The Will to Power

Book Two: A Criticism of the Highest Values That Have Prevailed Hitherto
I: Criticism of Religion

§136   Rudimentary psychology of the religious man: All changes are effects; all effects are effects of will (the notion of “Nature “and of “natural law” is lacking); all effects presuppose an agent. Rudimentary psychology: one is only a cause oneself, when one knows that one has willed something. Result: States of power impute to man the feeling that he is not the cause of them, that he is not responsible for them: they come without being willed to do so consequently we cannot be their originators: will that is not free (that is to say, the knowledge of a change in our condition which we have not helped to bring about) requires a strong will. Consequence of this rudimentary psychology: Man has never dared to credit himself with his strong and startling moods, he has always conceived them as “passive” as “imposed upon him from outside”: Religion is the offshoot of a doubt concerning the entity of the person, an alteration of the personality: in so far as everything great and strong in man was considered superhuman and foreign, man belittled himself, he laid the two sides, the very pitiable and weak side and the very strong and startling side apart, in two spheres and called the one “Man” and the other “God”. And he has continued to act on these lines; during the period of the moral idiosyncrasy he did not interpret his lofty and sublime moral states as “proceeding from his own will“ or as the “work” of the person. Even the Christian himself divides his personality into two parts, the one a mean and weak fiction which he calls man and the other which he calls God (Deliverer and Saviour). Religion has lowered the concept “man”; its ultimate conclusion is that all goodness, greatness and truth are superhuman and are only obtainable by the grace of God.

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Be true to your cult, ctd

If you thought it was haughty of Saint Albert to declare there’s no right to leave a church, wait till you hear what this Holy Man has to say about that.

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Reorganizing weddings

Some Protestant pastors have announced that they will no longer perform gubmint weddings.

Christopher Seitz and Ephraim Radner, Episcopal and Anglican pastors respectively, launched “The Marriage Pledge” at the conservative religious journal First Things on Tuesday.

“As Christian ministers we must bear clear witness,” it reads. “This is a perilous time. Divorce and co-­habitation have weakened marriage. We have been too complacent in our responses to these trends. Now marriage is being fundamentally redefined, and we are ­being tested yet again. If we fail to take clear action, we risk falsifying God’s Word.”

[ … ]

Therefore, in our roles as Christian ministers, we, the undersigned, commit ourselves to disengaging civil and Christian marriage in the performance of our pastoral duties. We will no longer serve as agents of the state in marriage. We will no longer sign government-provided marriage certificates. We will ask couples to seek civil marriage separately from their church-related vows and blessings.

So these guys want people to get married twice? Once in a civil ceremony, and once in a church ceremony?

What, really, is the big deal? No law anywhere in the United States requires them to perform same-sex marriages or, for that matter, any other marriage of which they disapprove.

I’m sure every pastor has a story of conducting a wedding of cohabiting heathens and shameless sluts, et cetera, et cetera, because daddy got touched for a new roof — but that’s local politics, and no government entity required Pastor Bubba to do it.

So what’s the problem? From here, this brave declaration looks like cheap theater.

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Normalizing dysfunction

I don’t personally care a hoot whether the Keystone pipeline is ever built or not, but there are sound reasons to be wary.

  1. It is favored by the Republicans, once respectable but now the party of dimwitted howling yahoos manipulated by cynical, self-serving oligarchs.

  2. We should be looking toward an end to use of fossil fuels, and construction of the pipeline will conduce to increased use of fossil fuels.

  3. The Alberta tar sands are, literally, dirty — and separation of the bitumen from the sand will require huge amounts of energy, with the result that the net energy yield of a gallon of gasoline will be lower than the net energy yield of a gallon of gasoline extracted from clean crude. Let’s not forget all the waste product that will have to be managed, either, at ongoing cost. Bottom line: Alberta tar sand gasoline will be expensive gasoline.

But that’s not what has me upset; what has me upset is the reporting of yesterday’s Senate vote, which seems to treat as a given that a supermajority is required to enact legislation in this country.

Senate Democrats blocked a move Tuesday to compel construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, dealing a sharp loss to one of their own, Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.), who had pinned her chances for reelection on approval of the measure.

The vote was a victory for environmental activists who have turned defeat of the pipeline into one of the central symbolic causes of their movement. But Republicans, who will take majority control of the Senate in the next Congress, vowed to return to the fight next year.

On a 59 to 41 roll call, Landrieu’s campaign fell one vote shy of passing legislation …

In fact, Landrieu’s campaign won the sort of decisive majority once described as a ‘landslide.’ The bill won’t be enacted because of a paperwork filibuster; I say ‘paperwork’ because, thanks to a rules change, Senators no longer have to stand at the podium and talk when they declare a filibuster, they need merely to demand a supermajority by announcing their intention to filibuster.

But this Washington Post article only briefly alludes to the filibuster — as though the de facto, now commonplace requirement for a supermajority were de jure.

Seriously: Am I, like, the only person left in America who remembers that, once upon a sane time, a simple majority was sufficient to pass legislation?

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The Will to Power

Book Two: A Criticism of the Highest Values That Have Prevailed Hitherto
I: Criticism of Religion

The origin of religion. Just as the illiterate man of today believes that his wrath is the cause of his being angry, that his mind is the cause of his thinking, that his soul is the cause of his feeling, in short, just as a mass of psychological entities are still unthinkingly postulated as causes — so, in a still more primitive age, the same phenomena were interpreted by man by means of personal entities. Those conditions of his soul which seemed strange, overwhelming and rapturous, he regarded as obsessions and bewitching influences emanating from the power of some personality. (Thus the Christian, the most puerile and backward man of this age, traces hope, peace and the feeling of deliverance to a psychological inspiration on the part of God: being by nature a sufferer and a creature in need of repose, states of happiness, peace and resignation, perforce seem strange to him and seem to need some explanation.) Among intelligent, strong and vigorous races, the epileptic is mostly the cause of a belief in the existence of some foreign power; but all such examples of apparent subjection as, for instance, the bearing of the exalted man, of the poet, of the great criminal, or the passions, love and revenge lead to the invention of supernatural powers. A condition is made concrete by being identified with a personality and when this condition overtakes anybody, it is ascribed to that personality. In other words: in the psychological concept of God a certain state of the soul is personified as a cause in order to appear as an effect. The psychological logic is as follows: when the feeling of power suddenly seizes and overwhelms a man and this takes place in the case of all the great passions, a doubt arises in him concerning his own person: he dare not think himself the cause of this astonishing sensation and thus he posits a stronger person, a Godhead as its cause. In short, the origin of religion lies in the extreme feelings of power, which, being strange take men by surprise: and just as the sick man, who feels one of his limbs unaccountably heavy, concludes that another man must be sitting on it, so the ingenuous homo religiosus, divides himself up into several people. Religion is an example of the “alteration de la personnalite”? A sort of fear and sensation of terror in one’s own presence — But also a feeling of inordinate rapture and exaltation. Among sick people, the sensation of health suffices to awaken a belief in the proximity of God.

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