he deals a significant amount of damage to the Jew, enough to actually garner enough merit to be awarded the title of “anti-semite” he also gives them credit where it is deserved in a manner not unlike Hitler in Mein Kampf, actually, though with different aims and perhaps coming to different practical conclusions. The nobility of action, which was that of a created spirit, could perhaps be better aligned with Julius Evola’s nobility of the spirit, which was not independent of blood but rather worked through and above it in a supra-eugenic manner.

It stands to reason that the more powerful and strongly marked types of new Germanism could enter into relation with the Jews with the least hesitation, for instance, the nobleman officer from the Prussian border: it would be interesting in many ways to see whether the genius for money and patience (and especially some intellect and intellectuality — sadly lacking in the place referred to) could not in addition be annexed and trained to the hereditary art of commanding and obeying — for both of which the country in question has now a classic reputation.

Anarchists claim him, even though he clearly believes only an incredibly small percentage of the population can be truly free, as a result of innate abilities that not all possess and the opportunities to develop them. Rather than push towards the idea of a world where every individual is completely independent, a natural hierarchy is deemed by Nietzsche as inevitable, whatever social constructs humans might like to dream on about. The roots for these lie deep in our nature and in Nature, and attempting to change them is usually a path towards self-annihilation, and an overall sentiment that is anathema to Life itself.

“We truthful ones”—the nobility in ancient Greece called themselves. It is obvious that everywhere the designations of moral value were at first applied to MEN; and were only derivatively and at a later period applied to ACTIONS.

It is then also common to hear people who in their youth upheld Nietzsche as a pillar of their own ideology, only to later reject what they thought his philosophy consisted of, on the basis of them changing the emphasis and focus of their own narrow-minded understanding. The former anti-religious communist becomes a progressive advocate of combinatorics chaos theory and real politik in an attempt to out-intellectualize the philosopher, while of course, distancing himself from the word ‘intellectual’, even as he poses as one. The former modern aristocrat finds the truth about the depth of corrupt modernity and so turns against the philosopher as if he were part of this, and as if tradition as the answer were wholly incompatible with the ideas of Nietzsche. Each of them have only moved from one misapprehension into another, without ever actually having captured the essence of Nietzsche’s thought.

What is he really about, then? Nietzsche was, in fact, terribly honest and direct, even though people seem to insist upon reading him in the most cryptic of ways, perhaps in an attempt to validate themselves and avoid what he was actually urging humanity towards. In truth, it is quite difficult to finish creating a personal picture of Nietzsche, because one has to read his particular takes on so many things before one can even begin to glimpse what his stated proposal of the Übermensch actually entails. The statement “beyond good and evil” entails precisely what it seems to state, rather than an allegorical turn of phrase, a state in which the superior individual does not concern itself with dichotomies and labels, and rather finds the reality of self-determined action beyond them. Since the great majority of humanity functions through and lives by these symbols, faiths and abstractions, the immediate reality, and more importantly, the patterns and not the appearances that constitute this reality2, to which Nietzsche constantly refers eludes them every time as they refuse to see what is in front of them in favor of their own construct thereof.


1 “To Nietzsche, the figure of Dionysus is the supreme affirmation of life, the instinct and the Will to Power, with the Will to Power being an expression of the Will to Life and Truth at its highest exaltation.” —Gwendolyn Taunton, ‘The Black Sun’, Primordial Traditions, Vol I.

2 A notion elegantly and concisely explained by Brett Stevens in his book Nihilism, as a condensation of Nietzsche, Spinoza and Plato, perhaps even through the digestion of others.

Prognosis de un Elitismo Personal – Parte I: Arte y Vida

§ Estética y Esencia

El arte, comprendido de manera acertada y cercana a su naturaleza verdadera, está frecuentemente vinculado a la vida humana como experiencia total —como una expresión de su esencia, y en la música en particular es el efecto total lo que cuenta, reflejando y comunicándose con el todo del oyente. Es por esto que la música puede ser una fuente rica para el análisis de la mente de un individuo, ya sea la del compositor de la misma como del individuo que elige una música sobre otra. Por sus características y efecto sobre el humano, la música también ha tenido una cercanía curiosa con la religión desde que tenemos memoria y según encontramos en la evidencia antropológica.

