Nietzsche and Runaway Audio Consumption


Came across this today. A lot of posts bring up the issue of "how much is enough?" or "when is audio consumption justified" etc.

Does this Nietzsche aphorism apply to audio buying? You be the judge! 

Friedrich Nietzsche“Danger in riches. — Only he who has spirit ought to have possessions: otherwise possessions are a public danger. For the possessor who does not know how to make use of the free time which his possessions could purchase him will always continue to strive after possessions: this striving will constitute his entertainment, his strategy in his war against boredom. 

Thus in the end the moderate possessions that would suffice the man of spirit are transformed into actual riches – riches which are in fact the glittering product of spiritual dependence and poverty. They only appear quite different from what their wretched origin would lead one to expect because they are able to mask themselves with art and culture: for they are, of course, able to purchase masks. By this means they arouse envy in the poorer and the uncultivated – who at bottom are envying culture and fail to recognize the masks as masks – and gradually prepare a social revolution: for gilded vulgarity and histrionic self-inflation in a supposed ‘enjoyment of culture’ instil into the latter the idea ‘it is only a matter of money’ – whereas, while it is to some extent a matter of money, it is much more a matter of spirit.” 

Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1996. Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits. Cambridge University Press. (p. 283-4, an aphorism no. 310)

I'm pretty sure @mahgister will want to read this one! (Because they speak so artfully about avoiding the diversion that consumption poses to the quest for true aesthetic and acoustic excellence.)

8700e65e 845e 4b1b 91cc df27687f9454hilde45
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Fred brilliant but no lady man no alligator shoe and probably virgin. Like guy that say all cable same.

Wow I didn't know that its revolutionary.

@ebm Everyday we learn a bit more about what we don't know. Ain't that a hoot?

I thoroughly enjoy philosophy & Theology. But I absolutely hate to read philosophers/theologians interpretation  of them because they so often write a full page about something which could have been written more simply & understandable in a paragraph. But I suppose long flowery descriptions and esoteric terms help to keep up the appearance of brilliance above the common man. I guess that is his mask of being an authority figure.

But on to my question about this sentence

Only he who has spirit ought to have possessions

What is his definition of spirit?

And sometimes it takes an upgrade to learn whats possible and if its worth it. It's ok to be satisfied with mediocrity, AND it's ok to make an all out assult on the best. If people are envious, it says something about them.

 

You decide how to spend your money and what sacrifices you will make to get to where you want to be. Yes, it is a hoot.

 

 

Thanks hilde45 for your link with Nietzsche...

It apply to the letter to audio...

It described more the spiritual condition behind consumerism, a poverty of spirit which all the gold in the world generally cannot replace...

But all people with costly audio system are not like the beggar in rich clothes depicted by Nietzsche ...

We must not judge while thinking, we must apply this wise observation to ourself or the part of ourself who mimic the aphorism ....

Merry Christmas to you and thank for this deep insight...

In the gospels who is rich in spirit is someone for whom any posessions means nothing or at least dont replace spirit.....

He can own them for any purpose and not  only for himself...

I know it is an hard lesson to learn!

I dont consider myself wise and filled with spirit...

Spirit comes from hebrew "ruach" the wind, the breathing, the relation to the kingdom inside and outside...

What is his definition of spirit?

All teacher are not hoax or empty idol...

Certainly not the poor Nietzsche who pay the price of his insight with his life...

The main name in spirituality, science or philosophy are NOT first authority figure but human who struggle toward the truth...

Buddah speaks complex matter, and Christ too, only Sam Harris will think that they are gurus or crooks...More honest mind will call them teacher ...

It is like in audio where the snake fraud is nowhere to be found where people think it is....Nietzsche seems to think where the snake oil is...

Ok i apologize for my interpretation and i will shut myself...

Merry Christmast

I guess that is his mask of being an authority figure.

I take "spirit" to mean someone who defines their own path, has their own intentions, and is not in the grip of others' sway. A "sense of what they are about" or "genuine character" might be a good way of seeing his point. We are either creators or followers. We have "spirit" or "slavishness." Hope that helps.

You said it better thanks....

I’ll buy that…..oops did it again!😬

I spirit mean deep purpose and convicted. One with spirit jump up in the morning excited to pursue goal and dream and go to bed tired in night. Fred interested bird.

Who's to judge who has spirit and who has not?  And who will deny the non-spirited everything they desire? Pretty sure it'll be the ones with no spirit making these decisions.

“ to judge the quick and the dead and the spirited “….

If only we were more like squirrels..then we would have spirit but our brain gets in the way of what to do with all the nuts.

