Beast and God

Psychosis is a result of seeing yourself through other people’s eyes, evaluating yourself through their evaluations. This does not mean it is psychotic to know what others think of you. It’s psychotic to take their evaluations as the truth.

Have you ever seen someone flinch for no reason? They’re seeing themselves through the eyes of others and do not like what they see. Shameful memories do this.

“But I take pleasure in the good opinions of others because I know I will get good things.” Not psychotic.

The psychosis is to take their evaluations not as beneficial, but for Truth and correct estimation. Psychosis is caused by being filled with warmth when they look upon you with those eyes, and to be filled with dread when they view you as something terrible. We easily mistake what will happen to us because of the opinions of others with the truth about ourselves—we treat human beings as such as the measure, without asking ourselves if they are right in their estimations, without even knowing how to make a proper estimation of ourselves.

Hannah Arendt documented this phenomenon. People can have their psyches destroyed by ill-treatment. She was blamed for this, among other things, when she was only being a very honest psychologist.

“What if others confirm your good opinion of yourself? Wouldn’t that be pleasant?” Why do you need confirmation? If you do, you don’t know; by definition you don’t know. However, I honestly don’t know if it is possible not feel good when someone good praises you. I just don’t think it can be justified by reason.

“Are you insane? Will you live without love and affection? What is wrong with you? Men who are like this are monsters.” I agree–they are either a “god or a beast.” This is why Nietzsche praises the aristocratic beast-man, who does not understand Vanity. He is a beast because he is confused when he sees slaves caring about what others think of them. He is a beast because he is in a real sense alone, a cyclops if a beautified cyclops.

The beast is below. The god is above. What would it mean to be below, such that the psychosis is an improvement? The psychosis is an improvement insofar as it makes a man more human, who cares more about others—he has loved ones. But what kind of beast would be bad, rather than Nietzsche’s aristocratic barbarian?

For the psychosis to be an improvement, the beast-man would be someone who goes his own way and goes bad, becomes perverse or stupid in some sense. What kinds of behaviors are his? We are not talking about the Democratic Man’s view of the beast, as a Ted Bundy or something like that. Someone who has despaired of decency and “doesn’t feel empathy.” It is more believable that instead of talking about some autistic kid we are talking about the bad that occurs more often. The person who sees how other people see him, and nastily rejects it in such way that he adopts their view of evil as his good. “Evil be though my good.” The bogeyman really is a creature of the times, of our own creation: The witches at Salem. Or today’s Richard Spencer white supremacists.

Cruelty is pleasant because the cruel man sees himself through the other’s eyes, or needs the other’s submission to feel free. i.e., he is genuinely afraid of human beings and his cruel deeds are a sort of catharsis.

Then there is of course the god. And who am I to describe him, not being such a one? He would be above the psychosis, rather than below—better rather than worse. This ability to take his own estimations as true is an unseen strength. The evaluations of others cannot bring him down, or lift him up, in his own estimation. He is beyond the influence or help of other human beings because he knows himself and blesses what he sees. The interesting thing about the god is that he is not all that interesting to describe. Nietzsche prefers the man of titan-will, who lives to command himself and others. This is not the god, but a very interesting and compelling example of a man who can bless life in a way the god cannot—because he knows what is good and how to go after it, and his good isn’t the good of the slave.

— Phocaean Dionysius

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