What is untimely language
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
Untimely considerationsFriedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
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Wagner moved the present life and the past under the ray of light of a knowledge that was strong enough to be able to see into an unfamiliar expanse: therefore he is a simpler of the world; for the simplification of the world always consists in the fact that the gaze of the knower has once again become master of the immense abundance and desolation of an apparent chaos and compresses that into what was previously considered incompatible. Wagner did this by finding a relationship between two things that seemed strange and cold as if living in separate spheres: between Music and life and also between Music and drama. Not that he invented these relationships or created them in the first place: they are there and actually lie at everyone's feet: just as the great problem always resembles the precious stone over which thousands walk away until finally someone picks it up. What does it mean, Wagner asks himself, that an art such as that of music emerged with such incomparable power in the life of new people? It is not necessary to think negligently of this life to see a problem here; no, if one considers all the great powers inherent in this life and the image of a mighty aspiring to conscious freedom and around Independence of thought struggling existence before the soul - then the music in this world appears as a riddle. Don't you have to say: from that time could do not buy the music! But what is their existence then? An accident? Certainly a single great artist could also be a coincidence, but the appearance of such a series of great artists as the modern history of music shows, and as there has only been one of his kind up to now, in the time of the Greeks, gives cause for thought that it is not a coincidence, but a necessity. This necessity is the problem to which Wagner gives an answer.
The first thing that dawned on him was the realization of a state of emergency that extends as far as civilization is now actually linking peoples: here is everywhere language falls ill, and the pressure of this monstrous disease weighs on the whole of human development. Since language had to continually rise to the last rungs of what it could reach, in order to grasp what is opposite to feeling, the realm of thought, as far as possible from the strong emotional impulse to which it was originally able to correspond in all simplicity, the realm of thought is its power through this excessive stretching out has been exhausted in the short period of time of modern civilization: so that it is now no longer able to do precisely that for which it is there alone: to communicate with one another to those who suffer about the simplest needs of life. In his distress, man can no longer reveal himself by virtue of language, i.e. not truly communicate: in this darkly felt state, language has become a force for himself everywhere, which now grips people as if with the arms of ghosts and pushes them wherever they go actually do not want; As soon as they try to come to an understanding with one another and try to unite in a work, they are seized by the madness of general concepts, even of the pure word sounds, and as a result of this inability to communicate, the creations of their common sense then again bear the sign of not understanding themselves they do not correspond to the real needs, but only to the hollowness of those violent words and concepts: in this way, in addition to all its sufferings, humanity also takes the suffering of the Convention in addition, that is, the agreement in words and actions without an agreement of feeling. Just as in the downward spiral of every art a point is reached where its pathologically rampant means and forms acquire a tyrannical preponderance over the young souls of the artists and make them their slaves, so now, in the decline of languages, one is the slave of words ; Under this compulsion no one is able to show himself or speak naively, and few in general are able to preserve their individuality in the struggle with an education which does not believe to prove its success by meeting clear feelings and needs in a constructive manner, but rather so that it spins the individual into the web of "clear concepts" and teaches them to think correctly: as if there was any value in making someone a correctly thinking and reasoning being if it was not possible to first make him a correctly feeling one close. If the music of our German masters sounds in such a wounded humanity, what is actually being played? Just that correct sensation, the enemy of all convention, all artificial alienation and incomprehensibility between man and man: this music is a return to nature, while at the same time it is purification and transformation of nature; for in the soul of the most loving people the need for that return has arisen, and nature transformed into love resounds in her art.
Let us take this as Wagner's one answer to the question of what music means in our time: he has a second. The relationship between music and life is not only that of one kind of language to another kind of language, it is also the relationship of the perfect world of hearing to the entire world of vision. Taken as a phenomenon to the eye and compared with the earlier phenomena of life, the existence of the newer people shows an unspeakable poverty and exhaustion, despite the unspeakable colorfulness, through which only the most superficial look can feel happy. Just take a closer look and dismantle the impression of this violently moving play of colors: isn't the whole thing like the shimmering and flashing of countless little stones and bits that were borrowed from earlier cultures? Isn't everything here inappropriate pomp, mimicked movement, presumptuous externality? A dress in colorful rags for the naked and cold? An apparent dance of joy, expected from the sufferer? Expressions of exuberant pride, displayed by a deeply wounded man? And in between, only veiled and concealed by the rapidity of the movement and the vortex - gray powerlessness, nagging discord, hard-working boredom, dishonest misery! The appearance of modern man has become utterly illusory; he is not himself visible in what he is now presenting, much more likely to be hidden; and the remainder of the inventive artistic activity that has survived among a people, such as the French and Italians, is used in the art of this hide-and-seek. Wherever "form" is now demanded, in society and entertainment, in literary expression, in intercourse between states, one involuntarily understands it to be a pleasing appearance, the antithesis of the true concept of form as of a necessary design that with "Pleasant" and "unpleasant" have nothing to do because they are necessary and not arbitrary. But even where one does not expressly demand the form among peoples of civilization, one has just as little the necessary form, but is just not so happy in striving for the pleasing appearance, even if at least as eager. How nice namely, here and there the appearance is and why it must please everyone that modern man at least tries to appear, everyone feels it to the extent to which he himself is modern man. “Only the galley slaves know each other,” says Tasso, “but we do misjudge only the others politely, so that they should again misunderstand us. "
In this world of forms and the desired misunderstanding, the souls filled with music now appear - for what purpose? They move according to the course of the great, free rhythm, in primarily honesty, in a passion that is supra-personal, they glow from the powerful, calm fire of music, which wells up in them from inexhaustible depths to light - all this for what purpose?
