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  • Rob Will

A Nietzsche Jazz Experiment / Letter To A Compañera In Germany

“All good things laugh, learn, I pray you—to laugh…What has hitherto been the greatest sin here on earth? Was it not the word of him who said: ‘Woe unto them that laugh now!’  Did he find no cause for laughter on the earth? Then he sought badly. A child even finds cause for laughter.”

— Thus Spake Zarathustra by F.W. Nietzsche


You truly are a very sustaining, upholding and inspiring force in my life. (Just as all of our other people are.) In that spirit, I have a particular request for you. First, if you don’t have Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra, do not tell me because it will take me weeks to come to terms with that. And then I would have to go through the month long arduous and grueling process of forgiveness. Just go get it if you do not have the book and be sure, with downcast and shame-filled eyes, to chastise yourself with Bernhardian curses until the essential masterwork is in your hands.

Read the short “The Three Metamorphoses” chapter, which contains Nietzsche’s metaphor of the camel, the lion and the child. This is a parable concerning the stages of development that all true and genuine free thinkers go through. Upon first coming into a heightened state of consciousness, she realizes the true nature of history, of society, of reality. This can weigh heavily upon her shoulders, so heavily that she becomes a beast of burden; the ills of society weigh her down. She stands frozen at the edge of the Abyss in an uncomfortable state of numbness, of sadness, of pessimism. A pandemonic horde of ghostly demons circle before her in a torrential haze: The wings of Unjust Wars spread wide; the razor sharp unforgiving claws of hate and ignorance slice through the dark air; the poison tipped tail of oppression lashes out violently; the stiletto sharp teeth of abject complacency bite at her Consciousness. And she remains frozen, numb, lethargic…

And then her Kali burst forth, her Athena rises and she rages forward in battle with the ferocity of a lioness. “A blade to the throat of Fascism!” as George Jackson said. There is no longer acquiescence in the face of the Abyss—all she knows is battle and the demons of the Abyss are her foresworn enemies. They fear the mighty blows of her battle-axes; they tremble at the sight of her keenly edged scimitars. Our lioness fights heroically, honorably, but she realizes that something is missing.

Suddenly she finds herself on the battlefield of Life, on the mountaintop of her Consciousness with her slain enemies at her feet. She raises her unconquerable broadsword to the sky and a spirit-filled war cry reaches across the vast empty plain. Her battle rage subsides and a realization suddenly hits her: She knows what she was fighting against, but what was she fighting for? The abstract theoretical constructs exist within her mind but blinded by battle rage she doesn’t exactly know how to make them manifest. This thought circles through her Mind as the temperature warms as she walks down from the Mountaintop into the Forest…

And beside the warm forest stream she takes off her battle gear and lays her weapons to the side (but always within reach). She washes the blood of her enemies off and lets the cool, pure clear water massage her body. She closes her eyes and her head dips below the surface of the stream…Reality must be created—the future is ours to create. We must first overcome our own demons before we can effectively fight the demons of our society. And in this fight we must also be creators, our essence merged with all of humanity, all of existence. We must approach reality, we must approach the future, with the heart, mind, body, spirit and soul of a child…yes, yes, and we must embrace the future as children, as creators! And she arises from the mountain spring as a child, as one who grasps reality in her yearning hands, and this creates a more righteous and just future for all of humanity…(Think of the depictions of Eros-Cupid as a child and Dionysus-Bacchus as well!)

Hopefully, you won’t revert back to your raging Kali stage when I say this, but I do believe that your beloved Schopenhauer was stuck alternating between the camel and the lion phase and never reached the heightened state of becoming a child once again. (Just had to mention that because I adore you so very much!)

So, vibe on Nietzsche’s parable of the Three Metamorphoses and continue doing so while listening to the following pieces of Jazz music; music of Creation:

* Interception by the Dave Holland Quintet from the album Conference Of The Birds (1972)

* So Flute by Saint Germain from the album Tourist (2000)

* Walk Between the Raindrops by Donald Fagen from the album Nightfly (1982)

* Steps Ahead by Mulatu Astatke (Popstock Distribuciones, 2010)

* Rhythm in Mind by Steve Coleman (Novus/BMG, 1991)

* All Night Long by Kenny Burrell and Donald Byrd (1956)

Before and above all, Nietzsche honored the god Dionysus. I think those who have attempted to honor Nietzsche through music have really missed capturing the essence and spirit of his teachings. Yes, Strauss “Thus Spake Zarathustra” is a bit awe-inspiring, especially the opening part, but…where is the “laughing lion” and the soaring doves (as at the end of Zarathustra)? Where is the insatiable god of the vine, of dance, of revelry?

The tablets of the old values can only be smashed by acts of Umwälzung—the Will To Power that arises to conduct such acts is a Hammer, a mighty Mjölnir, yes, but one that swings, that dances, to a Jazz tune and is most effective in the hands of a child. Listen to those songs and see if you can catch that vibe. (And maybe throw in some Fela Kuti and a bit of Miles and Coltrane for good measure!)…Or perhaps I should say let that vibe arise within you because I know it’s already there…In the sense enlivening and Life affirming spirit of Creation, I’ll sign off with a Dionysian embrace of ever-evolving:

Love, Strength and Solidarity:

(Remember that Dionysus was the god of Spartacus and his warrior chick companion too!)


* Everyone should try this little Nietzsche Jazz Experiment—the “Three Metamorphoses” chapter of his Zarathustra is only a few pages long. And now is always a good time to dedicate or re-dedicate oneself to living a more creative and fulfilling life. I mean, really, what have you been doing out there lately? I’m in this wretched Orwellian Hell and I’m living Life as fully as possible and I’m creating…(Even though the wretched Entartung Thought Police have taken my radio, and most of my books including all of my Nietzsche!)

**Links to the songs:

Interception by the Dave Holland Quintet from the album Conference Of The Birds (1972)

So Flute by Saint Germain from the album Tourist (2000)

Walk Between the Raindrops by Donald Fagen from the album Nightfly (1982)

Steps Ahead by Mulatu Astatke (Popstock Distribuciones, 2010)

Rhythm in Mind by Steve Coleman (Novus/BMG, 1991)

All Night Long by Kenny Burrell and Donald Byrd (1956)

*** The “Three Metamorphoses” from Thus Spake Zarathustra can be found here:

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