MOTTO: Know you not that I must be about my mother's business

  • JAQUES (The Journal for the Advancement of
    the Quaternary Evolution in Shakespeare
    ) has
    been established to foster an appreciation of the
    philosophy of William Shakespeare that is given
    logical expression in his Sonnets.
    The Institute for the Quaternary Evolution in Shakespearen Thought
    The Quaternary Institute
        The Quaternary Institute for the Evolution Toward the Uniqueness in Shakespeare
                MIRROR WRONGS


    Roger Peters Copyright © 2005


    The first edition of the 4 volume set William Shakespeare's Sonnet Philosophy [2005] is still available.

    J AQUE S

    Journal for the Advancement of the Quaternary Evolution in Shakespeare


    JAQUES is the cover-all title of a journal which incorporates essays about proto-quaternary thinkers (JAQUES), essays that investigate the historic misrepresentation of Shakespearean thought (INQUEST), and essays that examine social and political issues(QUIETUS). The essays will provide another level of evidence and argument for the presence of a consistent philosophy in Shakespeare's works, and for the claim that it is a philosophy unparalleled in the literatures of the world.
          The intention in each essay is to lay down in general terms the relationship between Shakespeare's Sonnet philosophy and the topic to be critiqued. The idea is to show how the Sonnet philosophy resolves psychological problems consequent upon millennia of dependence on the inadequate biblical paradigm.

    Nietzsche & Wittgenstein - Mirror Wrongs

    Ludwig Wittgenstein: from atoms to human nature

    The four volume set William Shakespeare's Sonnet Philosophy acknowledges Ludwig Wittgenstein’s (1889-1951) contribution to the philosophic attitude required to understand Shakespeare’s natural logic. Particularly significant was Wittgenstein’s decision to abandon atomic physics as a model for representing the logical relationship between language and the world in favour of a model based in ‘Nature’, ‘family resemblances’, and ‘forms of life’. His acceptance that the human mind is based in natural logic provides an example of the shift needed to begin to appreciate the Sonnet philosophy.
          When Wittgenstein moved from the strict formal logic of the atomic model of the Tractatus to a more human-based model in Philosophical Investigations he tried in vain to recover the precision of the earlier work. Unlike Shakespeare in the Sonnets, he did not arrive at a clear and systematic expression of the natural logic of life.
          The critique of Western metaphysics in these volumes has questioned the shift in traditional philosophy from the macro-world of male God metaphysics to the micro-world of atomic physics. When Wittgenstein realised that neither Kantian style metaphysics or Russellian atomism could provide the correct multiplicity to account for the logical relation between language and the world he developed his ordinary language approach. But despite the change he could not bring himself to accept all its implications. In his lectures on religious belief he revealed a residual commitment to Christian dogma that continued until his death, when he received the last rites.
          And despite Wittgenstein’s move toward natural logic he was unable to comprehend the works of Shakespeare. He could only imagine they had worth because of the value they had in the estimation of authors he did admire. Given the persistence of Wittgenstein’s religious belief is not surprising he could not appreciate even the little of what others saw in Shakespeare.
          This essay considers the relationship between Wittgenstein’s life work and his residual Catholic idealism to better understand why he was unable to appreciate the natural logic of the Sonnets as the philosophy behind Shakespeare’s plays and poems. And because Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and posthumous publications such as the Philosophical Investigations do not mention his Catholic beliefs, the essay compares their covert influence on his philosophy with the overt rejection of the Christian God in Nietzsche’s philosophy with its deliberately prophetic style.

