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Moral Psychology with Nietzsche – Brian Leiter – Oxford …

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Brian Leiter defends a set of radical ideas from Nietzsche: there is no objectively true morality, there is no free will, no one is ever morally responsible, and our conscious thoughts and reasoning play almost no significant role in our actions and how our lives unfold. Leiter presents a new interpretation of main themes of Nietzsche's moral psychology, including his anti-realism about value (including epistemic value), his account of moral judgment and its relationship to the emotions, his conception of the will and agency, his scepticism about free will and moral responsibility, his epiphenomenalism about certain kinds of conscious mental states, and his views about the heritability of psychological traits. In combining exegesis with argument, Leiter engages the views of philosophers like Harry Frankfurt, T. M. Scanlon, and Gary Watson, and psychologists including Daniel Wegner, Benjamin Libet, and Stanley Milgram. Nietzsche emerges not simply as a museum piece from the history of ideas, but as a philosopher and psychologist who exceeds David Hume for insight into human nature and the human mind, repeatedly anticipates later developments in empirical psychology, and continues to offer sophisticated and unsettling challenges to much conventional wisdom in both philosophy and psychology.

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Nietzsche & Values | Issue 29 | Philosophy Now

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Friedrich Nietzsche presented the world with a philosophy of life that called for a rigorous reevaluation of all values. His critical analysis of Western civilization resulted in him drawing a crucial distinction between the slave morality of the masses and the master morality of those superior individuals who elevate human society through intellectual creativity. As a result, Nietzsches philosophy of overcoming emphasizes self-creation and the affirmation of life. Looking ever to the future, he envisioned the coming of a noble man who would assert his own will and create his own values without being limited by the false and outmoded values of the mediocre masses.

In sharp contrast, the great philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) had attempted to establish moral certainty through his concept of the categorical imperative; Act only on that maxim which you can will to be a universal law. In other words, when you are considering a course of action, ask What would happen if everyone did that? For Kant, moral judgments must be made independent of the particular circumstances, emotions and motives of the people involved. Thereby, he thought that moral certainty could be achieved in the area of human conduct. Ultimately, his ethical framework required a belief in free will, immortality of the human soul, and a personal God as the moral judge of human behaviour (of course, these are religious assumptions which the atheist Nietzsche would never have allowed in his own inquiry into values).

Furthermore, Kant made a crucial distinction between duty and inclination in order to separate the moral motive from all other motives. An act was only moral if you did it out of duty, regardless of your inclinations. Yet, it is not clear why a human being must always follow a pure moral intention, which would require one to sacrifice his or her own interests for the benefit of others or for the good of the whole. One may argue that Kant arrived at an empty intention in his compulsory appeal to the method of universalisation.

It seems to me, then, that Nietzsche was correct in his scepticism of traditional systematic philosophy. He was also right, surely, to oppose moral nihilism. In an inquiry into values, it is necessary to consider common sense as well as scientific argumentation. It is simply not possible to doubt everything, because this results in both the complete collapse of human conduct and psychological uncertainty. However, rigorous scepticism does throw doubt on metaphysical constructions that merely represent a persons wishes rather than reality itself.

One may ask: what kind of rational arguments can be raised for the negation of total nihilism and the use of practical scepticism? In my opinion, there are six points that should be taken seriously in making value judgments concerning human existence: (1) life is preferable to death; (2) freedom is an essential aspect of a subjective being; (3) value judgments must take into consideration human society; (4) compassion is a vital aspect for evaluating human conduct; (5) emotions are a necessary condition for happiness; and (6) happiness requires self-realisation on the basis of socially shared values and goals.

In summary, Friedrich Nietzsche was right to emphasize value inquiry. His critical insights into the human condition are invaluable for the development of a future ethics in terms of self-realisation grounded in the utilization of changing values and new goals. We are, unavoidably, creatures with values. For those who reject a supernatural basis for ethics, Nietzsche is essential to understanding our evaluating species.

Alexander V. Razin 2000

Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, Harper Torchbooks, 1964.Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future, Penguin, 1990.Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality, CUP, 1999. Alexander V. Razin, Value Orientation and the Well-Being of Humanity in The Journal of Value Inquiry, 30: 113-124, June 1996.

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Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (IPA:[nit], [niti]) (October 15, 1844 August 25, 1900) was a German philosopher, whose critiques of contemporary culture, religion, and philosophy centered around a basic question regarding the foundation of values and morality. Beyond the unique themes dealt with in his works, Nietzsche's powerful style and subtle approach are distinguishing features of his writings. Although largely overlooked during his short working life, which ended with a mental collapse at the age of 44, and frequently misunderstood and misrepresented thereafter, Nietzsche received recognition during the second half of the 20th century as a highly significant figure in modern philosophy. His influence was particularly noted throughout the 20th century by many existentialist, phenomenological and postmodern philosophers.

Friedrich Nietzsche was born on October 15, 1844, in the small town of Rcken, near Leipzig, within what was then the Prussian province of Saxony. His name comes from King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, on whose 49th birthday Nietzsche was born. Nietzsche's parents were Carl Ludwig (1813-1849), a Lutheran pastor and former teacher, and Franziska (1826-1897). His sister, Elisabeth, was born in 1846, followed by his brother Ludwig Joseph in 1848. After the death of their father in 1849 and the young brother in 1850, the family moved to Naumburg, where they lived with Franziska's mother and Carl Ludwig's two unmarried sisters, and under the guardianship of a local magistrate, Bernhard Dchsel.

After the death of Franziska's mother in 1856, the family was able to afford their own house. During this time, the young Nietzsche attended a boys' school, where he felt isolated, and later a private school, where he became friends with Gustav Krug and Wilhelm Pinder, both of whom came from respected families. In 1854, he began to attend a Catholic preparatory school, but after demonstrating particular talents in music and language, he was admitted to the internationally recognized Schulpforta, where he continued his studies from 1858 to 1864. Here he became friends with Paul Deussen and Carl von Gersdorff. He also found time to work on poems and musical compositions. At Schulpforta, Nietzsche received an important introduction to literature, particularly in regard to the Ancient Greeks and Romans, and also first experienced a distance from his family life in a small-town Christian environment.

Friedrich Nietzsche, 1864.

After graduation, in 1864, Nietzsche commenced his studies in theology and classical philology at the University of Bonn. For a short time, with Deussen, he was a member of the brotherhood Frankonia, which he found uncomfortable. After one semester and to the anger of his mother, he stopped his studies in theology, and concentrated on philology, with Professor Friedrich Ritschl, whom he followed to the University of Leipzig the next year. There, he became close friends with fellow student Erwin Rohde. Nietzsche's first philological publications appeared soon after.

In 1865, Nietzsche became acquainted with the work of Arthur Schopenhauer, and Friedrich Albert Lange's History of Materialism in 1866. Both of these encounters were stimulating, encouraging him to no longer limit himself to philology and continue his schooling. In 1867, Nietzsche committed to one year of voluntary service with the Prussian artillery division in Naumburg. After a bad riding accident in March 1868, however, he revisited his philological studies while unfit for service. Later that year, Nietzsche completed the last year of studies, and had his first meeting with Richard Wagner.

Friedrich Nietzsche in Basel, ca. 1875.

Based on Ritschl's support, Nietzsche received the extraordinary offer to become professor of classical philology at the University of Basel before having completed his doctorate degree or certificate for teaching. Among his philological work there, he discovered that the ancient poetic meter related only to the length of syllables, different from the modern, accentuating meter.

In accordance with his own wish, after moving to Basel, Nietzsche renounced his Prussian citizenship, and was for the rest of his life, officially stateless. Nevertheless, he served on the Prussian side during the Franco-Prussian War as a medical orderly. His time in the military was short, but he experienced much, and witnessed the traumatic effects of battle. He also contracted diphtheria and dysentery.

On returning to Basel in 1870, Nietzsche observed the establishment of the German Empire and the following era of Otto von Bismarck as an outsider and with a degree of skepticism regarding its genuineness. At the University, he delivered his inaugural lecture, 'On Homer's Personality'. Also, Nietzsche met Franz Overbeck, a professor of theology, who remained his friend throughout his life. The other most influential colleague was historian Jacob Burckhardt, whose lectures Nietzsche frequently attended.

Already in 1868, Nietzsche had met Richard Wagner in Leipzig, and sometime later, his wife, Cosima. Nietzsche admired both greatly, and during his time at Basel was a frequent guest in Wagner's 'House of the Masters' in Tribschen. The Wagners brought Nietzsche into their closest circle, and enjoyed the attention he gave to the beginning of the Festival House in Bayreuth. In 1870, he gave Cosima Wagner the manuscript of 'The Genesis of the Tragic Idea' as a birthday gift.

In 1872, Nietzsche published his first book, The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music. However, the work, in which he forewent a precise philological method to employ a style of philosophical speculation, was not well received among his classical philological colleagues, including Ritschl. In a polemic, 'Future Philology', Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff dampened the book's reception and increased its notoriety. In response, Rohde, by now a professor in Kiel, and Wagner came to Nietzsche's defense. Nietzsche remarked freely about the isolation he felt within the philological community and attempted unsuccessfully to attain a position in philosophy at Basel.

Between 1873 and 1876, Nietzsche published separately four long essays: David Strauss: the Confessor and the Writer, On the Use and Abuse of History for Life, Schopenhauer as Educator, and Richard Wagner in Bayreuth. (These four were later collected and published under the title, Untimely Meditations.) The four shared the orientation of a cultural critique, challenging the developing German culture along lines suggested by Schopenhauer and Wagner. Starting in 1873, he also accumulated notes that were posthumously published as Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks.

During this time, in the circle of the Wagners, Nietzsche met Malwida von Meysenbug and Hans von Blow, and also began a friendship with Paul Re, an influence for the pessimism in his early writings. However, his disappointment with the Bayreuth Festival of 1876, where he was repelled by the banality of the shows and the baseness of the public, caused him to finally distance himself from Wagner.

Most commentators agree that Nietzsche read Max Stirner, however they differ in respect to whether he was influenced by him. [1] At least one, philosopher Eduard von Hartmann, has accused him of plagiarizing Stirner.

With the publication of Human, All-Too-Human in 1878, a book of aphorisms on subjects ranging from metaphysics to morality and from religion to the sexes, Nietzsche's departure from the philosophy of Wagner and Schopenhauer became evident. Also, Nietzsche's friendship with Deussen and Rohde cooled. Nietzsche undertook more experiments, attempted to find a wife, and pursued Malwida von Meysenbug to no avail.

In 1879, after a significant decline in health, he was forced to resign his position. Since his childhood, Nietzsche had been plagued by various disruptive illnesses -- moments of shortsightedness practically to the degree of blindness, migraine headaches, and violent stomach attacks. These persistent conditions were perhaps aggravated by his riding accident in 1868 and diseases in 1870, and continued to affect him through his years at Basel, forcing him to take longer and longer holidays until regular work was no longer practicable.

Lou Salom, Paul Re and Nietzsche, 1882.

