Nietzsche thought that pessimism was a slandering of the most powerful desires of life. This was no doubt true in the 19th century with its puritan, Victorian values. However, now we live in a global culture that embraces the potent life-impulses that Nietzsche loved and yet we are still a pessimistic and cynical society. Freud knew that Eros trickles into Thanatos. The will for life is tainted with the death wish. Life-impulses are not enough to give us a meaningful direction or purposiveness. There needs to be a rational, ethical anchor, an aesthetical positivism to drive our forward looking, future-feeling creative drives.
The future of the homo sapiens has to be Sapiens driven, instead of the mirror-world prison of the homo economicus.
The homo economicus is trapped in a purgatory of market exchange. That exchange system has no ambition other than to perpetuate the same old fantasy game of sacrifice for reward –
my labour for your money so I can purchase your products.
The Sapiens in us needs a stronger motive, a reason for being that is firmly locked into reality itself. Locked into the fresh metaphysical air that seeps out of our firm physical reality. Locked into the positivism that repositions humanity in the centre again.[i]
The homo sapiens has to channel its life-impulses through its sapiens reality. For us, knowledge is inseparable from life. Knowing is the highest expression of human existence. In sapiens terms the homo economicus has been a triumph of mediocrity and the insipid fantasies of that same mediocrity. The homo economicus has no feeling for human greatness and prefers to trample on it, screaming that its own insipid exchange-system reality is stronger than anything else.
In fact, the word noble sounds like a joke now. After all, it was the liberal revolution that beheaded all nobility. Even if only to replace the noble with its own creation – the star system. Good and evil have been transcended, but only to replace it with the winners and losers.
“Nobody any more is able to answer the question ‘for what?’”[ii] And Nietzsche’s lucidity continues when he predicts a culture (our culture) in which: “sensitivity to pain, restlessness, haste and hustling grow continually … and that the individual, faced with this tremendous machinery, loses courage and submits.”[iii]
But what does cowardice mean for the homo sapiens? Surely it has to be associated with a fear of thinking. Isn’t our lost courage a lost will to do what we do best? It is certainly a submission to the shackling of that sapiens faculty of knowing through discovery and its channelling into the all-consuming world of the market, our ubiquitous exchange system.
[i] See our earlier related blog entries:
[ii] Nietzsche, WILL TO POWER, #33