So first off, sorry for the lack of posts. I should have a real one up soon enough. Over the last month and a half I have started a new job, finished a quarter of school and started a new one, fought off a bad case of bronchitis, sinusitis, and an ear infection–honestly, who gets an ear infection after five–and had some discouraging and encouraging talks about PHD programs–how to get into a good one, which one to choose, etc.–with several people.
On that front, the best of recent event was a conversation I had with Creston Davis regarding just that. Not a whole lot of new insights obtained, but very encouraging to talk to someone who has similar passions/goals, believes in God’s Kingdom and its ethical call on all of our lives and has achieved a lot. I am not attempting to make any claims that he at all approves of anything I have written on this site, I am just very grateful that he was willing to chat with me for awhile.
In other news, I have been reading Dussel, Twenty Thesis on Politics, which is very cogent: Badiou’s Infinite Thought, also clear and profound on many levels, so far my favorite essay is “Philosophy and Communism”; still slowly working through Theology and the Political, favorite essay still being Philip Goodchild’s although Milbank’s is also very stimulating; and finally Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil.
This is probably my favorite Nietzsche text so far. I haven’t pick him up since a directed reading I took under Craig Hovey–which I never officially registered for nor finished since I got married in the middle of it, but nevertheless read almost all the material; and am enjoying him once again. So far he has picked on Kant, Descartes–most visciously; Schopenhauer and Compte. His polemics never bore.
However, I am still not sure how to read Nietzsche. Between his chauvenist, racist and elitist overtones and at times explicitly despotic, tyrannical statements it is some times very hard to give him the benefit of the doubt. Im always tempted to side with Geof Waite, in rejecting Nietzsche and his reception with all it entails, but want to give old Nietch, along with Kaufmann and his other disciples, a shot for a little while longer.
And yet, I am suspicious that some Nietzschians maybe guilty of the same type of fraudulent moves that Christians often attempt make with Christ or Paul. Take the Samaritan women whom Jesus referred to as a dog. Now I know that there are ways of reading this text that make it less offensive–there was a socio-political context in which the woman’s tribe(s) had been raiding other’s, namely the Jews. Thus the reference to dogs is meant to make the link between her social group and scavengers, what dogs were considered, etc. Yet, at the end of the day we are left with Jesus’ being at least implicitly racist. Of course he does change his opinion based on her response and it is possible that he was testing her, although why do we feel we must make excuses for Jesus. Is it possible that he was just racist and that when he was forcefully confronted by this women in her humanity he was opened up to a new way of seeing her and a new way of seeing Gentiles? Of course this assumes, for the orthodox, that cultural presuppositions, including racism, aren’t necessarily sinful as long as they are open to be changed when proven wrong. This may be a bad assumption, or just an honest one.
The point is, is it possible that Nietzsche really was just a chauvinist, totalitarian, elitist, asshole and if so can we not still learn a thing or two from a nevertheless brilliant thinker and critic?
All that being said, I should be posting more soon.