Insightful analysis of Dawn 113.

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Insightful analysis of Dawn 113.

Postby Mitra-Sauwelios » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:07 am

I post this in honour of Saint Valentine, as it happened to be written on 13 and 14 February 2017. Also in honour of black cats!

::

I'll make a little piece-by-piece analysis of Dawn 113. I'll be using the translation found here (while also consulting the German, of course):

http://nietzsche.holtof.com/reader/friedrich-nietzsche/daybreak/aphorism-113-quote_a9a9bf9b4.html

1.

"The striving for distinction keeps a constant eye on the next man and wants to know what his feelings are: but the empathy which this drive requires for its gratification is far from being harmless or sympathetic or kind. We want, rather, to perceive or divine how the next man outwardly or inwardly _suffers_ from us, how he loses control over himself and surrenders to the impressions our hand or even merely the sight of us makes upon him; and even when he who strives after distinction makes and wants to make a joyful, elevating or cheering impression, he nonetheless enjoys this success not inasmuch as he has given joy to the next man or elevated or cheered him, but inasmuch as he has _impressed_ himself on the soul of the other, changed its shape and ruled over it at his own sweet will. The striving for distinction is the striving for domination over the next man, though it be a very indirect domination and only felt or even dreamed."

This is the main argument of the aphorism. I trust that it doesn't require a commentary. However, it's the part we may have to keep going back to, in case something is not clear in the rest of the aphorism.

2.

"There is a long scale of degrees of this secretly desired domination, and a complete catalogue of them would be almost the same thing as a history of culture, from the earliest, still grotesque barbarism up to the grotesqueries of over-refinement and morbid idealism. The striving for distinction brings with it _for the next man_--to name only a few steps on the ladder--: torment, then blows, then terror, then fearful astonishment, then wonderment, then envy, then admiration, then elevation, then joy, then cheerfulness, then laughter, then derision, then mockery, then ridicule, then giving blows, then imposing torment:--here at the end of the ladder stands the _ascetic_ and martyr, who feels the highest enjoyment by himself enduring, as a consequence of his drive for distinction, precisely that which, on the first step of the ladder, his counterpart the _barbarian_ imposes on others on whom and before whom he wants to distinguish himself."

This part deserves a careful analysis. We shall suppose that the "few steps on the ladder" Nietzsche mentions are given in (chrono)logical order. It starts with "torment" (_Martern_, "tortures"). This, I think, is the "grotesque barbarism" mentioned earlier. The word translated as "grotesque", _fratzenhaft_, also suggests so much to me as "roguish" (namely by way of the masculine word _Fratz_, as distinct from the feminine word _Fratze_): compare GM I 11:

"[T]hey go _back_ to the innocent conscience of the beast of prey, as triumphant monsters who perhaps emerge from a disgusting [_scheusslich_] procession of murder, arson, rape, and torture, exhilarated and undisturbed of soul, as if it were no more than a students' prank[.]" (Kaufmann translation.)

Torture is something like a cat does with a mouse when it has catched it--something playful. The next item, "blows", is where it gets serious, where it's really just about inflicting hurt or harm, very businesslike and even boring in a way. The next item is "terror": at this point physical violence no longer necessary; the mere _threat_ thereof suffices (cf. BGE 257, end). "Fearful astonishment" is already a bit weaker than "terror"; this is the intermediate stage between terror and wonderment. "Wonderment", in turn, is weaker than "astonishment", and is not really fearful at all anymore. But wonderment (_Verwunderung_) already points to admiration (_Bewunderung_); perhaps the difference is that admiration is a more subtle form of wonderment--subtle enough so as not to arouse _envy_. Only insofar as one isn't upset by others can one admire them.

