Daybreak – Review

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Daybreak is Nietzsche’s first “real” book, where Nietzsche settles on a unique style of writing. He no longer writes essays, ordering his thoughts on a line, but peppers the whole book with aphorisms. It may frustrate the reader who is new to Nietzsche since he won’t find any main thesis. Instead, Nietzsche puts together his ideas into a web, helping you connect more ideas together to create a range of thought with more dimensions.

Yet there is a main spirit in Daybreak. Nietzsche explores human moral life in new ways; he opts out old ideas of the soul, free will, and categorical imperatives for naturalistic explanations of the body, climate, diet, and the instincts. He does not show any crude materialism, as you might think, but deals with subtle and spiritual things. The human species is dynamic, constantly changing throughout the ages, as does all nature. Nietzsche rejects the dichotomy between “matter” and “spirit” present since at least Plato’s time; instead, the “lower” world of the body and the land creates the “higher” world of the mind, art, and culture.   

But what is most important is this; Nietzsche wishes to open a new chapter in human history by “reevaluating all values” as he might later put it, and he takes his first steps in Daybreak. Nietzsche is no nihilist; if anything, he is excited and hopeful. He goes on a new adventure and invites you to join him. I certainly had fun reading Daybreak, though it was a hard book to read, because I learned many new ways of looking at the world.

Moral History
Nietzsche spins a yarn of human history to explore how morals came about. Nietzsche is fond of writing this kind of speculative history, where he writes a fairy tale of sorts to describe some deeper process unfolding through the ages. He did in the tale of Greek Tragedy and he will do it again in the tale of Master and Slave morals. I am not fond of this kind of history, and maybe you are not either, but remember! Ancient humans told their history in myths and parables, and judging by Nietzsche’s approach, we still think of our history this way, whether we like it or not.

Nietzsche posits that primitive humans developed habits and customs depending on the best way to live off the land. Morals came about in this way. We may roll our eyes; such a theory is typical today, but Nietzsche takes us through a few twists and turns. There is more to this story, since morals greatly evolved alongside the humans they came from.

Early humans based their morals on community and tradition – what everybody else did before them – and anyone who rejected that tradition was evil. Then, something radical happened: Socrates and Christianity. Socrates determined morals by using logic and a set of universal principles meant to improve the individual. If a custom or tradition was wrong – well, it was wrong, no matter how sacred. Early Christians jettisoned the old Roman and Jewish traditions of their ancestors. Instead, they devoted their time to saving their souls [1].

Ancient Athens condemned Socrates a corrupter of youth and the Ancient Romans saw the early Christians as evil. I find it ironic how, two thousand years later, Christians base so much of their morals on communities and traditions that have little to the with Gospel. And now they condemn rebels as evil, as they were once rebels themselves. American conservative Christians are easy to pick on; their morals come from a sense of national identity that often has a deep racial history. Using the Bible to condemn abortion or gay marriage is the afterthought.  

Well, what about life today? Nietzsche takes several issues with modern morals. In general, he seems to regard them as stale and causing a malaise in the mind of Europe’s people. Yes, you can easily point to how Nietzsche blames Christianity for giving us a “bad conscience”, which he does. But he describes how great Christians developed more subtle and profound morals. For example, the French thinkers of the Enlightenment refined their character, thought, and manners to create a sublime culture [2].

Spirit From Matter
Sigmund Freud was famous for describing how human thoughts and actions, even our loftiest aspects, come from a dark subconscious world of primitive passions. He was not the first. Nietzsche did it before Freud and Schopenhauer did it before Nietzsche. The word (or leitmotif) Nietzsche uses throughout the book is arriere pensee, or hidden thoughts. Even beyond our instincts, our volition determines what we think and see, and just as important, what we do not think and see [3]. We do not really know what we want.

His most striking writings concern kindness, self sacrifice, and human rights. At first, great nobles feigned kindness and honesty as a tactic; it gave them more safety and increased their power by gaining allies. Yet over time, hypocrisy slowly transformed into genuine kindness [4]. On the other end, a disciple who eagerly immolates and sacrifices himself for his god is far from humble. He gains a euphoric feeling of power and becomes exalted by being associated with his god [5]. The ideas of duty and rights we revere today were created when people of greater power and rank formed a relationship with people of lesser power [6].

Nietzsche diagnoses the illness of the soul much like a doctor diagnoses an illness of the body. He examines a person to find cancerous thoughts and emotions lurking beneath the reasoned arguments, and beyond that, Nietzsche traces the cancer’s origin in the body and environment. And much like a doctor, Nietzsche advises small steady doses for even the worst of illnesses; a change in diet, habit, and exercise [7].  

