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Hermetic Library discussions
Posted by Marc Cohen on March 08, 2002 @ 05:14 PM
from the is-that-your-final-solution? dept.
VIII. The Will to Power
The reader closed the book, disgusted. “All this 'Death, Death,' with a capital D nonetheless. To teach me his doctrine, for that have I given this Madman a chance; yet he conducts his thought as if it were a dance. Tell me the way, lest my curiosity sour, tell me your cliche, The Will To Power!”
The reader re-opened the book, giving Zarathustra one last chance to finally get to the really popular – and hence, important – thing: The Will To Power.
“Hast thou returned to Dance with me?” asked Zarathustra.
“I have had enough of your dancing, Zarathustra. Were you a man of thought, it would be ever so unbecoming. But since you are simply a Madman, it is in character, isn't it?”
Zarathustra responded by pulling out a Pan-pipe, whistling up a Fall thunderstorm that produced dancing leaves.
“Is that all you are going to do? Play your silly games? All this time and I have heard nothing of your 'Will To Power.' Good-bye, Zarathustra.” The reader began to close the book.
“I have been discussing it all along!” giggled Zarathustra.
The reader refrained from closing the book, turned to Zarathustra in shock, and asked, “Why…”
The reader's question was interrupted by the deafening impact of a flaming sword of lightning, which separated Zarathustra from the reader. Motioning for the reader to follow him, Zarathustra leaped gaily for the Mountains.
The reader attempted to follow, but was immediately repelled by the Flaming Sword, which remained, touching the “top” of the sky. The reader made some notes about this experience and, intrigued now by Zarathustra's cryptic comment on the Will To Power, restlessly thought of how he could find Zarathustra.
One year passed until the book was re-opened. It had been found by a serious student of Friedrich Nietzsche's works. The student, whose researches and inquiries had led him to the side of this Mountain, picked up the book and opened it to where it was place-marked.
“The body of the reader lay electrocuted before the Flaming Sword. The Sanctuary shall not be profaned,” read the student.
The student noticed a badly charred notebook lying on the ground. He picked it up, and read:
“I have finally gotten a response, after all of this time, from Zarathustra about the famed 'Will To Power.' But it was just some cryptic comment about how he'd been discussing it all along. I begun to ask him why he had not been specific about this, which is, according to his sister, his most important doctrine. And then he pulled some trick of illusion on me, whereupon a flaming sword of lightning shot down between us. Zarathustra the coward ran away, giggling as only a madman would; he's probably a Jew, too, I gather. I tried to follow, but his trick somehow threw me back from where the 'Flaming Sword' was. I do not know what this is, but I shall buy my time. Indeed, when this sword is no longer visible, it will obviously be gone, and then shall I dash off and find Zarathustra. Alas, then, shall he be unable to avoid answering my questions of this 'Will To Power.' For this is the only part of his teachings that is of interest to me and the public…
“2 days have passed, and now is the Illusion gone. Now shall I pass.”
“It is true!” squealed an over-excited Student. “Zarathustra!” shouted the Student. “Come hither, I am your loyal student, I wish to understand thee more fully!”
The Student jumped, as he had been tapped on his shoulder by Zarathustra, now standing behind him. “Do you know what happened to the reader before you?” quizzed Zarathustra.
“Yes” replied the dazzled Student. “He did not understand Zarathustra's Doctrine, and hence could not pass into Zarathustra's land.”
“Indeed… and you, my friend, understand my Doctrine any better?”
“Well, I admit, there is much of which you say that I am unsure of. But I am studying Nietzsche night and day. I think that your Doctrine is best understood by understanding Nietzsche before your entrance.”
The Student was almost shaking, as if expecting a Flaming Sword himself after such a bold statement. Zarathustra simply nodded in agreement, and prompted the Student to continue.
“Anyway, I have to do a Term Paper on Nietzsche's philosophy. I came all this way in search of you, Zarathustra, so that I might gain some advice and insight.”
