The Circularity of Nietzschean Pedagogy

Those Plump Curly Chips

There is a reason for the circularity of Nietzschean pedagogy. It’s not merely that old Fritz couldn’t stay on topic: there is a warp, there is a weft. Orthogonality and the indirect antagonism of recontextualization reveals not just manysidedness, polyvalence, "perspectivalism", but much more successfully lays bare the function of interpretation, than any obedient canalization along inherited lines of reasoning. All interpretation is reinterpretation: by performing his art before your eyes at a variety of speeds, the magician is seeking to reveal not his trick but yours… Scams depend more than anything upon misdirected attention, which succeeds because of the panicked haste to arrive at a newly reinforced old certainty: "we all know what this is", "oh I get it". Nietzsche teaches how to get "purchase", as the woodworkers say: a merely parallel cut will split along the grain, which is easy but uncontrolled and creatively null. A precisely orthogonal strike attacks the compressive capacity of woodgrain too directly, and one does little more than leave dents and shallow splinters. Only within a small arc of the diagonal will the blade produce those plump curly chips, and massage the grain into something masterly. We are most insightful when we think obliquely, wickedly, both receptive and antagonistic. Unlearning is the much more toilsome task, and therefore most of the master’s effort is directed toward thwarting redundant expectance: poetic excursion is easily imitated, and containing the temptation to just show off is one of the requisite disciplines, but it should be evident to the good student whereto and wherefore this stretch of the premise - we’re looking for the stillest void, the power of difference, the centripetal and centrifugal tension which makes the wheel a wheel.