_Elevation_ may be when something we find admirable inspires us, so that we ourselves become more admirable to ourselves. _Joy_, in turn, is itself such an elevated state: we also rejoice in our own _condition_ when we feel joy. And _cheerfulness_ is the mood related to that emotion--a mood being more general than an emotion. The person no longer (just) brings us joy, but now the mere sight or thought of him cheers us up. This is also the point where the distinguished one may become a bit laughable. He may be distinguished by his silliness, or clumsiness etc. From here this becomes increasingly worse: the German says something like "laughter, then derision, then mockery, then scorn, then giving blows, then inflicting tortures". From mildly ridiculous, the distinguished person now becomes more and more insufferable: I'm reminded of William Blake's "fool who persists in his folly". If an early Christian, for example, keeps insisting that some minor god, the god of a small and unfree people, the Jews, is the One God, then it's no longer funny, and people resort to throwing him to the lions, crucifying him, etc. etc.

By the way, in the German it does not really say the ascetic and martyr "feels the highest enjoyment by himself enduring" etc., but "by himself carrying away"--like a prize. The prize that the martyr carries away as a consequence of his drive for distinction is in the first place his reducing others to the level of the barbarian, compelling them to act barbaric toward him. (I'm reminded of Socrates: "The dialectician leaves it to his opponent to demonstrate that he's not an idiot: he enrages, he at the same time makes helpless. The dialectian _devitalizes_ his opponent's intellect." (TI "Problem of Socrates" 7, Hollingdale translation. At the end of section 6, Nietzsche points out that, like Socrates, the Jews were dialecticians too...))

3.

"The triumph of the ascetic over himself, his glance turned inwards which beholds man split asunder into a sufferer and a spectator, and henceforth gazes out into the outer world only in order to gather as it were wood for his own pyre, this final tragedy of the drive for distinction in which there is only one character burning and consuming himself--this is a worthy conclusion and one appropriate to the commencement: in both cases an unspeakable happiness at the _sight of torment_!"

Let us first go back to the commencement:

"The striving for distinction keeps a constant eye on the next man and wants to know what his feelings are: but the empathy which this drive requires for its gratification is far from being harmless or sympathetic or kind. We want, rather, to perceive or divine how the next man outwardly or inwardly suffers from us, how he loses control over himself and surrenders to the impressions our hand or even merely the sight of us makes upon him[.]"

Note: the cruelty of the barbarian already requires empathy. This empathy is preserved through all the steps on the ladder. So when the barbarian has evolved all the way to "the _ascetic_ and martyr", he becomes the sufferer but empathises with the one he compels to be barbaric towards him; this empathy is what enables him to be a spectator as well as a sufferer.

4.

"Indeed, happiness, conceived of as the liveliest feeling of power, has perhaps been nowhere greater on earth than in the souls of superstitious ascetics. The Brahmins give expression to this in the story of King Visvamitra, who derived such strength from _practising penance_ for a thousand years that he undertook to construct a new _Heaven_. I believe that in this whole species of inner experience we are now incompetent novices groping after the solution of riddles: they knew more about these infamous refinements of self-enjoyment 4,000 years ago. The creation of the world: perhaps it was then thought of by some Indian dreamer as an ascetic operation on the part of a god! Perhaps the god wanted to banish himself into active and moving nature as into an instrument of torture, in order thereby to feel his bliss and power doubled!"

This is where the god comes in. The ascetic, who is "only one character burning and consuming himself" (i.e., he is usually alone), is superstitious in that he believes in "gods and genii of all the heights and depths, in short something that roams even in secret, hidden places, sees even in the dark, and will not easily let an interesting painful spectacle pass unnoticed." (GM II 7.)

This, I think, is what Nietzsche means when says the ascetic "gazes out into the outer world only in order to gather as it were wood for his own pyre": he looks everywhere for things that may cause suffering to him. And his triumph consists in "the fact that he feels no pain where he had expected to feel it." (BGE 124.) He identifies wholly with the spectator--that is, with the one who identifies or is one with the _cause_ of his suffering. For this is what cruelty is: to identify with the cause of some suffering and thereby feel the _power_ to cause it. This feeling of power is the pleasure of cruelty.

The god feels his bliss and power doubled because he does not just feel his power to create a world, but, by turning the world into an instrument of torture, also feels his power to cause suffering.

5.

"And supposing it was a god of love: what enjoyment for such a god to create _suffering_ men, to suffer divinely and superhumanly from the ceaseless torment of the sight of them, and thus to tyrannise over himself!"