Driven by his illness to find more compatible climates, Nietzsche travelled frequently and lived until 1889 as a free author in different cities. He spent many summers in Sils Maria, near St. Moritz in Switzerland, and many winters in the Italian cities of Genoa, Rapallo, and Turin, and the French city of Nice. He occasionally returned to Naumburg to visit his family, and especially during this time, he and his sister had repeated periods of conflict and reconciliation. He lived on his pension from Basel, but also received aid from friends.

A past student of his, Peter Gast (born Heinrich Kselitz), became a private secretary. To the end of his life, Gast and Overbeck were consistently faithful friends. Malwida von Meysenbug remained like a motherly patron even outside the Wagner circle. Soon Nietzsche made contact with the music critic Carl Fuchs.

Nietzsche was at the beginning of his most productive period. Beginning with Human, All-Too-Human in 1878, Nietzsche would publish one book (or major section of a book) each year until 1888, his last year of writing, during which he completed five. In 1879, Nietzsche published Mixed Opinions and Maxims, which followed the aphoristic form of Human, All-Too-Human. The following year, he published The Wanderer and His Shadow. Both were published as the second part of Human, All-Too-Human with the second edition of the latter.

In 1881, Nietzsche published Daybreak: Reflections on Moral Prejudices, and in 1882, the first part of The Gay Science. That year he also met Lou Salom through Malwida von Meysenbug and Paul Re. Nietzsche and Salom spent the summer together in Tautenburg, often with Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth as chaperone. However, Nietzsche's regard for Salom was less as an equal partner than as a gifted student. He fell in love with her and pursued her despite their mutual friend Re. When he asked to marry her, Salom refused. Through various avenues of intrigue, Elisabeth broke up Nietzsche's relationship with Re and Salom in the winter of 1882-83. (Lou Salom eventually came to correspond with Sigmund Freud, introducing him to Nietzsche's thought.) In the face of renewed fits of illness, in near isolation after a falling out with his mother and sister regarding Salom, and plagued by suicidal thoughts, he fled to Rapallo, where in only ten days he wrote the first part of Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

After severing philosophical ties to Schopenhauer and social ties to Wagner, Nietzsche had few remaining friends. Now with the new style of Zarathustra, his work became even more alienating and was received only to the degree prescribed by politeness. Nietzsche recognized this and maintained his solitude, even though he often complained about it. He gave up his short-lived plan to become a poet in public, and was troubled by concerns about his publications. His books were as good as unsold. In 1885, he printed only 40 copies of the fourth part of Zarathustra, and only a fraction of these were distributed among close friends.

In 1886, he printed Beyond Good and Evil at his own expense. With this book and the appearance in 1886-87 of second editions of his earlier works (The Birth of Tragedy, Human, All-Too-Human, Daybreak, and The Gay Science), he saw his work completed for the time and hoped that soon a readership would develop. In fact, the interest in Nietzsche did arise at this time, if also rather slowly and hardly perceived by him.

During these years, Nietzsche's met Meta von Salis, Carl Spitteler, and also Gottfried Keller. In 1886, his sister Elisabeth married the anti-Semite Bernhard Frster and travelled to Paraguay to found a "Germanic" colony, a plan to which Nietzsche responded with laughter. Through correspondence, Nietzsche's relationship with Elisabeth continued on the path of conflict and reconciliation, but she would not see him again in person until after his collapse.

Nietzsche continued to have frequent and painful attacks of illness, which made prolonged work impossible. In 1887, Nietzsche quickly wrote the polemic On the Genealogy of Morals. He also exchanged letters with Hippolyte Taine, and then also with Georg Brandes, who at the beginning of 1888 delivered in Copenhagen the first lectures on Nietzsche's philosophy.

In the same year, Nietzsche wrote five books, based on his voluminous notes for the long-planned work, The Will to Power. His health seemed to be improving, and in the summer he was in high spirits. In the fall of 1888, his writings and letters began to reveal an overestimation of his status and 'fate'. He overestimated the increasing response to his writings, above all, for the recent polemic, The Case of Wagner.

On his 44th birthday, after completing The Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist, he decided to write the autobiography Ecce Homo, which presents itself to his readers in order that they, 'Hear me! For I am such and such a person. Above all, do not mistake me for someone else.' (Preface, sec. 1, tr. Walter Kaufmann)

In December, Nietzsche began correspondence with August Strindberg, and thought that, short of an international breakthrough, he would attempt to buy back his older writings from the publisher and have them translated into other European languages. Moreover, he planned the publication of the compilation Nietzsche Contra Wagner and the poems Dionysian Dithyrambs.

On 3 January 1889, Nietzsche had a mental collapse. That day he had been approached by two Turinese policemen after making some sort of public disturbance in the streets of Turin. What actually happened is not known. The often-repeated (and apocryphal) tale is that Nietzsche saw a horse being whipped at the other end of the Piazza Carlo Alberto, ran to the horse, threw his arms up around the horses neck to protect it, and collapsed to the ground. In the following few days, he sent short writings to a number of friends, including Cosima Wagner and Jacob Burckhardt, which showed signs of a breakdown.

To his former colleague Burckhardt he wrote: 'I have had Caiphas put in fetters. Also, last year I was crucified by the German doctors in a very drawn-out manner. Wilhelm, Bismarck, and all anti-Semites abolished.' (The Portable Nietzsche, trans. Walter Kaufmann)

On January 6, 1889, Burckhardt showed the letter he received from Nietzsche to Overbeck. The following day Overbeck received a similarly revealing letter, and decided Nietzsche must be brought back to Basel. Overbeck traveled to Turin and brought Nietzsche to a psychiatric clinic in Basel.

By that time, Nietzsche was fully in the grip of insanity, and his mother Franziska decided to bring him to a clinic in Jena under the direction of Otto Binswanger. From November 1889 to February 1890, Julius Langbehn attempted to cure Nietzsche, claiming that the doctors' methods were ineffective to cure Nietzsche's condition. Langbehn assumed greater and greater control of Nietzsche until his secrecy discredited him. In March 1890, Franziska removed Nietzsche from the clinic, and in May 1890 to her home in Naumburg.

During this process, Overbeck and Gast contemplated what to do with Nietzsche's unpublished works. In January 1890 they proceeded with the planned release of The Twilight of the Idols, by that time already printed and bound. In February, they ordered a 50-copy private edition of Nietzsche Contra Wagner, but the publisher C. G. Naumann secretly printed 100. Overbeck and Gast decided to withhold publishing Antichrist and Ecce Homo due to their more radical content. Nietzsche's reception and recognition enjoyed their first surge.

In 1893, Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth returned from Paraguay after the suicide of her husband. She read and studied Nietzsche's works, and piece by piece took control of them and their publication. Overbeck was eventually dismissed, and Gast finally cooperated. After the death of Franziska in 1897, Nietzsche lived in Weimar, where he was cared for by Elisabeth, who allowed people to visit the uncommunicative Nietzsche.

On August 25, 1900, Nietzsche died after contracting pneumonia. At the wish of Elisabeth, he was buried beside his father at the church in Rcken.

The cause of Nietzsche's breakdown has been the subject of speculation and remains uncertain. An early and frequent diagnosis was a syphilitic infection; however, some of Nietzsche's symptoms were inconsistent with typical cases of syphilis. Another diagnosis was a form of brain cancer. Others suggest that Nietzsche experienced a mystical awakening, similar to ones studied by Meher Baba. While most commentators regard Nietzsche's breakdown as irrelevant to his philosophy, some, including Georges Bataille, argue that the breakdown must be considered.

Much controversy surrounds whether Nietzsche advocated a single or comprehensive philosophical viewpoint. Many charge Nietzsche with propounding contradictory thoughts and ideas. Here are Nietzsche's main ideas.

After the skepticism in his early works towards the old foundations of philosophy, religion, and morality, Nietzsche experienced the absence of any meaning or purpose to the world and human existence. Nietzsche did not attribute this nihilism to an autonomous and reactive movement against culture; rather, he diagnosed nihilism as a latent presence within the very foundations of European culture, and thus, as a necessary and approaching destiny.

For Nietzsche, nihilism is the outcome of repeated frustrations in the search for meaning. The religious worldview had already suffered a number of challenges from contrary perspectives grounded in philosophical skepticism, modern science (heliocentrism superseding geocentrism, evolution superseding creationism), and internal disputes (Reformation). However, these attempts to replace God with human reason were also inadequate and unjustified.

In writings from notebooks dated from November 1887 to March 1888, Nietzsche described three steps by which 'nihilism as a psychological state' would be reached:

Nietzsche sees this intellectual condition as a new challenge to European culture, which has extended itself beyond a sort of point-of-no-return. Nietzsche conceptualizes this with the famous statement, 'God is dead', which appears prominently in The Gay Science and Thus Spoke Zarathustra, suggesting the impending, yet obscure, crisis that European thought faces in the wake of the irreparable disturbances to its traditional foundations. Nietzsche treats this phrase as more than a provocative declaration, but almost reverently, as it represents the potential of a nihilism that arrests growth and progress in the midst of an overwhelming absurdity and meaninglessness:

The first instance of the phrase occurs at the beginning of Book III of The Gay Science (section 108), and again prominently in section 125.

In response to the constraining and defeating aspects of nihilism, Nietzsche began to seek a sense of bold, cheerful experimentation. Nietzsche seems to identify his own self as the remaining constraint after the death of the Gods, writing that 'the seal of liberation' is 'no longer being ashamed in front of oneself.' (Gay Science, Book III, sec. 275, trans. Walter Kaufmann)

Nietzsche acknowledged that after having liberated himself from the Gods and their morality, he has yet to answer for what he is liberated: he suffers as a protagonist without an antagonist. At the beginning of Book IV of The Gay Science, Nietzsche celebrates the new year and the strength he attributes to the month of January. He writes that his 'wish' is:

This attitude of creativity and challenge carries Nietzsche further to the idea of 'the eternal recurrence', an intellectual and existential test. Eternal recurrence means that time runs its course and then repeats exactly and infinitely. Thus, the absurdities and pains of life must be endured not only once, but repeatedly and forever. Nietzsche imagines that the nihilist would find this thought torturous, but for one who has learned to be a 'Yes-sayer', it should be bliss. At the end of Book IV of The Gay Science, juxtaposed with what becomes the beginning of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche writes:

The eternal recurrence is also discussed prominently in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which Nietzsche wrote after The Gay Science. And he gives strangely lucid consideration of the eternal recurrence in various sections in the collection of notes under the title of The Will to Power. Particularly interesting here is the idea that, towards the end of his life, Nietzsche seems to use the eternal recurrence as something to simply consign himself to the pointlessness of existence. He says 'Everything seems far too valuable to be so fleeting...My only consolation is...the sea will cast it up again' (Will to Power, section 1026. trans Walter Kaufmann). This can be thought of as one of the things that has fitted Nietzsche in to the category of existentialism. But furthermore, the ruminations on eternal recurrence in The Will to Power include some of Nietzsche's attempts to actually prove it as a cosmological thesis (see Arthur Danto, Nietzsche as Philosopher for a detailed analysis of these efforts). Interestingly, in his letters and notebooks, Nietzsche says that he thinks eternal recurrence may even disprove the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, but this is often glossed over as his insanity had at this point begun to set in.