Only he who has spirit ought to have possessions:

What is his definition of spirit?

The reason for the question is because his statement seems rather odd to me. As I understand, we are all spirit beings. And, if so, then we all "ought to have possessions:". But I doubt that is what he means

I suspect he has covered spirit and its definition in a previous paragraph/thought.But generally in casual conversation, @hilde45 definition is usually what is meant.

 

 

@artemus_5  My take on his comment about only spirit being able to have possessions is the same reason we don't want children to have opiates. They can take them but then the drugs would take them over. In this case, only someone with mastery over themselves can handle the danger posed by possessions.

Nietzsche lost my interest when I read that he said that animals were God's second blunder.

Wait a damn minute now! Are you saying I've been filling this big, empty hole in my soul with the wrong stuff for the wrong reasons?

All the best,
Nonoise

Very pertinent to those among us who continually feel the urge to change equipment, rather than enjoy what they have:

"For the possessor who does not know how to make use of the free time which his possessions could purchase him will always continue to strive after possessions: this striving will constitute his entertainment, his strategy in his war against boredom."

Nietzsche was a lover of music, a friend of Richard Wagner, and an amateur composer.

 

Nothing like a deeply depressed philosopher to add a little zest to the audio group. Things are feeling better around here already.

Nietzsche was not depressed. He didn’t have blinders on but that’s different. 

One of the greatest American Philosopher

Soupy Sales said “ what do you mean by that “

 

Nietzsche and Wagner were good friends?

 

When the Paris Commune was put down [in 1871] with the slaughter of 20,000 working people, Nietzsche wrote: "Hope is possible again! Our German mission isn’t over yet! I’m in better spirit tha ever, for not yet everything has capitulated to Franco-Jewish levelling…"
https://freerlives.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/nietzsche-part-1-politics/

He did ask the same woman to marry him three times. 

Nothing like a deeply depressed philosopher to add a little zest to the audio group. Things are feeling better around here already.

This isn't helping.....

All the best,
Nonoise

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Conspicuous consumption for appearances is not to be endorsed but in his own words:  "in the poorer and the uncultivated – who at bottom are envying culture and fail to recognize the masks as masks – and gradually prepare a social revolution: for gilded vulgarity and histrionic self-inflation". Where is the criticism of the "envying"?  Is envy not also a fault?  Are only those with means capable of fault?  Poor and uncultivated need not mean amoral. I get that it sure seems easier to fault those with means, but not being well off is not an excuse to covet.

"Spirit."  *hmm*

Go ask you pet why it likes you, beyond the food, the better place to sleep in and live within with You.  They're great listeners, but they watch your habits closer than you think... ;)

Nietzsche was wrong about animals, and besides were here before us.
We had to start Somewhere somehow.....

We were simple at first, but grew complex in a very different way.
And continue to do so every day in increasing ways to do so.

This 'hobby' being an excellent example.

SnotBot

We are an experiment being conducted by the universe.

I hope we pass.  We can call it 'winning', but it's just simple survival.

Don't touch nothing that your spirit can't kill.  (Steppenwolf, the band)

 

('BotShot vaccine unavailable at this time; please stand by)

Where is the criticism of the "envying"?  Is envy not also a fault?  Are only those with means capable of fault?  Poor and uncultivated need not mean amoral. I get that it sure seems easier to fault those with means, but not being well off is not an excuse to covet.

Yeah, and that is just one of the fundamental facts that the Nit man failed to address.  Thou shalt not covet.

I don't care much for streams of indecisive consciousness (better known as thought bubbles?) where little regard is had for addressing even the most obvious of internal inconsistencies and flaws in logic.

And there are other contentious issues that render any possible simple and clear truth being buried under their weight.  

 

"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven" - The Bible

The Bible doesn't say having money is wrong, but instead says the love of money is. Meaning putting anything in place of a relationship with God, including Godless human philosophy....

The rest of the verse: Matthew 19:25

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible

 

I'm stuck on the part where he implies more possessions equals more free time.  This has not been my experience and is one of the reasons I think before I buy.

I take "spirit" to mean someone who defines their own path, has their own intentions, and is not in the grip of others' sway. A "sense of what they are about" or "genuine character" might be a good way of seeing his
point. We are either creators or followers.

+1 @hilde45 

Nietzsche was wrong about many things. Just as you and I are.

Love the twisted interpretations of Jesus's teaching regarding money. Justification for preacher mansions and private jets while the unwashed pew dwellers clap. 