Here the god no longer (just) used the world as an instrument of torture against himself directly, but (also) indirectly, by using it against other sentient beings and, because of his love for them, feeling com-passion for them ("passion" as in "the passion of the Christ", the suffering of Jesus).

6.

"And even supposing it was not only a god of love, but also a god of holiness and sinlessness: what deliriums of the divine ascetic can be imagined when he creates sin and sinners and eternal damnation and a vast abode of eternal affliction and eternal groaning and sighing!--It is not altogether impossible that the souls of Dante, Paul, Calvin and their like may also once have penetrated the gruesome secrets of such voluptuousness of power--and in face of such souls one can ask: is the circle of striving for distinction really at an end with the ascetic? Could this circle not be run through again from the beginning, holding fast to the basic disposition of the ascetic and at the same time that of the pitying god? That is to say, doing hurt to others in order thereby to hurt _oneself_, in order then to triumph over oneself and one's pity and to revel in an extremity of power! Excuse these extravagant reflections on all that may have been possible on earth through the psychical extravagance of the lust for power!"

Running through the circle again from the beginning while holding fast to the basic disposition of the divine ascetic: that means, for example, imposing torment and giving blows like the barbarian, but now in order to hurt _oneself_ through one's compassion.

Willing the recurrence means creating the world anew. This is how the Primordial One (the god who banishes himself into active and moving nature as into an instrument of torture) is sublated into the Eternal Recurrence (in WP 1041, Nietzsche uses the same word as in D 113, namely "Kreislauf"--"circle-run, circulation"). The artists' metaphysics is _not_ replaced by the philosophy of the will to power; it is _sublated_ (cancelled, preserved, and elevated) into it...
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Re: Insightful analysis of Dawn 113.

Postby Anomaly654 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:35 pm

Interesting piece. The little I've read of Nietzshe led me years ago to believe he saw and expressed the reality that constitutes probably the single, most hated Christian doctrine (by both anti-theists and Christians, though few realize and fewer still admit it): human evil, the real satan. My bet is that Nietzshe saw the horrible thing that populates the human heart--the abyss, which, if you stare long enough into it (few do), it will also stare back into you. While I stand intellectually against his philosophy (which to me is actually a theology), I respect the fact that he had the strength to stare down the horrible thing and write about it, as the op testifies to imo.
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Re: Insightful analysis of Dawn 113.

Postby Mitra-Sauwelios » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:53 am

Anomaly654 wrote:Interesting piece. The little I've read of Nietzshe led me years ago to believe he saw and expressed the reality that constitutes probably the single, most hated Christian doctrine (by both anti-theists and Christians, though few realize and fewer still admit it): human evil, the real satan. My bet is that Nietzshe saw the horrible thing that populates the human heart--the abyss, which, if you stare long enough into it (few do), it will also stare back into you. While I stand intellectually against his philosophy (which to me is actually a theology), I respect the fact that he had the strength to stare down the horrible thing and write about it, as the op testifies to imo.


Thanks for the serious response. I think Nietzsche's teaching is more than a theology, but I think I see what you mean. I agree with what you say about the abyss--though I don't think it's limited to humans. I do think that, of all the beings we know, it's deepest in humans. The reason for that, I think, is this:

"[M]an is, relatively speaking, the most badly-turned-out animal, the sickliest, the one that has strayed most dangerously from its instincts[.]" (Nietzsche, The Antichrist, section 14, my translation.)

Instinct can be understood as a kind of inherited habit or custom. And in an aphorism related to Dawn 113, Nietzsche writes:

"[I]t is still a far too paradoxical and almost paininducing novelty that the morality of distinction is in its ultimate foundation pleasure in refined cruelty. In its ultimate foundation--in this case that means: in its first generation. For when the habit of some distinguishing action is _inherited_, the thought that lies behind it is not inherited with it (thoughts are not hereditary, only feelings): and provided it is not again reproduced by education, even the second generation fails to experience any pleasure in cruelty in connection with it, but only pleasure in the habit as such. _This_ pleasure, however, is the first stage of the 'good'." http://nietzsche.holtof.com/reader/friedrich-nietzsche/daybreak/aphorism-30-quote_cb04a03be.html

