If we want to win, then we first need to appreciate even our enemies, and only then criticize them. This is the same law of life as the one demanding to „love thy enemies”, to go forth to meet your suffering and to always seek out the path of greatest resistance. This does not contradict the principle of least resistance; it only teaches us that the path and method of least resistance, which is inherent to the structure of our human nature, should be arranged in such a way so as not to allow it to prevent us from preparing to seek, develop and apply the opposite method and conduct at the decisive points.
First appreciate and only then criticize! With the dead, appreciation is the final respect. The unburied dead keep returning and haunting. The two only criticized and never appreciated haunting spirits of the 19th century are Marx and Nietzsche.
Marx and Nietzsche were no atheists, but rather Ivan Karamazovs: anti-theists, rebelling against God. Our task is to appreciate them, to understand their vast role, to understand that which Marx did not, but Nietzsche did suspect: that their paths were leading back to faith. And there is no path back to faith for mankind that could avoid or spare the excursions, experiences and teachings of these two great squanderers. Understanding and appreciating Marx and Nietzsche leads back to the Bible, but even an understanding of Marx and Nietzsche is only possible for a man struggling with the Bible.
„Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made: and the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not.
Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.” (Isaiah 2,8-11)
About the conduct of our selves in the presence of great thinkers (in foreign terms: etiquette)
We have set out to study Friedrich Nietzsche’s self-conduct, works and basic thoughts together. Before we could characterize the current stage of understanding and misunderstanding Nietzsche, we need to make an attempt at voicing a general question and a general demand and achieving some resonance to these. There could not be a more splendid and profound opportunity for this than today, just when we took it upon ourselves to appreciate Nietzsche’s life’s work.
When facing such a great explorer of the world of man’s emotions, will and thought, there are two mistakes we need to avoid at the very first.
The first mistake is consciously or unconsciously resigning from the attempt of appreciating the entire life’s work; the second one is neglecting to appreciate the life’s work of the other leading spirits at the excuse of appreciating this one leading spirit.
The objective and personal aspects of the problem underlying these two mistakes are:
1. Because we are forced to leave the appreciated thinker in uncertainty (read: uncalled by name! – for there are positive uncertainties too, which however are shut out by exactly these uncertainties we just mentioned in an apostrophe) with respect to the entirety of our cosmos of the spirit, since we live in a world of mostly modern ways of life and prejudices, in which world the most basic instinct of the spirit towards its own spiritual cosmos, and within that towards its will for itself, are smitten by curse and the most precisely engineered prohibitions. And how could we appreciate a leading spirit within the cosmos of the spirit once we let this spiritual cosmos – our world-mother and heavenly father – be alienated from us by the deep and cruel prohibitions of modern life?
2. Because – if by no other, then by the vast Babelic language confusion of epigonism – we just had to destroy the blinding lucency of the unified manifestations of leading individuals of various stages in history, so that we would not be forced to measure ourselves on the scale of this vast manifestation and thus to know ourselves. And therefore we are often forced to deny the undeniable: that at all times we are wanting to measure these great thinkers, these vast measurement units of our life on ourselves!
On Marx and Marxism
... It has been some seventy or eighty years since this Marxian synthesis came to crystallization. Some disciples of Marx have modified or enlarged on certain points of the system; however, they adhered to the criticism of Ricardo’s economics which was no longer defended by any one at all; they adhered to stressing the concept which the liberal bourgeoisie had always accepted, namely that economy is what is essential and culture is but a superstructure (in which Marxists and liberals were able and allowed to emphasize the “re-action” of the superstructure on the essence without any responsibility, and that culture “too” has some significance – because there was no one to bring them to account!) (And one more thing: Marxian materialism had of course an inconveniently revealing effect for the bourgeoisie and its intelligentsia being the ones in possession of the material values.)
For the sake of public understanding, we must start with a dubious thesis. Like so: Marxism is both the most profound unmasking and the most splendid and passionate apology of capitalist society. (Where by Marxism we mean Marx’s life’s work.)
Some Remarks on the Criticism of Scientific Socialism, 1938 (not yet available)