There is some controversy over who or what Nietzsche considered an overman (or "superman"; in German, bermensch). Not only is there some basis to think that Nietzsche was skeptical about individual identity and the notion of subject, but there was never a concrete example of the overman.

Nietzsche coined the terms herd instinct or slave morality, which represents the kind of morality or ideology produced by a group of people, such as a culture or a society. The herd instinct is the inevitable consequence of society, and it is considered extremely difficult for an individual to take on a value or moral system apart from the society within which one is embedded.

The overman cannot be defined with respect to how much power one wields over others (although the overman, having overcome himself, will consequently dominate those who have not), but rather to the extent to which one is, in Nietzsche's words, "judge and avenger and victim of one's own law." This is in contrast to the Christian notion that humans are created beings whose purpose is to obey the dictates of their Creator.

Nietzsche never set out who was, or was not, an overman. Perhaps the overman is a state of human-being having bypassed himself (which could be said "post-human"). The overman was possibly an ideal or a theoretical construct designed to point out that it is difficult, if not impossible, to break free from society's ideological and moral grasp. As an intellectual exercise, contemporary thinkers have asked who or what could have been an overman. Could rulers such as Stalin or Hitler be overman? According to Nietzsche, this is most unlikely, given that rulers represent the moralities and ideologies of their time, as opposed to breaking free from them.

In his text on the "tyrants of democracy", Nietzsche opposed the covert artists overmen to the political leaders, which Nietzsche despised. A discussion of how Nietzsche relates to Hitler and the Nazis is below. Is the concept of the overman more limited to intellectual and artistic figures such as Goethe and Wagner? This seems more likely, especially given that Nietzsche held Wagner in very high esteem early in his life. However, he totally broke with him writing Nietzsche against Wagner (Wagner's antisemitism and germanism being one of the reasons of the rupture), and thus could certainly not considered him as the artist that he waited for.

Nietzsche's critique of the subject makes it impossible to reduce the "overman" or any other individual person to an individual subject, thus assimilating him as a kind of hero: "there is no doer behind the doing", wrote Nietzsche. We attribute a subject as a cause of the event, because we need this "grammatical fiction"; but in fact, there is no more subject than there is any substance, because both presuppose an eternally identical world, whereas world is always in a state of flux and change. There is no substance, there is no subject and there is no causality are Nietzsche's most radical thesis.

In his Nietzsche, Heidegger himself, although later rightly criticized for his membership in the NSDAP, criticized this more or less deliberate misunderstanding of Nietzsche's philosophy, based in a scientist conception and on a biological interpretation of Nietzsche's thought. Mazzino Montinari's edition of the posthumous fragments and philological criticisms of the fake Will to Power, as Gilles Deleuze's particular reading of Nietzsche, would be essential moments of the revealing of this caricature.

Nietzsche argued that there were two types of morality, a master morality that springs actively from the 'noble man' and a slave morality that develops reactively within the weak man. These two moralities are not simple inversions of one another, they are two different value systems; master morality fits actions into a scale of 'good' or 'bad' whereas slave morality fits actions into a scale of 'good' or 'evil'.

Nietzsche defined master morality as the morality of the strong-willed. For these men the 'good' is the noble, strong and powerful, while the 'bad' is the weak, cowardly, timid and petty. Master morality begins in the 'noble man' with a spontaneous idea of the 'good', then the idea of 'bad' develops in opposition to it. (On the Genealogy of Morals, First Essay, Section 11) He said: "The noble type of man experiences itself as determining values; it does not need approval; it judges, "what is harmful to me is harmful in itself"; it knows itself to be that which first accords honor to things; it is value-creating." (Beyond Good and Evil)

Slave morality begins in those people who are weak, uncertain of themselves, oppressed and abused. The essence of slave morality is utility: the good is what is most useful for the community as a whole. Since the powerful are few in number compared to the masses of the weak, the weak gain power vis-a-vis the strong by treating those qualities that are valued by the powerful as "evil," and those qualities that enable sufferers to endure their lot as "good." Thus patience, humility, pity, submissiveness to authority, and the like, are considered good.

Slave morality begins in a ressentiment that turns creative and gives birth to values. (Ressentiment was a term coined by Nietzsche to describe the feeling of the weak, unhealthy and ugly towards those who have fared better in life.) The slave regards the virtues of beauty, power, strength and wealth as 'evil' in an act of revenge against those who have them in abundance. (On the Genealogy of Morals, First Essay, Section 10) Slave morality is therefore a reactionary morality because 'good' does not spring creatively from the individual but develops as a negation of the values of the powerful. The noble person conceives of goodness first and later determines what is 'bad' while the slave conceives of 'evil' first and fashions his own conception of 'good' in opposition to this.

One of the main themes in Nietzsche's work is that ancient Roman society was grounded in master morality, and that this morality disappeared as the slave morality of Christianity spread through ancient Rome. Nietzsche was concerned with the state of European culture during his lifetime and therefore focused much of his analysis on the history of master and slave morality within Europe. Occasional references, however, also suggest that he meant these terms to be applied to other societies.

However, as with so many ideas in Nietzsche's work, there is no material manifestation of this idea, no hard and fast difference between that which is created by the master morality and that created by the slave. While Nietzsche stated repeatedly that the master morality was necessary for the advancement of humanity (through overhuman - bermenschiese - deeds), he gave examples of where these advances were made through the use of the tenets of the slave morality. The second essay of On the Genealogy of Morals is an indication of this insight, as well as his longstanding fascination for Jesus. Mastery for Nietzsche was the creation of values, and a recurring theme (especially in Thus Spoke Zarathustra) is how even what might seem bad can be, must be, taken up into a masterful life. As Zarathustra says (in Part II, Manly Prudence): "he who lives amongst men must know how to wash himself with dirty water." Nietzsche gives a concise investigation of how any idea might be used masterfully in the ninth aphorism of Beyond Good on Evil, concerning Stoicism.

According to Nietzsche, the Cartesian proofs for the existence of God are all examples of logic only a master from the nobility would invent. Thomas Aquinas' notions of what constitutes the "good life" is a particular example of what "good" might mean to a master. Nietzsche claimed that such notions of the good life would have their root in the discipline and punishment Aquinas received as a child from the hands of his father.

In Nietzsche's book the Anti-Christ, Nietzsche fights against how Christianity has become an ideology set forth by institutions like churches, and how churches have failed to represent the life of Jesus. It is important, for Nietzsche, to distinguish between the religion of Christianity and the person of Jesus. Nietzsche attacked Christian religion as it was represented by churches and institutions for what he called its "transvaluation" of healthy instinctive values. Transvaluation is the process by which the meaning of a concept or ideology can be reversed to its opposite. He went beyond agnostic and atheistic thinkers of the Enlightenment, who felt that Christianity was simply untrue. He claimed that it may have been deliberately propagated as a subversive religion (a "psychological warfare weapon" or what some would call a "memetic virus") within the Roman Empire by the Apostle Paul as a form of covert revenge for the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple during the Jewish War.

Nietzsche contrasts the Christians with Jesus, whom he greatly admires. Nietzsche argues that Jesus transcended the moral influences of his time by creating his own set of values. As such Jesus represents a step towards the overman. Ultimately, however, Nietzsche claims that, unlike the overman, who embraces life, Jesus denied reality in favor of his "kingdom of God," and that Jesus' refusal to defend himself, and subsequent death, were logical consequences of this total disengagement. Nietzsche then analyzes the history of Christianity, finding it to be a progressively grosser distortion of the teachings of Jesus. He criticizes the early Christians for turning Jesus into a martyr and Jesus' life into a story of the redemption of mankind in order to gain power over the masses, finding them to be cowardly, vulgar, and resentful. He argues that Christianity had become more and more corrupted, as successive generations further misunderstood the life of Jesus. By the 19th century, Nietzsche concludes, Christianity had become so worldly as to be a parody of itself--a total inversion of a worldview which was, in the beginning, nihilistic.

In 1894 (after Nietzsche's death), his sister Elisabeth Frster-Nietzsche, founded the Nietzsche-Archiv in Naumburg, which she would later transfer to Weimar. The culmination of this organization was the publishing, in Leipzig between 1894 and 1926, of the Grooktavausgabe edition. It was first edited by C. G. Naumann, then by Krner. In these 20 volumes, Elisabeth Frster-Nietzsche included part of Nietzsche's posthumous fragments, which she gathered together and entitled The Will To Power. With Peter Gast, she claimed that Nietzsche had died before completing his magnum opus, which he allegedly would have wanted to name "The Will to Power, in Attempt at a Revaluation of All Values". This compilation of Nietzsche's posthumous fragments, selected and ordered under his sister's authority, led to the book commonly known as The Will to Power. Until Colli & Montinari's edition, this would form the basis for all successive editions, including the 1922 Musarion edition, often commonly used to this day.

While researching materials for the Italian translation of Nietzsche's complete works in the 1960s, philologists Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari decided to go to the Archives in Leipzig to work with the original documents. From their work emerged the first complete and chronological edition of Nietzsche's posthumous fragments, which Frster-Nietzsche had cut up, mixed and paste together, according to her own antisemitic views (which were one of the reasons of the lack of understanding with her brother). The complete works make up 5 000 pages, compared to the 3 500 pages of the Grooktavausgabe. In 1964, during the International Colloque on Nietzsche in Paris, Colli & Montinari met Karl Lwith, who would put them in contact with Heinz Wenzel, editor for Walter de Gruyter's publishing house. Heinz Wenzel would buy the rights of the complete works of Colli & Montinari (33 volumes in German) after the French Gallimard edition and the Italian Adelphi editions.

Before Colli & Montinari's philological work, the previous editions led readers to believe that Nietzsche had organized all his work toward a final structured opus called The Will to Power. In fact, if Nietzsche did consider the eventuality of writing such a book, he changed plans before his collapse. The title of The Will to Power, which appears for the first time at the end of the summer of 1885, would be replaced by another plan at the end of August 1888. This new plan was title Project for an inversion of all values, and ordered the multiple fragments in a completely different way than the one chosen by Elisabeth Frster-Nietzsche.

In fact, according to Montinari, the previous editions, which all depended of the Grooktavausgabe, were technically nonsense, as Nietzsche's fragments were cut up in various places and ordered according to his sister's will; and a case of revisionism, as it was left to his sister to artificially combine Nietzsche's fragments into an unified opus magnum (whose very concept is alien to Nietzsche's philosophy and style of writing), whose meaning was distorted according to Elisabeth Frster-Nietzsche's anti-semitic and Germanist biases. Gilles Deleuze himself saluted Montinari's work declaring:

Furthermore, this critical philological work, a milestone in the Nietzsche studies, which proved case-by-case all the distortions accomplished by Nietzsche's sister on his posthume fragments, also put into question, which had already been done before, the possible cenceforonception of a Nietzschean magnum opus, given his style of writing and thinking. So The 'Will to Power' (as a book) may not have been written by Nietzsche. But the concept of Will to power in itself certainly is central in Nietzsche's philosophy, so much that Heidegger considered it to form, with the thought of the eternal recurrence, the basis of his thought. [3]

The concept of Will to power is a concept of Nietzsche's thought, which led to many interpretations, some of whom, such as the Nazi interpretation of it as a "will of power", were deliberate attempts of political instrumentation.