If we have illnesses, and most of us do, fear not. Nietzsche rejects the belief in a soul, and with it the belief that people are “complete and perfect facts”, that we have one essential thing that defines us and that we can never change. Instead, Nietzsche describes our minds like gardens, full of different kinds of growing plants. We have some control as gardeners, and we are even responsible in cultivating our feelings and impulses. And we must change, as a snake sheds its skin. If we do not grow and learn new things, if we do not change our minds, we cease to have minds [8].

In general, we have some grasp of our different powers: our talents, our skills, our knowledge, our health, and so on. But we do not know our full capabilities. Our environment is so important, Nietzsche says, because it can conceal, weaken, or develop out powers. Nietzsche urges us to study our environment very carefully, which includes everything I mentioned above from circumstances to the land to diet, so we can cultivate our powers to reach the greatest possible heights [9].

What is Feminine
Nietzsche has relations with women and the female gender role that are – complicated. The stereotypical Nietzsche fan is quick to shun women and all that is feminine, but Nietzsche thinks differently. As early humans became more “feminine”, such as becoming more beautiful, frail, timid, sensitive, and discerning, they also became more intelligent and civilized [10].

I find Nietzsche very striking at this point because he subverts assumptions we hold to this day. Even now, we see building civilization as something “masculine”, a task accomplished by Mr. Fix-It and Bob the Builder. We imagine the beginning of civilization as a big manly thing, where a king whips slaves into building a monument. Even liberal minded people, who do not like to put men above women, assume men rule over culture and women rule over nature. But Nietzsche paints a different and more arresting picture.

And Nietzsche even questions gender itself in the first page, describing it as transient as morals. I paraphrase; when we gave a sex to all things, we thought not we were playing but believed we gained a profound insight. Only later did we admit, just a bit, that we made a huge error. We gave a moral character to everything in the world in the same way. One day, declaring something good or evil will be as relevant as describing the sun as male or female [11].

Our Limits
Late in Daybreak, Nietzsche arrives at the end of the world. He reaches the limits of human intellect and even of truth itself. These ideas are difficult for us to hear, since our advancing science and technology tends to make us optimists. Indeed, we assume no knowledge is beyond us. Sooner or later, if only we try hard enough, our leading physicists will discover the Theory of Everything and we will find a way to travel faster than light. But our limits to knowledge are deeper than whether we can make spaceships. Humankind has a limit.

Language itself is a problem. It helps us create all sorts of new ideas, yes, but words box our thoughts into the discreet concepts. Our thinking only goes as far as our language lets us. And when we do discover something, when we wish to expand our language, we have to deal with all the old state concepts our language has, concepts that prevent us from thinking in new ways [12]. What is logic but a word game? Is truth itself just a word?

As much as we think we like science, we have a problematic relation to it, and it has a lot to do with old habits in how we think of ourselves. Long ago, we assumed ourselves to be the highest creature on earth; nature’s final goal was to create us. We assumed nature existed to serve us and all the knowledge we could find would only benefit us. To this day, we seek answers with science to solve our many problems from global warming to why we feel depressed. But science does not care about how we feel or what we feel entitled to, and people resent science for that fact. Many people who claim to love science treat it lightly and would hate science if it ever saw through them [13].

Knowledge can also be dangerous and harmful to us. Learning something new is not always a good thing, as Oedipus shows us. Nietzsche expresses this idea most clearly in his famous Don Juan aphorism. What is our destiny, a people who put the pursuit of knowledge above everything else? We will seek all knowledge, no matter how trifling, until we become so bored we seek knowledge that will hurt us. We will yearn for “hell”, a final terrible answer, but we will not find it, and will forever be frustrated [14].  

How can we overcome our morals and limits in knowledge? Nietzsche has a couple of ideas, but we need to take small doses to get such a radical change in values. The change may be so slow we may not even realize it when we get there. There is no fast and easy way; “great revolutions” are a farce caused by malicious and impatient political invalids [15].  

Let us slowly supplant moral feelings and judgments, Nietzsche says. Let us follow the duties imposed by reason, and re-establish the laws of life. Maybe we can borrow the foundation stones for new ideals yet to be born. Let us then rule ourselves as if lords of an estate, our small experimental state [16].

Nietzsche ends Daybreak with his most uplifting prose. As birds fly to the horizon, we may fly as far as we possibly can to realize our potential, but even the greatest of us will find a perch. Our greatest ancestors did the same. Yet new birds will fly farther, far above our heads and our failures. Where are we all flying? We do not know [17].  