 Jesus wept. And whipped the money changers.

Music brings me consolation and joy. A hobby with blessings. 

 

Not a weatherman.

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Not sure the spirit N speaks of exists within any man, yet within an audiophile! Even the most pure of our desires, which is to enjoy music played at high sq level is unworthy of being placed at top of spirit hierarchy.

 

This is the kind of philosophy that divides, and elicits hubris in those who judge themselves in highest spirit realm. Is the billionaire for whom spending a million on some material good means relatively little of higher spirit than the person who saves and dreams about a single relatively low priced material good?

 

The spirit N speaks of likely only exists within the ascetic, and no ascetic worth his salt would be caught dead with stereo system.

I dont think N. idea is about ascetism....

I think it is about freedom...

I think N. will be interested in acoustic but not by the price tag of the gear or by upgrading obsession...

I think N. loved music and he will mock  sound obsession linked to anything save acoustic principles...I think N. will experiment to had the best results with the less price...

I think spirit was defined rightfully and simply in the OP post : freedom and the link we entertain with all that exist without mental block of fixation...

Poor or rich, the burden is the same, free yourself from money or from poverty....

Ascetism in audio anyway could be the sign of satisfaction, it is mine.... Noit a dorced ascetism though...

I dont judge people who can afford one million bucks system and be free...

 

Exactly, the freedom from desire.

Interested in acoustic without the material need of audio equipment. In other words, the sound of nature.

The ascetic is seeking maximum freedom, freed of desire one is absolutely free, at least as free as a material body can be.

 

Yes, the burden of desire burns within rich and poor, the point I was making is the very same possession the rich man acquires without hesitation the poor man dreams about. Does this mean the rich man filled with less desire?

Nietzsche and Wagner met in 1868 at a party in Basel, and talked all night about their common passion for Schopenhauer. They were close friends for the next several years; Nietzsche's first book, The Birth of Tragedy Out of the Spirt of Music, is in large part a polemic in support of Wagner, who was extremely controversial at the time. In a nutshell, Nietzsche "argued" that Wagner's music incarnated the vitality of the ancient Greek culture all good German Romantics admired, but translated into an appropriately German idiom. Nietzsche was an overnight guest when Wagner presented his "Siegfried Idyll" to Cosima (not yet his wife) at their villa Tribschen on Lake Lucerne on Christmas Day—her birthday—in 1870. The following Christmas, Nietzsche was again, and for the last time, Wagner's guest when he presented Cosima with his own birthday composition: "Nachklang einer Sylvesternacht"—which, apparently, reduced Wagner to laughter. This, and several other Nietzsche compositions, are available in various performances; three of his more successful brief songs were recorded by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. All of his musical compositions rank as juvenilia, however.

What Nietzsche meant by "spirit" (Geist) is complicated, but in this passage it's not a mystery, and hilde45 has quoted it tellingly. A perennial issue on this forum is the relationship between a love of music and a love of music reproduction. The latter is the real focus of "audiophilia," for better or for worse. But the former is the "spiritual" reason for audio equipment in the first place. Pride in one's audio system is what Nietzsche is criticizing here; development of one's taste by means of one's audio system is what he is trying to praise.

@snilf You have it exactly as I understand it. Under this formulation, development of one's taste may be problematic. What is in good taste to one is bad to another. Is there some objective definition of good taste, thus, good spirit?  Also, in order to attain this high order of spirit, does it have to be cultivated, is it not innately within all of us? Does the mere fact of living in material world, full of desires corrupt us from ever achieving this spirit?

 

Is the audiophile goal of greater love for music and reproduction of music corrupted by the need for material goods, meaning the equipment,  for achieving that goal? Does this mean there is direct correlation between quality of equipment and degree of love for music and music reproduction? In other words, the higher sound quality one can achieve will increase their love of music and it's reproduction?

 

I think that may be the dilemma. As audiophiles,  I presume even those with high spirit, those seeking high quality systems for the sake of music, are continually seeking greater connection to the music. Is this a never ending quest? And if the quest is never ending is that a truly representative of this spirit N is speaking of? And speaking of quests in general, seems much room for destructive elements, even if quest undertaken for right reasons.

 

I"m not trying to negate what N is saying here, I do believe there can be an intentional cultivation or development of spirit. Just not so sure the quest doesn't corrupt us all to some degree. My other issue, as previously mentioned is the inherent divisiveness of attributing spirit to some and not others, and who's to judge it.

 

Pride in one’s audio system is what Nietzsche is criticizing here; development of one’s taste by means of one’s audio system is what he is trying to praise.

