Let me take you back, cause I'm going to---oh no, that's Lennon's story, not mine (and he soon changed "back" to "down"). My story begins in 1997, when I was in my last year of high school and had been a great Doors fan for a while already. I had long hair and a leather jacket. I wrote poems and songs in English. I read Blake and often used shrooms and the like (which back then were sold legally here). Now one day, I asked my German teacher about Nietzsche, as I'd read that Morrison greatly admired him. My teacher then told me and the rest of the class the beginnings of the "story" of Thus Spake Zarathustra
(his coming down from his mountain etc.). But what was much more important, during my next German class, some days later, he gave me a copy of the book. (He often raffled off books in class, but this time, he just gave it to me.) My German back then was not very good, though, so when I had to make a reading list for my final mark, I read the book in English, and as it was mostly abracadabra to me, when I had to do a talk about the books I'd read I mostly just repeated to him what he himself had told in class... Somehow I still got a high mark.
Around the same time, I was in my first relationship, and I wrote a two-stanza song about it. Then my girlfriend broke up with me because I'd done shrooms in her presence, which scared her and which she had therefore forbidden; I graduated; and I got a full-time summer job. One evening I hurried home from work so as to still be in time to get some shrooms from the shop around the corner. My parents and siblings were all out of the country, so I had the house to myself. Now at one point in my trip, I tried to pick up where I'd left in the Hollingdale translation of TSZ
, which I'd started to reread. I then saw that it was a collection of fake plastic jewelry and neonlights. I got the German version, and when I opened it and started to read, it was as if I'd entered a primeval forest. My native language is Dutch, and German and Dutch are very close, so it was as if I were reading very archaic Dutch. (I've heard the converse about native German speakers' experiences of Dutch.)
The last chapter I'd read in English was "Of Voluntary Death"; when I read the next chapter in German---"Of the Bestowing Virtue", the last speech of part 1---, I was inspired beyond belief. In a way I really only read the first part of the speech; from the second part, I really only picked up the essential message, "stay true to the earth, lead flown-away virtue back to the earth"; and from the third part, also only the essential message, which was that Zarathustra bade me goodbye... I then wrote a "bridge" to my two-stanza love song, knocked together a third stanza, which was a return to the first one, and---left the house.
It was a beautiful summer's eve, and I went to my city's central park, which is named after a poet and has a statue of him somewhere in the middle. The park was filled with people. I went straight toward the statue, over the flowerbeds, and climbed onto the pedestal. Then, with the poet's pedestal as my podium, I sang my song.
I glance at the truth of your sight;
A glimpse of your eternal light.
The desert---I'm blinded.
Red sand---I am blinded.
O dark setting sun,
You'll be down so soon;
Look up at the sky,
Let us die now.
You show me a mystery smile.
I know who you wish to beguile:
My heart---I am spellbound.
Our hands---we are well bound.
Oasis of Greece,
Let us rest in peace.
Oh no that's a lie,
Let us die now.
I shatter your dreams.
I love my creation.
You hate me!
Ain't that what you wanted?
I want it!
And this is the truth:
I love my creation;
I want it!
Fuck all those who hate me.
They want it!
There's no one to save me.
I've glanced at your side of the truth;
One glimpse of your eternal youth.
So stunningly striking,
Thru thunder I'm light'ning---
O fiery sun,
You will dawn real soon;
You're dying to shine,
Yet let's lie
This is the final version of the song; the third stanza is much better now. In any case, what I'd written then did the job; I left the park, probably leaving some astonished people behind. On my way home, I laughed
. I laughed in a way I'd never laughed before. Normally, laughter seems to be more or less inhibited by shame. My laugh then was completely uninhibited. I suspect it was the kind of laughter Zarathustra describes in his speech on "The Vision and the Enigma".
What happened that evening was that I "found my voice", as Tom Robbins puts it in his article "The Doors And What They Did To Me". One might say that I then attained my ideal, which I'd seen reflected in Jim Morrison, and thereby surpassed it. "O Zoetsa" is my "The End", though not nearly as epic, of course. I stopped being a Morrisonian and became a Nietzschean.
