Analysis

Reading Nietzsche in times of chaos: Why pop culture signals the ‘coming of Satan’

‘Katyo chuk nund banay, waloo mashook myane…’ sing Avinash Tiwary and Tripti Dimri in a popular rendition of Habba Khatoon’s classic lament towards her beloved, featured in last year’s movie Laila Majnu that saw average success at the Indian box office. The song fits the tragedy; how Laila and Qais fell in love but the world, in denial of their union, tore them heart-breakingly apart.

The trend of fusing Kashmiri folk songs into popular music was markedly traced following rise of bands like Alif and Parwaaz. Coke Studio, as part of its Explorer series, provided momentum to the trend by releasing Ha Gulo, a rendition by band Qasamir that significantly exposed the valley’s rich, emotional tones to its diverse listeners.

The song was praised by locals alike, with specific focus on Altaf Mir whose back story of aspiring militant-turned-musician was religiously covered by Indian and international news organisations, due to the innocent political context that it gave, and a refreshing perspective that it provided with regards to Kashmir’s conflict torn history.

Altaf Mir (second right) with his band Qasamir.

Over the last few years, the young millennials of the Valley have taken a particular liking to popular and sonorous renditions of Kashmiri folk music, knowingly and unknowingly tracing their roots back to the great hailed poets and poetesses- Mehjoor, Lal Ded, Habba Khatoon among others. The trend signifies a need to rediscover and recreate culture to fit and expand the modern vacuum, which encourages evolution of tradition and craft.

With such trends- the unsung romantics of the generation, poets, writers and painters have flooded social media with their worldviews, catering to merging of pop culture and traditional Kashmiri culture, much alike Altaf Mir. Hailing the ‘chaos’ within themselves and stepping stones to the enlightenment of their souls, they embrace hipster norms and ideas to cater to a wholesome version of themselves.

The internet, is undoubtedly, a vast reserve of knowledge and entertainment whose depths cannot be fathomed or structured in neat little compartments. Nevertheless, it does a mighty good job of assimilating itself within each and every culture to create a global stage which churns out relatable and regional-specific content that have made this generation feel more connected than ever before.

Here’s where it gets tricky, though.

Among psychologically and emotionally harmful content that floats around our feed on a day-to-day basis, verification of any claim on the internet is largely absent. This allows harmful content to be streamed or accepted without critical research or thought.

Again, this is largely possible due to certain accounts or pages that advertise an innocent and harmless version of themselves to appear as the user’s well-wisher, or friend.

Let’s take this famous quote, for example: ‘One must have chaos within themselves to give birth to a dancing star.’

On first glimpse, many believe that it talks about how important it is to go through obstacles (hence: ‘chaos’) to be able to fully find oneself and reach the point of ultimate potential (hence: ‘dancing star’).

Award-winning author Dan Blanchard, in a short blogpost about the quote, believes how chaos represents one being unsatisfied with their present circumstances.

“We have to be a little unsatisfied. Maybe we even have to be a little angry at our present circumstances if we want life to improve. This reminds me of something I heard a long time ago about the really good professional boxers. I heard the really good ones were all a little bit angry. Well, maybe we can all get a little angry too? Now, I’m not talking about acting violently, but I am talking about the kind that drives you to take massive action and enables you to put a lot of sticks in the red-hot fire. In other words, I’m talking about creating a life of CHAOS!” he writes.

With regards to ‘dancing star’, he says how it talks about ‘our true potential’.

“Our true potential is so vast, encompassing, and empowering that we can’t even begin to understand our worldly or universal powers that lie dormant in almost all of us. Maybe we all just need to have a little more faith in ourselves, and manage our chaotic lives just a little bit better and then just maybe we too can create something special and give birth to a dancing star!”

The quote was, in fact, coined by a famous and influential German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, widely known for his writings on good and evil, the end of religion in modern society and the concept of a “super-man” (Übermensch), an individual who strives to exist beyond conventional categories of good and evil, master and slave.

He is attributed to have famously said, “God is dead,”“There are no facts, only interpretations” and “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”

Few of his works, with special emphasis on ‘super-man’ are also believed to have influenced Adolf Hitler, founder of the Nazi party who mentioned the philosopher while speaking about ‘great men’. However, it is believed that Nietzsche’s sister played a major role in falsifying his works to forge a connection between his philosophy and Nazism.

Hitler looking at a statue of Nietzsche.

Interestingly enough, his philosophy has been majorly read by those interested in the ‘occult’- defined by Merriam Webster as ‘matters regarded as involving the action or influence of supernatural or supernormal powers or some secret knowledge of them’. Usually the term is associated with the much debated existence of the ‘Illuminati’ or the ‘Freemasons’ (‘secret society’), conspired to be pulling the strings behind the world as we know it today. Many political leaders are rumored to be part of such secret groups.

Unfortunately, in Nietzsche’s case, a little digging reveals that the occult relation has not come without consequence. Having written the controversial book, ‘The Anti-Christ’, his philosophy bears an alarming resemblance to occult beliefs.

In his book, ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’, published in 1883-1885, Nietzsche speaks about the death of the God ‘of the complacent’, stating that if God is a shepherd (as He is commonly referred to in Christian beliefs), a few ‘super-men’ would survive and live their live ‘by their own free Will’.

“What is the great dragon which the spirit no longer wants to call lord or God? The great dragon is called ‘Thou Shalt’. But the spirit of the lion says ‘I Will!’ ” (Nietzsche, 55).

He says that ‘the attainment of the Übermensch is to become at one with God through the empowerment of the individual will instead of its submission in the name of the aspirant’s spiritual goal’.

The individual Will he speaks of is a staple belief of modern occult philosophies and is strikingly similar to well-known English occultist Aleister Crowley’s belief of ‘Do what thou wilt’. The founder of the Church of Satan, Anton LaVey, adopting the philosophy of the Ubermensch, preaches that in the end, the important ‘god’ is ourselves and our ‘natural instincts’.

LaVey’s The Satanic Bible outlines the philosophy and rituals behind the Church of Satan, and for the most part, the central figure is the ego and the will of those considered strong enough to accept Satanism.

Sound familiar?

One of the motto that further stems from such occult beliefs is the Latin phrase “ordoabchao” or “order out of chaos.” This enigmatic phrase is interpreted to reveal that by ‘creating the right problem (chaos), outcry regarding the problem will reveal a solution (order) that the occult group wished to have all along.

When interpreted along these lines, Nietzsche’s seemingly harmless quotes acquires an alarming significance, acting as a form of advice to those under this path; with chaos, being as an artificial problem created within the world to harness order and power.

But what exactly does dancing star mean? In occult symbolism, it most commonly refers to an inverted pentagram, representing ‘Lucifer or Vesper, the star of morning or evening. It is Mary or Lilith, victory or death, day or night.

Poster of the TV series ‘Lucifer’.

The Pentagram with two points in the ascendant represents Satan as the goat of the Sabbath; when one point is in the ascendant, it is the sign of the Saviour. The Pentagram is the figure of the human body, having the four limbs and a single point representing the head. A human figure head downwards naturally represents a demon that is, intellectual subversion, disorder or madness, according to a French priest and occultist named Alphonse Constant, who wrote under the name Eliphas Levi in 1855.

According to medieval and ancient history, the pentagram referred to the Christ and seemed to carry a positive, esoteric and spiritual connotation before this particular interpretation was revealed according to occult beliefs in the nineteenth century.

Interestingly, if one combines both the occult interpretations to Nietzsche’s quote, one realizes this: There must be chaos in the world for the coming of Satan.

Huh. Doesn’t that make you question everything you read on the internet?

 

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