    Friedrich Nietzsche: from male Gods to Nature

    This essay explores the irony that Friedrich Nietzsche’s (1844-1900) overt rejection of Christianity and Wittgenstein’s covert acceptance of it were driven by the same residual idealistic fear. Nietzsche’s rejection of the macroworld of biblical Gods did lead to an acceptance of the priority of Nature and the processes of life as basic to a sound philosophy. Wittgenstein arrived at a similar position in his later philosophy. But their inability to appreciate the logic of the female/male dynamic in Nature, and their unwillingness to consider the logic of the sexual dynamic for human persistence led to inconsistencies in their understanding of the logic of good and evil.
          Both Nietzsche and Wittgenstein were strongly influenced by Arthur Schopenhauer’s notion of the transcendental ‘Will’. Nietzsche’s belief in an aesthetic state of mind ‘beyond good and evil’ and Wittgenstein’s understanding that ‘aesthetics and ethics are one and the same’ but beyond language, derive from Schopenhauer’s semi-secular idealism.
          Similarly, while Wittgenstein had little to say about the status or role of myth in a culture, probably because of his covert adherence to the Christian myth, Nietzsche had much to say despite his overt rejection of Christian mythology. His understanding, though, that ‘art is a kind of play’ because ‘life is best conceived as child’s play’ (1) and, as he says in the Birth of Tragedy, music has the power to give birth to myth, (2) reveals an ignorance of the level of language skill required to express mythic logic.
          Nietzsche, like Wittgenstein, did not understand Shakespeare’s philosophy. Nietzsche was unaware of the mythic dynamic articulated in Shakespeare’s Sonnets and of the way in which the plays achieved their mythic depth. And incredibly for a supposedly insightful philosopher, throughout his life, Nietzsche believed that Shakespeare was Francis Bacon. That Nietzsche gave credence to the Shakespeare identity debate reveals the abysmal level of his understanding of Shakespeare’s works. Also revealing was his single-minded drive to find instances of a ‘will to power’ in the plays. For instance, in Julius Caesar he focused on Brutus’ apparent ‘will to power’, to the exclusion of other characters and the overall plot.
          Something of Nietzsche’s own mental condition surfaces when he speculates on the psychological difficulties he thought the author of the Sonnets would have experienced to write with such ‘gloominess’. Not surprisingly, Nietzsche’s rash claims reveal a mind further removed from the Sonnet logic than even Wittgenstein, who was at least frank in admitting incomprehension before Shakespeare’s works.
          So this essay compares the analytic examination of the logic of language by Wittgenstein with the anti-Christian, pro-Nature, pro-life philosophy of Nietzsche to better appreciate Shakespeare’s achievement. As some critics have had difficulty reconciling Wittgenstein’s change in direction between his early and later thought, and others have had difficulty reconciling the positive and negative influences of Nietzsche’s thought, the idea that Nietzsche and Wittgenstein were constrained by similar prejudices may provide some insights.

