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Extra info for Carnap Cassirer and Heidegger The Davos Disputation
Indeed, the first four substitute images—reeds, smoke, flames, waves—capture a thought of the real as primordial separation: earth, air, fire, water. And behind that separation, as its very condition of being, is light. 3 Hölderlin thus returned to The Death of Empedocles in the movement of a personal and decisive tragic turning. 29 30 EPO CHAL DISCO RDANCE Already in 1797, while serving as a live-in tutor to the Gontard family, Hölderlin sketched out a tragedy in five acts, focused on the figure of Empedocles.
69 It is interesting, finally, that the Prometheus myth, as the myth of the creator and artist, is centered on the theft and gift of fire—the element which Hölderlin’s Empedocles exalts and with which he seeks to unite himself in death, whereas, in his “Remarks” on Sophocles, it has become the emblem of a searing desolation. For Nietzsche, fire remains the symbol of “the best and highest humans can share in,” of the radiance of human achievement. He speculates that early humans would have considered man’s disposition over fire, previously received reverently as a heavenly gift, to be sacrilegious.
Tragedy’s work—its very life, as Nietzsche understands it—is stifled in being cast as a work of reconciliation that culminates in the sublation of contrariety within ethical life. Its proper work is one, not of reconciliation, but of presentation. 56 Nietzsche characterizes the “pessimism,” which he stresses in the “Attempt at Self-Criticism” (and which figures in the very title of the 1886 edition which includes this self-critical preface), as a “pessimism of strength” which shrinks from nothing and which springs, not from depressive weariness, but from exuberant vitality: Is there perhaps a pessimism of strength?