But what is power? Yes, art matters.

Art is power.i But what is power ?

Art — and not morality — is… the real metaphysical activity of man.ii

Power is creation.iii

Evaluation is creation : hear it, you creative men! Valuating is itself the value and jewel of all valued things. Only through evaluation is there value: and without evaluation the nut of existence would be hollow. Hear it, you creative men! A change in values — that means a change in the creators of values. He who has to be a creator always has to destroy.iv

That’s why #fightforbeauty is so admirable.

The sight of what is ugly makes one bad and gloomy.v

It’s all still a game.vi

Even ugliness and discord are an artistic game which the Will plays with itself in the eternal abundance of delight.vii

A game both for and against ourselves.

Nature can attain her end only by implanting in the individual a certain Wahn and by virtue of this, that which in truth is merely a good thing for the species seems to him to be a good thing for himself, so that he serves the species, whereas he is under the delusion that he is serving himself. In this process a mere chimera, which vanishes immediately afterwards, floats before him, and, as motive, takes the place of a reality. This delusion is instinct. In the great majority of cases, instinct is to be regarded as the sense of the species which presents to the will what is useful to it.viii

Art saves us from this knowledge.

The Hellene, by nature profound and uniquely capable of the most exquisite and most severe suffering… has gazed with keen eye into the midst of the fearful, destructive havoc of so-called world history, and has seen the cruelty of nature, and is in danger of longing to deny the will as the Buddhist does. Art saves him, and through art life saves him — for itself.ix

Art matters because it helps us to forget.

[The] work of that man-redeeming Wahnx which spreads its wonders wherever the individual’s normal mode of view can help itself no farther. But in this instance the Wahn must be entirely candid ; it must confess itself in advance for an illusion, if it is to be willingly embraced by the man who really longs for distraction and illusion in the high and correct sense we mean. The Wahn-picture brought before him must never afford a loop-hole for re-summoning the earnestness of life through any possible dispute about its actuality and provable foundation upon fact, as religious Dogma does ; no, it must exercise its specific virtue through its very setting of the conscious Wahn in place of reality. This office is fulfilled by Art ; and in conclusion… Art [is] the kindly saviour who does not really and wholly lead us out beyond this life, but, within it, lifts us up above it and shows it as itself a game of play, a game that, take it ne’er so terrible and earnest in appearance, yet here again is shows us as mere Wahn-picture, as which it comforts us and wafts us from the common truth of our distress.xi

We are the animal that laughs, the animal that suffers willingly.

Apollo overcomes the individual’s suffering by his luminous glorification of the eternity of appearance ; here beauty gains victory over the suffering inherent in life ; in a certain sense, the lie is told which causes pain to disappear from the features of nature.xii

Art carries our burdens, our tragedies, and… our souls.
___ ___ ___

  1. Per Trilema, if you’ve been living under a rock.
  2. Via The Birth of Tragedy by Nietzsche
  3. And selection. And death. And of course “value.”
  4. Via Thus Spake Zarathustra by Nietzsche.
  5. Via The Gay Science by Nietzsche.
  6. Which is why poker is so important!
  7. Via The Birth of Tragedy by Nietzsche.
  8. Via The World as Will and Representation (Vol. II) by Schopenhauer.
  9. Via The Birth of Tragedy by Nietzsche.
  10. Wahn ~= “delusion,” if in the earthly political sense, or “illusion,” if in the elevated spiritual sense.
  11. Via Art and Politics by Richard Wagner.
  12. Via The Birth of Tragedy by Nietzsche.

2 thoughts on “But what is power? Yes, art matters.

  1. Mike - The Open Caseback says:

    Ohhhh yes – greatly enjoy this collection of quotes!

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