Friday, 6 May 2016

Nietzsche's two suns

Nietzsche asks us to imagine a universe in which the earth revolves around two suns, in an irregular, snaking sort of orbit. Each sun illuminates the world differently, bringing forth different colours and qualities of light, making visible what is dark to the other sun. This, let us suppose, has always been the case, so we take it as given that our world is different according to which sun is nearest. We do not refer to the first and second sun, for they are coeval and equivalent in size and influence. Instead we talk about Helios and Sol, our two presiding stars. We live in a world of twin perspectives, a world of alternating appearances, a world forever “in the balance”. We do not say that Helios’ colours and light represent the way the world is in truth, whereas Sol represents only a world of appearance. Our spontaneous philosophy is that the world rolls between different but equal perspectives. We do not hunger for one impartial sun that would illuminate the world “as it is”; rather do we delight in the different hues, surfaces, brilliances, unconcealed by the two. We begin from the assumption of different perspectives and plural realities, and this starting point is one which applies to all areas: philosophical, cultural, personal. It is not that the world disintegrates into billions of subjective perspectives; rather does each of us, each with our different beam, highlight and make visible different things, different corners of the world, each of our soundings yields different readings. And we delight in this infinite and continuous variousness.

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