The Will to power must first of all thought taking into account Nietzsche's roots and violent critic of Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer posited a will to live, in which living things were motivated by sustaining and developing their own lives. Nietzsche instead posited a will to power, in which living things are not just driven by the mere need to stay alive, but in fact by a greater need to wield and use power, to dominate others, and to make them weaker. Thus, Nietzsche regarded such a will to live as secondary to the primary will to power. Henceforth, he opposed himself to social darwinism and plain darwinism, as he contested the validity of the concept of "adaptation", which he considered a simple and weak will to live [4].

One possible interpretation of "will to power" is that it is a process of expansion and venting of creative energy that he believed was the basic driving force of nature. This interpretation would suggest that he believed it to be the fundamental causal power in the world, the driving force of all natural phenomena and the dynamic to which all other causal powers could be reduced. Indeed, the will to power must not be understood in a psychological or subjective way, but rather in a "cosmic way". That is, according to this theory, Nietzsche in part hoped the will to power could be a "theory of everything," providing the ultimate foundations for explanations of everything from whole societies, to individual organisms, down to mere lumps of matter.

Nietzsche perhaps developed the will to power concept furthest with regard to living organisms, and it is there that the concept is perhaps easiest to understand. There, the will to power is taken as an animal's most fundamental instinct or drive, even more fundamental than the act of self-preservation; the latter is but an epiphenomenon of the former. According to Nietzsche, the will to power is the basic means through which living things "interpret" or interact with the world, and, in this sense, the world is "will to power, and nothing else besides,".

The will to power is something like the desire to exert one's will in self-overcoming, although this "willing" may be unconscious. Indeed, it is unconscious in all non-human beings; it was the frustration of this will that first caused man to become conscious at all. The philosopher and art critic Arthur C. Danto says that "aggression" is at least sometimes an approximate synonym. However, Nietzsche's ideas of aggression are almost always meant as aggression toward oneself, as the energy a person motivates toward self-mastery. In any case, since the will to power is fundamental, any other drives are to be reduced to it; the "will to survive" (i.e. the survival instinct) that biologists (at least in Nietzsche's day) thought to be fundamental, for example, was in this light a manifestation of the will to power.

Not just instincts but also higher level behaviors (even in humans) were to be reduced to the will to power. In fact, Nietzsche considered consciousness itself to be the a form of instinct. This includes both such apparently harmful acts as physical violence, lying, and domination, on one hand, and such apparently non-harmful acts as gift-giving, love, and praise on the other. In Beyond Good and Evil, he claims that philosophers' "will to truth" (i.e., their apparent desire to dispassionately seek objective truth) is actually nothing more than a manifestation of their will to power; this will can be life-affirming or a manifestation of nihilism, but it is will to power all the same.

As indicated above, the will to power is meant to explain more than just the behavior of an individual person or animal. It is not psychological, nor intentional or subjective.

It should be noted, however, that a biological interpretation of Will to Power such as this is but one of many possible - indeed, Nietzsche scholarship is replete with interpretations, largely due to Nietzsche's elusive style. Others might suggest that the will to power is not really as central a concept in Nietzsche's thought. Indeed, it appears that Nietzsche himself might have agreed, when he suggests, in Ecce Homo, that his notion of eternal recurrence of the same is his most central thought, and the central theme of his most famous work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. However, Heidegger, and also Deleuze, would argue that both concepts, the will to power and the thought of the eternal recurrence, were to be thought together.

Nietzsche is unique among philosophers for what is widely regarded as the remarkable power and effectiveness of his prose style - particularly as manifested in Zarathustra. The indigestible 'heaviness' long associated with German-language philosophy is eschewed, with puns and paradoxes abounding, and aphoristic brevity rubbing shoulders with parable and even poem in his rhetoric. The end result is a manner of philosophical writing which, being "pitched half-way between metaphor and literal statement" is "something quite extraordinary" (J.P. Stern).

His work has been described as 'half philosophic, half poetic'; the fact that it can thus manage to convince the reader emotionally as well as intellectually is no doubt one reason for its appeal (especially among creative artists) - but it also means that the theory behind the metaphors is never fully or clearly written out.

One problem inevitably caused by this is that the boundaries of his thinking are not easily discerned: for example, many people not only feel that Nietzsche's term bermensch conjures up the 'pure Aryan' of Hitlerian mythology, but further assume that it must have been accompanied by the complementary lesser human or sub-human 'Untermensch' - whereas this latter term is in fact a creation of Nazi racial ideology.

Another vulnerability entailed by Nietzsche's style is that nuances and shades of meaning are very easily lost - and all too easily gained - in translation. Here the bermensch is a case in point: the equivalent 'Superman' found in dictionaries and in the translations by Thomas Common and R.J. Hollingdale may create an unfortunate association with the heroic comic-character 'Superman' - while other logical alternatives which one might propose ('Over-human?' 'Above-human?' 'Super-human?' 'Beyond-human?') are either uselessly clumsy or smack of a 'political correctness' foreign to Nietzsche's outlook. Walter Kaufmann's 'Overman' would perhaps be more serviceable - were it not for the overtone of hierarchical authoritarianism which it introduces. A little used alternative is 'Hyper-man.' It is as precisely Greek (which Nietzsche knew quite well) as 'Superman,' without the pop-political connotations.

Regardless of the translation, it is illuminating to think of 'ber' in relationship to the development of the individual subject. The bermensch is the being that overcomes the "great nausea" associated with nihilism; that overcomes that most "abysmal" realization of the eternal return. He is the being that "sails over morality," and that dances over gravity (the "spirit of gravity" is Zarathustra's devil and archenemy). He is a "harvester" and a "celebrant" who endlessly affirms his existence, thereby becoming the transfigurer of his consciousness. He is initially a destructive force, excising and annihilating the insidious 'truths' of the herd, and consequently reclaiming the chaos from which pure creativity is born. It is this creative existence that justifies suffering without displacing it in some "afterworld." He is the lightning that brings the frenzy of religious ecstasy to earth -- complete with suffering and birth pangs.

Nietzsche's work addresses ethics from several perspectives; in today's terms, we might say his remarks pertain to meta-ethics, normative ethics, and descriptive ethics.

As far as meta-ethics is concerned, Nietzsche can perhaps most usefully be classified as a moral skeptic; that is, he claims that all ethical statements are false, because any kind of correspondence between ethical statements and "moral facts" is illusory. (This is part of a more general claim that there is no universally true fact, roughly because none of them more than "appear" to correspond to reality). Instead, ethical statements (like all statements) are mere "interpretations."

Sometimes, Nietzsche may seem to have very definite opinions on what is moral or immoral. Note, however, that Nietzsche's moral opinions may be explained without attributing to him the claim that they are "true." For Nietzsche, after all, we needn't disregard a statement merely because it is false. On the contrary, he often claims that falsehood is essential for "life." Interestingly enough, he mentions a 'dishonest lie,' discussing Wagner in The Case of Wagner, as opposed to an 'honest' one, saying further, to consult Plato with regards to the latter, which should give some idea of the layers of paradox in his work.

In the juncture between normative ethics and descriptive ethics, Nietzsche distinguishes between "master morality" and "slave morality." Although he recognises that not everyone holds either scheme in a clearly delineated fashion without some syncretism, he presents them in contrast to one another. Some of the contrasts in master vs. slave morality:

These ideas were elaborated in his book On the Genealogy of Morals in which he also introduced the key concept of ressentiment as the basis for the slave morality.

Nietzsche's assessment of both the antiquity and resultant impediments presented by the ethical and moralistic teachings of the world's monotheistic religions eventually led him to his own epiphany about the nature of God and morality, resulting in his work Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

Nietzsche is also well-known for the statement "God is dead". While in popular belief it is Nietzsche himself who blatantly made this declaration, it was actually placed into the mouth of a character, a "madman," in The Gay Science. It was also later proclaimed by Nietzsche's Zarathustra. This largely misunderstood statement does not proclaim a physical death, but a natural end to the belief in God being the foundation of the western mind. It is also widely misunderstood as a kind of gloating declaration, when it is actually described as a tragic lament by the character Zarathustra.

"God is Dead" is more of an observation than a declaration, and it is noteworthy that Nietzsche never felt the need to advance any arguments for atheism, but merely observed that, for all practical purposes, his contemporaries lived "as if" God were dead. Nietzsche believed this "death" would eventually undermine the foundations of morality and lead to moral relativism and moral nihilism. To avoid this, he believed in re-evaluating the foundations of morality and placing them not on a pre-determined, but a natural foundation through comparative analysis.

During the First World War and after 1945, many regarded Nietzsche as having helped to cause the German militarism. In fact, the German right-wing did not appreciate Nietzsche's thought until the rise of the Nazis. Nietzsche was popular among left-wing Germans in the 1890s. Many Germans read Thus Spoke Zarathustra and were influenced by Nietzsche's appeal of unlimited individualism and the development of a personality. The enormous popularity of Nietzsche led to the subversion debate in German politics in 1894/1895. Conservatives wanted to ban the work of Nietzsche. Nietzsche influenced the Social-democratic revisionists, anarchists, feminists and the left-wing German youth movement.

During the interbellum, various fragments of Nietzsche's work were appropriated by National Socialists, notably Alfred Bumler in his reading of The Will to Power. During the period of Nazi rule, Nietzsche's work was widely studied in German (and, after 1938, Austrian) schools and universities. The Nazis viewed Nietzsche as one of their "founding fathers." They incorporated much of his ideology and thoughts about power into their own political philosophy (without consideration to its contextual meaning). Although there exist some significant differences between Nietzsche and Nazism, his ideas of power, weakness, women, and religion became axioms of Nazi society. The wide popularity of Nietzsche among Nazis was due partly to Nietzsche's sister, Elisabeth Frster-Nietzsche, a Nazi sympathizer who edited much of Nietzsche's works. However, Nietzsche disapproved of his sister's antisemitic views. Furthermore, Mazzino Montinari, one of editors of Nietzsche's posthumous works in the 1960s, argued that Frster-Nietzsche had deliberately cut extracts, changed their order, and added false titles to the posthumous fragments, thus constituting the fake Will to power [1].

It is worth noting that Nietzsche's thought largely stands opposed to Nazism, its apology of Germanism, its nationalism and its antisemitism. However, Nietzsche did spoke of a "big politic", considered as a "European politics", which understanding has remained quite obscure. He also made several references to eugenics, which were at that time - as racism - common ideologies [5].