Dice Gwendolyn Taunton acerca de la evolución y cambio en el concepto Nietzscheano de lo Apolíneo y lo Dionisíaco:

To be complete and to derive ultimate mastery from the creative process, one must harness both the impulses represented by Apollo and Dionysus —the instinctual urge and the creative power of Dionysus, coupled with the skill and intellectualism of Apollo’s craftsmanship —in sum, both natural creative power from the will and the skills learned within a social grouping. This definition will hold true for all creative ventures and is not restricted to the artistic process; ‘will’ and ‘skill’ to act in harmony and concord.1

Es por eso que, si bien sería negligente juzgar la totalidad de un individuo a partir de una de sus obras, si podemos juzgar la totalidad de la obra por lo que ella presente por sí sola; lo que se puede entender y vislumbrar a partir de ella en el juego total y en su balance de lo Apolíneo y lo Dionisíaco. Dado que también existe una limitación en esto en la capacidad de la audiencia, hay que entrenar ambos y luego, en un juego de distanciamiento y acercamiento, objetividad y subjetividad, lograr una unión de opuestos en comprensión detallada y en experiencia familiarizada.

Así es que, mientras la infatuación (dígase, el amor y gusto ciego) y permisividad del capricho propio rijan, el componente de lo Apolíneo que rige la traducción de la esencia a la estética se hallará siempre sujeto a un auto engaño que favorecerá sentimientos y apegos antes que la realidad —lo que sencillamente es, más allá de nuestras percepciones cambiantes. Dado que lo primero funge como traductor entre dimensiones, si éste es distorcionado, la esencia detrás, el inmortal Dionisíaco también estará, por ley de correspondencia, sujeto a esto y de manera doble, por la indirección natural que la realidad ella misma nos presenta.

Dado, asimismo, que solamente podemos evaluar y percibir mediante las habilidades y conocimiento que poseemos en el presente, ésta es una lucha, una deleitable evolución personal que no debería tener fin, al menos no en nuestras vidas mortales. A medida que se afina y se comprende más acerca del arte de la traducción de esencia a estética, o sea, de lo Apolíneo como el medio hacia lo Dionisíaco, también se vuelve más fácil y práctico evaluar nuevas instancias del arte.

§ Evaluaciones acerca del black metal

Al haber profundizado en la estética del black metal, no hacen falta doce años de familiaridad con una obra en particular para interpretar las implicaciones aurales de la música, las cuales tienen vida propia y revelan más de lo que pueda excusar o dar por sentado el compositor o autor mismo. Es más, la evaluación podría ser llevada a cabo de manera penetrante en cuestión de días, si no es que momentos; todo se resume en la habilidad y discernimiento de quien se abre, escucha y juzga; ambos la habilidad y el discernimiento se basan sobre la experiencia, intensión y capacidad nata.

Creo que es por esto mismo que debemos darle más importancia a la música que a las letras u otras formas de recubrirse de símbolos; confirmada la música, la letra puede venir a dar una multitud de detalles explícitos que terminan y complementan a la música. Pues, en la música, uno encuentra comportamientos y pistas inconscientes, acaso filtradas a través de y no nacidas del artista mismo, y revelaciones del verdadero nivel al cual es comunicado el arte —diciéndonos todo lo que necesitamos saber acerca de la maestría, o la falta de esta, en el artista.

El artista como Adepto podría catalogarse de quien realmente pueda traer ambas juntas, de manera que no solamente su música por sí sola revela la profundidad de la esencia por medio de su estética, si no que él está en completa comprensión y consciencia de ésta relación: consciente de la canalización y su transformación. Esto requiere habilidad técnica, conocimiento del arte de la estética —o sea, de la composición como artesanía— así como de experiencia con las percepciones puras que producen los patrones; en fin, estar familiarizado y haber dominado las avenidas entre expresión y significado transcendentales.

