I fear the animals regard man as a being... seriously endangered by the loss of sound animal understanding...
What is it that appears? Follow Nietzsche through a few of his poems.
First of all... he bemoans the clock.
Around my neck, on chains of hair,
The timepiece hangs – a sign of care.
For me the starry course is o’er
No sun and shadow as before,
No cockcrow summons at the door,
For nature tells the time no more?
Too many clocks her voice have drowned,
And droning law has dulled her
Obedience? No! And ruling? No indeed!...
I hate to guide myself, I hate the fray.
Like the wild beasts I’ll wander far afield....
Not a return to nature. No... but a Becoming forward toward nature. There is no need for a return, for our yesterdays were no more connected to a real world of sun and sky, fish and frogs, weeds and insects, than is our today. There is nothing to return too, instead this is a Becoming.
We see this Becoming in the next poem, where Nietzsche becomes a serpent. Not a serpent in the tradition of Western thinking -- the evil, conniving snake which deceives first the gullible woman and then the weak man – and an obvious misogynist man at that. No, this serpent is what it is, it moves through the rocks and the grass, it sheds it skin, it Becomes into newness, and it eats the food the earth provides. This serpent is real. It is even vulnerable to the violences of the human hand and foot. No emblem of evil here! Nietzsche not only loves this animal, he himself, through the words of this poem, Becomes this animal. And, we also, if we are able to read without interest in the narrow violations of evaluation and judgment, become this serpent. We Become the Becoming animal...
My skin bursts, breaks for fresh rebirth,
And new desires come thronging:
Much I’ve devoured, yet for more earth
The serpent in me’s longing.
Twixt stone and grass I crawl once more,
Hungry, by crooked ways,
To eat the food I ate before,
Earth-fare all serpents praise.
How strange this all appears. So removed are we from the creatures we share this world with, from the very creatures we are and we can become, that such concepts seem strange and utterly bizarre. Yet, perhaps, never before in our history has the Becoming animal been so required within our lives. We destroy creatures and the worlds they move within not because we are hungry, not because we, like the tiger and the hawk, desire to hunt and eat, but because, on the contrary, we are separate, distinct, disconnected from almost everything living. Let us Become that spider, that fly, that migrating songbird, that salmon, that disappearing shark. Let us become the hawk, the owl, the worm. Let us become Nietzsche’s serpent, and in so doing, discover the beauty and power of Becoming not just animal, but also wonderfully human.