Metaphysical Mush

… the worst of all methods of acquiring knowledge, not the best of all, have taught belief in them. When one has disclosed these methods as the foundation of all extant religions and metaphysical systems one has refuted them! Then the possibility still remains over; but one can do absolutely nothing with it, not to speak of letting happiness, salvation and life depend on the gossamer of such a possibility. –For one could assert nothing at all of the metaphysical world except that it was a being-other; it would be a thing with negative qualities. –Even if the existence of such a world were never so well demonstrated, it is certain that knowledge of it would be the most useless of all knowledge: more useless even than knowledge of the chemical composition of water must be to the sailor in danger of shipwreck. (Nietzsche)

Nietzsche is skeptical of knowledge  in  the “real” world–the “metaphysical” world of belief, religion,  and angels dancing on pins is a world for which he has little if no patience. (M.C. Gardner)

This passage exemplifies Nietzsche’s will to look life in face and accept only what can honestly be accepted: first, the human head has only itself to go on and there’s no guarantee that what goes on inside corresponds with truth; second, if there was another realm of being, it would be just that –“another” – and hence unknowable for us of this world; and third, even if it did become knowable it would do nothing to get us through this life. (Jon Ferguson)

There would be nothing that could be called knowledge if thought did not first re-form the world in this way into ‘things’, into what is self-identical. Only because there is thought is there untruth.  (Nietzsche WP 574)

 The ‘real world’, however one has hitherto conceived it- it has always been the apparent world once again. (Nietzsche WP 566) 

 All efforts toward metaphysics are limited by the human head and this head always sees “things”, things that “are”. But what is isn’t because everything is always becoming, changing, part of a great flux. I once was seated in a restaurant in Geneva across from a physicist at the CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research. I asked him about the very thing Nietzsche is talking about. “Does modern physics believe these are really such a ‘thing’ as an atom or an electron or a particle?” He calmly responded that they no longer believe in ‘things’ but in ‘forces’, i.e. they can’t find any real objects, parts, or particles as such, but only fields of forces and motion. Naturally this brought out a twinkle to my Nietzsche-reading eyes.  Imagine for a moment that everything the human eye sees is really not, static as we see it, but in a state of flux as Nietzsche suggests. All talk about thingness, this “thing” and that “thing” becomes ridiculous or rather becomes just an effort of the human mind to “stop the world”, to try to make sense of and give order to what really can’t be made sense of. This is what Nietzsche is trying to say. This is the “honesty” with which he confronts human being. Let’s stop – he says – making statements that are finally mythic. If we’re going to really think, let’s think all the way and stop deluding ourselves with half-truths or non-truths. If “truth” is something out of man’s reach, let’s admit it, look it in the face, and “live” with it. If a cat is not a cat, i.e. if we cannot “know” the infinity of becoming, if the human mind is not equipped to fathom beyond the apparent, surface world, so be it. But let’s be honest and put metaphysics in the garbage with the broken vacuum and the empty tin can. (Jon Ferguson)

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