The Woman Beneath the Skin

Social conflicts were internalized, becoming inner conflicts, creating (emotional) substances that had to be drawn off or expelled. The body was not self–contained. The social environment did not stop at the skin.

“The concept of a body that could be isolated did not yet exist because an isolated individual did not exist . . . . [People] were bound into social relations down to their inner–most flesh” (Barbara Duden, The Woman Beneath the Skin, p. 145, on how women experienced their body in 18th century Germany).

The Politics of Authenticity

‘The metropolis infuses us with survival skills. Primary among these skills is an ability to tell faces from masks, truths from lies, realities from appearances: an essential skill in a system where everyone is always trying to deceive everyone else. Essential, too, is a highly developed sensibility, a capacity for deep feeling—which we must know how to manipulate, to turn on and off at will, in order to bend others to our purposes’ (Marshall Berman, The Politics of Authenticity, p. 323).

His last words in the book:  ‘Whoever you are, or want to be, you may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you.’

Sexual Love and…

Sexual Love and Friendship

Sexual love betrays itself most clearly as a lust for possession: the lover desires unconditional and sole possession of the person for whom he longs; he desires equally unconditional power over the soul and over the body of the beloved; he alone wants to be loved and desires to live and rule in the other soul as supreme and supremely desirable.

If one considers that this means nothing less than excluding the whole world from a precious good, from happiness and enjoyment; if one considers that the lover aims at the impoverishment and deprivation of all competitors and would like to become the dragon guarding his golden hoard as the most inconsiderate and selfish of all “conquerors” and exploiters; if one considers, finally, that to the lover himself the whole rest of the world appears indifferent, pale, and worthless, and he is prepared to make any sacrifice, to disturb any order, to subordinate all other interests—then one comes to feel genuine amazement that this wild avarice and injustice of sexual love has been glorified and deified so much in all ages—indeed, that this love has furnished the concept of love as the opposite of egoism while it actually may be the most ingenuous expression of egoism…..

Here and there on earth we may encounter a kind of continuation of love in which this possessive craving of two people for each other gives way to a new desire and lust for possession—a shared higher thirst for an ideal above them.

But who knows such love? Who has experienced it?

Its right name is friendship.

(Friedriche Nietzsche. The Gay Science. 1973, pp. 88-9)