Stanley Cavell as Educator

Mark Greif at n+1:

Cavell, rather than being the type of all college professors, turned out to be unique. His tutelage at that time seemed the big experience of my life, and I can’t say that it wasn’t, even now. I was afraid of him, personally—afraid, I mean, of damaging the relation by something personal. I went in later years to his lectures on aesthetics, attended his screenings of operas and films, tried to focus on sessions on Wittgenstein, on language and epistemology.

I have often asked between then and now what I got myself in for, not that it was Cavell’s fault, not that I wouldn’t have gotten in for it anyway. Nietzsche, when young, advised the initiate, in “Schopenhauer as Educator,” which we read at Cavell’s direction, to cultivate an impersonal self-hatred in order to grow, hating that within yourself which is weak and inferior. It took me more years than it should have to learn that this advice wouldn’t work for me; hatred became personal. (This year, fourteen years later, I saw a note of Nietzsche’s set down when he was fourteen years older: “I wish men would begin by respecting themselves: everything else follows from that. To be sure, as soon as one does this one is finished for others: for this is what they forgive last: ‘What? A man who respects himself?’—”)

more here.