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Steve
Hello, all. Long time reader, first time poster. I've started to read some Nietzsche lately and I've become very interested in his philosophy of masks. I was just wondering, what are your opinions about this? Is it right(I use this term loosely) to consciously "put on a mask" for the purpose of your own entertainment? Perhaps I've misinterpreted the whole thing, but what do you think?
Guest
hi Steve and welcome. I've read some of Nietzsche's work and biographies. In which of his works does he talk about putting on a mask? I have read things here and there about masks in Zarathustra or Will to Power, but I was not aware he formulated anything like a philosophy of masks.
AmbientSnowflake
It's safe to say that you've misinterpreted Nietzsche. No offense intended. I understand will to power Guest. What is Zuranthustra?
Steve
Yeah, looking back my first post wasn't very thought out. I should have given background about what exactly I was talking about. I'm not great at getting out my thoughts yet, I'm only a junior in high school lol!
What I'm talking about is how Nietzsche talks about "masks" as if they are a necessary, even good thing. In Beyond Good and Evil, he says "Every profound spirit needs a mask: even more, around every profound spirit a mask is growing continually, owing to the constantly false, namely shallow interpretation of every word, every step, every sign of life he gives,". This is what I'm trying to interpret. If someone with a better understanding of this could shed some light on what Nietzsche means by this, it would be greatly appreciated. Again I'm sorry for my unclear first post wacko.gif .
Guest
QUOTE (Steve @ Apr 08, 11:35 AM)
Every profound spirit needs a mask: even more, around every profound spirit a mask is growing continually, owing to the constantly false, namely shallow interpretation of every word, every step, every sign of life he gives"

Well, Nietzsche is indentifying himself as the profound individual, as he no doubt expects his readers will identify themselves too. A mask is simply how others perceive you. You can wear masks unintentionally, as when people perceive a different you than what you actually are, or intentionally, as when you intentionally role-play and appear to be someone you're not. About the last part of Nietzsche's quote, it means that non-profound people will necessarily misinterpret and misperceive profound individuals. There's nothing really deep in this quote from Nietzsche. It's just another example of his elitism; that is, he identifies himself as profound and intentionally separates himself from the dull masses. A bit arrogant perhaps, but not completely unwarranted given his circumstances and predicament.
Guest
QUOTE (AmbientSnowflake @ Apr 08, 09:29 AM)
It's safe to say that you've misinterpreted Nietzsche. No offense intended. I understand will to power Guest. What is Zuranthustra?

Zuranthustra = Thus Spoke Zarathustra = Nietzsche's masterpiece
Guest
QUOTE (AmbientSnowflake @ Apr 08, 09:29 AM)
I understand will to power Guest.

but have you actually read Nietzsche's "The Will to Power" completely through, or do you just understand a concept denoted 'the will to power' derived through second-hand sources?
AmbientSnowflake
QUOTE (Guest @ Apr 08, 08:03 PM)
QUOTE (Steve @ Apr 08, 11:35 AM)
Every profound spirit needs a mask: even more, around every profound spirit a mask is growing continually, owing to the constantly false, namely shallow interpretation of every word, every step, every sign of life he gives"

...intentionally, as when you intentionally role-play and appear to be someone you're not. About the last part of Nietzsche's quote, it means that non-profound people will necessarily misinterpret and misperceive profound individuals.

It's a matter of current. I will suggest a metaphor for this.

I am floating around in the ocean. I float into the gulf of Mexico. Eventually I float over to the Mississippi river area. The water coming out of the river pushes me out to sea in another direction. My trajectory was change by this "current."

This next example in no way a negative comment regarding the church.

So let's suppose I go to a church in the suburbs of Houston, (okay, it's kind of a true story. I'm not the church-goer type but this has a point.) Whatever my religious afiliation, Islam, Christianity, etc., I move into a current when I participate with the church. By participation I mean that I am acting as the rest of these folks do, standing up, singing whatever, and blending in with the crowd.

So you are in this current. You have now put on a mask.

Look at it more objectively. You are hovering above a current, (but you are still in some other type of current.) You go down into the other current and begin to carry on the activities of that particular current.

Where did you come from? Another current, of course. Let's say a "current" equals a "mask." There are already people in the currents that you have willingly entered. There are people who have revolved their entire lives around this current. You may enter and leave, but ultimately you are stuck in a current of your own.

So you put on these masks, role-play. But as our Guest has pointed out you appear to be something you are not. I'm not so sure. If you willingly committ and participate in something then you are apart of it. Your insecurities and doubts about yourself are part of the game. Your problems remain but you leave your particular "current and/or mask" and enter another current and/or put on another mask.

For example: I go to school and don't fit in with the cool crowd. (I like this example because I'm not really cool, but people often think I am because I've given up trying. I hope you follow me so far.) Okay, you're trying to be cool at school. You do things that cool kids do, smoke pot, where cool clothes, buy things, get a cell phone, and drink until you pass out. But if you start smoking pot then you are "smoking pot." It doesn't mean that you are putting on a mask of a pot smoker.

If you are wearing the "so called cool kid clothes" then you are wearing that mask, "so called punk kid(which was my preference in high school)/goth kid/fast car kid/emo kid... Your status as cool is determined by how well you fit in. Do you want to fit in? Is your fitting in going to have benifits? I liked the punk kids because they were the least judgemental. That was what I wanted. You can be popular and have lots of friends. But when you enter another current, (popular kid, punk kid, church-goer,) you play by a different set of rules.

You have put on another mask.

A mask is simply a form of identity. The word "identity" means "sameness." You identify with someone because you share a similar preference or trait, (they are honest, they like Star Wars as much as you do, or maybe you play basketball with them at school, or chess club, whatever.) The more time you spend with them the deeper the similarities become; the more you "identify" with them. The mask takes another form. But, the mask you wear, and the mask that another person wears looks a lot alike.