    Vestiges of the male God

    Nietzsche was forthright in dismissing the Judeo/Christian claim for the primacy of the biblical God. By heralding the idea that ‘God is dead’ he overtly challenged the inconsistencies and injustices that arise when such a God is given priority over Nature. He correctly recognised Nature and the forces of life as the logical entities within which to contextualise the psychology of religion. As Robert Wicks says, just as ‘some Christians find solace in the prospect of participation in an otherworldly kingdom of God after their bodies die, Nietzsche found solace in the possibility of participating in the universal life forces that permeate the here-and-now, earthly world of the living’. (3)
          Ten years before he proclaimed the death of the male God of Christianity in the Gay Science in 1882, Nietzsche had published his first book The Birth of Tragedy. Greek tragedy provided him with two Gods with which to represent the opposing tendencies in human understanding. Apollo represented the intellectual or ‘idealising’ tendency and Dionysus the sensory or ‘animal’ tendency. And Nietzsche persisted with the characterisation of mental dispositions in terms of two male Greek Gods until his mental health failed in 1889. Ironically, then, despite his replacement of the life-negating Christian God by life-affirming Greek Gods, he persisted with a representation of mental dispositions as male Gods.
          Nietzsche’s determination to look to Nature for the basis of meaning was foiled by an uncritical acceptance of Apollo and Dionysus as the representatives of mental dispositions. Nietzsche’s decision to use the two male Gods reveals a deep prejudice against the female both in that Apollonian characteristics are unequivocally male and the attribution of female characteristics to male Dionysus doubly emphasises the prejudice.
          As Robert Wicks notes, there is only one ‘juncture’ in the Birth of Tragedy where Nietzsche does mention the female. (4) Yet while Nietzsche does talk of ‘mother nature’ using terms such as immoral, exploitative, and violent, and that ‘truth’ should be ‘gently coaxed from her’, his model woman is Helen of Troy who represents an ideal of ‘sweet sensuality’.4 To reconcile his preference for the idealised Helen he contrasts her with the terrifying Medusa or Baubo, who personified the female genitals.
          So not only does Nietzsche replace the male God of the Bible with two male Greek Gods, his representations of the female predominately prioritise the male and when they do consider the female they make a division not dissimilar to that between the biblical Virgin Mary and outcasts like Eve and Mary Magdalene.
          Nietzsche approaches the logic of human understanding with a prejudice against the female. His prejudice prevents him from characterising the feminine and masculine dimensions of the human mind logically. And despite his desire to acknowledge the state of Nature and conform to the processes of life, his male prejudice removes the possibility of recognising the biological priority of the female over the male.
          It is not surprising then that Nietzsche’s prophet Zarathustra is unquestionably a male and his ‘superhuman’ is referred to, like the biblical God, as ‘he’. Nietzsche also compares the superhuman with strong male leaders from history, again ignoring the logical relation of female and male. The tendency of some to read superhuman as supermale is not surprising as logically Nietzsche did not move beyond the gender contradictions of the Bible. It is not sufficient to denounce theism by avowing atheism. Without addressing the deeper issue of the logical relation of female and male Nietzsche’s denouncement of the male God of the Bible is mere cant.
          Nietzsche’s overt recognition of the illogicality of religious claims gives his philosophy its declamatory and uncompromising tone. Having dismissed biblical precedent he assumed the role of prophet, particularly through his alter ego Zarathustra. Nietzsche’s rejection of the singular male God, however, led not to greater insight into aesthetics and morality, but, because he lacked an appreciation of the logic of myth, to inconsistencies not dissimilar to those he dismissed.
          For his part, Wittgenstein’s philosophy was dramatically conditioned by his covert adherence to Christianity throughout both periods of his career. His acceptance of Catholic extreme unction on his death bed was the final act in a lifetime in which he considered entering a monastery and was unable to accept the Darwinian idea that human mental propensities were derived from other mammalian species. He believed they must have another source.
          Wittgenstein’s covert Catholicism, like the overt Catholicism of Descartes and the overt Protestantism of Kant, kept him from challenging the logic of the priority of the male God. Constrained by the psychology of his beliefs he never examined the logic of the female/male dynamic as it impacts on language and particularly how it is basic to the mythological expression of his religious faith.
          Wittgenstein’s covert belief never surfaces in his philosophy. Instead he saw philosophy as a process of delimiting the role of language the better to appreciate the realm of metaphysics, which he characterised as the unsayable. Yet when his first period of philosophy based on atoms and molecules collapsed under its internal inconsistencies his later work drew closer to Nietzsche in its acceptance of Nature and life as the ultimate criteria for the logic of thought. But like Nietzsche, Wittgenstein remained confused about the logic of aesthetics and ethics.