El black metal, en sus tendencias explícitamente metafísicas y espirituales, es un campo de investigación particularmente rico para los intereses de nuestra presente discusión. Podemos, por un lado, tomar bandas que conscientemente y verbalmente se dan muchos aires de profundidad, pero cuya música no presenta una estética que dé a conocer la esencia que dicen canalizar. Por otro lado, podemos encontrar proyectos, en mucho menor número, los cuales no hacen ninguna clase de, o muy pocas, aclaraciones respecto a su música, pero cuya estética en sí revela el carácter realmente profundo y oscuro de alguna esencia desconocida.

Por lo general, los primeros son anti-tradicionales, y en su deconstrucción consciente presentan payasadas auditivas, y los segundos más bien presentan una elaboración muy personalizada de la tradición2. Consiguientemente, vemos en los primeros mucha pretensión3 dentro de la música misma, y en la segunda un método directo cuya elaboración habla por sí sola.

En la música de S.V.E.S.T., lo incógnito se encontraba en su capacidad de llevar al oyente a situaciones complejas y confusas mediante medios casi rudimentarios, y que, una vez analizados, se mostraban en total control y coherencia de sí mismos. El énfasis aquí se encontraba sobre el efecto total que tendrían relaciones dinámicas y vivas entre distintos aspectos musicales —una música de estética holística, no meramente acuñada en explicaciones intelectuales sin contraparte estético en la estructura musical, y por ende mejor equipada para transmitir la esencia de lo que es: como un puente de corrientes y energías no atadas a nuestro universo causal.

§ El ser una luz hacia uno mismo

Importante es saber qué y como tomar las opiniones de aquellos a quienes respetamos y admiramos, pues, a menos que los adoremos como seres supremos y de poderes incuestionables, ellos también son seres finitos, no solamente con distintas capacidades de discernimiento pero también con su propia opinión que no cambia la realidad de las cosas. Para complicar aún más las percepciones de algunos, resulta que algunas de las bandas mencionadas anteriormente, específicamente Deathspell Omega y S.V.E.S.T., han colaborado en al menos una publicación de sus obras, lo cual casi siempre es una señal de mutuo respeto, aunque a veces es conveniencia y estrategia, si no es que apoyo de un superior a un inferior.

Hay que señalar primeramente que el respeto por alguien no es equivalente a ovación por cada una de sus obras; además de que un artista superior está en todo su derecho y libertad de explorar y encontrar cierto valor, cualquiera que este sea, en el trabajo de mentes menos capaces y otorgarles respeto por esto —el genio detrás de las meditaciones de Burzum, por ejemplo, tomaba como una influencia principal la música de la banda alemana de speed metal sólido mas poco impresionante de Destruction.

Esto abre aún más incógnitas, pues el sentido común nos diría que los mejores artistas seguramente han de saber que es lo mejor, y han de alimentarse de lo mejor. Lo más probable, sin embargo, es que el artista superior puede filtrar y adaptar, de manera mas eficiente y penetrante, elementos e impresiones que encuentra aun en lo inferior, de manera que los utiliza para sus propios fines y hacia resultados de mucho mayor alcance y calidad. Además de que el discernimiento enteramente consciente y el talento creativo son dos campos distintos, si bien están conectados y se entrelazan.

Lo que podemos aprender al respecto, es que cada uno de nosotros ha de tomar, primeramente, de donde nuestra tendencia natural, en cuanto a carácter espiritual y metafísico nos guíe, y en segundo lugar, hasta y como nuestras limitaciones de aprendizaje y natas nos lo permitan; siendo lo primero una brújula que constantemente se ha de redescubrir, y lo segundo una señal de lo que debemos mejorar para poder avanzar. Mientras todo esto se tome más allá del ego, y se utilize de manera constructiva y dinámica, siempre será un medio y una herramienta para la evolución personal.

1 Gwendolyn Taunton, Primordial Traditions, Vol. I, ‘THE BLACK SUN, Dionysus in the Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche & Greek Myth’.
2 Podríamos clasificar a Watain y Deathspell Omega en el primero de estos grupos, y a S.V.E.S.T. y Katharsis en el segundo. Cabe decir, además y como aclaración, que el autor de este artículo no favorece en predilección personal a Katharsis.
2 Se recuerda al lector, que contrario a la comprensión y uso burdo de las masas del metal que usan la palabra ‘pretensión’ para definir cualquier cosa que sea demasiado elaborada para ellos, aquí se le usa en su definición original: algo que pretende ser más de lo que realmente es, el proyectarse como algo superior a lo que se es.