With this, we arrive at the book's fundamental idea, that moral goodness is only obedience to custom (aphorism 9). And we may consider obedience to custom natural, no matter how "unnatural", how arbitrary a custom it is: after all, we can conceive of physical laws as laws that are always obeyed and hence completely natural (=physical). This is one way in which woman's nature is more "natural" than man's (BGE 239):

"Among the things that can be said in favour of custom is this: when someone subjects himself to it completely, from the very heart and from his earliest years on, his organs of attack and defence--both bodily and spiritual--degenerate: that is to say, he grows increasingly beautiful! For it is the exercise of these organs and the disposition that goes with this exercise which keeps one ugly and makes one uglier. That is why the old baboon is uglier than the young one, and why the young female baboon most closely resembles man: is the most beautiful baboon, that is to say. One could from this draw a conclusion as to the origin of the beauty of women!" http://nietzsche.holtof.com/reader/friedrich-nietzsche/daybreak/aphorism-25-quote_29374a0db.html

Now compare the "Harmony of the Spheres" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musica_universalis)! Nature is beautiful and good and just because it obeys:

"Sun will not overstep his measures, otherwise the Erinyes, helpers of Justice, will find him out." (Heraclitus.)

And humans are of all the beings we know the most unnatural beings, what with our "culture". And among humans, men tend to be less natural, more "cultivated", than women:

"Dances were performed at [Xenophon's] symposium by two different dancers, a dancing girl and a dancing boy whose respective dances Strauss distinguished sharply. The dancing girl's first dance occasioned Antisthenes's question to Socrates as to why he had not educated Xanthippe 'but lives with her who is of all wives present, past, and future the most difficult, as she is'; the dancing girl's next dance was extremely dangerous, and it not only settled the controversial issue of the teachability of virtue but was linked to teaching manliness to the whole city. Socrates, Strauss emphasizes, did not take her dance as a model. 'Then the boy danced.' And Socrates proved willing to learn 'the postures exhibited by the boy, and ... he had that wish because he wished to dance.' [At this point there's a footnote saying: "Strauss does not mention that Socrates 'thought of something else in addition, that no part of his body was idle during the dance'--all was in motion."] Socrates's wish made all laugh at him, and Socrates responded to the laughter of all with 'a very serious face' and 'explained that he wished to dance for a variety of reasons.' [...] Socrates's turn to the human taught him that the humans in charge, the males in charge, judge nature to act unbearably toward humans, like a sea always in motion, always threatening humans and human constructs with destruction, always failing to distinguish worthy from unworthy. Xenophon's images bring to light Socrates's insight into the male need to master feared and hated nature, to conquer nature. They show Socrates, the student of nature and human nature, learning that he will have to persuade ruling males of what he learned they would dearly want to believe, that nature is not what she seems but wholly otherwise, end-directed for human benefit by caring gods who ensure that the worthy benefit and the unworthy suffer. Socrates has no quarrel with nature, but he teaches a fiction to make it appear that the male quarrel with nature misunderstands nature. To this degree, Socrates's teleotheology is itself a project to master nature, to rule it conceptually; it is a conquest of nature that orders nature in accord with human wishes; it is a male project, the project of a real real man to conquer nature conceptually--if only exoterically. [...] Socrates's [esoteric] relation to nature, Strauss suggests, is the opposite of a passion to alter hated nature, it is an acceptance of nature as it is that leads to a love of nature as it is, a dance with nature as it is." (Laurence Lampert, The Enduring Importance of Leo Strauss, "Socrates, the Real Real Man".)

Image The boy Krishna dancing.
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Re: Insightful analysis of Dawn 113.

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:53 am

Asceticism is the anti ego, part of its superhero component, it is the mobilization of the self, denying itselflf, only to find that it's impossible to destroy the gods, only to create a participatory mystique of a grander design of reflectivity between the creator and the destroyer.

This higher narrative or highest narrative creates a mag ignominious foile de deux, where the Christ and the Antichrist stand in stark contrast , a film and its negation, a negative reversal , both sympathetic. by necessity. Without one the other would become irresolute, compassion loosing touch with its strange and myriad past of apprehension, apprehending its apprehension of its own reversion. It is an ani ego clothed in egolessness, and yet that too is bound for a universal one-ness, an absolute ego of defiance.