In particular, Nietzsche despised anti-Semitism and held a very high opinion of European Jewry. While some of his writings on "the Jewish question" were critical of the Jewish population in Europe, this criticism was equally, if not more strongly, applied to the English, the Germans, and the rest of Europe. However, he also praised the strength of the Jewish people. For instance, in Beyond Good and Evil, he wrote: "The Jews, however, are beyond any doubt the strongest, toughest, and purest race now living in Europe; they know how to prevail even under the worst conditions..." However, his venomous attack upon many of the religious principles of the Jews throughout his work brings confusion to many readers. This ambiguity is perhaps best expressed in part 250 of Beyond Good and Evil:

He also despised nationalism. He took a dim view of German culture as it was in his time, and derided both the state and populism (however, he valorised strong leadership, and it was this last tendency that the Nazis took up) (see Nietzsche against Wagner). As the joke goes: "Nietzsche detested Nationalism, Socialism, Germans and mass movements, so naturally he was adopted as the intellectual mascot of the National Socialist German Workers' Party." He was also far from being a racist, believing that the "vigour" of any population could only be increased by mixing with others. In The Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche says, "...the concept of 'pure blood' is the opposite of a harmless concept." Furthermore, in Ecce Homo Nietzsche claims Polish descent - even aristocratic Polish ancestry - a claim for which there is no evidence. This is most probably another satyrical attack on the rising German nationalism - like the Poles who had no nation-state (see The Partition of Poland)and through his claim he suggests that he would rather associate with a stateless people (Nietzsche was himself stateless since moving to Basel) than join the 'herdish' nationalism of the German unification. Through his claim he also takes attention away from his given names (after Frederick William II of Prussia) to his surname, which carries no such grandeur - he does not want to be judged as a German. Ultimately the claim is a dissassociation of nationalism.

As for the idea of the "blond beast," Walter Kaufmann has this to say in The Will to Power: "The 'blond beast' is not a racial concept and does not refer to the 'Nordic race' of which the Nazis later made so much. Nietzsche specifically refers to Arabs and Japanese, Romans and Greeks, no less than ancient Teutonic tribes when he first introduces the term... and the 'blondness' obviously refers to the beast, the lion, rather than the kind of man."

While his thought shares little with Nazism, it should not be supposed that he was strongly liberal either. One of the things that he seems to have detested the most about Christianity was its emphasis on pity and how this leads to the elevation of the weak-minded. Nietzsche believed that it was wrong to deprive people of their pain, because it was this very pain that stirred them to improve themselves, to grow and become stronger. It would overstate the matter to say that he disbelieved in helping people; but he was persuaded that much Christian pity robbed people of necessary painful life experiences, and robbing a person of his necessary pain, for Nietzsche, was wrong. He once noted in his Ecce Homo: "pain is not an objection to life."

Nietzsche often referred to the common people who participated in mass movements and shared a common mass psychology as "the rabble", and "the herd." He valued individualism above all else, although his understanding of it was quite different from the classical liberal conception of the individual subject (See above). While he had a dislike of the state in general, he also spoke negatively of anarchists and made it clear that only certain individuals should attempt to break away from the herd mentality. This theme is common throughout Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

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Friedrich Nietzsche was an influential German philosopher, widely known for his unconventional ideas about morality and religion.

Although his ideas were controversial among the traditional thinkers, he showed people the true nature of life and how individuals can shape their future with independent thought. No matter how young, rich, or happy you are, Friedrich Nietzsches philosophy will have a lasting impact on your mind.

Here are the 21 greatestFriedrich Nietzsche quotes to change your life for the better:

If you think life is hard, keep going. Dont seek an easy life, seek strength. Friedrich Nietzsches philosophy often stresses the fact that one must be fearless, take risks, and face adversities to get the fruits of life. Because theres no greatness without pain and sacrifice.

To fight terrorism, soldiers have to become ruthless themselves. Similarly, if you face adversity in life, make sure it doesnt make you heartless and cold, unable to show kindness toward the weak.

If you have an incredibly meaningful purpose, you wont give up no matter how tough it gets. Purpose gives us meaning and stirs our emotions. And when our emotions are stirred, we have endless energy. Among allFriedrichNietzsche quotes, this one stands apart.

Individuals often know how life works and what the truth really is. But tragedy happens when a large number of people believe the lies. For example, a large number of people buy products sold by corporations that have no regard for the health of their customers.

5. Howlittleittakestomake us happy! Thesoundof abagpipe.Without music, life wouldbe amistake. The German even imagines Godassinging songs.

People often chase money and things, when all it takes to be happy is music and a good company. Its not bad to be materialistic, but its bad to use it as the only way to happiness.

6. One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.

Everyone has fears, doubts, and anxieties. But it is out of the same darkness that they create something new and extraordinary. So dont hate your darkness, accept it, and work with it.

7. You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.

There is no golden way to success. Something may work for your friend, but not for you. You need to learn from your mistakes and trust your gut, to create your own path. This is one of the greatest Friedrich Nietzsche quotes as it shows that there is no secret ingredient to success.

8. There are no facts, only interpretations.

You dont need to know the big truths of life, but you need to know the truths that apply to you. It is important to learn about life from our own perspective and know that theres nothing as the absolute truth.

9. The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

If you cannot expand your mind and listen to people who think differently from you, youll never grow. Its important to listen to new opinions and take new experiences so that we can become better.

People often become unrealistic in love, conjuring dreamy scenarios of romance in their minds. But at the same time, everyone loves the same madness no matter how silly it seems. This is one of the bestFriedrich Nietzsche quotes, because it shows how important craziness is if you want to feel the beauty of love.

Keeping firm opinion about something means that you arent willing to change and expand. But change is the nature of life, so always question things and expect them to change over time.

In life, some people will love your work and your creativity, and others will hate it. Just because some cant see your light doesnt mean you should stop shining.

Safety is the biggest illusion sold by people who never lived it in the first place. You need to take risks and get out of your shell to live an extraordinary life. Meet new people, travel to new places, try new and bizarre ideas in your work, relationships, and physique because its an absolute pleasure to create something entirely new.

A thought is like the tip of the iceberg. If you want to see the truth, dig deeper. Your emotions reveal much more than thoughts, they form your life experiences and give meaning to them.

Everybody wants to find the magic pill for success. The truth is that it doesnt exist. You need to build your own path by making mistakes and relying on your intuition.

Learn how to control your mind and discipline yourself, or the world will do it for you. There are plenty of people who have great talents but turn out average because they dont have the determination to create something great.

Humans were never made to sit all day and use technology. Scientific research has revealed that walking improves human creativity by 60 percent[1]. Friedrich Nietzsches philosophy reveals the true nature of how our mind works, so walk more and youll have a great mind.

Dont sell your soul by doing the work you hate for someone else. Own yourself and do what you have always wanted to do, because you live only once. Among allFriedrich Nietzsche quotes, this one really stands out as it shows nothing is worth selling your own dreams.

You can only help a person who wants to be helped. People often avoid truths because they dont want to leave their comfort zone. But if you never face the truth, how will you ever overcome adversity and win over your fears?

Dont be scared if life has been knocking you down. You just need to think right, speak right, and do right. Research done by Robert Cialdini, a psychology professor, shows that if you change your behavior, you also change how you feel. So, to feel unafraid, do what a brave person would do. The core idea is: act and you will become.

You must be willing to look at your problems, your fears, your darkness; to rise above them and become stronger. If you just keep staring at problems and keep feeling bad, you will reach nowhere. This is one of the greatestFriedrich Nietzsche quotes as it shows us that problems are not inherently bad, it is your attitude that makes them bad.

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Friedrich Nietzsche – – Biography

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Influential German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) is known for his writings on good and evil, the end of religion in modern society and the concept of a "super-man."

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was born on October 15, 1844, in Rcken bei Ltzen, Germany. In his brilliant but relatively brief career, he published numerous major works of philosophy, including Twilight of the Idols and Thus Spoke Zarathustra. In the last decade of his life he suffered from insanity; he died on August 25, 1900. His writings on individuality and morality in contemporary civilization influenced many major thinkers and writers of the 20th century.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was born on October 15, 1844, in Rcken bei Ltzen, a small village in Prussia (part of present-day Germany). His father, Carl Ludwig Nietzsche, was a Lutheran preacher; he died when Nietzsche was 4 years old. Nietzsche and his younger sister, Elisabeth, were raised by their mother, Franziska.

Nietzsche attended a private preparatory school in Naumburg and then received a classical education at the prestigious Schulpforta school. After graduating in 1864, he attended the University of Bonn for two semesters. He transferred to the University of Leipzig, where he studied philology, a combination of literature, linguistics and history. He was strongly influenced by the writings of philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. During his time in Leipzig, he began a friendship with the composer Richard Wagner, whose music he greatly admired.

In 1869, Nietzsche took a position as professor of classical philology at the University of Basel in Switzerland. During his professorship he published his first books, The Birth of Tragedy (1872) and Human, All Too Human (1878). He also began to distance himself from classical scholarship, as well as the teachings of Schopenhauer, and to take more interest in the values underlying modern-day civilization. By this time, his friendship with Wagner had deteriorated. Suffering from a nervous disorder, he resigned from his post at Basel in 1879.

For much of the following decade, Nietzsche lived in seclusion, moving from Switzerland to France to Italy when he was not staying at his mother's house in Naumburg. However, this was also a highly productive period for him as a thinker and writer. One of his most significant works, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, was published in four volumes between 1883 and 1885. He also wrote Beyond Good and Evil (published in 1886), The Genealogy of Morals (1887) and Twilight of the Idols (1889).

In these works of the 1880s, Nietzsche developed the central points of his philosophy. One of these was his famous statement that "God is dead," a rejection of Christianity as a meaningful force in contemporary life. Others were his endorsement of self-perfection through creative drive and a "will to power," and his concept of a "super-man" or "over-man" (bermensch), an individual who strives to exist beyond conventional categories of good and evil, master and slave.

Nietzsche suffered a collapse in 1889 while living in Turin, Italy. The last decade of his life was spent in a state of mental incapacitation. The reason for his insanity is still unknown, although historians have attributed it to causes as varied as syphilis, an inherited brain disease, a tumor and overuse of sedative drugs. After a stay in an asylum, Nietzsche was cared for by his mother in Naumburg and his sister in Weimar, Germany. He died in Weimar on August 25, 1900.

Nietzsche is regarded as a major influence on 20th century philosophy, theology and art. His ideas on individuality, morality and the meaning of existence contributed to the thinking of philosophers Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault; Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, two of the founding figures of psychiatry; and writers such as Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Thomas Mann and Hermann Hesse.

Less beneficially, certain aspects of Nietzsche's work were used by the Nazi Party of the 1930s'40s as justification for its activities; this selective and misleading use of his work has somewhat darkened his reputation for later audiences.

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During his final decade, Friedrich Nietzsches worsening constitution continued to plague the philosopher. In addition to having suffered from incapacitating indigestion, insomnia, and migraines for much of his life, the 1880s brought about a dramatic deterioration in Nietzsches eyesight, with a doctor noting that his right eye could only perceive mistaken and distorted images.

Nietzsche himself declared that writing and reading for more than twenty minutes had grown excessively painful. With his intellectual output reaching its peak during this period, the philosopher required a device that would let him write while making minimal demands on his vision.

