Monday, March 08, 2010

Discussing Falk's nihilism, from Homo Sapiens by Przybyszewski

Falk is the main character in the book. He discourses on nihilism, has affairs with lots of women, and finally meets his end when it all falls apart, his wife leaving him and his life destroyed. But the end isn't so cut and dry moralistic as all of that. Falk believes in the sort of 'I am nature, nature works through me, I am the 'I' who is sovereign, what destruction that I inflict is inflicted according to the will of amoral nature and therefore beyond good and evil' nihilistic worldview. The question, or at least one of the big questions in the book, is whether or not it's possible to hold those opinions, to declare that your impulses are holy and follow them no matter what the consequences, and still successfully live in society in some non-destructive way. Falk tries to make it work, he entertains guests at dinner parties with his philosophy, keeps it together, but ultimately it fails him when the consequences pile up. But do they really pile up because of the nihilism alone? At the very end, after being left by his wife for his actions, he signs up to go with a political friend who believes absolutely in the goodness of humanity, but he does so with an ironic turn of phrase that makes you think that he doesn't quite believe in it. If he doesn't quite believe in it could it be that it was living a lie, living or trying to live a somewhat conventional life while having successive affairs in which he created more lies, that was the cause of all of it? The person he goes to believes in truth in a radical way. So much happens that's indeterminate, so many strands of thought are left unwoven, that Falk's worldview still endures somewhat even though his actions may not.

There. That's my twenty five cent college or high school essay on Homo Sapiens. I hope everyone enjoyed this little excursion into a highly stilted and stultified form of writing that, while valid in what it aims for, is nonetheless the antithesis of nice open flowing, moving, smooth, funny, creative, writing.

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