Overcoming that which looks back from the darkness , requiring the revitalization of the absolute reflection: the manifestation of the third eye, the eye that sees thoughts.

Nietzsche, Book 5 aphorism 509
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Re: Insightful analysis of Dawn 113.

Postby Mitra-Sauwelios » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:56 am

Thanks, Meno!

"The third eye.--What! You still need the theatre! Are you still so young? Grow wise, and seek for tragedy and comedy where they are better acted! Where things are more interesting and interested! It is not altogether easy, I know, to remain a mere spectator in these cases--but learn it! And then, in almost every situation you find hard and painful you will have a little portal to joy and a refuge even when your own passions assail you. Open your theatre-eye, the great third eye which looks out into the world through the other two!" http://nietzsche.holtof.com/reader/friedrich-nietzsche/daybreak/aphorism-509-quote_8f93f6de2.html

This reminds me:

"Perhaps in an effort to refine the image that might reflect the paradox of this initial motionless stirring [of time in eternity], to make more vivid and graspable the One's enigmatic desire for something beyond its own present, Plotinus continues the above argument by describing the 'first stirring' of the 'active principle' that will become the World Soul of the Cosmos as being most like a master who decides to disguise himself as a servant, who undresses himself in order to dress himself with a lesser raiment. [... W]e might reasonably interpret the following passage as an actor dressing for his role, just about to come on stage: 'To bring this Cosmos into being, the Soul first laid aside its eternity and clothed itself with Time; this world of its fashioning it then gave over to be a servant to Time, making it at every point a thing of Time, setting all its progressions within the bournes of Time' (trans. MacKenna). In Plotinus's text, not only is time, famously, the moving image of eternity (tou aionos tòn chrónon eînai), but perhaps even more interestingly eternity is conversely, and inseparably, the only barely moving, almost totally static, image of time. And because all of this must be projected against the temporal horizon of eternal return, this enigmatic, unsayable difference is precisely what must have happened an infinite number of times already. The entire cycle may really be like a theatrical production of inconceivable grandeur, and above all one that knows itself as an ironic time-fetish that says the unsayable aporetic difference between time and eternity." (Ned Lukacher, Time-Fetishes: The Secret History of Eternal Recurrence, page 24.)

The Shamen, "Re:Evolution".

"It would appear that the World Soul returns eternally only by virtue of the fact that, in each cycle, the One gives Its gift absolutely, without hope of return. Every time the cycle of becoming reaches its endpoint, there is another gift, or more precisely, the return of the same gift. And each time it is only because the gift is pure and absolute that there can be the eternal contamination that is the coming to presence of a cosmos. This pure gift takes the form of a circle, but it does so only inadvertently; only by giving a gift outside the circle of exchange is the circle achieved.
What is most beautiful about the One is Its gift, which takes us back to that first stirring of time[.]" (Lukacher, op.cit., page 27.)

"Acquisition is only a moment in the endless cycle of potlach: every gift prompts, in response, an even greater gift, a more glorious expenditure. One does not give in order to acquire; acquisition is merely an effect of one's giving. '[I]f it is ultimately a source of profit,' Bataille writes, 'the principle of [potlach] is nevertheless determined by a resolute squandering of resources that in theory could have been acquired.' Moreover, in this endless cycle of gift-giving, what is genuinely acquired is not things but rank, esteem, value, glory. And this rank is determined, principally, not only by what one has, but by what one is able to risk, expend, put in play: 'the players can never retire from the game, their fortunes made; they remain at the mercy of provocation.' As soon as one retires from the game, one's prestige becomes a thing of the past." (Christoph Cox, Nietzsche: Naturalism and Interpretation, pp. 234-35, quoting Georges Bataille, Accursed Share and "Notion of Expenditure".)

"[Potlach] is, like commerce, a means of circulating wealth, but it excludes bargaining. More often than not it is the solemn giving of considerable riches, offered by a chief to his rival for the purpose of humiliating, challenging and obligating him." (Bataille, Accursed Share, page 67.)

