Archive for the ‘Nihilism’ Category

Classical Nihilism: Shakespeare & Qur’an

January 5, 2016

Is life a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing? Shakespeare evoked the idea. He created a mood. Out of it Bush, massacring all the Natives? Shakespeare, the Master Thinker is much admired in the Anglo-Saxon world, and beyond (perhaps in the hope of seducing Anglo-Saxons by loving where they come from?) The Bard was gifted with words, but some of the terrible ideas he lent to his characters have seeped into the world consciousness, as we must approve of them. Maybe it was no accident, not all Islam, when a Jihadist from London executed many, for the camera, in the name of the Islamist State. (That assassin was executed by an American drone, a good usage of the technology… for a change!)

In 1984, a program of reintroduction of Golden Lion Tamarins brought nine of these heart melting primates from the Washington Zoo to a reserve to Brazil’s Mata Atlantica. At the time no more than 200 were left in the wild. However, Western zoos had their own populations, some dating several centuries (the cuties were popular at the French court).

If Shakespeare Feels Life Is An Idiocy That Signifies Nothing, Does It Mean We Have To Die? Oder Arbeit Macht Frei?

If Shakespeare Feels Life Is An Idiocy That Signifies Nothing, Does It Mean We Have To Die? Oder Arbeit Macht Frei?

The Washington tamarins had been specially trained, for months to life outside. Logically enough, within weeks eight were dead. So much for Anglo-Saxon training (too much Shakespeare?). Subsequently, the Brazilians trained the tamarins themselves, with great success. (Now there are 2,000 in the “wild”. A “wilderness” full of freeways and high tension lines…)

The brutality, witchcraft, lethal ambition, and madness of a play such as Shakespeare’s Macbeth leaves images, and phrases, ideas and moods which pervade the Anglo-Saxon universe, and what it influences, namely the rest of the world from New Delhi to Beijing, Tokyo, even Moscow.

Who does not know “To be or not to be?”. It’s the opening sentence in Hamlet. The character is pondering suicide.

A new commenter on this site, Robin, subscribes to the Shakespeare cult, and quotes The Bard as an authority on my own idiocy. First Robin quoted the very last sentence of the following passage in MacBeth Act V scene 5::

LIFE’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

Robin kindly explains that I am the idiot, by quoting me: “So on the eve of yet another disastrous day of tragedies, to read: “The more powerful we humans become, the more perfect our government has to be. Thus, the more We the Citizens have to be perfect. Thus, the keener we will have to be to find the truth, and impose it, when lives, or the future, are at stake.” made my blood curdle.

Yet another clarion call to humanity composed of rhetoric, but absent of meaningful content.”

Robin took a sentence from The Bard, and made it into an aphorism. I have several disagreements here, both with the method (Shakespeare did not talk about me, but about life), and with the aphorism itself.

Shakespeare seems to believe that a tale told by an idiot signifies nothing. Quite the opposite. Idiots and madmen have much to tell, that’s the all idea of Shakespeare, come to think of it.

I replied that Shakespeare here is in total contradiction, not just with humanism, but humanity itself. Humanity’s task is to give meaning to life. Shakespeare may have been an idiot full of sound and fury, like Hitler. As, indeed, the Nazis agreed fully with Shakespeare’s preceding quote. So they were destroyed by those who give meaning to life. May reciting Shakespeare literally be quite a bit like reciting the Qur’an literally?

Reading Robin, one see analogies: “As for Shakespeare, well, he pretty much stands alone – a man who invented 27% of our language… It is the ACTIONS, not the form, which produce results of good or evil.” Similarly, some doctors of the Islamist faith will say the Qur’an invented Arabic. And they would be mostly correct about the written form! As far as English and Shakespeare in concerned, it’s pretty grotesque to say he invented English. 85% of English is mispronounced Franco-Latino-Greek, and of the remaining 15% much is in common with Old Dutch, the language of the Franks…

So Shakespeare obsessed about “form”, and “Action” (see extract of Hamlet below). What happened to thinking? Is thinking in Shakespeare? Yes, “Conscience does make Cowards of us all”. (Hamlet below, again.)

Modern law has started to discover that THOUGHT CRIME is a real problem (notwithstanding that it was made fun of by the fashionable Sci-Fi author, George Orwell).

French and German law punish Nazi holocaust denial with prison. They have been imitated with a number of countries (including Hungary after 2010, where a would-be Nazi was since condemned to several years in prison suspended when he agreed to visit a number of sites where Nazis perpetrated holocausts, and to write a reports about what he learned after each visit).

Here is the beginning of Hamlet; we can either suffer, or commit suicide. Forget about political change:

To be, or not to be, that is the question:

Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer

The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,

Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep

No more; and by a sleep, to say we end

The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks

That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,

To sleep, perchance to Dream; aye, there’s the rub,

For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause. There’s the respect

That makes Calamity of so long life:

For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,

The Oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s Contumely, [F: poor]

The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay, [F: disprized]

The insolence of Office, and the Spurns

That patient merit of the unworthy takes,

When he himself might his Quietus make

With a bare Bodkin? Who would Fardels bear, [F: these Fardels]

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death,

The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn

No Traveller returns, Puzzles the will,

And makes us rather bear those ills we have,

Than fly to others that we know not of.

Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,

And thus the Native hue of Resolution

Is sicklied o’er, with the pale cast of Thought,

And enterprises of great pitch and moment, [F: pith]

With this regard their Currents turn awry, [F: away]

And lose the name of Action. Soft you now,

The fair Ophelia? Nymph, in thy Orisons.”

Be all my sins remembered

The fact remains that believing that “LIFE’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing…”

Is as bad as nihilism goes. For people like that why does killing children mean anything? Is it what they mean?

Why not engage in various inanities and murders, then, to give life some spice, more meaning? Was then G.W. Bush’s presidency straight out of Shakespeare, fretting on a stage, heard of it no more,  “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”… In other words, was G. W. Bush’s presidency straight out of Shakespeare, something classical, natural, a normal way of behaving?

It obviously was.

Shakespeare is a double edge sword, and the handle itself is a blade too. By grabbing it, as if it were a well of wisdom, one cuts all tendrils of wisdom.

Kudos to Obama for crying at the White House when evoking small children cut down by automatic weapons’ fire. And why were those small children killed inhumanely, tortured to death? Just because idiots telling furious tales, full of sound and madness, have decided life means nothing as long as it cannot be cut down by automatic fire.

Reading Shakespeare, just as reading the Qur’an, should be done very carefully, under advanced philosophical supervision. Lest it feeds the idiots with the mood that life signifies nothing, and thus may as well be welcome as a tale told by an idiot (Hitler, or some other “Prophet”?), full of sound and fury.

Wisdom is not just blossoming with sophisticated ideas, it also avoids reeking of foul, dangerous, sadistic, cruel, nihilistic, vicious moods.

Patrice Ayme’

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