    Aesthetics and ethics

    Nietzsche and Wittgenstein’s confusion about the logic of aesthetics and ethics derives from their inability to free themselves completely from the influence of the male God religions of the last 4000 years. Even though they both moved toward an understanding of the logic of life based in Nature, their view of Nature was afflicted by residual aspects of male God beliefs.
          The traditional male God was believed to be both the repository of ideal goodness and the creator of the world with all its pain and violence. When Nietzsche proclaimed that God was dead, because he recognised that belief in the God of tradition led invariably to social and political injustices and prejudices, he ironically carried over some of the illogical characteristics of male God belief into his characterisation of Nature and life.
          Nietzsche recognised that the conflict between belief in an otherworldly ideal God as creator of this world and of the apparent evil in the world creates the ‘problem of evil’. Because aspects of life involve pain and violence, Nietzsche’s solution was to call all life ‘immoral’. He hoped to eliminate the problem of evil by embracing the whole of life as immoral. He envisioned humankind coming to terms with an indifferent universe by professing amor fati or a love of fate. (5) When humankind eschewed an idealised eternity or a perfectible world, they would achieve solace by living moment to moment.
          To overcome the paradox that life must be viewed as immoral if the death of God is to be sustained, Nietzsche reckoned that the distinction between ‘good and evil’ should be removed to enable a person to gain equanimity with the world. If truth was to be attained then the difference between those things considered good and the evil must be dissolved. Nietzsche’s ‘superhuman’was one who acted as if good and evil was not their concern when they exercised their will to power.
          Nietzsche considered the natural consequence of removing the distinction between good and evil would be an ‘aesthetic justification’ of life and existence. Music, for instance, could have a redeeming quality. So, to overcome the iniquities of the Christian system of morals handed down as the word of God, Nietzsche proposed an understanding beyond good and evil in which the mind could regain its cultural health by listening to music or imbibing the aesthetic experience of a Greek tragedy.
          It is ironical that Nietzsche’s ‘genealogy of morals’ dismissed a rational view of the world in favour of a poetic approach. Nearly 300 years before, Shakespeare had precisely articulated a genealogical and rational philosophy in the poetry of his Sonnets.
          To complement the aesthetic experience as a way of connecting with the here and now, Nietzsche fostered the idea of ‘eternal recurrence’. Nietzsche’s alternative to an eternal life spent with God, or forever in the fires of hell as promised by Christian dogma, was the prospect of the world of experience being played over and over throughout time. He considered eternal recurrence as the ‘highest formula of affirmation’ (6) of life, a life which paradoxically could be lived in equanimity by achieving a state of mind ‘beyond good and evil’.
          Wittgenstein was as confused as Nietzsche about the role of aesthetics and ethics for humankind within Nature. In the Tractatus he not only says that ‘aesthetics and ethics are one and the same’, (7) he places them in a mystical realm beyond the reach of language. He refused an ethical function to propositional language despite spending a considerable amount of space analysing the logic of language using truth tables that evaluated propositions according to their truth and falsity.
          Wittgenstein’s attitude that language was unable to convey the meaning or value of the world, because aesthetics and ethics were located in the unspoken world, confuses the unspoken impetus that is life with the everyday use of language to determine the most appropriate attitude or action to ongoing events. His commitment to a male God mysticism blinded him to the logic that decision making through language is the ethical process. It is only necessary to reflect that ethics committees principally use language and not music when they arbitrate points of conflict.
          When Wittgenstein says aesthetics and ethics are one and the same he confuses the aesthetic impulse, which logically remains unworded, with the ethical processes of language. Wittgenstein’s belief in an absolute God, who logically cannot say anything and so is inseparable from other aesthetic impulses, commits him to say aesthetics and ethics are the same. Wittgenstein remained affected by the illogicalities of his faith in his later philosophy. If in his early work the aesthetic and the ethical were beyond language, in the later version, after the possibility of an extra-language world collapsed, he conceived of aesthetics and ethics as at the boundary of the speakable world.
          Nietzsche and Wittgenstein were both determined to recover philosophy’s task of representing the logic of human understanding in terms of the natural world. While each was prepared to disavow the illogicalities of 2000 years of Judeo/Christian apologetics neither was able to appreciate that the crux of the problem lay at the heart of the logic of the male-based biblical myth. Nietzsche disavowed the idea of God (‘God is dead’) without redressing the illogicality of the priority of the male God over the female. Wittgenstein pared down his Roman Christianity to the residue of fear of a final judgment but never addressed the status of its male God and so was constrained by the illogicality of prioritising the male over the female. (8)

