12 thoughts on “You have a chaotic brain”

  1. At risk of piquing Clay, I can’t resist the opportunity to demonstration this latest example of scriptural confirmation by science:

    Those thinkers in whom all stars move in cyclic orbits are not the most profound: whoever looks into himself as into vast space and carries galaxies in himself also knows how irregular all galaxies are; they lead into the chaos and labyrinth of existence. (Gay Science, 322)


  2. Hi Rob, I have a question about the Nietzsche quote. I am not as well versed as you are in Nietzsche, but in this quote is Nietzsche talking about eternal recurrence? Does he believe that we always come back to live the exact same life as before? If so, it seems that he might like a little order now and then. Although are lives are chaotic, us coming back to live them again seems like an order. I could be very wrong. Could you please explain. Thanks


  3. Hello Jake: I don’t think the aphorism has anything to do with eternal recurrence. Rather, I think he’s just making a point about the nature of the inner life, if not also about introspection; and I was struck by how both it and the article draw a connection between an arguably similar picture of the mind/brain’s operation (a system “on the edge of chaos”) and extra-mental phenomena (the pile of sand, galaxies), suggesting an underlying harmony between them.


  4. Of course, maybe I’m just projecting, and there’s a better reading or it would be altogether preferable to dismiss my tendentiousness. (I initially thought of Zarathustra’s declaration: One must still have chaos within oneself, in order to give birth to a dancing star.)


  5. I have been reading “Thus Spake Zarathustra” and “The Birth of Tragedy”. I also have been reading Brian Leiter’s Nietzsche blog. Some of the stuff on there is to advanced for me now, but hopefully I can participate once I get some more basics down. How do you guys suggest approaching Nietzsche?


  6. Well, I know a good book….

    But seriously, in my own case, I think I spent a good 5 to 10 years reading Kaufmann’s Portable Nietzsche (and then reading the full works that are only excerpted there). You might find Beyond Good and Evil and Twilight of the Idols a bit better to start with, instead of Z and Tragedy.


  7. I also recommend that good book, and envy beginners to Nietzsche the opportunity it provides for a clarifying and invigorating basis on which to be a discriminating consumer of the secondary literature (all too much of which is, in my opinion, pretty bad). Some other good intro resources might be Bernard Williams’ intro to the Cambridge translation of Gay Science, Raymond Guess’ intro to the Cambridge translation of Birth of Tragedy (which, I think, provides a nice overview of Nietzsche’s central concerns), and Maudemarie Clark’s “Nietzsche” entry for the Routlege Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Once you’ve read more of Nietzsche, then you may want to move on to Leiter’s “Nietzsche on Morality,” Janaway’s “Beyond Selfnessness”, Reginster’s “Affirmation of Life”, Richardson’s “Nietsche’s New Darwinism” and Clark/Dudrick’s upcoming book on “Nietzsche’s Magnificent Tension of the Spirit”… Just my two cents. I’m missing a lot.


  8. Hey thanks a lot guys, the more I hear about his thought the more and more intrigued I am with Nietzsche. So by all means, quote him on the blog!


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