Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nietzsche's "Upon the Blessed Isles" & Marilyn Manson's "Organ Grinder"

     I'm currently reading Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and I noticed some wording similarities in "Upon the Blessed Isles" and the song "Organ Grinder," by Marilyn Manson. (Lyrics in sidebar of video.) It could be me simply looking for similarities because "Organ Grinder" is my favorite song, but this should be fun to write up regardless of whether it's convincing or not.

Upon the Blessed Isles
     God is a thought that makes crooked all that is straight, and makes turn whatever stands.
"I do a crooked little dance with my funny little monkey"
     From my understanding, becoming the overman is about surpassing humanity. Often, humans are associated with monkeys, although we are more closely related to apes. Regardless, it could be in relation. If Manson has become the overman, perhaps he can do the opposite of "God" by making all crooked things straight; a straight fact. The fact being humans are closer to apes than monkeys, but making it alright to use the metaphor of a monkey because he can turn all things crooked straight if he wanted to.

     God is a conjecture; but I desire that your conjectures should not reach beyond your creative will. Could you create a god? Then do not speak to me of any gods. But you could well create the overman.
"I hate what I have become to escape what I hated being"
     To become anything, we must create first create it as an image, only to continue creating during the process. If we reach beyond our creative will, we could hate it. Manson could have moved too swiftly in his creation, sloppily or with more thought power than actual power by means of quick escape from what he hated, causing him to hate what he has become anyway.

Perhaps not you yourselves, my brothers. But into fathers and forefathers of the overman you could re-create yourselves: and let this be your best creation.
     There are many elements in "Organ Grinder" that seemingly relate to children and a father, on the surface of the words. I'm not sure exactly what Nietzsche meant in this part of "Upon the Blessed Isles," but from the translation I'm excerpting, the translator notes that it is about the creative life versus belief in God, "God is a conjecture." (A theory, opinion.) I wouldn't be too quick to assume this means God in the common sense, either, but who knows.

     Creation—that is the great redemption from suffering, and life's growing light. But that the creator may be, suffering is needed and much change. Indeed, there must be much bitter dying in your life, you creators. Thus are you advocates and justifiers of all impermanence. To be the child who is newly born, the creator must also want to be the mother who gives birth and the pangs of the birth giver.
"I hate what I have become to escape what I hated being"
     Like I said, I'm not sure what Nietzsche meant. Perhaps by creating the overman in our fathers and forefathers (or a metaphor of either), we can escape what we hate. (The line could have a double meaning.) By creating what we want in another, we grow to hate ourselves because we haven't applied the same things to ourselves first and foremost. Our hatred of our actions could push us onto the tightrope of finally becoming the overman ourselves, which would explain the arrogance in the rest of the song. Mentions of envy are a good sign (although I don't know what "calliopenis" means, if anything):
"Calliopenis envy from your daddy"

     Now that Manson is the overman instead - or alongside - of his "father," his "father" will act in accordance of typical jealousy when one is one-upped:
"You're not gonna hear what he don't want to hear
What I say disgusts him"

     This reveals something deeper though. Manson will not hear what his "father" doesn't want to hear. By someone going first, importantly by Manson's creation, they are united (father and child, mother and child). So perhaps they are in this alongside each other. Now that Manson has become what he created his "father" to be first, Manson not only disgusts him, but:
"He wants to be me and that scares him"

     Manson has taken away what he gave his "father," in the sense that he no longer holds it alone. Even if they coexist in the same stature, it is not uncommon for someone who is matched - especially by someone who helped lift them - to soon become jealous, resentful, etc., and feel an unexplainable desire to be like them instead of like themselves. This feeling is scary, because it's a doubt of one's greatness in envy of another's. The line "What I want, what I want is just your children," could be a metaphor the "father's" desire to be the "child" (Manson).

     God is a conjecture; but I desire that your conjectures should be limited by what is thinkable. Could you think a god? But this is what the will to truth should mean to you: that everything be changed into what is thinkable for man, visible for man, feelable by man. You should think through your own senses to their consequences.
"They try to blink me not to think me
Don't want to bring me out"
     Besides the obvious word similarities, Manson could have overexerted himself in his rush to escape what he hated, causing man to attempt at not blinking, thinking, or bringing him out. His consequence - hating what he has become to escape what he hated being.

"Here is my real head, here is my real head
I wear this fucking mask because you cannot handle me"
     In some sort of self-preservation, Manson wears his mask to remain high above the people, to remain the overman. However, as the overman, he still has such a desire to show his "real head," that he is, in fact, the true overman, but humans likely cannot handle it. A constant war wages between the two, a walk on the tightrope of being the overman.

     Whatever in me has feeling, suffers and is in prison; but my will always comes to me as my liberator and joy-bringer.
"My prison skin's an eyesore-mirror-sketch-pad"
     "Whatever in me has feeling, suffers and is in prison," exactly! Manson's only capable of showing us what he feels inside of his prison on the outside, his skin; his prison's skin. I wouldn't doubt that Manson viewed it as an "eyesore-mirror-sketch-pad," either. Hasn't he downed himself before in such a manner, anyway? I'd imagine he believes everything he is and has created is an eyesore to some degree, he might still hate what he became what he has to - of course - escape what he hated. (Or did during the PoaAF era, at least.) Whatever he created would never be exactly like what's dwelling within his prison either, rendering it a mirror of creation by means of escape, yet through his willed creation, a sketch pad of what he truly wanted. (We see in the mirror what we truly are, but if we draw ourselves we draw what we feel we are on the inside. Beautiful, skinny, etc.)

"I wear this fucking mask because you cannot handle me
Here is my real head"
     Manson's creative will liberates him and brings him joy, despite everything else he has done by creative escape. His creative will pushes him to wear the mask, while simultaneously rearing his real head. It might not create an overabundance or balance of happiness, but it's enough for what he's doing and what he's become. Manson ends the song with these two lines, a final liberation. The song is free and finished.

     But my fervent will to create impels me ever again toward man; thus is the hammer impelled toward the stone. O men, in the stone there sleeps an image, the image of my images. Alas, that it must sleep in the hardest, the ugliest stone! Now my hammer rages cruelly against its prison. Pieces of rock rain from the stone: what is that to me? I want to perfect it; for a shadow came to me—the stillest and lightest of all things once came to me. The beauty of the overman came to me as a shadow. O my brothers, what are the gods to me now?


Almeidinha said...

First song of his I heard.
I recall seeing this in a post of yours once. "I hate what I have become to escape what I hated being"
Nice words they are, and a true tragedy no? =/
I hate parts of me, but I love that I am here today.

Alexis Mullino said...

@ Almeidinha: Yes, the lyrics to "Organ Grinder" preface every post in the Here is My Real Head series.

Tragedy, maybe in some senses. However, we must be willing to annihilate to create (not excluding ourselves), as Nietzsche thus spoke to us through Zarathustra.

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