I dunno if he was criticizing having affection for one’s audio system. Who here doesn’t?

Rather, he said "..will always continue to strive after possessions: this striving will constitute his entertainment, his strategy in his war against boredom."

Just accumulating stuff. People do that for a variety of reasons not confined to those the Nitty man includes, and that is the exercising of their right of freedom to choose. Should a moral philosopher wish to make this circular and convoluted and place constraints on what they consider freedom to be, then we have this discussion.

Perhaps another thought - audiophiles actually serve a public good in that the constant desire for better and superior technology spills over into the general market place so that non-audiophiles can reap what others have created - to borrow a word from something hilde45 said.

 

I’m not a big one for philosophy or philosophers but I do remember a Nietzsche quote from an Arcam brochure that stuck with me.

It made sense back then, and it makes sense now.

 

Without Music, Life Would Be A Mistake.

 

--------

 

The quotation “Without Music, Life Would Be A Mistake” is an English translation from his book Twilight of the Idols, which Nietzsche wrote in a little more than a week while he was on a holiday in Segl Maria, a village in Switzerland. The title is a play on the title of Richard Wagner’s opera, “Twilight of the Gods.” Nietzsche enjoyed writing poetry, aphorisms, and had a penchant for irony and satire in his works; Twilight of the Idols is no exception, as it opens with a list of 44 sayings, titled “Maxims and Arrows.” Number 33 is the source of this famous quotation.

 

33. Wie wenig gehört zum Glücke! Der Ton eines Dudelsacks. — Ohne Musik wäre das Leben ein Irrthum. Der Deutsche denkt sich selbst Gott liedersingend.

Götzen-Dämmerung, by Friedrich Nietzsche

Common English translation:

How little is required for pleasure! The sound of a bagpipe. Without music, life would be
an error. The German imagines that even God sings songs.

Twilight of the Idols, by Friedrich Nietzsche

 

As is often the case with aphoristic works, it can be helpful to look at the context of the given particular passage. In aphorism 302, Nietzsche writes: "The truly unendurable...are those who, possessing freedom of mind [freiheit der Gesinnung; "freedom of opinion" might be better], fail to notice that they lack freedom of taste and spirit [Geschmacks- und Geistes-Freiheit]" And aphorism 317, entitled "Possessions possess," states: "It is only up to a certain point that possessions make men more independent and free; one step further—and the possessions become master, the possessor a slave...." 

But I'm also reminded, in the context here, of a passage in Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf (coincidentally, asvjerry above mentions Steppenwolf "the band"). Late in the novel, the narrator "Harry" encounters Mozart in a "magical theater" drug-induced reverie. If I remember correctly (it's been 40 years since I read the book), they're listening to Don Giovanni on a radio together, and Harry disparages it for its poor sound quality (the novel was published in 1927). But Mozart emphatically disagrees! He loves the new technology, and loves his music reproduced by it.

There are maybe two lessons in this scene. First, that the technology of music reproduction is itself a wonderful art, and nothing to be disparaged, even when it is primitive. But second, that the music should be the master, not the technology. Returning to Nietzsche, our possessions can possess us when we obsess over trivialities. For a possession like an audio system, it's a sad irony that such obsession can too easily rob us of the love of music that it exists to promote.

Thanks, hilde45. How do you happen to be reading Nietzsche? (BTW, when asked what a new composer should do, Richard Strauss answered: "Read Nietzsche!")

And thanks, sns, for your insightful questions. They express my dilemma, which is what drew me into this thread—and other threads on this forum. High-end equipment reviews very often praise a piece of audio equipment by saying that it disappears: the speakers under review are successful when they "vanish into the music," when one "stops listening to the system" and becomes immersed in the music. I suspect we would all endorse such praise, and aspire to it in our own systems.

And yet...I wonder. I can only speak for myself, of course, but too often my pleasure in listening comes not from the music itself, but from the reproduction of it. The proof of this is that I will often choose to listen to something that is well-recorded even if it is musically banal, and I privilege good recordings over good performances in most cases (although there are fortunately lots of good performances that are also well-recorded). Bottom line: I love the equipment, especially when it seems to "disappear"! This is a paradox.

Maybe, as sns suggests, this is due to some "corruption" of real passion for music by "the need for material goods." I'm also a musician (cello and guitar), and I know a lot of musicians; none of them—literally, none—are audiophiles. Why is that? And I've had profound experiences with music in very compromised acoustical situations. How can that be, if SQ is the be-all and end-all?

@snilf Now you're heading in the direction of Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction".