Your complimentary articles. You can read four articles free per month. To have complete access to the thousands of philosophy articles on this site, please. He saw that he was naked under cosmos, homeless in his own body. All things dissolved before his testing thought, wonder above wonder, horror above horror unfolded in his mind. Then woman too awoke and said it was time to go and slay. And he fetched his bow and arrow, a fruit of the marriage of spirit and hand, and went outside beneath the stars. That day he did not return with prey, and when they found him by the next new moon, he was sitting dead by the waterhole. Whatever happened?
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This was originally posted on the Corporeal Fantasy web site. I will be salvaging what is on there as it winds down and is eventually closed down next year. The central message is that nature has overshot the mark, by creating a creature with an excess of consciousness — namely man. As such, when an animal is happy, it is that happiness, and when it is frightened, it is the fear. But man can imagine what causes fear, before any fearful situation might arise — fear of death being the mother of all fears. And man can also look around him and see other men, and other creatures that suffer, causing him to suffer in sympathy. Zapffe gives the example of a large prehistoric deer that became extinct because its antlers were too large. There is only one solution — a solution proclaimed by The Last Messiah. Zapffe uses much more poetic language and states this as:. Like all messiahs, Zapffe predicts that The Last Messiah will be slaughtered by the masses.
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Zapffe believed that existential angst in humanity was the result of an overly evolved intellect, and that people overcome this by "artificially limiting the content of consciousness. Zapffe views the human condition as tragically overdeveloped, calling it "a biological paradox , an abomination, an absurdity, an exaggeration of disastrous nature. The tragedy of a species becoming unfit for life by over-evolving one ability is not confined to humankind. Thus it is thought, for instance, that certain deer in paleontological times succumbed as they acquired overly-heavy horns.