Thursday, April 18, 2019

A Note on Notes on Klee, Note 1 

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“1. [Klee excerpt:] “Nevertheless, the rendering that is distant from nature 
becomes the norm again, and thereby the construction at-tains increased 
significance even as technical alleviation. Thus, the scaffolding of the 
image-organism comes to the fore and becomes truth coûte que coûte 
[no matter the cost]. Houses that are supposed to assimilate to an 
interesting image-scaffolding become crooked . . . trees are violated, 
humans become nonviable; a compulsion arises, lead-ing to the point 
where the object is no longer recognizable, to a picture puzzle. For 
here no profane law holds sway; here a law of art holds sway. Crooked 
houses do not topple in the image, trees no longer need to leaf out, 
humans need not breathe. Images are not living images.”

If the expert is allowed to take over what is “distant from nature” also 
takes over. Houses that no one would want to live in are built and 
judged to be superior by the experts. In the west the idea of nature is 
at war with the idea of history and “ideas are stronger than all empirical 
powers”. The everlasting recurrence which is Greek nature is felt as a 
terrible pessimism which according to Christian history can only be 
overcome by salvation (or, by Thomas More's built Plato, the Eutopia, 
the historical form of the best regime by nature, the place which is not). 
Again and again the house which is most esteemed in the opinions of 
the many is improved under this jesuitism of building. Therefore 
Nietzsche thinks his overman as natural and attempting to establish 
the most beautiful pessimism. Art, taken seriously, must challenge 
nature and become higher than nature in its history, ergo 
“crooked houses do not topple”. Nothing is “living” these days, 
phusis is what grows, what challenges forth, what comes of itself. 
In Prometheus’ body is harboured the spirit of the ant living in caves 
(or bee hive at the end of natural history become historical history). 
Reason, like the instincts, does not require human beings. The right 
kind of man, the agathos, reasons correctly just as the brute follows 
instinctually the drives of his libedo. Both principles are wholly cold, 
“not living images”.       

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