Wednesday, December 01, 2004


I don't know why, but I found this post on my friends blog really profound.

In today’s educational systems, nobody’s taught to seek the absolute truth anymore. No, that’s passé. Now it’s all about interpretations. Suddenly, everything’s a matter of perspective. They stole this from Nietzsche, a little less than a century after he first conceived it. Perspecitivism, he called it.
And they stole it.
But not before they ignored him and called him a blasphemous lunatic and a heretic and blamed him (and wrongfully) for providing the manure that Nazism grew out of.
It’s hard to defend yourself when you’re six feet under.

I’ve felt it since as far back as I can remember. Nietzsche gave me a name for it. Perspectivism. He claimed it was impossible to reach objectivity. Our very essence precludes objectivity. We consist of nothing but a bunch of biases – psychological, biological, etc. – all conflicting and mashed together. Rationality. Space & Time. The manner in which we perceive and make sense of reality, the way we experience existence prohibits us from ever seeing the objective truth. The best we can do is take in as many perspectives as possible.

I am a run-on sentence.

Last evening, in my Freshman Symposium class, we had a guest. She designated each of the four corners of the room as a different level of agreement. Strongly Agree. Agree. Disagree. Strongly Disagree. She would read a statement, and then we were to walk over to the corner of the room that corresponded with our level of agreement. A four-way boxing match.
If I’d had the balls for it, I would have stood in the center of the room and spun around until I collapsed in a pool of my own vomit.
It’d be a pretty good approximation of my level of agreement.

It’d be a pretty good approximation of how I’ve been feeling lately.

A fragment.

There’s just too much possibility everywhere. Whatever perspective I’m coming from at any instance constructs my world. Perspectives are like colored lenses. Each different color casts the world in a different shade. It’s impossible to take off the lenses. There is no such thing as seeing with your naked eye in this metaphor. Objectivity is an impossibility for us humans. So, instead, I come up with my own interpretation of Nietzsche’s perspectivism.

I try to put on all the different colored lenses at once. We get the closest to objectivity by taking in as many perspectives as possible. First red, then cyan. First blue, then yellow. You art students out there know that Red and Cyan are polar opposites. So are yellow and blue. Opposing viewpoints.

Red and Cyan are pro-life and pro-choice. Yellow and blue are conservatism and liberalism. Insert two sides of a debate of your choosing for green and magenta. These new lens combinations, they cast the world in a nauseating grey.
I’m spinning in the center of the room.

I am a comma splice.

Just when you start to think that I’ve stretched this metaphor too far, I decide to really make Nietzsche proud.
I make an effort to gather every colored lens available.
A trip to the bookstore.
I fuse all of the lenses I can get my hands on together.
Research and analysis.
I put on my new lenses. The fruit of my labor. Innumerable lenses combined.


My new lenses cast the world in a shade of….fuck it, I can’t see a thing.

Is it still considered a lens when it’s opaque?

I’m at a loss. I have a choice. I can take on a primary colors, a one-sided perspectives. Or, I could spin in the center of a nauseatingly grey universe. And then, there’s always the opaque blackness.

Choosing between these options is like trying to choosing between getting labotomy, being paralyzed or having your eyes drown in lye.

Whoa. I have to go lie down.


Anonymous said...

I have to agree you Ezra, there truly is something very profound about your friends post. Although to be honest I think i'd have to read a few times more to really absorb it. thanks for sharing. XO

Anonymous said...

The presence of all colors isn't black-it is white.

Ezra said...

The presence of all colors of LIGHT is white. However, if you put a series of filters over your eyes that each FILTER OUT a color from white light, no light will reach your eyes--the argument is incorrect.