It is through these souls that music calls for its regular sister, the gymnastics, as according to its necessary design in the realm of the visible: in the search for and desire for it, it becomes the judge of the entire mendacious visual and apparent world of the present. This is Wagner's second answer to the question of what music meant at this time. Help me, he calls out to everyone who can hear, help me to discover that culture of which my music prophesies as the rediscovered language of the right feeling, thinks about the fact that the soul of the music now wants to shape itself into a body, that it seeks its way through all of you to visibility in movement, deed, institution and custom! There are people who understand this call, and there are more and more; They understand for the first time what it means to base the state on music, something that the older Hellenes not only understood, but also demanded of themselves: while the same understanding people just as unconditionally take control of the current state will break, as most people do over the church right now. The path to such a new and yet not always unheard-of goal leads to admitting the most shameful lack of our upbringing and the real reason for its inability to rise above the barbaric: it lacks the moving and creative soul of music, on the other hand, its requirements and facilities are the product of a time in which the music on which we place so much confidence here was not even born. Our upbringing is the most backward formation in the present, and precisely backward with regard to the only newly added educational power which the present people have or could have over those of earlier centuries if they no longer wanted to continue to live so unconsciously under the scourge of the moment ! Because up to now they have not allowed the soul of music to hide in them, they have not yet suspected gymnastics in the Greek and Wagnerian sense of this word; and this is again the reason why their visual artists are condemned to hopelessness as long as they want, as they still do now, to renounce music as a guide into a new visual world: whatever talent may grow there, whatever happens late or too early and at least at the wrong time, because it is superfluous and ineffective, since even the perfect and highest of earlier times, the role model of today's sculptors, is superfluous and almost ineffective and hardly puts one stone on the other. If you do not see any new figures in front of you in your inner gaze, but always only the old ones behind you, then they serve history, but not life, and are dead before they die: but who is now true, fruitful life, that is at the moment alone: could he feel music within himself, could he let himself be seduced by something that struggles in shapes, forms and styles for just a moment into hopes that would carry on? He is beyond all vanities of this kind; And he thinks just as little of finding artistic wonders apart from his ideal world of hearing as he expects great writers from our lived and discolored languages. Rather than listening to any vain consolation, he endures directing the deeply unsatisfied gaze on our modern being: may he become full of gall and hate when his heart is not warm enough to pity! Even malice and scorn is better than that, in the manner of our "art friends", he surrendered to a deceptive comfort and a quiet drunkenness! But even if he can do more than deny and mock, if he can love, sympathize and help build, like that got to but he initially denied it, in order to break the ground for his helpful soul. In order for music to attract many people to devotion and make them confidants of their highest intentions, all pleasure-seeking intercourse with such a sacred art must first be put to an end; the foundation on which our art entertainments, theaters, museums, concert societies rest, precisely that "art lover" is to be banned; the state favor which is bestowed upon his wishes is to be transformed into disapproval; the public judgment, which places a peculiar value on training towards that artistic friendship, is to be knocked out of the field by a better judgment. In the meantime, even the declared art enemy to be considered a real and useful ally, since what he declares himself hostile to is just the art as the "art lover" understands it: he knows no other! Let this art lover count the senseless waste of money that the building of his theaters and public monuments, the employment of his "famous" singers and actors, the maintenance of his utterly sterile art schools and picture collections owed: not to think about what everything is about Power, time and money in every household in which education for supposed "art interests" is thrown away. There is no hunger or satiety, but always just a dull game with the appearance of both, devised for the most vain display in order to mislead the judgment of others about oneself; or worse, if one takes art here relatively seriously, one even demands of it the creation of a kind of hunger and desire and finds its task precisely in this artificially created excitement. As if one were afraid of perishing in oneself through disgust and dullness, one calls on all evil demons to be driven like wild animals by these hunters: one longs for suffering, anger, hatred, heat, sudden horror, breathless tension and summons the artist as the summoner of this ghost hunt. In the souls of our educated people, art is now a completely false or a shameful, degrading need, either nothing or a bad thing. The artist, the better and rarer, is as if caught in a deafening dream not to see all this, and hesitantly repeats, in an uncertain voice, eerily beautiful words which he thinks he has heard from very distant places, but does not hear clearly enough; the artist, on the other hand, of a very modern streak comes in full contempt for the dreamy groping and talking of his noble comrade and leads the whole yapping pack of coupled passions and atrocities with him on a rope in order to let them loose on modern people when they desire: they prefer to be chased, wounded and torn apart than having to live with oneself in silence. With yourself! - this thought shakes modern souls, that is your Fear and fear of ghosts.
When I look at the thousands in populous cities as they pass by with the expression of dullness or haste, I keep telling myself that they must be feeling bad. For all of them, however, art is only there to make them feel even worse, even more dull and senseless, or even more hasty and covetous. Because the incorrect sensation rides and drills them incessantly and does not at all allow them to admit their misery to themselves; if they want to speak, convention whispers something in their ears about which they forget what they actually wanted to say; if they want to communicate with one another, their understanding is paralyzed as if by magic spells, so that they call happiness what their unhappiness is, and they still deliberately combine with one another for their own unhappiness. So they are completely changed and reduced to willless slaves of incorrect feeling.
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