    The logic of myth

    Neither Nietzsche nor Wittgenstein understood the logical conditions for mythic expression. Nietzsche rejected traditional expressions of mythology and disingenuously suggested that the mythic could be conveyed by music. Ironically, Wittgenstein’s honesty was a consequence of his literal adherence to biblical mythology. In his few comments on Shakespeare, Wittgenstein acknowledged his inability to appreciate why others such as Milton rated Shakespeare as the greatest dramatist and poet of all time.
          Yet not only did Shakespeare write plays of acknowledged mythic depth, his Sonnets set out the logical conditions for any mythic expression. Shakespeare appreciated that for a work of art to achieve a mythic level of expression it needed to convey the logical relation between Nature and human nature. It needed to express something of the origin of the world and the place that humans as sexual beings occupied in the natural world. But more significantly it needed to express the relation of the operations of the mind to humans as sexual beings within Nature.
          Mythic expression not only expresses the logical relation between Nature and sexual beings and the mind, it also recognises that the presentation of the relationships is in the medium of language or writing. And it is not sufficient to understand the logical conditions for mythic expression. The artist or writer needs to be capable of giving effective expression to the relationship.
          Shakespeare’s Sonnets are witness to both his understanding of the logic of myth and his ability to evoke the mythic level of experience in his poetry and prose. By giving effective expression to the mythic conditions for the relation of Nature and humankind he moves beyond the limitations of all previous mythologies that gave expression to the logic of myth but then mistake the mythic expression for the logical conditions of life prior to its expression in language.
          Crucial to the logic of myth is the recognition that the myth itself does not substitute for the world that it represents in words. The distinction is expressed in myth in the logical relation between the sexual and the erotic. The sexual relates to the unwritten world and the erotic to the world as represented in the form of language. In traditional mythologies the logical expression of the erotic central to all myths is illogically taken to be prior to the sexual. The philosophic expression in myth is subverted by the psychology of fear and belief to a status prior to the sexual in Nature.
          When Shakespeare set out his Nature based philosophy in the Sonnets to articulate the logical conditions for any mythology he recognised the logical implication of distinguishing between the sexual and the erotic was to acknowledge the sexual division in Nature between the female and the male. Only by structuring into his Sonnets the logical priority of female over male could he begin to account for the logical conditions for any mythology.

    Understanding Shakespeare

    Wittgenstein was unable to see beyond his limited understanding of Nature into Shakespeare’s Nature based philosophy. It is worth recalling his thoughts on Shakespeare from Part 1, Chapter 2.