Zarathustra pulled out his Pan-pipes and a frenzy of fast, then slow, high, then low, Gods and Goddesses vibrated, pulsated, danced in the atmosphere. Zarathustra disappeared, and a Flaming Sword once more shot down, just missing the Student, forbidding entrance to Zarathustra's Mountain. The Student yelled Zarathustra's name in vain for hours on end, and finally left, disappointed. During his long journey home, the Student was approached by a vagabond. The Student tried to ignore this dirty, old, uncouth creature. But the creature grabbed the Student's arms, pinning them with a strength unbecoming a vagabond.
”He will judge your Work!“ coughed the vagabond, who then proceeded to lift the Student's purse, fleeing into the Night.
The Student had to beg for food and water on his journey home. When the vagabond had said, ”He will judge your Work,“ the Student was struck with the miraculous notion that Zarathustra himself would judge his report. No matter the absurdity of it all… for was not his previous confrontation with Zarathustra absurd enough? Yet all of these thoughts were shattered when the would-be soothsayer turned out to be a thief. “He must have been spouting some Christian dogma of judgment, seeking to take me off guard… and then took my purse and with it almost my Life.” Thus wrote the Student in his notes, anticipating a way to work this incident in with Nietzsche's attacks on Christianity.
But as the Student studied more and more of Nietzsche's writings, and the commentaries thereupon by the Experts, did he abandon the account of this unimportant personal event in favor of sticking to the time-honored, titular-respected remarks of those who Knew.
The Student became enmeshed in this project, neglecting all social ties and duties, even sun-light itself. The library was his one escape from the monotonous loneliness of his private study. In the library he felt the companionship of the others who were pouring their time and souls into study. The Student became quite well known at the University library for his feats of scholarship, sometimes taking as many as many as 100 pages of notes before allowing even a momentary break. If there was a book that the Library owned concerning Nietzsche which the Student was unfamiliar with, it would be checked off of a list he had cross-referenced from an Anthology of Bibliographies. Perhaps a Chair at the University was awaiting the Student, let alone his degree.
The finished product was a mammoth monument of self-sacrifice, intense labor, and attention to detail. The Professor had stated that length was no obstacle, students' papers could be as long or as short as they wished. Nonetheless, the Student continued his critical attention to detail, and was able to cut the size of his Paper almost in half. So was it when he marched into the Professor's office to hand in his Paper. A stack of 10,000 pages were neatly joined together and placed upon the Professor's desk.
The Professor gulped in disbelief mixed with intense joy. “I hope it isn't too long. I cut it virtually in half,” prompted the student.
“No, no, I said any length… this must really be something! Obviously, you must grant me considerable time to read through this.”
Almost a year passed before the Student was summoned back into the Professor's office. Graduation was approaching, and most everyone but the Student had been fitted for cap, gown, and other such accouterments. For he needed the Professor's grade on this paper to technically qualify him for graduation. There were rumors around campus that the highest grade ever bestowed on a project had been awarded the Student. He took it all as calmly as he could, and marched into the Professor's office once more, though this time devoid of the nervousness from the last encounter.
The Student entered the office, only to find his Professor missing. He looked around the office briefly, and when he turned to the desk again he noticed the Professor had been there all along, hard at work on something. The Professor looked up, and the Student turned ghostly white, falling to the floor.
“Were you not told that I would judge your Work?” quizzed the Professor, who had become Friedrich Nietzsche. The Student slowly recovered his breathing and composure. The sudden shock gone, he realized how glorious an occasion this was: Nietzsche himself had read this marvel of scholarship and would now pass on the grade – and perhaps even the baton – to the Student.
Nietzsche struggled to lift the mountain of paper into the Student's lap. The personal handing over of such a momentous Work must be the scholarly equivalent of Knighthood, thought the Student, who was struggling to maintain an unmoved air about himself. The Student immediately turned to the last page, where the grade would be. Everyone had predicted a stunning grade for the already famed scholarly work. And stunning it was.
“An 'F' ? You must be joking!” spat an enraged Student, trying to stifle somewhat murderous screams seeking release. For, indeed, it must have been a Nietzschean prank.
“Yes, you have failed,” responded Nietzsche.
“How the bloody Hell can I have failed? In this paper stands the most scholarly, thoroughly, and accurately researched Work on your Philosophy ever penned.”
“Nonetheless, it is clear that you completely fail to understand my Philosophy.”
“How can that be?! 10,000 pages!”
“And not one of them danced.”
Thus spoke Nietzsche.
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