Zarathustra in Disneyland – How Postmodernism Poisoned the Well


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Synopsis

No, you are NOT entitled to your own Nietzsche. And, no, you
are NOT entitled to your own “science”. When intellectuals
“defend their narratives” rather than persuade the truth, we
are all in deep trouble.

A certain “Molotov cocktail like” version of postmodernism
and post-structuralism
in its diluted, twisted and oversimplified version has become
the very fabric of the current intellectual and cultural
milieu. An agenda based on narratives, separated only by
plausible (often tribal) aesthetics has produced a legion of
“skimmers”, people who do not bother themselves with deeper
meaning, who confuse semantics and aesthetics with ethics, who
think that sensationalism is a form of “critical thinking”,
have sadly dominated the current discourse. You can find
skimmers everywhere, from poor journalists to self-proclaimed
“leaders” (in business, politics or the self-help industry).
Unfortunately, they are also present in academe (which spells a
lot of trouble for this institution itself).

One might ask, who truly cares about “postmodernism”? Isn’t it
just some obscure philosophical construct created from the
perspective of a dusty philosophical armchair? Is it possible
that a school of thought can influence the way we think outside
of the Ivory Tower? Well, in fact it, already does. Not because
everybody reads Derrida and Foucault (almost no one does), but
because every culture has its preferred, “fashionable” way of
looking at things; and, postmodernism provided a framework to
absorb a new, technology-filled (somehow foreign) reality. A
dilution of deep meaning and common sense overlapped perfectly
with the new commanding presence of Internet and social media.
Simulacra” (aka
representations, imitations of people and things) became a new
reality; “narratives” are the permanent, non-removable lenses
we see the world through. “Storytelling” became more important
than telling the truth; the individual disappeared in a shadow
of his/hers own pre-assigned “identity”; popularity became a
compass for inquiry. We let the world of symbols “unglue” us
from reality on a large, unprecedented scale. Even without
realizing it, postmodernism took a strong hold on many aspects
of our present affairs. It affects the way we think of
ourselves, the way we communicate with each other and the very
way we carry on exploration and knowledge building.  But,
let me start from the very beginning.

1. The difference between interpretation and adaptation

Hegel pointed out a long time ago “the owl of
Minerva flies at dusk
”. It is indeed extremely difficult to
point out and perceive our shortcomings in real time; we are
usually better at this when we gain some distance from what
we’re analyzing; wisdom often occurs after the fact. But, I
believe for keen observers, certain symptoms of toxic
“post-modernistic grip” have been detectable for quite some
time.

During my research on American interpretations of Nietzsche, my
jaw dropped at the realization of how deep postmodernism had
sunk into academic culture. My work was centered on two main
goals: I diligently tried to present a wide range of various
interpretations of Nietzsche’s philosophy in contemporary
American thought, but at the same time, due to cultural
differences between Europe and America, I had to sketch some
principles, provide a description of a different setting of the
“American academic routine” for my European audience. The
second part of my inquest fell into the category of etiology of
philosophy (1). It is good to remember: all humanistic
interpretations are drawn upon common, culturally set and
established rules of thinking; there is an inescapable presence
of certain value preferences, and/or judgments in words we
choose to describe meanings with. In different cultures and
different times and settings, we exhibit a particular way we
ask questions (a certain way we interrogate our repertoire of
information). To put it in more “human language”, intellectuals
travel in herds. This is exactly why we can separate
successfully the Dark Ages from the Renaissance, Romanticism
from the era of Enlightenment, etc. “Schools of thought” create
aftershocks in the way we all construct our worldview. They
pick and elevate some intrinsic aspects of reality which
require our special attention in the moment. Etiology of
philosophy has a humble epistemological status (claims cannot
be easily generalized) and, yet it provides a roadmap for
understanding important undercurrents guiding interpretations
in humanities.

Nietzsche’s philosophy is an exceptionally good proxy for
analyzing wider cultural phenomena. His thought is a type of
Rorschach
test
; it is emotively charged (you either love it or hate
it). His aphorisms are vague enough to open the door for a
sufficient amount of “personal input”, but at the same time
Nietzsche’s work is NOT just poetry!

