Things going from bad to worse . I read a lot of Nietzsche starting with a German professor in Oakland or Berkeley in 1967 at first it was a choice of texts to read in a philosophy course whilst in CCAC ( now CCA) it was on the street that connected Oakland to Berkeley . It have fond memories of that class. I read the The Genealogy of Morals the first book written by Nietzsche when he was a young professor during the Franco Prussian War in 1871. It’s not aphorisms like his other works but rather a theoretical dialectic about the origin of tragedy from the spirit of music. It was the story of Dionysus the Greek god of music theater and wine. I recall the experience of studying the text as exhilarating and inspiring. My knowledge of Ancient Greece was rather limited but I found the book inspiring and intoxicating . Nietzsche was a philologist a professor of ancient languages. When our examination came the professor said my style of writing resembled Nietzsche’s style. Not necessarily a complement , my enthusiasm was derived from my pleasure in becoming enamored of Nietzsche’s thought and my spiritual thirst for an understanding of the meaning of art.
Now near the end of my life I realize how important this book was for me as a young artist coming from a musical and performative background, trying to find some understanding of the origins of aesthetic practice. I was born with a gift for speech and song like Nietzsche my religious up bringing was Lutheran. I sung in choirs and choruses and had no fear of singing dancing and performing before audiences. I was very smitten by religious music and song. I was confirmed into the faith in 1959. But as puberty began I was beginning to find my way dancing , and my gift for talking led me towards talking and speaking in public having no fear of making fool of myself. At first I thought I could be a Pastor and the church made me consider studying in a far away religious college where I could exploit my gift of improvisational speech and singing to earn a living. But my youthful sexuality led me down different occupational interests.
My interest in visual arts was a fall back . Because I was very poor and gifted I wound up studying art and eventually became a college professor in fine arts where I lectured critiqued and gave instructional lessons in color theory painting drawing printmaking and mixed media. My fascination with ancient art philosophy and criticism led me to become a peculiar sort of fine arts professor. Indeed my advanced courses seemed to arise from an improvisational style of speech and a knack for art criticism and a sense of risk taking as key to artistic activities. From fascination with Nietzsche led me to read a great deal of philosophy poetry and literary criticism. The teaching gig allowed me time to make art and to study . Almost with a religious fervor. Later in my life in the midst of an emotional and spiritual crisis I became interested Hebrew Mysticism and eventually I converted to Judaism because of my desire to dive deeper into the mystical tradition and escape my Lutheran upbringing indeed I was slowly becoming a polytheist . All in pursuit of some sort of understanding given my bi-polar disorder. Now I realize a sort mystical collapse that at the dying time I feel utterly lost and bewildered. I cling to my love of logic and my close reading of Ludwig Wittgenstein that death is outside of natural science and this realm the metaphysical dimension is impossible to know in we pass over it in silence.. And silence was the lesson I most needed to learn facing my own death. I have tried to love and I have failed and I shall be quite alone because of my madness and my life of dreaming. I will leave quite a lot of evidence behind which I know will scattered about the world like ashes and dust , somethings may survive but what a huge puzzle I have created with no solution only wonderment and broken dreams .