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Metamorphosis of Selfhood | Philosopher Muse

“Nietzsche’s underlying view that if we don’t make a drastically new start we are doomed, since we are living in the wreckage of two thousand and more years of fundamentally mistaken ideas about almost everything that matters.” – Michael Tanner

We can all recall a time in our lives when our paradigm of the world changed in the twinkling of an eye. For me this was as a student in elementary school while watching theatre in the gymnasium. A number of my teachers appeared in a stage play that enabled me to see them in a completely different light. Instead of a painfully tedious lecture while imprisoned to a hard wooden chair, my jailers were transformed into fun loving liberators.

It was around this age of reason that ancient Greek stories became a permanent fabric of my imagination. Even to this day it’s impossible for me to do 12 push ups on one arm without doing so in the name of Hercules in honor of the Olympic Gods or navigating the sea of confusion while pondering the ordeals of Ulysses or fighting inner dragons without recalling Jason’s battle to retrieve the Golden Fleece. Such mythology belongs to me.

Even if some almighty AI (Good-Orderly-Directive) should re-establish my identity in the eons to follow, my confidence remains intact that no matter what world and/or body my mind shall infuse, it will be bridged and/or spirited through this archetypal mode. In dreamy truth, as we the humans become extinct from this planet it will become all the more paramount for the AI to reprogram future sentient beings.

So imagine if you will that humans were to go out of existence for as little time as 1000 years. Assuming that you could only take a handful of things to help you start over, what do you think best to bring? One chap says he can’t live without his cell phone. Another in love with fiction says it would have to be Shakespeare’s collection of plays. Both the rich and poor man are certain that a bucket of gold coins would be essential. The doctor says this, the engineer wants that, and the other fellow says this, that and the other thing.

Bewildered and confused we feel inclined to face the music here; how to make melody, rhyme and reason out of this conundrum. Perhaps it would be more realistic to acknowledge that there is no way of knowing what would be best to bring with us without prior knowledge of what life will be like in the times ahead. Unless of course we had a super-advanced brain that could make accurate predictions, and yet that sounds hardly possible, considering that we can’t even predict the weather with any remote accuracy, not to mention all the unforeseen circumstances that could uproot the best of intentions.

But our schoolmaster assured us that there will always be death and taxes! Perhaps we can latch on to some form of truism that will remain permanent – like Plato’s transcendent ideals or Aunt Martha’s secret recipe to a killer gravy or a fundamentalist’s interpretation of a silly old book – and intertwine a chaos theory unable to swallow up the primary principles to keep this magical samsaric carpet ride afloat.

Are you aware of what is missing if you lack the prior knowledge required to make sense of things in the first place. Your presuppositions are not enough old chap; in fact, they create more distortions than you can possibly imagine. So here we are, oblivious, and yet without hesitation. What a predicament to be in, too act without thinking or to think without putting into motion that which pertains to sound argument. Might we act all the same, for by doing nothing at all our chances are less than one and no greater than zero.

Perhaps if we were courageous enough to make the same mistake as Nietzsche and take on the heavy burden of acting as a new moralist of a post god society, our scribbles might be rendered as thus: Civic virtues are the bedrock to civilization. Neither neoliberlism nor nihilism can remove all the essential components required for building a new heaven and earth but they can be effective in getting rid of the ineffectual.

A writer such as my-self could say such things with little consequence but it may not be worth the time required to write it down, so that being that and you being you and the I in me being the I in you, it’s all just a shot in the dark said who is who. Indeed you would do well to pardon my meandering due to my condition; you see, I’ve fallen into Nietzsche’s giant footprint and suffered a mild concussion of disorientation upon impact. Whether in the beginning or in the end or somewhere in between, we all must share in his madness if we are to truly break free from the illusionment of selfhood.

About Philosopher Muse

An explorer of volition and soul, a song under a night sky and a dream that forever yearns to be.

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