Discover more from Intimations of a New Worldview
Kanye West's Music Expresses The Philosophy Of Friedrich Nietzsche.
That that don't kill me, can only make me stronger.
I love Kanye West. He’s a maniac, obviously.
Watch as he praises Nazis and Hitler in an interview with Alex Jones. Utter insanity.
He is exploring new ideas and values. In doing so, he says stuff that is obviously evil and insane, from the perspective of the herd.
When you no longer feel a common conscience with the herd, it forces you to question your basic assumptions about the world, even the most basic assumptions of your morality. The herd, of course, can only perceive you as being evil or insane.
The herd can only perceive Kanye as evil or insane. I don’t see him that way.
There’s a quote that’s often attributed to Nietzsche, which I cannot find.
It’s something like this:
“Those who danced were thought insane by those who could not hear the music.”
Kanye West hears the music. Nietzsche heard it too. Jung heard it too. I hear it too.
I wrote about this fact in a different way earlier, here:
As I said then:
The “poetic or prophetic” mindset (as represented by the Oracle) is proficient at understanding noisy patterns as opposed to rules-based patterns. The world as a whole (including its transformations across vast spans of time) is best understood as a noisy pattern. This means that people with the poetic or prophetic mindset are relatively better at understanding the world as a whole even if they are not as good at tasks that require an “engineering” mindset (e.g., mastering precise, rules-based systems).
Kanye is a man with the poetic and prophetic mindset. He has also very obviously gone through the process by which he has shed his “common conscience” with society, which is fundamentally the same as the shamanic initiatory crisis.
It is a disconcerting process to go through, to say the least.
Nietzsche knows what I mean, and spoke of this feeling in Zarathustra.
Can you give yourself your own evil and your own good and hang your own will over yourself as a law? Can you be your own judge and avenger of your law? Terrible it is to be alone with the judge and avenger of one’s own law. Thus is a star thrown out into the void and into the icy breath of solitude.
Thus is a star thrown out into the void and into the icy breath of solitude.
That feels like this:
Kanye West was born into a Christian background. It seems like he tried to live a good “Christian” life, but kept failing for whatever reason.
Nietzsche, too, was born into a Christian household. He, too, struggled to deal with his “faith” and the loss of his Christian worldview. I’ve gone through that too.
It sounds a lot like this:
At some point in time, however, Kanye probably just said “fuck it”, and decided to live the rest of his life exactly as he saw fit.
Nietzsche did the same thing at some point. In both cases, they achieved independence. They achieved independence from the influence of the “group”.
In doing so, they became great. This does not mean that they became “popular” in the normal sense. Both Nietzsche and Kanye are more infamous than famous. Both are often misunderstood. Small, mediocre minds always hate what they don’t understand. But that is simply the price one must pay for greatness.
The price one must pay for greatness is independence.
Independence sounds something like this:
I get it.
I wonder what the breaking point for Kanye was? Nietzsche had to change his outlook on life because of a woman. Nietzsche was in love with a woman named Lou Salome, but she chose his best friend instead of him.
I have no idea why she would do such a thing. Just look at that sexy stache.
I suspect that Nietzsche felt a little like this about the situation.
Maybe I’ve felt the same way before.
Nietzsche, however, was not one to complain, and neither am I. He had some bad breaks in his life, but none of them kept him from becoming great.
As he said:
Out of life’s school of war: What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.
Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols
That which does not kill me can only make me stronger.
Kanye went through a process where he publicly said things that are obviously clinically insane, from the conventional perspective. Just as some examples:
Does that make him worse than other people? Or lesser than other people? I don’t think so, and neither does Nietzsche:
‘It is through madness that the greatest good things have come to Greece’, Plato said, in concert with all ancient mankind. Let us go a step further: all superior men who were irresistibly drawn to throw off the yoke of any kind of morality and to frame new laws had, if they were not actually mad, no alternative but to make themselves or pretend to be mad…
-Nietzsche, Daybreak 14 (my emphasis)
All superior men must look insane from the perspective of the herd.
I think that in a different culture from our own, Kanye’s descent into madness would have been interpreted as a shamanic initiatory crisis, as would my own.
The recipes for becoming a medicine-man among the Indians, a saint among the Christians of the Middle Ages, an angekok among Greenlanders, a pajee among Brazilians are essentially the same: senseless fasting, perpetual sexual abstinence, going into the desert or ascending a mountain or a pillar, or ‘sitting in an aged willow tree which looks upon a lake’ and thinking of nothing at all except what might bring on an ecstasy and mental disorder. Who would venture to take a look into the wilderness of bitterest and most superfluous agonies of soul in which probably the most fruitful men of all times have languished!
-Nietzsche, Daybreak 14
I think Kanye is someone like that. I also think that Kanye is, from a certain perspective, not really of this world. Perhaps he even knows it on some level.