Mundy, "To You I Bestow" :'{

"To understand the mind's evolution, it is probably best to forget everything one knows about human history and human civilization. Pretend that the last ten thousand years did not happen. Imagine the way our species was a hundred thousand years ago. From the outside, they would look like just another group of large primates foraging around Africa, living in small bands, using a few simple tools. Even their courtship looks uneventful: a male and a female just sit together, their eyes meet, and they breathe at each other in odd staccato rhythms for several hours, until they start kissing or one gives up and goes away. But if one could understand their quiet, intricately patterned exhalations, one could appreciate what is going on. Between their balloon-shaped skulls passes back and forth a new kind of courtship signal, a communication system unlike anything else on the planet. A language. Instead of dancing around in physical space like normal animals, these primates use language to dance around in mindscapes of their own invention, playing with ideas.
[...] Evolution found a way to act directly on the mental sophistication of this primate species, not through some unique combination of survival challenges, but through the species setting itself a strange new game of reproduction. They started selecting one another for their brains. Those brains won't invent literature or television for another hundred thousand years. They don't have to. They have one another.
The intellectual and technical achievements of our species in the last few thousand years depend on mental capacities and motivations originally shaped by sexual selection. [...] What matters is the prodigious waste. The waste is what keeps the fitness indicators honest. The wastefulness of courtship is what makes it romantic. The wasteful dancing, the wasteful gift-giving, the wasteful conversation, the wasteful laughter, the wasteful foreplay, the wasteful adventures. [...] Male humans waste their time and energy getting graduate degrees, writing books, playing sports, fighting other men, painting pictures, playing jazz, and founding religious cults. These may not be conscious sexual strategies, but the underlying motivations for 'achievement' and 'status'--even in preference to material sources--were probably shaped by sexual selection." (Geoffrey Miller, The Mating Mind, pp. 20-21 and 128-29.)

(On a natural high,) Who lives in the clouds on a mountain
(On a natural high,) for the sake of our natural surroundings?
(On a natural high,) Who sings like a fountain in winter
(On a natural high,) for the myriads of flowers in springtime?

Oh hello, it is me, I'm the one up a tree in the garden!
It is time for me to say goodbye, I'll see you among the stars that I light in the darkness...

On a natural high, I see birds fly by...
On a natural high, I hear angels cry...
On a natural high, see me take to the sky!
On a natural high, on a natural high...

Nick Drake, "Fruit Tree".

When I read the lyrics to "Fruit Tree", I immediately knew I had to have every song the writer ever made.

Nico, "My Heart is Empty", live in Tokyo.

"Vergiss nicht, Mensch, den Wollust ausgeloht:
du--bist der Stein, der Wüste, bist der Tod...
"
(Nietzsche, Dionysos-Dithyramben, "Unter Töchtern der Wüste".)

O Zoitsa¹,
I glance at the truth of your sight²
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



¹ Pronounced Zoeetsa, meaning "Lifelet".
("Think I'm gonna cha-ange
This little life of mine")

² Compare:
"O thou that with surpassing Glory crownd,
Look'st from thy sole Dominion like the God
Of this new World; at whose sight all the Starrs
Hide thir diminisht heads; to thee I call,
But with no friendly voice, and add thy name
O Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams[.]"
(Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IV, verse 32-37.)
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Re: Insightful analysis of Dawn 113.

Postby Mitra-Sauwelios » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:35 am

The Doors "Light My Fire", including Graveyard Poem.

Jim Morrison was what led me to Nietzsche.
"Your symbolical, lyrical and musical world can become an absolute standard. That is to say the highest on Earth." (Fixed Cross, "Re: A letter for the King" (return email to yours truly!), my translation.)
kali maa jaap mantra {om aim hreem kleem chamundaye vichaye}
"didja read that great wall of text he wrote? i'm tellin' you, ollie is the grand master of the esoteric and eclectic. if there IS something more to life, something extramundane or divine or whatever you wanna call it, ollie will figure it out" (Zoot Allures, to phoneutria, about yours truly.)
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