Nietzsche wore masks all the time because he was the "Ubermech" (Superman.) He didn't think he needed peole at all. He lived his life as an elitist. He didn't allow himself to submerge deeply into a current. And in a sense he did not have much of an identity as an individual. His colegues identified with his work, and he understood theirs. But socially Nietzsche was a misfit.

Being a social misfit myself I still find the need to love. Nietzsche's philosophy has no love. It doesn't need love.

I can relate to Nietzsche with a mask. And I can relate to Jesus Christ with a mask too, and my friend Sarah, and my aunt, and my parents, brother, sister, so on and so forth, amen, amen, weeeee!
AmbientSnowflake
OH AND...

the way to discuss philosophy--the only way--is to be active in dialogue. That means that no matter what your question is, it is still valid. Bad philosophers, I'm neither good or bad because I am no philosopher, but bad philosophers are those who fail to listen. Listening is a choice that you have to make in order to begin discussion.

I hope someone wants to continue this conversation. Over a hundred years later and it's still relevant.

And if I didn't make sense above, then let me know because I lose touch sometimes.

Peace.
Unknown
QUOTE
Nietzsche's philosophy has no love.


hmmm.... perhaps a lot of self-love? Perhaps a lot of love for going beyond oneself?
Unknown
QUOTE
A mask is simply a form of identity

I am more inclined to think of a mask as an interface between selves. But a mask can be many things; it's what we interface with, it's an "identity" we choose to present to others, it's an "identity" we present to ourselves. But who is behind the facade? Are we not talking about the Wizard of Oz, or something else?
AmbientSnowflake
QUOTE
perhaps a lot of self-love? Perhaps a lot of love for going beyond oneself?

Ya know? You brought up a valid point. Nietzsche doesn't necessarily believe in love. Although, you, myself, and others might call his extreme concern for himself a form of "self-love," as you say. He did believe in good or evil. To him the world wasn't either. He was certainly the most evil philosopher of his time, perhaps ever. But I can't make that judgement call.

Good and evil doesn't exist. Therefore Nietzsche wouldn't place value in something like love because it is useless to his philosophies. Love by definition places value on someone, and occasionally something depending on how it's used. If you were to remove the ability to make value statements you can not call anything good or evil. For example, call my brown shoes good, you have now defined them as something of higher value than if you call my green wallet a piece of sh*t.

You would have to define my brown shoes as such: leather, made by Clark Company, laced, having a soft rubber sole.

My shirt would be a green t-shirt with the words "Quail Green," (got it from a thrift shop,) writen across the front, size medium.

My shirt can't be a piece of sh*t, crappy. It can be dirty, worn, second-hand. If Martha Stewart were talking about my shirt she would say, "That's unfashionable." I say it is fashionable. But even it's fashionability is suspect for Nietzsche.

If I we use the premise that, "There are fashionable things defined by Martha Stewart, or Guchi, or Ralph Lauren, then yes. My shirt is not fashionable. But if you ask a man who has no shirt, for example, then he might say, "The fashionability of the shirt is irrelavent. I want a shirt."

Most likely if he doesn't have a shirt then he hasn't bathed in a while. At that point I'd run from him. If he chases me down an alley, (because I find myself in allies alllllll the time,) I might drop dollar bills to slow him down.

Depending on your ability to objectify something, for Nietzsche, you can call it accordingly. Ralph Lauren's life is fashion. He knows how define it. He has to define it because of who he is, a fashion designer.

So whether Nietzsche loved himself I can't say. That's his call according to what he believes.

If you ask me, or even yourself, if you love yourself then you can answer according to how you have defined love. I would say, "Yes, I think I'm freaking cool because my shoes are freaking sweet, not to mention comfortable." I now love myself because of my shoes. But Steve might say, "I love, (or hate,) myself because my mommy told me so," (That's not a sucker punch.) Now Steve has put a certain meaning into the word, "Love." He has defined love as, "My mom knows what love is because she loves me. (And since I think my mom is freaking sweet then I believe her.) I show my love for myself in the way my mom had shown me to love myself."

Acording to Nietzsche the shirt is just a shirt of course. It has a use. He was a self-centered man whose actions were contengent on what he thought he needed.

I think I'm correct on this one. But I may be getting off into another world. If this isn't coherent then I'm definately orbiting Uranis. (Rofl.)
Unknown
QUOTE (AmbientSnowflake @ May 04, 03:47 PM)
Therefore Nietzsche wouldn't place value in something like love because it is useless to his philosophies.

I disagree. All throughout Zarathustra, Nietzsche speaks of love. Here is a quote I found (not sure which of his works it's from though):

"Of all that is written I love only what a man has written with his blood. Write with blood, and you will experience that blood is spirit...True, we love life, not because we are used to living but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness...I would believe only in a god who could dance... "

~Nietzsche



QUOTE

He was a self-centered man whose actions were contengent on what he thought he needed.


Was he self-centered or Self-centered? Let's not underestimate the man. There are mystical depths to Nietzsche that most people do not fully appreciate.
AmbientSnowflake
Can you draw a definition for self-centered and Self-centered?
Unknown
self-centered=mired in the ego, confined to the personal.

Self-centered=beyond the ego, higher self, trans-personal, apersonal (It)
Rune
I perceive Nietzsche's masks as various aspects of our persona. We may present to the world as The Diligent Employee, The Loving Parent, The Party Animal; none of these, worn in the appropriate places, negates or invalidates any of the others. Rather, they illustrate only part of the whole person.
Discovering the totality of who you really are behond all the masks is a lifetime's work. And sadly, some people wear a particular mask for such a long period of time that neither they nor anyone else can find anything behind it.
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