Sadly though, as winter approached, I fell into a depression, which lasted, with some ups and downs, for five years. In retrospect, I think it may not have been a depression so much as an anticyclone
. The word "depression" also means a meteorological low, a low-pressure area. Now while it lasts, a high-pressure area behaves in much the same way as a low-pressure area, and another word for high-pressure area is "anticyclone". Nietzsche describes what I mean really well:
"We were brave enough, we spared neither ourselves nor others: but for a long time we did not know, whither
with our bravery. We became dark, people called us fatalists. Our
the fullness, the tension, the stowage of forces. We thirsted after lightning and deeds, we remained farthest from the happiness of the weaklings, from 'resignation'... A thunderstorm was in our air, the nature that we are was eclipsed---for we had no way
. Formula of our happiness: a yes, a no, a straight line, a goal
..." (Source: Nietzsche, The Antichrist
, section 1, my translation.)
I broke out of my depression after I saw a depiction of Shiva dancing. This is a very different pose from his normal dancing poses. Anyway, that dance provided me an outlet for my rage (and in The Sopranos
at least, depression is defined as internalised rage). Back then I called that dance style (which was also much inspired by "The End" at the Hollywood Bowl) "Shiva dancing"; in retrospect, I might also call it "cyclone dancing":
"The spear which I hurl at mine enemies! How grateful am I to mine enemies that I may at last hurl it!
Too great hath been the tension of my cloud: 'twixt laughters of lightnings will I cast hail-showers into the depths.
Violently will my breast then heave; violently will it blow its storm over the mountains: thus cometh its assuagement.
Verily, like a storm cometh my happiness, and my freedom! But mine enemies shall think that the evil one
roareth over their heads.
Yea, ye also, my friends, will be alarmed by my wild wisdom; and perhaps ye will flee therefrom, along with mine enemies.
Ah, that I knew how to lure you back with shepherds' flutes! Ah, that my lioness wisdom would learn to roar softly! And much have we already learned with one another!" (Source: Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra
, "The Child with the Mirror", Common trans.)
The flute, however, is Krishna's
attribute, not Shiva's. While reading a book titled The Sword and the Flute
recently, it struck me how much of a Dionysus figure Krishna really is. And a child figure
, too. To use the symbolism of Savitri Devi's The Lightning and the Sun
, the rage of Shiva is the thunderstorm that clears my sky from the clouds that make it gray; whereas Krishna is the object of my beatific vision. In fact, it's only the vision of Krishna that makes my Shiva shiva
, "auspicious"; before that, he is Rudra, "the Roarer". Thus Rudra points to Krishna, the barbaric or Titanic Dionysus points to the Apollinian Dionysus. And when the former sees the latter, this apollinises
the former, turning Rudra into Shiva. So in my view, Shiva and Krishna are both Apollinian Dionysuses: Shiva symbolises my Apollinian-Dionysian "I", whereas Krishna symbolises my Apollinian-Dionysian "You"; both
however are symbols of the Self, symbols of wholeness.
P.S.: The last paragraph took me by far the longest to write, and is therefore probably the worst. The thing is that I was still thinking things through there, whereas in the rest of my message I was expressing things I'd already thought through. In the meantime, I've thought about it some more, and now associate Shiva with the "active subjects" mentioned in section 569 of The Will to Power
(I know that number by heart, sigh), and Krishna with the "objects" mentioned there. According to the Hare Krishnas, Krishna is the only full god, whereas all the other Hindu gods are "demigods", with Shiva being the supreme demigod. I now connect this with Socrates' idea in the Symposium
that Eros be not a god but a daemon. And as eros is (Plato's) Socrates' equivalent of the will to power, Shiva symbolises the highest will to power, philosophy. As Laurence Lampert says, philosophy is "the highest eros of a whole that can be understood as eros and nothing besides" (Lampert, How Philosophy Became Socratic
, page 13). Krishna then symbolises how philosophy glorifies existence; he is then the objectified and deified Kama (Kama being the Hindu equivalent of Eros). These are still tentative thoughts, though. :}
P.P.S: Shiva symbolises beings---both individual ones and the sum of all beings, the whole---as seen from the inside
; Krishna, the same as seen from the outside
: cf. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/human_superhuman/message/425
"From the dialogical perspective of the witness, [...] the squanderings of the genius ['the dancings of Shiva'] are often mistaken, especially by (relatively) impoverished souls, for invitations and seductions ['the flute-playings of Krishna']. From the monological perspective of the artist, however, these same emanations appear (if at all) simply as the inevitable by-products of the philosopher's private pursuit of self-perfection. Indeed, the ethical life of any community is made possible only by the amoral self-creation of the exemplary human beings who found---and then desert---it." (Source: Daniel Conway, "Love's labor's lost: the philosopher's Versucherkunst
", The artist