Despite the fact that Nietzsche contradicts himself at times,
if you truly study his work, read it all carefully and
chronologically (2), you will be amazed by the consistent
development of certain powerful motifs; he cleverly pondered
over the concepts of life and power, you see his perspectivism
(not relativism!) as
a voice in discussion with traditional epistemology;
you see the robust ethical value of amor fati and
eternal recurrence (which yielded together are a subtle kind of
“value ethics”). Nietzsche’s work amounts to a profound
philosophical statement, which can only be grasped by diligent
and careful examination. If one just “picks and chooses” from a
random collection of his quotes, we end up with a “Hollywood
version” of Nietzsche, which is wittily depicted in the video
below:

There is a significant difference between “good” and “poor”
interpretation. Imagine Nietzsche’s philosophy as a set of
building blocks. Many thinkers put the parts together in a new,
surprising way and this is a great thing. A regardful and
thoughtful analysis of the text is the whole point of any
interpretation; paying more attention to certain aspects of
Nietzsche’s thought often helps us to understand his work
better. The problem starts when one uses Nietzsche’s words to
support an agenda, which is utterly foreign to the spirit of
the original text; when “combing through quotes” in a search
for confirmation goes wild, and in lieu of a better
understanding of philosophy, we end up with a monologue of the
interpreter. Here is where interpretation stops and
adaptation starts. What I argue here is that
adaptations (via poetical license, licencia poetica)
belong ONLY in the realm of ART, not in science, not in
philosophy, not in journalism. “Adaptation” in every meaning of
this term requires alteration of the structure, while
interpretation is an act of explaining, re-framing aimed at
better understanding. In the popular version of postmodernism
these two terms: “interpretation” and “adaptation” got
peculiarly equalized and glued together, which causes damage
and the trivialization of discourse on a large scale.

Nietzsche – a good European

“But we who are neither Jesuits nor democrats, not even
sufficiently German, we good Europeans and free, very free
spirits, we have it still, the whole need for the spirit and
the whole tension of its how! And perhaps also the arrow, the
task and, who knows? the target…” – Nietzsche
(Beyond Good and Evil, Preface)

For some mysterious reason, Friedrich Nietzsche is quoted in
almost every self-help, pop-psychology book on the market these
days. So, let me make it clear: despite the current
“propaganda” it is good to remember that Nietzsche was not a
yoga teacher from Santa Barbara; he was actually born in XIX
century Europe. The lack of proper historical perspective in
American thought was always somehow off-putting for Europeans,
who consider (in general) American interpretations of classical
philosophers as often too detached from the original. I
disagree with that. I think a large part of the general
misunderstanding is that Europeans don’t fully understand
Pragmatism,
an “American way of thinking” which historically speaking has
colored the landscape of interpretations here.

Alexis de Tocqueville (3) said a long time ago that
Americans don’t study philosophy, they try to practice it; that
they don’t resort to pre-cut notions served by tradition or
religion, but are more concerned with their own understanding.
Whatever Americans assimilate they make it their own, including
philosophy. Even interpretations of less ambiguous
philosophers, like Immanuel Kant, were more a-historical here:
Noah Porter, James McCosh, Laurens Perseus Hickok, then James
Marsh, Horace Bushnell, Ralph E. Emerson, were looking for
strictly “practical” solutions in Kant’s moral philosophy. Then
the reception of Hegel had surprisingly similar traits:
thinkers from “St Louis” like William Torrey Harris and Henry
Brokmeyer were using Hegelian dialectics to find a way to
rebuild the country after the Civil War.

“American culture is based on experience” (4) and its native
Pragmatism (5)  supports an attitude where thinking is
always “goal-oriented” and concerned with practical application
of knowledge.

In opposition to many European thinkers, I think that
Pragmatism (although difficult to define) was a one of the most
fascinating and fruitful new attitudes in the recent history of
ideas. With its respect towards science, and keen eye towards
reality, it opened the door for the steady growth of knowledge
and its realistic applications.

So, let me express here loud and clear: I’m not single-handedly
against bold, a-historical, out-of- the box interpretations of
Nietzsche. Quite the opposite is true; his thought invites them
and if properly justified they add rather than subtract to the
understanding of his philosophy. Therefore, before I start
bewailing please let me briefly mention some great
interpretations (NOT adaptations) present in current American
thought.

