How to Sing the Practical Sound of the Enigma By Alessio Tommasoli

Most of Nietzsche’s philosophy is expressed through a particular style of writing made of cryptic lyricism and symbolic images. Such a unique philosophical expression makes Nietzsche’s thought a “tool” that requires the mental elaboration of the reader, so to engage him in a hermeneutic interpretation that starts from everyday life.

      Therefore Nietzsche’s reader seems to be more than a listener that just hears some words reading a book; he is a listener that feels the need to sing the words he reads. That is because he guesses that the sense of these words is not in their possible meanings, but in the sensations that they give him.

      Anyway it does not mean that Nietzsche’s philosophy is open to all sorts of interpretations. That is because it is rooted in a specific matter that is the concept. The time-space dimension of human “hic et nunc” indeed always refers to a theory and vice versa, so that philosophy is an existential practice and the existential condition is a philosophy.

      In Nietzsche’s production the concept has a double role of importance: on the one hand, it pulls together the fragments of his cryptic expression (such as the aphorisms), and, on the other one, it is fragmented itself, to show all its possible perspectives. If the first one is a theoretical approach, the latter is practical, because in this way the concept allows the reader to find in itself all the existential possibilities.

      As Gilles Delueze wrote[1], every concept has always a “conceptual character”, that is a figure able to embody and perform it through his actions and his life. It is exactly the way through which philosophy, according to Delueze, is rooted in an immanent dimension, translating its theory in the practice of life.

      Nevertheless, on the opposite point of view, the character is the medium between every narrative work of art and the audience (or the reader). It allows to this latter to enter into the work and live it in first person.

      Thus Zarathustra is Nietzsche’s conceptual character of a specific idea, the “will to power”. Through Zarathustra indeed the reader lives the existential need that only this concept can help to solve, with no meaningful words to listen, but with a will to sing the sound of its enigma as if it was an Opera.

 Act One:

  1. Ouverture

      Zarathustra is not just the conceptual character of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, but of Nietzsche’s entire philosophy. That is because some key issues of the “will to power” concept seem to appear already in his essay The Birth of Tragedy (1872). Here the reader can find an opening symphony that introduces him to the atmosphere in which action will happen through the main themes: it is the first part of the opera that is called the “Ouverture”.

      It is an essential part, therefore it is impossible for the reader to sing Zarathustra’s sound if he does not set an original existential matter: “How can we stand the truth without denying life?”. The answer to this question passes through two other conceptual characters that could be somehow the forefathers of Zarathustra, Dionysus and Apollo. The dialogue between these two characters indeed allows a reply to the “Silenic truth” according to which the best thing for the human is utterly beyond its reach: not to have been born, not to be, to be been born AS nothing, not being, being nothing. However the second best thing for you is: to die soon”[2].

      In this way, the reader can feel the deepest existential trouble, the one that belongs to the human nature, and find at the same time an answer: the Attic tragedy, that gives an ethical content to the aesthetic form. As Nietzsche writes indeed, the solution is already a “will” that desires the human condition, that is to say a behaviour that accepts the plural, dynamic, chaotic and contradictory whole of existence: “So stormily does the ‘Will’, on the level of the Apolline, demand this existence, so utterly at one with it does Homeric man feel himself to be, that even his lament turns into a song in praise of being.”.[3]

      When Nietzsche’s study of the Greeks addresses the matter of truth, ethical content and aesthetic form (such as Apollonian and Dionysian) mean to be the dualism of knowledge. In this way the question changes in: “What is the truth?”. Is it the metaphysical truth, as adaequatio rei et intellectus? Or instead is the truth as “disclosure” of the one reality hidden under the multiplicity of perception?

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