    It is remarkable how hard we find it to believe something that we do not see the truth of for ourselves. When, for instance, I hear the expression of admiration for Shakespeare by distinguished men in the course of several centuries, I can never rid myself of the suspicion that praising him has been the conventional thing to do; though I have to tell myself that this is not how it is. It takes the authority of a Milton really to convince me. I take it for granted that he was incorruptible. – But of course I don’t mean by this that I don’t believe an enormous amount of praise to have been, and still to be lavished on Shakespeare without understanding and for the wrong reasons by a thousand professors of literature. (9)
    My failure to understand him could (then) be explained by my inability to read him easily. That is, as one views a splendid piece of scenery. (10)
    I do not believe that Shakespeare can be set alongside any other poet. Was he perhaps the creator of language rather than a poet. I could only stare in wonder at Shakespeare; never do anything with him. (11)
    The reason why I cannot understand Shakespeare is that I want to find symmetry in all this asymmetry. (12)
          If Wittgenstein was circumspect about his understanding of Shakespeare, Nietzsche seemed in no doubt about his ability to see into the mind of a fellow poet and philosopher. Yet, as indicated above, Nietzsche’s statements about Shakespeare and his Sonnets and plays are abysmal and wilful. Nietzsche’s view of himself as prophet and moralist is revealed for all its hubris when viewed against the consistent logic of Shakespeare’s Sonnets and poems and plays.
          Because Nietzsche looked for characters in Shakespeare’s plays who seemed to conform to his image of the superhuman ideal, it is not surprising he should focus on plays like Macbeth or Julius Caesar. In Daybreak he expresses his conviction that Shakespeare would have felt exactly as Macbeth did, with a ‘joy’ of ‘raging ambition’.
    Whoever thinks that Shakespeare’s theatre has a moral effect, and that the sight of Macbeth irresistibly repels one from the evil of ambition, is in error: and again he is in error if he thinks Shakespeare himself felt as he feels. He who is really possessed by raging ambition beholds this its image with joy…Can the poet have felt otherwise? (13)
          Nietzsche’s simplistic identification of poet and character to make Shakespeare into an exemplary superhuman, begs the question as to why Shakespeare experienced such feelings only for the characters Nietzsche personally sympathised with. Nietzsche says nothing of the overarching philosophy of the whole play within which Macbeth’s ‘superhuman’ ambition is contextualised.
    In a note Nietzsche wrote a few weeks before he lost his mind, he says that ‘if I seek my highest formula for Shakespeare, I always find that he has conceived his type as Caesar’. (14) And Nietzsche’s sister, Mrs. E. F. Nietzsche, reports that,
    The tragic friendship relation that Brutus had with Caesar he (Nietzsche) found the most astounding that was ever written; to him Shakespeare had dedicated his best tragedy. Independence of soul – that is here the remarkable thing. No sacrifice can be too great. (15)
          She goes on to say that ‘this tragedy directly led my brother to believe that the poet whom we call Shakespeare is perhaps indeed Lord Bacon’. Nietzsche’s excessively psychological reading of Shakespeare has its counterpart in Freud’s belief that Shakespeare was the Earl of Oxford. The critique of Freud’s understanding of Shakespeare given in Chapter 3 of this volume highlights the inadequate psychologism in Nietzsche’s philosophical style. In Ecce Homo Nietzsche says,
    We are all afraid in the face of Truth; and while I recognise that I am instinctively certain and sure of this, that Lord Bacon is the creator, the self-torturer of this most gloomy sort of literature. (16)
          And again,
    Long are we without adequate knowledge of Lord Bacon, the first realist in every great sense of the word; what he has done, what he has desired, what his experiences have been…. And to the devil with you, Messrs. Critics! Suppose I had baptised my ‘Zarathustra’ under a strange name, or instance that of Richard Wagner, and the sagacity of two centuries had not been sufficient to guess that the author of ‘human, all too human’, the visionary of Zarathustra is…! (17)
          Nietzsche not only believed Bacon was Shakespeare, he ascribes to his Bacon/Shakespeare the psychological turmoil he sees in Brutus.
    Perhaps he too had his dark hours and evil angels, like Brutus. But whatever of that sort of similarity and common relations it may have yielded, Shakespeare before all that figure and virtue of Brutus, threw himself to earth and felt himself unworthy’. (18)
          Nietzsche has no compunction about translating such emotion ‘back to the soul of the poet who wrote it’. If, as the article by Ebenhof suggests, Nietzsche calls on the historic relation between Bacon, Essex and Shakespeare to account for the intensity of the drama of Julius Caesar, then he not only accuses Shakespeare of being psychologically indulgent but that his play was written as an indirect account of the political fortunes of his contemporaries.
          Nietzsche, who did suffer psychological problems, applies his psychological reading to the poet of the Sonnets. And revealing of his inability to extricate himself completely from his Christian past, he attributes to the writer of the Sonnets a ‘Christian gloominess’.
    In addition there remains a misery kept secret and thus more deeply rooted: for not everyone possesses the courage of Shakespeare to confess his Christian gloominess on this point in the way he did it in his Sonnets. (19)

    Shakespeare’s natural logic

    Shakespeare avoids the illogicalities that occur in the thinking of Nietzsche and Wittgenstein. Their inability to take account of the female/male dynamic in Nature, riddles their writings with inconsistencies and reduces many of their philosophical ambitions to little more than psychological posturing. Shakespeare avoids their dilemma by structuring the female/male priority into the Sonnets at the first level of differentiation.
          Because Shakespeare acknowledges the priority of the female over the male and the logical consequence that humans must increase to persist, he is able to develop the arguments of the Sonnets consistently toward an expression of the logic of the erotic. Because the erotic logic of myth always inter-relates the female and male, and consequently the feminine and the masculine, its basis in the sexual dynamic needs to be accepted before it is possible to express a consistent form of mythic content.
          Despite their willingness to acknowledge the primacy of Nature in aspects of their writings, Nietzsche’s doctrine of eternal recurrence and Wittgenstein’s Christian fear of a final judgement are but metaphorical expressions of the logic of the increase argument. And whereas Nietzsche acknowledges the gender relationships of feminine and masculine only through the feminine aspect of Dionysus, Wittgenstein takes no account of the gender dispositions of the mind.
          In sonnet 22, immediately after sonnets 20/21 introduce the erotic logic of truth and beauty, Shakespeare recognises the gender dynamic central to mythic expression. The recognition of the gender dynamic is pivotal to Shakespeare’s development of a consistent philosophy. The complete template captures the interrelationships between the bodily division of female and male and the gender distinctions in the mind.