So he sought to buy a typewriter in 1881.Although he was aware of Remington typewriters, the ailing philosopher looked for a model that would be fairly portable, allowing him to travel, when necessary, to moresalubrious climates. The Malling-Hansen Writing Ball seemed to fit the bill:

In Dieter Eberweins free Nietzches Screibkugele-book, the vice president of the Malling-Hansen Society explains that the writing ball was the closest thing to a 19th century laptop. The first commercially-produced typewriter, the writing ball was the 1865 creation of Danish inventor Rasmus Malling-Hansen, and was shown at the 1878 Paris Universal Exhibition to journalistic acclaim:

"In the year 1875, a quick writing apparatus, designed by Mr. L. Sholes in America, and manufactured by Mr. Remington, was introduced in London. This machine was superior to the Malling-Hansen writing apparatus; but the writing ball in its present form far excels the Remington machine. It secures greater rapidity, and its writing is clearer and more precise than that of the American instrument. The Danish apparatus has more keys, is much less complicated, built with greater precision, more solid, and much smaller and lighter than the Remington, and moreover, is cheaper."

Despite his initial excitement, Nietzsche quickly grew tired of the intricate contraption. According to Eberwein, the philosopher struggled with the device after it was damaged during a trip to Genoa; an inept mechanic trying to make the necessary repairs may have broken the writing ball even further. Still, Nietzsche typed some 60 manuscripts on his writing ball, including what may be the most poignant poetic treatment of typewriters to date:

THE WRITING BALL IS A THING LIKE ME:

MADE OF IRON YET EASILY TWISTED ON JOURNEYS.

PATIENCE AND TACT ARE REQUIRED IN ABUNDANCE

AS WELL AS FINE FINGERS TO USE US."

In addition to viewing several of Nietzsches original typescripts at the Malling-Hansen Society website, those wanting a closer look at Nietzsches model can view it in the video below.

Note: This post originally appeared on our site in December 2013.

Ilia Blinderman is a Montreal-based culture and science writer. Follow him at@iliablinderman.

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May 14th, 2019 at 1:50 pm

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Giles Fraser: Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals …

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In the first essay of Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals (OGM), he lays out his famous accusation: Christianity is the religion of the downtrodden, the bullied, the weak, the poor and the slave. And this, precisely, is why it is so filled with hatred. For there is nothing quite as explosive as the sort of bottled up resentment that the oppressed feels towards their oppressor. It's all there in the Bible.

Consider Psalm 137. It begins with the cry of an enslaved people:

By the Rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion'

Such circumstances are a breeding ground for fantasies of violence and revenge. And so the Psalm concludes: " ... happy shall be he who takes your children and smashes their heads against the rock." For Nietzsche, this frustrated anger is the essence of Christian morality. It is the very engine of the church. Christianity is a religion of hatred.

Nowhere is this more obvious, Nietzsche insists, than with the invention of the idea of hell. For hell is a fantasy of the weak that enables them to imagine compensatory revenge against the strong. Evidencing this, he points to Aquinas who wrote that "the blessed in the heavenly kingdom will see the torment of the damned so that they may even more thoroughly enjoy their own blessedness." The whole theological architecture of heaven and hell is, for Nietzsche, the product of "hatred" dressed up to look like love.

But the vengefulness of the pious slave goes a great deal further than simply twisting the idea of God into an instrument of revenge. For Nietzsche's contention is that the very origins of morality itself and secular morality just as much as its Judeo-Christian predecessor can be understood as springing from the same impulse. Socialists beware: he thinks this is your story too.

Don't look for proper history here. In a sense, Nietzsche is re-narrating the myth of the fall. In the beginning, so he says, there was nothing much wrong with the notion of God. Yahweh represented a culture at ease with itself and its prosperity. The festivals of religion were about exuberance, the means by which life was to be celebrated. But then came slavery and deportation into exile. And with this, the whole idea of God was re-imagined. Instead of being an expression of abundant confidence, God was transformed into a vehicle for desired revenge.

It was the Jews who, rejecting the aristocratic value equation (good = noble = powerful = beautiful = happy = blessed) ventured, with awe inspiring consistency, to bring about a reversal and held it in the teeth of their most unfathomable hatred (the hatred of the powerless), saying:

Only those who suffer are good, only the poor, the powerless, the lowly are good; the suffering, the deprived, the sick, the ugly, are the only pious people, the only ones saved, salvation is for them alone, whereas you rich, the noble and powerful, you eternally wicked cruel, lustful, insatiate, godless, you will be eternally wretched, cursed and damned. (OGM 1:7)

With slavery, all values are reversed. "Blessed are the poor" says Jesus. Everything vibrant and life-affirming is redescribed as "bad" so as to undermine the authority of the strong. Morality is a put-down. And with this revolutionary redescription, Nietzsche contends, humanity degrades itself. Humanity withers.

It may be worth nailing the jibe that Nietzsche was antisemitic. Certainly, his talk of "the Jews" in the above reference will make many of us squirm. And his famous friendship with Wagner and the fact that he became Hitler's favourite thinker do nothing to ease this discomfort. Yet, the truth is, Nietzsche loathed antisemites. He thought them vulgar and often said as much. In Beyond Good and Evil he muses: "It would perhaps be a good idea to eject the antisemitic ranters from the country."

Despite the fact that all this is widely accepted by scholars, many who read Nietzsche still experience some residual anxiety that his celebration of the powerful and his denigration of the weak has proto-Nazi overtones. In OGM he speaks approvingly of the "magnificent blond beast avidly prowling around for spoil and victory" in contrast to the "failed, sickly, tired and exhausted people of whom today's Europe is beginning to reek". This is not a reference to Jews. Even so, I think Nietzsche apologists have been far too indulgent of his celebrated rhetorical flamboyance. This sort of language stinks.

But although there are several occasions when the modern reader will want to hold their nose whilst reading Nietzsche, it is worth persevering. For there is much here to ponder, not least the familiar idea that those who are bullied and abused in one generation can often turn into the bullies and abusers of the next. With Nietzsche, this thought becomes the guiding thread of cultural history. The impact of suffering cascades down the generations, finding its way into all aspects of life, cultural and psychological. Yes, he is out to expose the vast weight of poisonous anger that lurks behind that hideous evangelical smile. But his ambition is much greater than this. For Nietzsche contends that Judeo-Christianity has shaped European culture to such an extent that the inversion of values that it promotes has permeated the entire way we see the world. When things are this far gone, a simple declaration of "the death of God" will do little to change things. In fact, it may simply mask the root of the illness. For Nietzsche, atheism is no simple prophylactic against slave morality.

Rev Dr Giles Fraser is the vicar of Putney. He was formerly a lecturer in philosophy at Wadham College, Oxford. His books include Redeeming Nietzsche: On the Piety of Unbelief (Routledge, 2002)

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Philosophy of Finitude: Heidegger, Levinas, and Nietzsche …

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The book explores crucial themes in Heidegger, Levinas and Nietzsche, primarily centred around the problem of death and dying (chapter one), self and other (chapter two), figurations of being (chapter three), dwelling (chapter four), truth and error (chapter five), and the concept of substance (chapter six). With the exception of the last chapter, Rafael Winkler shows how Heidegger, Levinas, and Nietzsche, as well as Derrida and Ricoeur (not mentioned in the subtitle, but very present throughout the book) are key-players in the still ongoing debate about: (1) the nature of the subject, (2) the limits of thought and experience, and (3) the human dependence on and responsibility for the earth on which we dwell as mortals, neighbours, strangers and guest friends, always mindful of the dead, while, at the same time, seeking to establish a historical home fit for human society.

As he explains in a brief introduction, Winkler takes the concept of "uniqueness" -- that which escapes all categorizing and identification -- as the prism through which he aims to explore death and mourning, dwelling, hospitality, and responsibility in the face of the other, the friend, or Being itself.

But there are at least three distinct takes on "the unique" in his book. First, the dominant meaning throughout denotes the unique as the singularity of a person or subject, or "the non-replaceability of a life" (xiii). Here, "the unique" has an ethical connotation, broadly speaking, for it points to the possible or actual violation of the uniqueness of a life or a person, namely, when we take others or ourselves as replaceable, classifiable, and identifiable, etc.

Second, Winkler also refers to the "the unique" as a formal-ontological category, denoting a "purely formal feature of existence" as such, the mere "haecceity of a being," its pure and as yet unqualified, non-identified "being there at all" (xiii, xv). As he puts it, "when nothing more can be said of it [the something whatsoever, IF] except that it is, then and only then does it stand apart and shine through in the singularity of its existence" (xiv). The sheer something, even prior to its diremption into "someone" or "something" (xiv), is the formal-ontologically unique, the "absolutely other," "the anonymous" or the absolutely strange (xiv).

Although Winkler is aware of these two distinct takes on the unique and even uses this distinction throughout the book, he is, in my view, not sufficiently clear about the full significance of this distinction. For instance, while there is a certain sublimity, strangeness, or otherness in the sheer existence of something that escapes all categorization, identification, etc., which can result in a feeling of awe, shock, or disorientation, as Winkler notes, it is doubtful that the particularly ethical response to the unique, in the encounter of the stranger, the orphan, and the widow, or the relation to one's own death or the mourning of a friend, can be adequately described or subsumed as a specific case of what is unique in the purely formal-ontological sense.

Moreover, Winkler introduces a third dimension of the meaning of "the unique," when he writes that his purpose is "to justify . . . the belief that the unique is everything or, to put it more precisely using one of Plato's expressions, that the unique is to ontos on, the really real" (xii). It is unclear how such a project could avoid prioritizing the formal-ontological meaning of the unique at the expense of the genuinely ethical concept of singularity. Moreover, it is equally unclear how such an undertaking could be achieved without a discussion of nominalism and its long tradition. But there is not a hint of that, and, in the end, Winkler nowhere develops this systematic ontological idea, dropping it for the much more modest idea to highlight differences and commonalities in Heidegger, Levinas, and Derrida through the lens of "the unique," clearly taking it as a limit-concept.

In the first chapter, "Death, the Impossible," Winkler pursues three intersecting objectives. First, accepting Heidegger's claim that anticipating one's own death can initiate an utmost singularization at the limit of one's life (11), Winkler contests that the experience of the imminence of death is so shattering and forever elusive that it is bound to dissolve "every kind of unity and identity" in Dasein, without, however, thereby annulling the very experience of it (7).

According to Winkler, Heidegger actually affirms such a position in his lecture "What is Metaphysics?" when he argues that in anxiety we not only lose our grip on the world because it slips away from us, but that we also experience a loss of the "I." He quotes Heidegger's summary of the uncanny experience of anxiety:

At bottom therefore, it is not as though 'you' or 'I' feel ill at ease [nicht 'dir' und 'mir' unheimlich ist]; rather, it is this way for some 'one' [sondern 'einem' ist es so]. In the altogether unsettling experience of this hovering where there is nothing to hold onto, pure Da-sein is all that is still there. (15)

As Winkler rightly notes, this is different from Heidegger's account in Being and Time. But does it really follow that Heidegger here suggests that "the I vanishes," as Winkler puts it (15)? After all, the Da-sein in the human being that experiences anxiety remains intact, and Dasein is determined by Jemeinigkeit and care for itself, even if that mineness is often not very pronounced or foregrounded, or perhaps even weakened.

