Nietzsche, Art and Aesthetics
International Conference of the Friedrich Nietzsche Society
Vanessa Lemm (Northwestern, USA)
On Animality and Creativity in the Early Writings of Nietzsche.
The confrontation between the life of the animals and that of the human animals
in Nietzsche’s early writings sheds light on the question of the human animal’s creativity.
Nietzsche opposes the human animal’s memory to the animal’s forgetfulness, the human
animal’s intellect and its falsifications to the animal’s honesty, the human animal’s need
for language to the animal’s silence, the becoming of human animal life to the being of
animal life and, lastly, the human animal’s suffering from becoming to the animal’s
lightness of being. Nietzsche’s reconstruction of the animal’s imaginary decenters and
problematizes the anthropocentric imaginary of the world. It reveals the relative
vulnerability, weakness and inferiority of the human animal. But this disadvantage
challenges the creativity of the human animal. Human creativity is not a given, but
becomes the distinguishing feature of the human animal due to its struggle for the
preservation and enhancement of its life form against that of the animals. At the same
time, human creativity does not constitute an overcoming of the animal, something
separating human from animal life. On the contrary, it reveals human animal life to be
intimately related to that of the animals. From here the need in Nietzsche to investigate
human animal life as an inseparable part of the totality of life. Human animal life cannot
create itself out of itself. It is not a self-sufficient entity closed onto itself but nourishes
itself from a return of animality as a reservoir of creative and regenerative force.
Animality not only stands at the beginning, but is also indispensable to the continuous
preservation and enhancement of human animal life and creativity. I conclude on the
problem of the relation between art and life. It seems that only from an anthropocentric
perspective, could one be led to defend a notion of life as artistic creation. From the
perspective of the animals to which Nietzsche alludes, however, human creativity seems
to be a function of life, an instrument of its preservation and enhancement.