The Meaningful and the Logical
It is not necessarily true that the logical is also the meaningful. They are not synonyms.
It is not necessarily true that the secure is also the safe. These are, likewise, not synonymous.
It bears repeating. “All higher values devalue themselves,” as Nietzsche’s succinct formula for nihilism, is born out in the debasement of speech. The so-called “grammar police” do have a point, even if they miss the target at which they pretend to shoot.
In earlier posts, I’ve made note of the fact that the words “whole” and “total” are not synonymous either. Yet, they are treated as identical in meaning. If they were, in fact, identical in meaning, there would be no reason to have two distinct terms for the identical value.
They are not identical values because they are actually contrary in meaning. And in this confusion of values — the whole and the totality — we are at the very crux of the whole problem of how higher values devalue themselves. For the “whole” means “health”, in its original significance, while “total” means death.
Likewise, the logical is only the meaningful within a certain horizon of signification. That horizon of signification is what cultural historian Jean Gebser called “the mental-rational structure of consciousness” or “perspectivism”. Rest assured, dear readers, there is no necessary identity between the logical and the meaningful. “The peace that surpasseth understanding” is not logical, but that does not mean it is therefore meaningless, does it?
Therefore, do not believe the poisoners who hypnotise you into believing that only what is “logical” can be meaningful. For what is mistaken today for what is called “logic”, left to itself, has merely come to the conclusion that life, the universe and everything is pointless and meaningless. This is, in fact, nihilism. And the confusion of logical and meaningful parallels the confusion of the whole and the totality, and thus the integral or healthy and what is merely the assimilatory or imperialistic.
Likewise, authority and power are similarly collapsed today and made to mean one and the same thing. The whole process is a grinding down of higher values into lower and more debased or vulgar ones.
When you appreciate the difference in valency — that is, strength or potency — between “whole” and “total”, or “meaningful” and “logical”, or “integral” and “universal”, or “authority” and “power”, and so many other like de-meanings, you will have penetrated to the understanding of Nietzsche’s insight into nihilism and how “all higher values devalue themselves.” And you will also then know that there is a subtle but profound difference between what is called the dichotomy of “spirit” and “matter”, which is, as a dichotomy, a complete misunderstanding and mistake. They are not opposites at all, but relate as quality to quantity.
The confusion of the meaningful with the logical is merely a prejudice of the times. It has no validity. This confusion of the meaningful with the logical (or, rationalism) is what Jean Gebser called “deficient rationality.”
When you come to know the difference between the higher and the lower, however subtle it may be, you will have attained to a great spiritual victory — a genuine achievement of “self-overcoming,” and therefore of self-realisation over narcissism as the all-too-human condition. For coming to know such discernment of things which have become ordinarily confused in the mind, you will also come to know the real secret of life and death as well.
The confusion of life and the death is what Nietzsche ultimately meant by “all higher values devalue themselves”. That is, today, the confusion of the whole and the totality, and correspondingly of the meaningful with the logical.