Second, although Winkler argues that anxiety in the face of death is an overwhelming and shattering limit situation that singularizes Dasein and leads to its disintegration as an identical self, he insists that this experience of dissolution can be had, albeit not "owned", by the authority of the "first person," because precisely this "identity" is undermined by the experience of death. Thus, Winkler argues that an experience is possible even in the absence of an intact "unity of the first person" (1). In defending this view, Winkler goes on to attack Dan Zahavi's account of the necessary unity of consciousness, for which he heavily draws on testimonials of schizophrenic patients (taken from Laing's The Divided Self). But since these testimonials operate with the conspicuous presence of the word "I," thus always presupposing what is said to be absent or shattered (16-17), I fail to see how Winkler can make good his argument on that basis.

Moreover, Winkler's further claim that because of the disintegration of the personal self, brought about by the anticipation of one's death, authenticity and resoluteness in the face of death is impossible and that, therefore, "I cannot own my existence authentically" (1) before death is certainly in need of much more substantiation, because this result flies in the face of everything Heidegger has written.

However that may be, Winkler's third objective is to claim that even though my own death is entirely disorienting and shattering, namely as an always outstanding, imminent but never present "event," it is not, as Derrida would have it, an impossibility in such a way that death comes home, so to speak, only through the death of a friend, i.e., in mourning over the death of the irreplaceable friend (20-24). Since Winkler is primarily focused on the unique, he is quite content with simply noting that Derrida's account of mourning is just as much a genuine figure of the singularizing of death, i.e., the death of a singular and irreplaceable friend, as is Heidegger's account of anxiety in the face of my own death, which singularizes my own Dasein. That is certainly true, but this observation alone does not help to settle the issue, i.e., whether Heidegger's or Derrida's analysis of death is more compelling.

In the second chapter, "Self and Other," Winkler continues his exploration of the unique in human life, that is, in its manifestation in the call of conscience (Heidegger) and the summons of the other (Levinas). According to Winkler, the decisive difference between the two is that while Heidegger's call issues from inside Dasein calling it to its unique self, the summons calls me from outside, singling out the other in his or her absolute singularity. In other words, for Heidegger there is an internal "ontological alterity" at the very heart of Dasein itself, whereas for Levinas there is an "ethical alterity of the other" external to the subject (41).

In this context, Winkler also discusses Ricoeur's attempt in Oneself as Another to find a middle ground between Heidegger and Levinas. Ricoeur suggests that the call at the heart of Dasein must be interpreted as the internal acknowledgment or attestation of the obligation to the other, as a response to an injunction. This would make the call genuinely ethical, which it is not in Heidegger. At the same time, it would anchor the call in the subject's binding itself to its obligation to the other, in contrast to Levinas' merely externally founded summons by the other. As Winkler points out, such a position would also support more recent attempts by Franois Raffoul and Franoise Dastur to derive the alterity of the other from the ontological alterity within Dasein.

However, in contrast to this attempted rapprochement, Winkler argues that "there is no phenomenological or hermeneutical justification" for holding the view that in assigning myself responsibility for my actions (in and through the call), I am already enjoined by the other outside, such that "the injunction of the other" would already reside in me (45). Put differently, there is no way that one can "transpose the vertical relation that structures the interiority of the self onto the social relation between the self and the other" (45.) Binding oneself to the call of one's conscience is not isomorphic with the response of the call coming from the other, and the singularity of Dasein (in acknowledging the call of conscience) is distinct from the singularity with which the other addresses me (46).

The third chapter, "Figurations," explores the idea of absolute alterity or uniqueness, this side of all particular ethical considerations and obligations owed to the other. Winkler starts out by noting that Heidegger's concept of metaphysics and Levinas' concept of ontology have much in common (48-50). Both concepts refer to a totality of entities and beings, fully present, and represented in the understanding, such that whatever falls outside the parameters of theoretical cognition or the metaphysical grasp of entities, is excluded and relegated to nothingness. What thus falls by the wayside is the absolute other that resists integration into the same (Levinas) or the metaphysical totality of beings (Heidegger). Thus, at the limit of ontology or metaphysics emerges "the thought of absolute difference" which eludes all contextualization, anticipation, and rational control (49). It is the unique in its pure form, not an identifiable being, but a mere "figuration of being" (54), prior even to the diremption of beings into "someone" and "something," or "what" or "who" (55).

Winkler holds that Heidegger's concept of the Event or Being, as distinguished from beings, points to such absolute difference, for Being or the Event is not a being. It is the absolute other that "is" withdrawn and stays hidden, a secret in the midst of all the positivity of entities. In his own way, Levinas thinks through the absolute other too, this side of the same, when he discusses the feminine as non-identifiable, non-reducible, non-assimilable to the same, antedating the home, into which, however, she welcomes the host, preparing the home as "the place of exile and refuge," for the guest and the stranger, thus enabling human dwelling or habitation (59). Winkler suggests that Levinas' conception of "the withdrawal of the feminine" is in an import sense a "rethinking of the withdrawal of Being in Heidegger" (59).

As a third attempt to think absolute difference, Winkler points to Derrida's concept of the "absolute arrivant," which is an unconditional and unqualified hospitality towards the future (61). The upshot is that underneath their many surface differences, a careful reading can identify the commonality of the deepest thoughts in Heidegger, Levinas, and Derrida.

This is further elaborated in chapter four, "Dwelling," where Winkler by way of an extraordinarily refreshing reading of Heidegger's lectures on Hlderlin establishes Heidegger's very own version of hospitality (Gastfreundschaft), the welcome of the stranger into one's home, as the proper response to the challenge to found what its homely on the self-secluding earth. Quoting from Heidegger's lectures on Der Ister, Winkler shows that Heidegger knows that "the appropriation of the proper is only as the encounter and guest-like conversation with the foreign" (83).

Chapter five, "Beyond Truth," delves into Derrida's and Heidegger's interpretations of Nietzsche's conception of the limits of metaphysics and truth. Assuming a middle position, Winkler critiques Derrida's reading of Nietzsche for "its excessive focus on play and irony" (102), while, correlatively, he takes issue with Heidegger's conspicuous neglect of just this side in Nietzsche (96). However, Winkler's suggestion that Nietzsche did not give up the idea of truth, but rather, endorsed an epoch "in a manner similar to Husserl's suspension of the natural attitude" (87), needs much more elaboration, for it is hardly consistent with Nietzsche's view that by "abolishing the true world" we have also done away with "the apparent world."

Chapter six, "Substance," abruptly departs from the main line of inquiry in the previous chapters and provides a doxographic account of the emergence of the technical term substance or substantia in Roman philosophy. While Winkler notes that it is part of the common understanding that substantia translates the Greek term ousia, he points to the new Roman reality with its emphasis on rhetoric, public conflicts and courts to resolve them as a decisive background that shaped the usage of the term. In the forensic context, the term substantia refers to what a dispute is about, the subject matter of the case and this forensic meaning reinforced the philosophical use of substance (125).

While it is unclear how this insight contributes to the interpretations offered in the earlier chapters, the reader will note that in the course of this discussion Winkler also touches on the Stoic concept of the supreme genus, the something as such (120). This obviously relates back to Winkler's initial inquiry into the unqualified singular, but oddly enough Winkler does not engage this issue at all in this chapter. (Incidentally, Winkler also misses Heidegger's own discussion of the "something" as such in 20 of Zur Bestimmung der Philosophie.)

In conclusion, although the book has some merit in highlighting the real proximity between Heidegger, Levinas, and Derrida, the various observations and theses Winkler advances are of varying quality, and some need to be elaborated in more detail and with more justification in order to be persuasive.

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Why does Nietzsche think suffering is great? : Nietzsche

Posted: April 21, 2019 at 2:48 am


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"But not to perish from internal distress and doubt when one inflicts great suffering and hears the cry of suffering : that is great, that belongs to greatness." The Gay Science, Fourth Book, 325

How can suffering being great be justified?

-below are rebuttals to immediately clear posits-

-Was mich nicht umbringt macht mich strker." =That still leaves me with questions: I would say painful experiences make you more weary and occupy time, not that they make you stronger.

-Problems direct humanity toward betterment. =We all have pain and have recorded it for at least 4,000 years, and the elimination of anxiety regarding the sustinance of life has not occurred. (food/Healthcare in developed countries)

I have posted this on stackexchange and have been lacking an answer (admittedly this is its revised form, through feedback from said site). This is my first post on Reddit, though I am not unfamiliar with the beast, but I hope the more open format of this site can give me at least some additional perspectives for consideration.

This topic concerns me greatly, it has occupied all of my free time for 4 days now. This is a plea.

==Addendum, respondents please read==

It seems as the Nietzschean view is that suffering is something to be worked through, not appreciated in and of itself (outside of reflection on this given opportunity).

Is there another way to view the swath of humanity that is not transcending their suffering other than in disappointment and disgust?

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Why does Nietzsche think suffering is great? : Nietzsche

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April 21st, 2019 at 2:48 am

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Nietzsche’s Earth: Great Events, Great Politics // Reviews …

Posted: April 20, 2019 at 10:46 am


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This book offers a valuable and provocative contribution to the growing literature on Nietzsche's political philosophy. It invites us to understand Nietzsche's politics as consisting mainly in a kind of political program calling for a radical transformation of our earthly habitation. On Shapiro's reading, this program principally requires reconceiving our relation to temporality, and, in particular, to the future, by cultivating a kind of openness that can make us receptive to those rare opportunities for radical change Nietzsche called "great events". Nietzsche's politics of futurity, however, requires displacing the way of thinking prevalent in the petty politics of nation-states. In each chapter, Shapiro investigates different aspects of Nietzsche's critiques of this way of thinking, trying to articulate, at the same time, its positive alternative.

In the introductory chapter, Shapiro argues that "earth" is a political concept that Nietzsche meant to counterpose to the Hegelian notion of "world", which has politico-theological affiliations with pernicious notions of unity and eternity, and is implicated with a teleological metanarrative of the end of history that overly extols the nation-state as the medium for the world-spirit's self-realization (pp.4, 7, 11-13, 16). According to Shapiro, Nietzsche sought to combat these entrenched political notions by initiating a great politics of the earth that, in contrast to the homogenizing world of nation-states, entreats us to see our planet as a place of radical plurality and of mobile multitudes that can dedicate themselves to giving a new direction to the earth (p.5, 18). Shapiro is aware that the dichotomy of "earth" vs. "world" may be suspect, insofar as the contrast is not one Nietzsche appears to have made explicit in his texts. Still, he argues (in my view credibly) that the distinction illuminates important themes in Nietzsche's work and that, in a way, it is implicit from the beginning in all of Nietzsche's philosophizing.

