What is Representation?

What is Representation, how does the WTP turn truth into a value, and how does the inadequacy of that value require another value, and what does this allow us to say about the essence of Art?

Representation is not, at least in its purest form, the determination of the manifold of intuition as an object, but rather the activity of the will in which the will is brought before itself and tested. Representation “orders the will forth into the will’s own testing”, and “in such testing the will first represents itself purely and therewith in its highest form”(87). Thus, the representing (as process) is not initially the representing of an object, and the representation (as thing) is not an object. Rather, the representation (as thing) is the “encircling sphere” held as a fixed constant, a certainty, at the will’s disposal – and thereby it is turned into object. And representing (as process) is the activity of bringing that having-secured before the will such that it can be tested – in order to evaluate the certainty of the its securedness, its surety, its aptness to serve for the sake of the will’s preservation as continued willing by being known as a fixed-constant on disposal. And only thereby can representing become understood as imagination drawing lines around differing intensities of qualia. Truth is this certainty – truth is just another name for the activity that “makes secure the constant reserve…out of which the Will to Power wills itself.”(85)

Now we can easily see how and that the WTP has turned truth into a value. Truth is the name for highest value of preservation, because it is the form of the stable constant at-disposal for the will for the sake of its preservation – its ability to continually will. In other words, when what we hold to be stable endurance on hand for the will’s preservation as willing is shown to be, actually, as stable as we hold it to be – i.e. when it passes the test of being brought before the will in representation that tests the surety of its being-on-disposal, we call it “true”. But truth cannot be the highest value of WTP, because preservation is not enough. The Will to Power is the perspect/point-of-view of value-positing that always posits preserving and enhancement conditions together. But if in every representation truth is posited as the highest value of preservation, is there a correspondingly dominant value of enhancement? Nietzsche calls this value “Art”.

“Art is the essence of all willing that opens up perspectives and takes possession of them”(86)

Art is worth more than truth because the WTP posits not simply preservation conditions but preservation-enhancement conditions. The will, in value-positing is essentially two-fold. Since truth preserves the will’s ability to will itself by making certain the availability at the disposal of its current encircling sphere as a fixed-presence, it never pushes the will into a new sphere, outside its current boundary, towards “the possibility of command”(85). We should take the word “command” quite seriously here – one does not command the sphere which is already at one’s disposal – one commands only where there is the possibility of resistance – exactly what is eliminated in the securing of the encircling sphere as fixed constant on disposal. The possibility of command is the possibility of further subordination – but this subordination is not the discovery of something always already subordinate for the first time, rather, it is the making of new spheres subordinate by means of truth. But before you can have more truth, you must have art. Art is the value that opens up perspectives (new possibilities for value-positing, or, because perspective is already a sighting of something as a value, new value positing as such), and takes possession of them. Taking possession means not simply asserting them as values, but grasping them as mine, taking them over, becoming what one is through them, achieving them. This is the idea of “Command”: to take possession of new values not simply by putting them initially into stable reserve (certainty, and therefore truth), but by actively grasping them in a ek-static reach that extends beyond, out of, the stable constance of the sphere of preservation.

Art “goads the willing out beyond itself”(86)

But the possibility of command is not the first moment of art, but a subsequent moment. Art first must open up spheres of new possibilities, and it is this opening up that enables the possibility of command. Heidegger calls art “the value that first opens all heights of ascent”, and “[t]he one, [which] ever in a fresh way, calls forth the other”(86). What is this “other”? The other Is the new spheres of possibilities, the open, the new, the fresh. This means that the WTP is more than truth, more than certainty and surety – the WTP puts itself at risk and goes beyond the bounded, the safe encircling secured sphere. This beyond as that which can be grappled with and grasped is nothing other than the notion of enhancement as such – there are no guarantees when it comes to enhancement. One enhances on the basis of the sedimentary, preserving base one has in certainty and surety, but this security in advance never assures that any particular enhancement will be achieved. We should not think of “art” here solely in the sense of the artist (who is “only a preliminary stage” for Nietzsche) nor as work-of-art in the modern sense as mechanically reproduced object. We would be closer if we think art as poesis, as making-producing. However, in a note from early summer 1885, Nietzsche indicates that we might think of this “other” as an other, i.e. a resistance to be encountered and dominated, and one name for this encounter is “martial art”:

“…[I]n commanding there is a concession that the opponent’s absolute power has not been vanquished, not incorporated, dissolved. ‘Obeying’ and ‘commanding’ are forms of martial art”(Notebook 36 note 22). (my emphasis)



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