Officer: (dragging his loosely laced boots along the floor as he walks to Prisoner No. 12’s cell) Since Warden no longer allows you out of your cell, let alone into the library, owing to his perceived offense at your recent truthful information, I got this quite arresting quote from a quite interesting book. You might know it: (whispers) Twilight of the Gods

12: Ah, I heard of that book, it flashed by my eyes numerous times before, when I was not yet a bookworm to be cast out. Guess it is now time to flash my light into it…can’t run forever.

Officer: I’m surprised you didn’t take this book up, it reminds me of you.

12: I can’t be like anybody, you know that.

Officer: I said “it reminded me” not that it was you.

12: oh ok…

Officer: Here’s the words –

“Not to go in for backstairs psychology. Never to observe in order to observe! That gives a false perspective, leads to squinting and something forced and exaggerated. Experience as the wish to experience does not succeed. One must not eye oneself while having an experience; else the eye becomes “an evil eye.” A born psychologist guards instinctively against seeing in order to see; the same is true of the born painter. He never works “from nature”; he leaves it to his instinct, to his camera obscura, to sift through and express the “case,” “nature,” that which is “experienced.” He is conscious only of what is general, of the conclusion, the result: he does not know arbitrary abstractions from an individual case.

What happens when one proceeds differently? For example, if, in the manner of the Parisian novelists, one goes in for backstairs psychology and deals in gossip, wholesale and retail? Then one lies in wait for reality, as it were, and every evening one brings home a handful of curiosities. But note what finally comes of all this: a heap of splotches, a mosaic at best, but in any case something added together, something restless, a mess of screaming colors. The worst in this respect is accomplished by the Goncourts; they do not put three sentences together without really hurting the eye, the psychologist’s eye.

Nature, estimated artistically, is no model. It exaggerates, it distorts, it leaves gaps. Nature is chance. To study “from nature” seems to me to be a bad sign: it betrays submission, weakness, fatalism; this lying in the dust before petit faits [little facts] is unworthy of a whole artist. To see what is–that is the mark of another kind of spirit, the anti-artistic, the factual. One must know who one is.”

Now, discuss

12: Aww..you want a long monologue from me, you wish to bore me. Our discourses have pleasured me immensely these past few weeks. Watching your growth from where you were as I lend myself to your use, the nice points you bring up that educate me too.

Officer: No, it won’t be. Take this too as a discourse, a discourse it is already.

12: Okay, let’s start from this ‘One must not eye oneself while having an experience; else the eye becomes “an evil eye.”‘.
~ What Nietzsche means here is one must efface himself to effectively have an experience, in this case to effectively experience another person, being a psychologist’s moral.

“Experience as the wish to experience does not succeed.”
~ Here, two currents stir; Nietzsche is a master of the ambiguously coherent metaphor, in his words, one finds a prayerful dialectic, solemn as a solitary monk.

Officer: Hey, hey, hey, wait, wait, wait, what do you mean with that prayerful monk wisecrack, aren’t you shoving me into the bottle without a shoehorn?

12: Come on, decipher it yourself, it is good mental exercise? Aren’t you yourself shoving me into a bottle with a ‘shoehorn’?

Officer: Alright. The prayerful monk is an image to express the intensity of Nietzsche’s phrases and even words – how much they make meaning and the depth of insight present a la the invocation of Spirit through prayer. One easily sees that he was a connoisseur of words and chose them well. He was a like a Commando of words, he knew how to use them to impactful effect. His fastidiousness with words might be rivalled only by the poet, Blake.

12: Very good, now that wasn’t too hard, was it? I have just educated you in that first part of Friedrich’s teaching I just discussed, efface yourself and admit yourself into the experience; which admission brings us to the next part of my discussion, which is just the additive element that elucidates our point before detour

“That gives a false perspective, leads to squinting and something forced and exaggerated” – Nietzsche advises the psychologist not to force his perception otherwise he impoverishes the psychological experience and ‘gets not at the issue’. This is expressed in the part about a “wish to experience”. He also is telling you not to experience just for the sake of experiencing, that is, a shallow form of experience, something must be taken even though it isn’t forced to be taken.

Now,

“A born psychologist guards instinctively against seeing in order to see; the same is true of the born painter. He never works “from nature”; he leaves it to his instinct, to his camera obscura, to sift through and express the “case,” “nature,” that which is “experienced.” He is conscious only of what is general, of the conclusion, the result: he does not know arbitrary abstractions from an individual case.” – This born psychologist has no time for just experiencing or ‘experiencing’ (wilful experience), he effaces himself and loses himself in the experience so that he is like a diver who goes into a murky pool to shine a light.

“What happens when one proceeds differently? …deals in gossip, wholesale and retail? Then one lies in wait for reality, as it were, and every evening one brings home a handful of curiosities. But note what finally comes of all this: a heap of splotches, a mosaic at best, but in any case something added together, something restless, a mess of screaming colors.” – Here, he tells you what he wishes to say more directly, though indirectly, he is showing you what happens with forced experience; one becomes a journalist, keeping journals of people you don’t know and have no wish to be laying skeletons in book spines. You don’t arrive at the binding element, the fluidity that sweetens the apprehension of them. You don’t find humanity, you don’t find humans in their full splendor (splendor as an effect of excellent enmeshment) but arms, legs, an intestine here, a nail there e.t.c, e.t.c.

What’s left? You realize how much emphasis Nietzsche places on his words, they all mean something. He could say “the boy is going to school” and just switch it round to “it is school the boy is going” and the meaning entirely changes to a whale and a shark struggling for predominance.

Officer: mmm

12: “this lying in the dust before petit faits [little facts] is unworthy of a whole artist. To see what is–that is the mark of another kind of spirit, the anti-artistic, the factual. One must know who one is.” – Here, I’m sure everything comes alive. You realize that Nietzsche, like our good architect of this grand penitentiary, was very intoxicated with the idea of the artist. Mark the words he uses “whole artist”, he gives it away here – in fact I didn’t see it at first – he is telling you to indulge the whole thing, to enter and move in it and let it speak to you.

But, he says prior, “Nature, estimated artistically, is no model. It exaggerates, it distorts, it leaves gaps. Nature is chance”. Here, he is telling you the primacy of the human in this experience still, he is hinting that there is something in the human that transforms experiences and makes them greater – the mark of the true artist.

Officer: (excitedly) Yes! He makes that point here: “A man in this state transforms things until they mirror his power–until they are reflections of his perfection. This having to transform into perfection is–art.” Here, the state he refers to is the state of frenzy.

12: Ahh yes, it’s just like Fred to be so kind to leave such helpful info. He doesn’t desert his wards.

Officer: I must say, through all of this, I see something ‘the great importance of the Dionysian’. It is the Dionysian that enters into experiences. Ahh, the psychologist must needs be ‘foolish’ as the Dionysian.

12: (with tone of realizatioin) Yeahhh

Officer: Told you, we would still discourse

(they smile at each other and start to stare at the blank wall, whistling, leant against the wall, inside and outside the cell)

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