Work cited:

  1. Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm. The Dawn of Day. Translated by John McFarland Kennedy, Anodos Books, 2017. Pgs. 10-16.
  2. Pg. 88
  3. Pg 170
  4. Pg. 111
  5. Pg. 104
  6. Pg. 130
  7. Pg 153
  8. Pgs. 181-183
  9. Pg. 128
  10. Pgs. 18 & 71
  11. Pg 9
  12.  Pg. 27
  13. Pg. 143
  14. Pg. 128
  15. Pg. 169
  16. Pg. 151
  17. Pg. 183
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Best Yugioh Forbidden Memory Decks (No Cheats) *REVISED*

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Last weekend I lost to Seto 3rd in campaign, which really upset me. I duel against him like crazy in free duel precisely to prevent a situation like this and, well, it happened anyway. So I set to work making two new decks that would never fail me again.

Thunder Dragons
3x Meteor B. Dragon
3x Blue-Eyes White Dragon
3x Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon
3x Sanga of Thunder
3x Red-Eyes Black Dragon
3x Meteor Black Dragon
2x Skull Knight

3x Megamorph
3x Bright Castle
3x Dragon’s Treasure
3x Salamandra
3x Invigoration

3x Raigeki

2x Widespread Ruin

Yesterday, I defeated Seto 3rd 40 times with no losses. It is basically my last deck but with a few tweaks to it. Namely, I took out the Umi field spell and one of the traps, then replaced them with 2 Skull Knight. The dark warrior monk is a tech-in of sorts because of his guardian stars. Mercury helps it overcome your opponent’s Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon and Neptune helps it overcome Meteor B. Dragon.

Otherwise, I would get too many dead draws. Widespread Ruin can really kill you when you need an equip spell so I had to compromise. I tried adding more equip spells but I ended up drawing dead hands with no monsters. So I had to make use of experience.

Everything else functions like the old deck did: making a monster with over 4500 ATK. It can be a pain at times because Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon is too often too weak, unless I replaced the 2 Widespread Ruin with 2 Umi. Otherwise, I rely too much on Meteor B. Dragon. I’ll have to experiment with that.

In case the 2 Umi work better, I’ll just put it on the deck list above so I won’t have to write a billion new blogs. This deck is worse for campaign but would fare better in versus mode because most top duelists in this game seem to use many monsters of dark attribute.

Dark Dragons
3x Meteor B. Dragon
2x Blue-Eyes White Dragon
2x Metalzoa
3x Skull Knight
3x Zoa
3x Red-Eyes Black Dragon
3x Meteor Black Dragon

3x Megamorph
3x Bright Castle
3x Dragon’s Treasure
3x Dark Energy
3x Malevolent Nuzzler

3x Raigeki
3x Yami

Yesterday, I defeated Seto 3rd 20 times with no losses, and I defeated 20 more times today with no losses. I say probably because I won my duels more easily with this deck. It mostly boils down to the Yami field spell and many of my monsters having a Mercury guardian star. This way, Skull Knight and Zoa easily get an “unfair” 1000 ATK boost, helping it destroy Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon.

The downside? I can’t create an overpowered Meteor B. Dragon as easily as before. On the upside, I don’t have to rely on that poor dragon so much anymore. Skull Knight and Zoa take the game for me more often than you might think.  This deck is better for campaign because of the “unfair” ATK boost I mentioned before, but would fare worse in versus mode because my field spell would boost my opponent’s monsters.

A New Kind of Piano

I have many problems with the modern piano. I value its range and resonance, yes, but the flaws outweigh the benefits. Some history for context: composers in the 18th century performed music on two different kinds of pianos, the Vienna build and the English build. Vienna pianos were light, had a smaller key range, but had a large range of distinct colors of sound. English pianos were larger and broader, with greater key range and resonance, but flatter colors. Come the 19th century and the English piano builders defeated their Viennese rivals. The grand piano of today is an English piano with small changes.

What a pity! Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, and other composers relished the Vienna piano for its range of color, and much of their piano music imitates the orchestra. Yet now composers once more demean the piano to a harp turned on its side. I would prefer a fortepiano to my Yamaha piano at home, but I do not want us musicians to return to an older instrument. I would like to build a new kind of piano, even though I only have imagination at the moment.

First, let us shrink the key range: the base end from A0 to F1 and the treble end from C8 to F7. Let us use the key of F to build the range of the piano, not A or C. In regards to tuning, let us keep it flexible, but for my personal piano I would use meantone tuning with A3 at 415 Hertz. Let us make the keys of our new piano lighter, thinner, shallower; this will reduce some loudness and resonance but will return lost nuances in dynamics and range. Let us, somehow, bring back orchestral sounds to the piano: the lowest range of double base and timpani, the base range of bassoon and brass, the middle range of strings, the treble range of woodwinds, and the highest range of piccolo and triangle.  