Bold and beautiful

Historically speaking, Arthur Danto’s interpretation (Nietzsche
as Philosopher
) ignited the discussion on the
compatibility of Nietzsche’s thought with analytical tradition.
Nietzsche could be understood as a proponent of the pragmatic
theory of truth. The discourse on Nietzsche’s perspectivism and
the concept of truth (see
Maudemarie Clark
 ,
Peter Poellner
) subsumed Nietzsche’s thought as part of the
modern epistemological discussion. Cornel West (1985),
among many others, in a similar spirit, reminded us that
Nietzsche was a fiery critic of metaphysics, and an apt
detective of perennial nonsense and pseudo problems in
philosophy. The interpretation of Nietzsche as a philosophical
naturalist presented by Brian Leiter is
one of the most informative and comprehensive interpretations
of Nietzsche to date, and will be recognized as canonical by
many. Similarly, Nietzsche’s interpretations in the spirit of
evolutionism by John Richardson in
Nietzsche’s New Darwinism
, where the author claims that the
present day understanding of natural selection and the concept
of “will to power” (if understood naturalistically, not
mentally) can and should be allied, provided timely and clever
reading of Nietzsche’s thought.


Richard Schacht
describes Nietzsche’s philosophy as “the
anthropological awakening” and his books are representative of
a post-pragmatic approach. Philosophy was made by and for
people, and the true strength of Nietzsche’s cerebrations is
that he reminds us about it repeatedly. The concept of
perspectivism in this account is described as a “human” way of
thinking. Uncovering the consequences of the fact that morality
and values are anchored in society is supposed to encourage
self-awareness and lead people to take more responsibility for
shaping human affairs.

Robert Solomon used to speak about Nietzsche in a similar,
“collegial spirit” (Living
with Nietzsche
). He points out that Nietzsche’s philosophy
is a type of practical ethics; he draws a plausible parallel
with Aristotelian virtue ethics (both philosophies have the
same telos, which is unveiling a human’s full potential).

Nietzsche indisputably influenced classic
Depth Psychology
, and his way of theorization is still a
vivid inspiration for today’s psychiatrists/psychologists.
Interpretations like the one provided by Kristen Brown
(Nietzsche
and Embodiment
) explores mind-body-language-consciousness
relations drawing inspiration from Nietzsche’s writing and
combining it with contemporary debates (non-dualism theory).

This is only a small sample of books and subjects which might
be considered “a-historical” in Europe, but they perfectly
“hold water” and are indeed exhaustive and comprehensive
approaches to Nietzsche’s thought.

The “fast and loose” invasion

But, unfortunately during my research I’ve also stumbled upon a
multitude of Nietzsche’s “interpretations” which give me
pounding headaches, books that in my opinion do not belong in
an academic environment because they do not provide
interpretation; they are adaptations and have very little to do
with philosophy itself.  Many refer to them conspicuously
as “pluralistic” interpretations of Nietzsche. They are not
merely a-historical; they lack fidelity towards the original
text. Before a postmodern invasion, they would be dismissed as
non-academic, unqualified to be considered “a philosophical
interpretation” of any kind. And yet, in this new cultural
milieu, in which adaptation equals interpretation, they thrive
and multiply.  I suspect that some claims made by
Alexander Nehamas (Nietzsche:
Life as Literature
) were pulled mindlessly from his account
and subsequently sparked “the movement”.  If one
concentrates on just one aspect, and begins treating
Nietzsche’s philosophy as “a literary creation of character”
(rather than a coherent philosophical position), all hell
breaks loose. Everything becomes a matter of ‘aesthetics”, and
subsequently epistemological aspects of thought are
intentionally ignored. As Bernd Magnus described: the
boundaries between philosophy and literature are erased (6).
And, a tidal wave of “fast and loose”
interpretations proceeded to make their way into the academic
environment.

You can find books describing Nietzsche as a “fierce proponent
of democracy” (yet, “individualism” is not an immediate
prepotency towards democracy) and Nietzsche as a feminist (this
took some “tweaking” of the definition of feminism for sure).
Recently, I found out that Nietzsche had some very strong
opinions about the election of Donald Trump. At this point I
knew postmodernism, with its “pluralistic interpretations” of
EVERYTHING is welcomed even in the academic environment. The
standard of interpretation was lowered to the level of
“adaptation”, and it seems escape our scrutiny that this is not
a minor “adjustment”. It is a huge leap from an attempt to
understand better, to using parts of any original text to
express the views of an interpreter (not the original author).

Pluralistic interpretations of Nietzsche gave me a taste of
this quite unusual, but rapidly spreading practice: the
permission to mindlessly blend topics and threads (in this
case, philosophy and literature). Everything has become “just a
story”, so naturally literary composition became a virtue (it
is a big, yet sneaky jump from aesthetic to ethics). The
residual “truth” is moved into the realm of a personal (or
group) taste; we are encouraged to judge everything by its
appeal, by its “composition” and subsequently by its label.
Afterwards, anything well written (aka, “tells a good story”)
or is “inspiring” (moves the audience by its appeal) is
considered the most desirable. It is concerning how divorced we
are from the very principle of philosophy here, despite many
twists and turns, the telos of philosophy was
predominantly the same: to search for the truth and essence of
things (via episteme),
not for the beauty and style (delivered by doxa).