What did Nietzsche say in his most famous passage?
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.
“How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
-Nietzsche, The Gay Science 125
God is dead. We killed him.
Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
I don’t think Kanye is using the word “God” as a metaphor. I think he means it.
Let me tell you a story, which you are unlikely to believe.
The “Gods” of mythology were not myths, at least not in the way that we think they were. They were real people, born of this world, who were not really of this world.
We typically think of the world in four dimensions. There is space, which takes up the first three dimensions, and there is time, which is the fourth dimension. The reality is a little more complicated than this, because there is a difference between “clock time” and time as we actually experience it. When I say that time is the fourth dimension, I am referring to clock time.
But there are obviously other, higher dimensions besides these four. This is not a mere speculation. It is supported by good scientific theory and evidence. It doesn’t take much googling to find, for example, the postulation of extra dimensions by string theory.
The fifth dimension is synchronicity. It is the recognition of the non-linearity of time. It is the recognition that, although things always change, they also always recur.
As is above, so is below.
The 5th dimension is the “archetypal” realm. As best I can tell, it is something very much like the world of Platonic forms. This helps to reconcile Nietzsche with Plato to some degree, despite their differences.
In the 5th dimension, gods exist, as do angels and demons. They are not metaphors or allegories. They literally exist. From the perspective of those who only see the world in four dimensions, the 5th dimension is just insanity. It looks like pure madness. It is madness, from the perspective of everyone else. Kanye, for example, simply is a madman from the perspective of the herd. But what does that matter to Kanye?
As he said above, he is a God. What do gods care about the opinions of mere mortals?
This brings me to the work of Carl Jung, whose work I have not read nearly enough. Jung, perhaps more than anyone, understood the reality of archetypes and our capacity to participate in them. Archetypes are recurring patterns.
There is the wise old man, the hero, the anima, the devouring mother, and so on.
These are very real patterns for those with the eyes to see them. Jordan Peterson describes the main ones extensively in Maps of Meaning.
In a blog post, Matthew Lewin does a good job of summarizing these patterns in image below.
I have made some strange claims about this recently. I have claimed that my past experiences map very cleanly onto the archetype called “The Exploratory Hero”.
My experiences map so cleanly onto that archetype that I would have to be willfully blind to deny it. I am not willfully blind. I do not deny it. I am (or was) an embodiment of the archetype that Jordan Peterson called “The Exploratory Hero”.
Nevertheless, I have emerged from that archetype into a different one. My phase of exploration, while not totally over, has subsided to some degree.
I am now participating in the archetype called “The Great Father”. I am both protective, and I am tyrannical. Let me explain.
I claimed at the end of my YouTube series that the music of Kid Cudi speaks to me and for me. That’s not metaphorical. It’s literally true.
For example, this song is exactly how it sounds in my mind.
As an embodiment of the “Great Father” archetype, I have a protective side and a tyrannical side. I have them both and they are both real.
My light, protective side sounds like this:
These voices, they tell me go.
Why should I ever go?
Man, I'm so comfortable here,
Why should I head to a place where people live in fear?
Stand off is still really here,
Something they can really feel.
But see, I'll never get why the earth is a puzzle that'll never fit.
I'm not of their world.
So why should I leave my sanctuary?
Man, the whole thought of that is scary.
How do I know that their kind will truly hear me out.
Will they understand I'm flying a different route?
Pose as a human being, mother moon tells me that people need my help.
I guess these are the cards she threw out and dealt.
She said I gotta do it alone,
She said I gotta do it alone.
I guess I gotta go.
All of that is literally how it sounds in my mind. I don’t hear voices in the schizophrenic sense, but it is as if the whole world is telling me to do it.
But I know that people don’t always respond well to persuasion. Sometimes they need to be poked a little bit. Sometimes they need to be poked more than a little bit.
Sometimes a little bit of tyranny is necessary. Every father needs to put the fear of God into his children occasionally, right?
Just like every shepherd needs a staff, and every state needs a police force.
All cultures are both protective and tyrannical. They couldn’t exist without a little bit of tyranny. My dark, tyrannical side sounds like this:
Intuitive when it comes to the many things I know.
Cold, most winters I would dream of being a winner,
Feeling like less than shit to the doubters.
Pain I promise, to all who oppose my knowledge.
My reign, the fucking essence of pain, fuck rain.
Standing in a monsoon of cool, time will tell.
This is what it is when you're walking to hell.
Cold. Bitch, you know I’m cold.
Pain I promise to all who oppose my knowledge.
Time will tell.
That’s all true, regardless of whether it’s in the song lyrics or not. It just is how it sounds in my mind. You probably don’t believe that, but it’s true.
And so, if I were to say that I am an alien from the 5th dimension, it wouldn’t be a metaphor, and it wouldn’t be a lie. It would sound like this:
I am an alien from the 5th dimension.