Calculations on Power and Powerlessness

They won’t like you if you don’t do things their way. And you won’t like yourself if you do. Whose judgment will matter more to you in the long run?

Hatred is a most intense pleasure, tempting us with the addictive thrill typical of any titillation that bears the tincture of the taboo. For hatred is the revenge fantasy of the man who feels weak and inferior, against those who make him feel weak and inferior. This means hatred is a siren song calling the soul to its doom. For if hatred is the weak man’s dream of punishing the strong, then each time we succumb to this passion, we are reinforcing our sense of weakness, habituating ourselves to the feeling of inferiority. 

Thus, the addictive pleasure that is hatred — the soul’s rage against feeling powerless — actually deepens the feeling of powerlessness. To hate is to gradually shrink oneself, in a self-refuting grasp at consolation, to the stature of a bubble of spit on the floor. 

Bradley, a British idealist and mystic, echoing Kant, said, “Metaphysics is the finding of bad reasons for what we believe upon instinct.”

Nietzsche, idealism’s most profound critic, said our “small reason” (spirit, metaphysics, unchanging reality) is merely the transitory self-delusion or manifestation of our “great reason” (the body, passion, will to power).

What this demonstrates is that the nineteenth century was the historical moment when philosophy reaped the bitter rewards of modern materialism’s collapsing of thought into language, and that this collapse has proven irreversible. Idealists and existentialists, Germans and Anglo-Americans, continentals and analytics, up to the present day, all agree that in essence, reason (the soul) is language (discourse) — which suggests that in the end they understand neither.

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