Desire and the Good, with a Reply to Nihilism

‘What does nihilism mean? That the highest values have devaluated themselves. The aim is lacking; “why?” finds no answer.’

–Nietzsche, The Will to Power

Can nihilism be overcome? Must all of our highest values devaluate themselves? If not, the aim would not be lacking since the “why?” would indeed find an answer.

1. The self is born out of its separation from the Good. Thus, with the birth of the self comes desire: its aversions and its hungers.

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Reinstating the Project of Human Greatness

Fiery power is not the sole possession of the Right, and the aspiration for human greatness needn’t be relegated to the past. To make one’s powers, like a whirling dervish, more and more intense is the first task. To raise those powers to the very pitch of beauty is the second.

Why should talk of human greatness elicit snickering from the bleachers? Because it is superannuated and quixotic? True, Achilles was once great, Alexander was once great, but, true also, heroic societies are now gone. Generals and commanders were once great too, yet–again–the arena of battle, particularly after WWI and WWII, has been drawn into question. Statesmen like Pericles were once great, but Obama is ground down into little pieces. Keep running through more cases, and the implicit thesis would turn out to be that greatness–in war, in politics, in art, in business, in philosophy–is no longer really possible since modern life is set up to produce small, nice, easily harmed people.

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Eloquence Training: Episode 2. The Path and Benefits of Eloquence

Eloquence, I argue, is saying the right thing in the right way with a sense of ease. An eloquent person, then, is someone who often or almost always speaks eloquently.

In this episode, my longtime partner Alexandra and I first discuss how she became eloquent. Then we discuss what benefits flow from being an eloquent speaker.

If you would like to learn how to become eloquent, you can visit http://andrewjamestaggart.com/eloquence/.

Eloquence Training: Episode 1. Obstacles to Eloquence

I would define eloquence as saying the right thing in the right way with a sense of ease. An eloquent person, then, is someone who often or almost always speaks eloquently.

In this introductory episode, I speak with my partner Alexandra about what it was like for her to grow up without being able to think clearly or to speak with a sense of ease. We go on to discuss what obstacle stood in the way of her becoming more eloquent. We conclude by noting the close connection between doing philosophy and speaking well.

If you would like to learn how to become eloquent, you can visit http://andrewjamestaggart.com/eloquence/.