Philosophy is a hi-abstract endeavor, and many mindless
attempts to treat it otherwise backfire. In the case of
postmodernism in America, some consequences of an extremely
literal understanding of European thinkers produced simply
absurd conclusions. “Deconstruction”,
which is a cornerstone of both poststructuralism and
postmodernism, is just like Duchamp’s “Fountain
in the space of an art gallery; it is meaningful and thought
provoking only once. European post-structuralism was a purely
intellectual game, which was designed for a theoretical
environment, not for application. What so many American
thinkers overlooked was a proper historical perspective, which
sometimes is necessary to comprehend many terms used in
humanities. The European post-structuralism was a hiccup after
an intellectual struggle to “process” atrocities of war and two
totalitarianisms (Nazism and communism). What Foucault meant as
a metaphor- “standing against Truth and Power” – should be put
in proper context, not implemented. What
Baudrillard
described as “simulacra”, the world as
“symbols” should never be treated literally. And yet, in the US
both concepts, truth and power, became “dirty words” almost
overnight.  You can’t talk about them without getting in
trouble. In the US, on soil primed by a-historical pragmatism,
non-selective postmodernism just run amuck.

2.  The HYPE

“The point of asking questions is to find true answers; the
point of measuring is to measure accurately; the point of
making maps is to find your way to your destination.”- Daniel
C. Dennett (Postmodernism
and Truth) 

Many philosophers (including Daniel Dennett quoted above) were
sending warnings against the “trivialization of truth”
perpetuated in postmodernism. Not many listened. We replaced
“truth” with competing, more equal narratives and consequently
we opened our minds so wide that our brains fell out.

In the long run a “fast and loose” attitude is a serious
problem, not only for the humanities but also for science. The
credibility of scientific research has already taken multiple
hits; the replicability crisis described by
John Ioannidis
is only one of them. There is, definitively,
a glitch in the system of scientific research (perpetuated by a
questionable reward system, aggressive efforts at
“popularization”, politics between research centers, etc.)

But, the crisis has a human side as well; at some point, we all
have consented and became used to a “pluralistic
interpretation of science
”, a practice based on
“adaptation” of various aspects of research for some type of
personal gain. The hype, chasing headlines, spinning the
results of minute studies, are the practice routinely used by
journalists and “popular authors”.  But, I have to point
out, some researchers are jumping on that wild wagon as well.
One might think it is good to satisfy the public’s need for
scientific explanation, but in fact, at the same time,
tremendous damage is done. The credibility of scientific
research is diminished.

Science is a process, long and tearful, full of detours and
setbacks. A small study is usually just a teardrop in the ocean
of a systematic effort to understand BETTER. Instead of
communicating this important truth with the public we have a
mass production of books “based on science” with a shelf-life
shorter than French cheese. Like in the video posted above, in
which Nietzsche in popular culture has nothing to do with his
own philosophy, “science” in popular culture became a
caricature of itself.

Can you see how this “dilution” of the meaning of the
scientific effort backfires? It manifests itself in a growing
anti-science attitude. Public perception of constantly changing
claims “backed by science” qualifies all of them as simply
“unreliable”! Take it from a long time public relations person:
hype which does NOT deliver promised results produces
skepticism, and in the long run backfires.

The “fast and loose” attitude, a certain “Kardashianization” of
research in social sciences, in which personal interest becomes
more important than the mission of science itself, is both
dangerous and fruitless. We have a factory producing new catchy
words running at full throttle, yet our understanding of things
is not getting materially better. Some might even argue that
academe is systematically detaching itself from a solid sense
of reality.

What we have neglected to notice is that if we divorce
ourselves from the concept of truth (as predicted by Dennett),
some other related, extremely important constructs will follow.
If there is no truth, there is no objectivity, and integrity
stops being a fundamental virtue; “popularity and outreach”
reign over scrupulous attention to details, so extremely
important in the scientific process.  Fast and loose
“knowledge” building has already derailed objective journalism;
it sells “popular books” from which nobody learns anything
important, but it should not be accepted as the standard in the
academic environment.

 “A fish rots from the head down”

We live in the era of fragmentation. A sharp specialization in
sciences is often needed. But, we have to keep in mind that
even in the realm of one discipline there is a big difference
between “small picture” and “big picture” claims. We cannot mix
and match quantifiers as
we please. Let me repeat again: even the smallest study matters
if it’s done correctly, but many of them can’t be generalized
(universalized) into ready-made “theories” aimed solely at
media attention. By hyping and over-poeticizing science, we
only gain the illusion of knowledge, while at the same time we
misuse science and degrade its prestige.

In addition, due to a somehow solipsistic component in this
constant “creation of a character”, some have developed a
curious sense of ethical superiority over the rest of the
population. I truly cannot understand the reason why? It is not
even moral
intellectualism
 as described by Socrates, because
questioning knowledge is “out of style”! Making sense is
perceived to be an accidental by-product of “production”. We
became accustomed to people using both science and philosophy
to peddle claims for their pre-selected audience (for the sake
of their our own “image building”).  Researchers seem to
perfectly ignore “skimmers” in their disciplines (people who
misuse the discipline for the sake of their own gains), but get
oddly agitated if the reality goes against their own
theoretical models. The reaction of many intellectuals to the
results of the last election is the perfect example of it.
 

And, another paradoxical unintended consequence emerged: even
in the academic environment, we move away from debating.
Personal narratives took over and for some reason we started to
feel obligated to “defend” them rather than discuss points of
view and learn from each other. Nobody’s “truth” is “better”
than my truth; the door to utter solipsism and tribalisms was
opened and the space for the productive exchange of ideas is
dramatically limited. If all narratives are equal, there is no
point in searching for anything beyond them; the only
obligation we have is to protect our own. We are no longer
offended by a lack of precision or thoughtlessness in argument,
but we are very easily offended “personally”.  I believe
this new value system is directly related to the postmodern
description of the world, with an optics focused solely on “a
persona” rather than on any other greater good (science, true
knowledge, the truth; all, as described by Foucault are the
sources of unwanted “power”).  

The diagnosis of the current state of Universities provided by
Jonathan Haidt is spot on (see video HERE); we
forgot what is the true telos of science and
education. In academe, we created a peculiar culture of
“victimhood”, which is completely counterproductive. If you
name everybody “a victim”, true victims will never be apparent.
Simultaneously, you weaken self-esteem, and fail to provide the
appropriate tools for the next generation of students who need
to develop both toughness of character, and the most
comprehensive knowledge available to become fully functional,
respectable leaders in future society.

Academe is not Las Vegas; what happens in academe sometimes
does not stay in academe. We learn certain values in the
academic environment on the simplest of levels. If nothing
else, we learn how to verify information for the sake of proper
functioning in real life. The current academic culture is built
upon traits and values of Nietzsche’s greatest nightmare. What
he despised more than anything is a society built upon a herd
of mediocre, depth lacking, fragile individuals driven by
resentment. He saw it coming, but I think today we have
exceeded his wildest expectations.

Intellectual Disneyland

Profound philosophy and good science are both about bursting
the bubbles of our preconceptions. They do it by an ongoing
process of experimentation, constant interpretation of reality,
which consequently expands human knowledge about the real
world. Paradoxically, a postmodern paradigm very poorly
describes human reality. While constantly concerned with the
“a-typical” and the “personal”, it loses grip on what is
substantial, therefore, its claims are in fact more rigid and
impossible to universalize. People and their ideas float in hot
air and resemble one dimensional cartoon characters rather than
complex, grounded human beings. Universities are turning into
Disneyland, where “safe spaces” and the “college experience’ is
more cherished than the very transfer of knowledge and the
building of critical thinking skills.

Sometimes I chuckle imagining Nietzsche attempting to give a
lecture at a modern day American university. He would have
broken every “blasphemy law” in his first sentence; he would
likely cause massive panic attacks and would probably end up in
jail. And yet, battalions of postmodernists, pop-psychologists,
and self-improvement guru’s quote him without a shadow of
reservation. It all would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad; we
are more concerned with decorum than we are concerned with
learning; we lost the compass of intellectual integrity.

I’m fully aware of the fact that implemented postmodernism can
only “flourish” in the current era of full accessibility to
information. The very fact that we can “google” every term ever
created gives many a false sense of “knowledge”. It is
important to remember that Nietzsche has nothing to do with it;
he encouraged questioning knowledge, but he was never fond of
shallow approach to knowledge building. He describes the
process in his essay “On the Three Metamorphoses” from Thus
Spoke Zarathustra
. First, on our way, we became “a
camel”
, we gather an enormous amount of information,
so much of it that we kneel under its weight and might. Then,
we became “a lion”, a disruptor, a lone
fighter for freedom; and, we learn how to defend our own point
of view, how to resist the illusory comfort of conformism and
complacency (which is particularly dangerous for these who
gather a lot of knowledge). A person becomes “a
child”
only after going through the first two phases;
“a child” learns how to enjoy the act of creation (and how to
say “yes” to life).

Paraphrasing Nietzsche by using the same metaphor: in today’s
“applied postmodernism” the first two steps are intentionally
skipped as not important. A person who is “a child” emerges
FIRST. Without these two critical steps, without the camel’s
knowledge, nor lion’s courage, a child is taking the lead.
He/she plays with everything, pretending in some imaginary
world that it is an act of “creation”. Sadly, it rarely is.
Blind experimentation and deconstruction without pre-existing
knowledge can only be qualified as mere child’s play aimed at
the amusement of like-minded comrades, hence so meaningless for
the rest of us; it all gets forgotten the next day.

So, please, for those who feel tempted to mindlessly quote
Nietzsche, read some of his philosophy first. If it is too much
to ask, I recommend pondering over one question: “why do
you feel the need to quote Nietzsche at the beginning of your
chapter at all?
” To add some gravitas to your thoughts,
perhaps? Here it is: the sobriety, the austerity in a search
for the true meaning is what real philosophy is all about.
 This heavy-weight, highly abstract way of thinking is
often timeless, because “it touches a nerve”; it says something
important, not easily accessible and yet profound about human
nature without filters and fillers.  It resists the
temptation of preaching to the choir; it is aimed at uncovering
the truth.  Nietzsche was a master of detecting bullshit
(he turned on its head the common understanding of many core
concepts).  Nietzsche was a label destroyer, and he had
the courage to take on the biggest one of all, “good and evil”.
Nietzsche was dialoguing with Antiquity, with an entire history
of philosophy, with psychology and religion, not with CNN.
 So, if you use his words merely to add some “zest” to
your personal soliloquy, think twice. For somebody who actually
knows his work, the effect of this “forced coupling” might be
more comical than profound.  

Postmodernism does not provide a sustainable and productive
paradigm for knowledge building. In its frivolity and uncanny
taste for excess and emotional fleur, it resembles rococo (the last
part of Baroque).
Thankfully, after each era of exorbitance we tend to return to
more disciplined and prudent ways of thinking. Let’s all hope
for a solid swing towards a neo-Enlightenment
in our immediate future. We are in desperate need of some good,
old-fashioned REASON here.


Footnotes:

(1) “etiology of philosophy”, an attempt to conduct a
preliminary analysis on causation, origination of thought in
certain place and time in history.

(2). If one is serious about providing a comprehensive
interpretation of Nietzsche’s philosophy it is recommended to
read Nietzsche’s work in his native language, German An
example of the most common source of interpretational
misunderstanding caused by translation: the word “experience”
in Nietzsche’s work translates into English from two different
German words: Erlebnis (short term, more immediate
experience) and Erfahrung (more profound experience, a
part of our life-journey “fahre” means “travel”. If one
neglects this subtle but important distinction, Nietzsche’s
writings appear to be more “hedonistic” than they are for
somebody who reads the original.

(3) see Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in
America
 (1835), p.3.

(4) See John Dewey’s definition of pragmatism in The Century
Dictionary Supplement), and William James’s expression: “the
world of pure experience” in his Pragmatism (1907).
Also John McDermott (1986, 1987)

(5) Richard Rorty (1982) claimed many times that pragmatism is
a philosophy of American civilization.

(6) Bernd Magnus  said: „These seven elective
affinities…are, first, perspectivism; second, the diagnosis
and critic of binarism, along with the metaphysics of presence;
third, substituting genealogical narratives for ontology;
fourth, diagnosing the power/knowledge connection, as well as
the structures of ideological domination; fifth, erasing the
boundaries between philosophy and literature; sixth, the
disarticulation of the self; and seventh, the self-consuming,
self-deconstructive character of Nietzsche’s own discourse and
categories.” Nietzsche-Studien, 8 (1989), 304-5)

Article Featured Image @Mirosław
Ryszard Makowski

Tags: adaptation, enlightenment, interpretation, milena z. fisher, narratives, nietzsche, philosophy, post-structuralism, postmodernism, science popularization,
skimmers, storytelling, the truth

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