    Complete Template

    Complete Template

          Nietzsche does not acknowledge the logical priority of the female over the male from the body portion of the template. Neither does he appreciate the logic of increase or the critical function of the poetry and increase sonnets which state the preconditions for developing metaphorical ideas on the logic of the body dynamic. Then, because he does not understand the inter-relationship of sensory input to the mind, the dynamic of true and false in the mind, and the consequent heightened sensations of the mind, he has an inadequate appreciation of the ‘moral’ function of mind, and little idea of the logic of mythic expression. And by proclaiming that ‘God is dead’ he effectively amputates the right-hand side of the complete template.
          Nietzsche’s concept of will to power ironically locates the motive force of human ethics within the aesthetic or beauty dynamic of the mind. His concept of the will attempts to transcend both the mind and Nature, but by negating the ethical function of language it leaves the will as indeterminate as an unmediated God as the source of the ideal created in the mind. Nietzsche’s attempt to locate ‘good and evil’ outside language, and to equate the mythic with music, all point to his confusion resulting from the complete dismissal of the concept of God and his failure to appreciate that a Nature/ life based philosophy logically prioritises the female over the male.

    God Template

    God Template

          It is little wonder then that Nietzsche does not understand Shakespeare despite his desire to convert him to his superhuman model of human ambition. Nietzsche equivocates between the natural logic of the complete template and the God template that inverts all the values of natural logic.
          Nietzsche’s overt proclamation of the death of God coupled with his reluctance to acknowledge the priority of the female over the male is a classic example of the inability of theism and atheism to achieve consistency in relating the logic of Nature to the logic of the human mind. As Duchamp well knew, the question is not whether God exists. Once the priority of the female is recognised and Nature is accepted as the logical basis for human potentiality and understanding, then God as a male or any female Goddess, as beings who are generated erotically and who generate erotically, are logically derived from the human mind.
          Wittgenstein’s difficulties are similar to Nietzsche’s. He attempted to recover a natural logic of language in his later philosophy after demonstrating the inadequacy of the idealistic atomic model in the Tractatus. But his covert Christianity prevented him from accepting the logical consequences of his extensive investigations into the criteria and certainties that act as preconditions for any use of language. So he, like Nietzsche, equivocated between the powerful indications of natural logic in his enquiries and his residual commitment to Christian dogma.
          It is possible to show, as it is with Nietzsche, how Wittgenstein failed to consider aspects of the complete template or actively disparaged them and how he attempted to compensate for the absence of the elements essential to a consistent and comprehensive philosophy by reverting to the inverted form of the template. The consequence was a confounding of natural logic and a profound confusion about the aesthetic/ethical dynamic of the mind.
          Ironically, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein’s confusion about the relation of the complete template to the God template has given their writings an untoward value in the post-modern tertiary institutions, where the consequences of post-Christian scepticism have achieved their most debilitating effect. The work of Shakespeare, Darwin, and Duchamp demonstrate the way to avoid the illogicalities of biblical apologetics without succumbing to the post-modern malaise.


    1 Robert Wicks, Nietzsche, Oxford, One World, 2002, p. 80. Back
    2 Ibid., p. 38. Back
    3 Ibid., p. 31. Back
    4 Ibid., p. 92. Back
    5 Ibid., p. 114. Back
    6 Ibid., p. 78. Back
    7 Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus, prop. 6.421. Back
    8 Ludwig Wittgenstein, Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology and Religious Belief,. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1967. Back
    9 Ludwig, Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, no. 48. Back
    10 Ibid., no. 49. Back
    11 Ibid., no. 84. Back
    12 Ibid., no. 86. Back
    13 Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak, ed. M. Clark, B. Leiter, trans R. J. Hollingdale, p.140, section 240. Back
    14 Alfred von Weber Ebenhof, Bacon (Shakespeare) and Friedrich Nietzsche,, accessed 22.06.04. Back
    15 Ibid. Back
    16 Ibid. Back
    17 Ibid. Back
    18 Ibid. Back
    19 Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak, ed. Charles Taylor, trans. R. J. Hollingdale, CUP 1982, Book 1, note 76.Back

    Roger Peters Copyright © 2005

    Back to Top