A Ku Indeed!

Inverse Cripples with Big Ears

Posted in Course Material by Chris on June 16, 2007


It seems that a lot of people liked the Inverse Cripples from Zarathustra. I think it is an interesting section as well. Here I just wanted to put out two ways in which one can understand this notion (there are more, I’m sure, but here are my two). I think Zarathustra is saying that there’s a relation between them, such that one can obtain only when the other does.

(1) We ought to master our self, this understood as a set of drives that should be unified.

This means that we must create a “ruling drive” or idea that we will create ourselves in the image of, and once we have posited this idea, we must carve or sculpt ourselves — in all of the dimensions of our lives — in terms of it. To “compartmentalize” is to become an inverse cripple, someone who is developed in one place but not another. So, say I want to be “caring”. That’s my ruling ideal. Okay, but let’s assume that I am very caring to my students, to my colleagues, but I am not caring at home, and mostly because I’m so driven to figure out ways to be caring to my students that I ignore my family. Then I’ve become an inverse cripple, I’ve compartmentalized care so that it exists in one aspect of my life and not another.

(2) We ought to master our selves, now understood as a temporal wholes expanded over time.

Note that (1) requires that I master my present self, and that I will to be a certain person into the future. But what about the past? If I fail to master the past, then once again I become an inverse cripple, developed only in certain areas. I think what Nietzsche (of Z) is saying is that only a person who has succeeded at (1) can possibly attempt (2), which is much harder to do. Still, (1) is not sufficient for a creator who seeks to be whole. What (2) entails, I’ll leave up to you, but I think this is, on my reading, what Z is trying to say.



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