Problems With Perennial Philosophy


I. Admitting biases

Before starting this brief recount of reasons for rejecting some of the aspects of Perennial Philosophy (later ‘Primordial Tradition’), it would only be fair to admit to some of the own biases that affect this judgement. In so doing it will also be useful to point out how this background, and a particular take on them, results in a discrepancy with what I understand to be Perennial Philosophy and what seems apparent from a direct experience and pondering on the general subjects (rather than specific expertise in the contents of The Book of the Dead, for instance).

First of all, my first serious introduction to esoteric studies was through Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine, which I grew to respect a lot without necessarily believing everything it asserted —something the author of the work herself constantly stresses is relevant here: she admits to the fallibility of her writings and constantly reminds the reader she is interpreting and re-transmitting what she thought was an ancient set of teachings. This attitude and approach were more valuable to me in this area of intellectual inquiry than any claims to complete validity (which are only marginally supportable in the social sciences —including History).

Secondly, I received a rather brief but effective introduction to the premises of Perennial Philosophy by a scholarly friend who had spent some time studying them and adhered to them. Our conversation was especially effective because we quickly came to the points of contrast between what I had taken (and personally interpreted) from Blavatsky and the views of Perennial Philosophy behind which my friend stood in a more reasonable and conservative stance than my own burgeoning and militant attitude regarding what is and what can be.

Lastly, my foremost reference regarding the idea of a Tradition from the Golden Age and beyond comes from Julius Evola’s Revolt Against the Modern World. Evola is sometimes mentioned by those who adhere to Perennial Philosophy, but he was not himself an adherent in the same way that Alduous Huxley, for instance, was. The degree of compatibility extends to where all agree that there are teachings and practices from so-called pre-historical times that seek to connect human beings with the greater aspects (whether higher or lower) latent in themselves, and through them towards a greater occult reality. Evola himself, it must be said, was strictly discriminatory between what he found as ‘better’ and ‘worse’ approaches to transcendence; and his specific opinions on those matters I respectfully ponder on and pay attention to although I do not necessarily share.

Most recently, my on-going reading of Gwendolyn Taunton’s Primordial Traditions, Vol I. has brought me back to the subject. Taunton made it possible for me to very clearly see what things my own thought shares with Perennial Philosophy and where the great basic points of divergence are. More of a collection of essays in and around the Primordial Tradition (another, more organic, name for Perennial Philosophy), Primordial Traditions, Vol I. presents the reader with a good introduction to the modern form of a Tradition of and for transcendence.

In general, the greatest value of Perennial Philosophy is as a gateway for scholars into a greater reality, which enables us to also peruse their abilities as researchers, thus excavating and re-discovering much knowledge and teachings in a spreading area of subjects. While a subject remains stuck in the ideas of Perennial Philosophy, he will be tied down by civilized, and thus temporal, thought.

II. Blinded by inclusiveness 

The first thing one notices about Perennial Philosophy is that emphasizes the inclusion of all religious ideas, wishing to see beyond the gaping differences between them. The method followed is not difficult to see: cherry-pick the similarities, especially those that align with tolerance and love (because they are nice and marketable), interpret some aspects to match their vision, and simply dismiss discrepancies and the more violent aspects as temporal cultural distortions of the ‘truth’. Now, besides the obvious difference of opinion, I have no problem with the method itself so long as they acknowledge that theirs is a particular interpretation of traditions as per their own premises and even prejudices; but they do not and as good modern scholars, hide behind the facade of academic pretense to attain the closest thing one can get in the ‘modern age of science’ to a kind of supernatural authority.

Whatever Blavatsky did with Theosophy, I never cared much for; I rather followed the wise advice of an older person in holding on to my own ideas while openly exploring and considering new ones insofar as I could learn from them unbound. At the end of the day, the greatest ‘sins’ to modern eyes of both Blavatsky and Evola, are that they outright rejected Judaism as degenerate, though each in their very own and detailed way. When doing so, they both presented specific reasons that were logical and sound, but most would not accept them simply because today’s status quo demands inclusiveness and brainwashes the population into an emotional need for it.

In hindsight, I find Blavatsky’s approach in The Secret Doctrine to be of a more healthily skeptical and having a scientific mentality than the little I’ve read and heard from Perennial Philosophy. This statement may leave some flabbergasted because Perennial Philosophy is the academically accepted account, which to some of us implies something very different than to others; to the majority, the endorsing by at least a certain percentage of academia means there is a degree of ‘objective truth’ in whatever is being endorsed; to others of us, it only signifies that the ideas do not present a direct or drastic threat to the modes of thinking typical of academia grounded in intellectual discourse and tolerance. In other words, academic endorsement in the social sciences is more of a political and emotional marker than anything else.

The most important point of divergence for my own thinking lies in that while Perennial Philosophy asserts that the differences between religions represent the re-discovery of exact same eternal truths through the lenses of individuals in different historical and cultural contexts that distort those teachings, Blavatsky rather posited the idea of a “Secret Doctrine”, which stood since time immemorial and the knowledge of which sipped through the cracks of not-so-hermetic circles of keepers and adherents to take on interpretations and forms that were closer to the truth in different degrees. Basically, where Perennial Philosophy offers a picture of all religions singing Cumbaya in a circle of irrelevant and superficial differences (a similar dismissal of racial differences is advocated by Politically Correct scientists) that ultimately has no bearing upon the ‘inalienable truth that all of them connect to’, Blavatsky talks about religions that got it certain things right and other things wrong, religions that were simply degenerated beyond recognition, and those that maintained a semblance of the original teaching.

One acquainted with Evola’s Revolt Against the Modern World might notice the similarity in at least this admission of religions differing in terms of relations to the truth rather than simply being equally valid yet distinctly reflecting versions and interpretations of it. Where the one emphasizes reality and human fallibility, the other swims in a mystic pool of happy feelings that wishes to grant equal footing to the ‘subjective opinion’ of all religions.

In holding on to a kind of democratic/humanist ideal in mind, the Perennial Philosophers argue for this dream of human-wide brotherhood, even if they do not themselves like democracy or humanism in themselves; the reason for this is that the disease behind them is the same: the unwillingness to see that there is better and worse, even though this leads to the danger of mass prejudices. Modern intellectual types, especially those involved in academia and recognized by society as authorities have a hard time discriminating against certain kinds of characteristics; in today’s world, you can discriminate against political ideas and such, but you should not make differences of race or belief a central subject in anything. Truth and reality in all this is utterly unimportant; thus we distinguish…

III. Not far enough in either direction

Typical of any idea on spirituality that is well-received among circles of academics and well-to-dos, the present ‘Perennial Philosophy’ / ‘Primordial Tradition’ is theoretically one of commitment but mainly one of moderation where the typical social norms of the time are left relatively respected; never mind the more extremist solutions placed forth by those who would act in the plane of the relevant; never mind even those crazy and (oh, the Horror!) of those  shady and less than acceptable connections of Evola.

The desire of Perennial Philosophers to be accepted leads them to put logic aside in place of rationalizations (these two are not the same, for those not paying enough attention). They talk about faith and the necessity of pragmatic asceticism, both of which I would agree in a way, it is not so in the extremist or wholly committed way that would break rightfully and inevitably break this society apart and bring the opportunity of reconstruction. What is more, because Perennial Philosophy is primarily academic and over-intellectual  it is at the same time in a constant fear of not being deemed reasonable enough.

At the end of the day, it is not logical and skeptical enough as to uphold reason completely, nor is it fanatic enough to attain the occult power of the true ascetic. It defends this mediocre stance by stating that art and religion escape logic and reason, and that it thus can only be apprehended but never understood. With this, I might generally agree, but again, they do not go far enough; they do not go far enough to understand that all such divergences in perceptions are the illusion, and that even if they acknowledge it in words they are not actively realizing that all reality is one.

If art and religion have a connection to human reality and emotion, there is also a logical (because structured) explanation to it that does not demean or decrease its power and truth. In reality, everything with an order should be explainable logically; that we cannot explain the next level only points out a present limitation in our capacity and understanding.