We did little more than restore the Vienna piano at this point, though our new piano has somewhat more loudness and resonance, but with pedals of different kinds we can unlock new potential. Let us add two knee levers: the right the classic sustaining pedal and the left a “displacer”. The right knee lever gives the musician more grace and control over such an important pedal sound. The left knee lever can lock into place or be released as we please. It acts as a “displacer” by putting pieces of metal among the piano strings, like how Philip Glass put screws in his piano to create a remote dissonant sound.

Let us create three pedals for our right foot, moving from the center to the far right. The centermost pedal sustains notes of the treble range, the middle pedal causes only one or two strings of a note to be struck by the hammer depending on how hard you press it, and the rightmost pedal creates a plucking sound on the strings. Let us create three pedals for our left foot, moving from the center to the far left. The centermost pedal sustains notes of the base range, the middle pedal puts leather between the strings to create a muted sound, and the leftmost pedal places silk over the base strings to create a raspy buzzing noise.

Lastly, let us place two stoppers near middle C, used by hand. The right stopper adds an extra octave note above whatever treble note you play. The left stopper adds an extra octave below whatever base note you place.   

Brony Friendzone Reviews Solo: A Star Wars Story

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Dastardly Disney once more ruined my childhood. Solo: A Star Wars Story is another pernicious progressive propaganda cash grab. I could barely watch the malicious movie, as my beloved Hand Solo is no longer properly portrayed by the rugged rascal stud Indiana Jones but instead by some babyfaced miserable millennial! How dare people call this monstrous mess a Star Wars movie! No Luke Starkiller, no cool lightsaber fights, no Dark Vader, no Je’daii, not even the Schwartz! And the Millennial Falcon looks different! 

Nothing that remotely resembles a Star Wars movie can be seen! I don’t see any epic heroes in this movie, just some ghastly gangster movie about a hustler and a prostitute. I did not pay fifteen dollars and two hours of my time to see the Godfather! If I wanted to watch Grand Theft Auto, I would play it at home or see great gag videos on YouTube. The plot is better anyway!       

The synopsis is as follows, and I don’t care about spoiler warnings you sensitive snowflakes. A hustler named Hand Solo and a prostitute named Kira escape from their hometown Detroit, but nobody is black. Hand joins the United States Armed Forces, gets kicked out because he can’t be brainwashed, befriends a giant dog named Barf, then joins a pirate gang led by Long John Silver and Angela Davis; all this happens in five fast minutes. The pirate gang boards a train to Siberia in a daring dastardly heist, but they fail to get the kerosene, which you need to make cocaine. Don’t ask me how I know this, CIA! I know you’re watching me through my computer!

Since the pirate gang serves a drug cartel linked to the CIA, this is bad news for Hand and company. The careless crew land at a strip club: cartel headquarters. Long John makes pathetic excuses to John Dryden, his boss, while Hand catches up with Kira. While Hand screwed around with pirates, Kira became a catchy courtesan and sneakily shacked up with Dryden to live a better life. Hand proposes a mission redo, doing a mining heist to get a magic mineral known as quacksium; it sounds like something out of Duck Tales but somehow makes better cocaine. Don’t ask me how it works! I swear I don’t know!     

Hand befriends A Pimp Named Landlow and takes him with Barf, Kira, and Long John through a perilous passage to some country in Africa where you get blood diamonds. Hand gets the quacksium, and the gang rushingly rush back to headquarters to deliver the goods. Lots of irritating intrigue happens at this point, full of reversals, double reversals, triple reversals, and quadruple subversions. Long story short to save you any tedious time trouble: Hand kills Long John by shooting first and Kira kills her pimp Dryden by taking advantage of man’s greatest weakness: woman. Kira becomes the new crime boss, and now must answer directly to the director of the CIA. Hand and Barf catch up with A Pimp Named Landlow to beat him at poker.     

I would give this tragic travesty of a fallacious film a one out of ten. It looks nothing like the Star Wars I love while trying to be Grand Theft Auto, the Godfather, Blood Diamond, Eight Mile, and that one CIA movie starring Tom Cruise. By the Schwartz, the movie even has a freakishly feminist robot who lectures me about oppression! I don’t know what to make of this mess! My brain, my sharp sapience, my central flawless faculty for reason and rational discourse, is melting as I speak! That haggard harpy, Kathleen Kennedy, ruined by precious childhood so much she will send me into a ravenous rage! I will write a scathing review at Rotten Tomatoes at once!

– Darius Reilly the Nerd Rage Ranter

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