Roger Peters Copyright © 2005
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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)
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.
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
The reason why I cannot understand Shakespeare is that I want to
find symmetry in all this asymmetry. (12)
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
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,
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)
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
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
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 Nature
template captures the interrelationships between the bodily division of
female and male and the gender distinctions in the mind.
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 Nature 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
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 Nature
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 Nature 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 Nature 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. BackRoger Peters Copyright © 2005
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, www.sirbacon.org/nietzsche.htm, 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
Back to Top