After Nietzsche: Notes Towards a Philosophy of Ecstasy by Jill Marsden

By Jill Marsden

This ebook explores the resourceful chances for philosophy created through Nietzsche's sustained mirrored image at the phenomenon of ecstasy. From The delivery of Tragedy to his experimental "physiology of art," Nietzsche examines the classy, erotic, and sacred dimensions of rapture, hinting at how an ecstatic philosophy is learned in his elusive doctrine of everlasting go back. Jill Marsden pursues the results of this legacy for modern Continental proposal through analyses of such voyages in ecstasy as Kant, Schopenhauer, Schreber, and Bataille.

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According to Deleuze, reactive forces become active by affirming their own negation and in this spirit Nietzsche advocates an active destruction of the values that stasis represents – God, Eidos, Identity, the One – thereby conducting force to the limit of what it can do – at which point it becomes transformative. This is why he pursues an active destruction of nihilism rather than a nihilistic deconstruction. If the finite animal is the beast of finality – of goals, projects and ends – ecstasy impacts as a self-annihilating power that dispossesses and transfigures.

If the challenge for an exploratory philosophy is to evoke that which cannot endure, the consummation of transcendental critique may now be said to entail the cultivation of unproductive or sacred values. Such an approach would depart from a thought of practical or ‘worldly projects’ and would resituate the ecstatic in terms of intensive states. Bataille speaks of seeking to grasp that which takes flight as soon as it is seen – a task he relates to the aesthetic. It is the futile and exultant efforts of the artist to create pathways for the ‘endless reattainment of that which flees’ which attests to the joy of the ungraspable (VE 241).

For Nietzsche, it is the suppression of this feeling (the ‘cooling of affect’) that is the precondition of knowledge as recognition. This assimilation of difference to sameness is a slowing of tempo but interpreted from an immanent measure of value for life, not from a scale that is pre-given. As such, different tempos of becoming have no privileged ontological status as different degrees of being but must themselves be submitted to the genealogical question: is it hunger or superabundance that has here become creative?

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