Peter ZapffeIn philosophy, Peter Zapffe (1899-1990) was a Norwegian philosopher — whose ideas were supposedly in line with those of Arthur Schopenhauer — noted for outlining some type of “equilibrium through change” systems ecology philosophy, wherein he grounds the dynamics and existential conditions of life (reaction existence) entropy or the second law. [1]

Religious views
Zapffe, in his The Last Messiah, supposedly, explicates a disdain for religious thought, according to which he could be classified as anti-theist; the following quote, supposedly, summarizes this facet of his philosophy:

“The seed of a metaphysical or religious defeat is in us all. For the honest questioner, however, who doesn’t seek refuge in some faith or fantasy, there will never be an answer.”

Zapffe’s usage of the Socratic disavowal of knowledge, which is (supposedly) blatant in this prior quotation, is evidence of the influence of Socratic thought on Zapffe. (Ѻ)

On the Tragedy
Much of his work, supposedly, has yet to be translated into English. His On The Tragedy, however, seems to have been (partially) translated into English online via the digital apparatus. However, the Essay for which he is most widely known has been translated into English online, via the digital apparatus, in its entirety, and this essay entitled The Last Messiah. (Ѻ)

Zapffe, supposedly, is grouped among the so-called “boredom philosophers”, namely: Pascal, Rousseau, Kant, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Benjamin, Adorno, Goethe, Flaubert, Stendhal, Mann, Beckett, Buchner, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Baudelaire, Leopardi, Proust, Byron, Eliot, Ibsen, Valery, Bernanos, and Pessoa. [3] Two classic innate prodigies turned genius, deeply sensitive to boredom, and thereby possibly driven by that sensitivities, were Scottish physicist James Maxwell's famous age three repeated query "What's the go 'o that?", and deep sensitivity to boredom, similar to German polymath Johann Goethe's famous age eighty to "die of ennui" phrase.

The following are, apparently, Zapffe’s views on communism: [4]

“Communism and psychoanalysis, however incommensurable otherwise, both attempt by novel means to vary the old escape anew; applying, respectively, violence and guile to make humans biologically fit by ensnaring their critical surplus of cognition. The idea, in either case, is uncannily logical. But again, it cannot yield a final solution. Though a deliberate degeneration to a more viable nadir may certainly save the species in the short run, it will by its nature be unable to find peace in such resignation, or indeed find any peace at all.”

The following, supposedly, is Zapffe’s version of Friedrich Nietzsche’s uberman: [4]

“And humans will persist in dreaming of salvation and affirmation and a new messiah. Yet when many saviors have been nailed to trees and stoned on the city squares, then the last messiah shall come. Then will appear the man who, as the first of all, has dared strip his soul naked and submit it alive to the outmost thought of the lineage, the very idea of doom. A man who has fathomed life and its cosmic ground, and whose pain is the earth’s collective pain. With what furious screams shall not mobs of all nations cry out for his thousandfold death, when like a cloth his voice encloses the globe, and the strange message has resounded for the first and last time: ‘know yourselves; be infertile, and let the earth be silent after ye.’”

Zapffe’s usage of “know yourself”, supposedly, is evidence of the influence of Socratic thought on Zapffe. (Ѻ)

Zapffe entered the University of Oslo in 1918 where he initially studied law, writing his bar exam in verse, but he later took a degree in philosophy. In 1941, Zapffe completed a 600-page doctoral thesis entitled On The Tragedy (Om det Tragiske), which is considered his magnum opus. [2]

The following are noted quotes:

“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. The mutations must be considered blind, they work, are thrown forth, without any contact of interest with their environment. In depressive states, the mind may be seen in the image of such an antler, in all its fantastic splendor pinning its bearer to the ground.”
— Peter Zapffe (1933), The Last Messiah

“What we call nature shows neither morality nor reason; its degeneration is inevitable, and nothing, not even man’s most glorious achievements, can escape final annihilation.”
— Peter Zapffe (c.1941) [2]

1. Kvaloy, Sigmund. (2011). “A Biosophical Perspective: Humans as Tragic Species: Peter Wessel Zapffe”, in: Ecophilosophy in a World of Crisis: Critical Realism and the Nordic Contributions (editors: Roy Bhaskar, Petter Naess, Karl Georg Høyer). Routledge.
2. Reed, Peter and Rothenberg, David. (1993). Wisdom in the Open Air: the Norwegian Roots of Deep Ecology (§2:Peter Wessel Zapffe, pgs. 37-64; pg. 38). University of Minnesota Press.
3. Svendsen, Lars. (2005). A Philosophy of Boredom (pg. 20). Reaktion Books.
4. Zapffe, Peter W. (1933). The Last Messiah (pg. #). Publisher.
5. Zapffe, Peter. (c.1870). “To Be a Human Being”, Video documentary.

External links
Peter Wessel Zapffe – Wikipedia.

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