Chapter 2 picks up the anti-metanarrative theme by focusing on early Nietzsche's invective against end of history thinking. Shapiro emphasizes the way in which, for Nietzsche, this kind of thinking is implicated with a racist ideology of national unity that devalues the exceptional human being in favor of the uniform, homogeneous masses of the nation-state (pp.29, 32). This association is partly explained by the fact that state thinking displays a tendency to draw borders and posits an exclusionary dichotomy, in which the reasonably regulated life of those living within the state is to be contrasted with the chaotic barbarism encountered outside (pp.50-51). To sustain this kind of ideology, the state exploits the journalistic conception of events understood as "news", i.e. as something that must be perpetually expected and feared, which, among other things, facilitates the manufacturing of permanent "states of exception" through which the hold on power of the money-makers and military despots that control the state is strengthened, with the excuse that it is the only way to handle the constant siege that the state is under (pp.46-47, 67-68). According to Shapiro, Nietzsche in his early writings, aiming to disrupt this network of statist ideas, tried to articulate a conception of "great events" as unpredictable and transformative occurrences that instead of foreclosing the future can throw it open. But his attempt failed because he was still caught up with problematic notions of national unity and even with Hegelian modes of thinking (pp.36-37, 56-57).

Chapter 3 begins with a look at "states of exception" which, on Shapiro's analysis, Nietzsche saw as symptoms of the fragility of the modern state (pp.65-66). The nation-state requires the use of devices to suspend the rule of law in part because the increased mobility of populations and the growing cultural intermingling of Europeans are eroding the authority of the state and threatening to abolish it altogether. Much of the chapter, however, is devoted to a very hard to follow discussion of techniques of measurement and control of people, processes of territorialization, deterritorialization, and reterritorialization that organize the way we think of our relation to space and earth, the relation between music and geography, and so on. As happens in other places, this discussion, while insightful, is a bit disorganized, with abrupt changes in focus and the development of lines of thought whose connection to an overarching thesis is not always discernible. Still, perhaps the connecting thread is to be found in Shapiro's attempt to articulate what he takes to be Nietzsche's way of exploring other alternatives for inhabiting the earth and overcoming the pernicious essentialism of the nation-state that stifles the spirit of a people. Shapiro argues that Nietzsche saw populations, not as masses to be molded into systematic and homogeneous forms, but as multitudes full of productive possibilities precisely because they constitute experiments in inhabiting the earth, ones that require mobility in the form of nomadic wanderings, migrations, and also climatic and environmental changes in order to be fecund (pp.91, 93). Out of these multitudes are born the hybrid humans that anticipate the European of the future by trying out different cultural combinations and syntheses (p.97).

Chapter 4 returns to the theme of great events, this time highlighting their nature as kairos or moments of opportunity to be seized at the right juncture. Shapiro argues that a key aspect of nobility, as Nietzsche understood it, consists in "a mode of living one's temporality involving alert vigilance, freedom from the crowd's enthusiasms of the moment, and from the deadly deformation of lived time through economies of debt that mortgage the future" (p.102). In order to seize the opportune moment, the noble type must think beyond peoples and fatherlands, thus implicating him with the desire to see Europe become one by experimenting with new cosmopolitan forms of diversity and multiplicity that extend beyond borderlines (pp.109-110, 116). Similarly, cultivating this type of nobility will require escaping the logic of mortgage time that governs nation-states, where personal and political time are subjected to a regime of debt and credit that forces us to experience life in the temporal mode of chronos, i.e. as a series of stretches of time measured in terms of conditions of repayments of debts and of penalties for defaulting that all militate against our ability to seize the kairos (p.130-131).

In chapter 5, Shapiro investigates the place of the garden metaphor in Nietzsche's politics. It includes a fascinating discussion of the historic role that the concept of the garden has played in the formation of modern aesthetics (pp.140-151). Shapiro has a very general statement regarding the garden as a space to promote a hedonistic happiness in which "the dominant themes are the shaping and tending of the natural, with a view to producing a rewarding result as well as the enjoyment of an earthly site" (pp.150-151). However, he fails to connect his rich analysis more forcefully with Nietzsche's use of the metaphor. This missed opportunity is unfortunate, for Shapiro touches on themes that are very much at play in Nietzsche's philosophy. For instance, Shapiro notes that the Italian and French styles of gardening that Nietzsche admired were designed to highlight the sovereignty of the human will over nature, its ability to master and civilize natural forces in order to subordinate them to some grand rational plan. And while, in fairness, it should be said that Shapiro does claim that the Nietzschean garden metaphor stresses the power of shaping, framing, and making (p.156), and that it even incorporates the idea of the garden as the work of reason on behalf of reason (p.162), the overall tendency of Shapiro's account is to foreclose the possible connection that these notions might have, in Nietzsche philosophy, to more grandiose conceptions of the human will and its capacity to plan the future with world-conquering and eternalizing ambitions. Such connections would, of course, run counter to the general picture of Nietzsche's politics Shapiro is determined to draw, in which supposedly the future of the earth cannot be planned (pp.98-99). Yet, it seems to me that such themes are very much part of Nietzsche's philosophy, as seen, for instance, in the important section GS 291 that Shapiro himself brings to our attention. For Nietzsche, the garden is not just the product of an experimental reason, as Shapiro would have it (p.161), but also of an eternalizing, totalizing, perhaps -- forgive the contrived formula -- even of a metanarrativizing reason. The Genoa builders of GS 291, after all, "built and adorned to last for centuries and not for the fleeting hour" and they "perpetrated acts of violence and conquest" with their designs, that had the grand ambition of laying hands to the whole world around them in order to "make it [their] possession by incorporating it into [their] plan". Here is one of the places where the real weak spot of Shapiro's otherwise insightful analysis is exposed most clearly, a point to which I will return shortly.

In the last chapter, Shapiro turns to Nietzsche's philosophy of the Antichrist by examining the infamous book that bears that name in its title. For Shapiro, one of the principal lessons of The Antichrist is that Christianity is Paul's political invention, through which the early Christian interpretation of the Jesus event was subverted in order to accommodate the fact that the apocalyptic expectations of the faith had been disappointed (pp.175, 186-187). A religion that started out as rigorously unworldly had to learn to adapt itself to a world that stubbornly continued to persist. This political adjustment involved, above all, developing a new theory of time in which history became plotted as a story of deferred redemption through the intervention of Church and State, whose worldly powers ward off the imminent coming of the Antichrist (pp.195-196). Since, according to Shapiro, the metanarrative of world-history is one of the chief elements of statist ideology, he argues that Christianity is the inventor of world-history and that The Antichrist is integral to Nietzsche's attempt to overcome this way of reckoning time that belittles humanity and the earth (pp.180-181). How the reformed Christian story of deferred redemption through the state transmutes itself into a story of fulfilled redemption in the state is something that Shapiro does not fully explain. On his account, Christianity lends ideological support to imperial authority partly by fomenting the belief that the state is the restraining force that can keep the Antichrist from appearing and history and the world from ending (p.186). Yet, part of statist ideology is also to suppose that the state will bring about the end of history, and these two functions, as restrainer and enabler of the end of time, do not seem compatible at first glance. Perhaps the answer to this apparent contradiction is obvious to Shapiro, but, in general, these kinds of unresolved tensions abound in his analysis.

Overall, Nietzsche's Earth is very interesting and provocative; it strives with no small measure of success to provide a coherent picture of Nietzsche's philosophy. Shapiro does a good job of showing the relevance of Nietzsche's thought to contemporary social and political issues like the war on terror, globalization, the environmental crisis, and so on. He is to be commended especially also for his ability to engage fearlessly with Nietzsche's metaphors, which are an essential part of his thinking, and yet are often neglected by many Anglophone commentators, particularly those working within the analytic tradition. To them, this book may serve as a lesson and an example of the kinds of rewards that could await those who dare to follow the thread that leads into Nietzsche's symbolic universe. In this regard, I think that Shapiro has benefitted well from the continental tradition he draws from, which has fewer qualms about engaging in metaphoric analysis.

But the root of Shapiro's strength may also be the source of his weakness. For one thing, readers who are not conversant with the philosophical perspectives of writers like Deleuze, Guattari, and Agamben will have a hard time following the discussions where these figures are recruited in order to explain important themes in Nietzsche's philosophy. Shapiro often forgets to take the time to help readers clearly understand the conceptual resources he deploys, leaving us to fend for ourselves and to resolve the apparent tensions introduced by the use of these resources. How is it that statist ideology, whose tendency supposedly inclines towards an entrenched mentality of drawing borders, is not, as one would have perhaps naturally expected, associated with the thought-process of "territorialization" by means of which "we humans (and all living things) . . . [stake] out a space, a place . . . we mark the borders of our situation" (p.85), but is instead linked to "deterritorializing" forms of thinking in which spaces are being absorbed in a kind of expansionist mindset that, disrespecting all borders, attempts to "[configure] itself as a mobile political structure, not absolutely tied to a fixed place" (p.86)? How is it that the network of statist ideas that includes the notion of the "end of history" according to which no more new events are to be expected because time has ceased, nonetheless, also includes the journalistic conception of events as "news" that must constantly be manufactured because the state cannot tolerate empty time?

As I mentioned, it may be that the solution to these and other tensions is not so difficult, but Shapiro does not even seem to notice their presence in his account. Indeed, as I read this book, I often found myself feeling as if I had stepped into the middle of a veritable lighting storm of very suggestive insights, but absent the metal rod and the lens that could harness these flashes and concentrate them into a tightly focused beam. As a result, I cannot help but feel that, while generally coherent and capturing much that I believe to be really part of Nietzsche's philosophy, the Nietzschean tapestry that Shapiro has woven threatens to fall apart at the seams. It also provides a skewed and partial picture that omits important themes that, in many ways, are more central to Nietzsche's philosophical outlook and, thus, presumably integral to whatever political project he may have espoused. I have no doubt that, as Shapiro insists, Nietzsche's politics of futurity does entreat us to keep to some extent the future open, to cultivate nomadic lives and ways of thinking that are free from the stifling effects of nationalistic ideology, to resist the pernicious influence of the multitude's passing enthusiasms and the theatrical sensationalism of the modern press, so that we can seize the kairos; and so on.

But where, in this vision, is the Nietzsche who showed admiration for the laws of Manu, "whose goal was to 'eternalize' the supreme condition for a thriving life" (A 58)? Or the Nietzsche who laments the Christian destruction of the Roman Empire because "this most remarkable artwork in the great style was a beginning, its design was calculated to prove itself over the millennia -- , nothing like it has been built to this day, nobody has even dreamed of building on this scale, sub specie aeterni [from the standpoint of eternity]!" (A 60). Where, indeed, is the Nietzsche who, as Shapiro has it, may criticize the logic of mortgage time, but also has no problem incorporating that very logic into his own -- dare I say -- teleological metanarrative of redemption in The Genealogy, by appearing to suggest that the human being with the right to make promises, the sovereign individual who is the master of a free will, might be, in turn, the great promise that nature makes to us as repayment, perhaps, for the guilt it has incurred in using us for its bloody and cruel experiment of cultivating that great tree of humanity that we are to find in the recovered garden-earth Shapiro speaks of (GM II.2-3, 16)? A great promise and a debt, by the way, that in an interesting reversal of the Christian story might require our assistance to be repaid (for instance, by our learning to incorporate the thought of Eternal Recurrence into our lives); for nature is blind, and the god of nature, Dionysus, might be incapable of securing on his own the conditions that will ensure that we are able to enjoy -- as does the convalescent Zarathustra in his post-redemption speech -- the pleasant smell of the rosy apple of our volitional powers instead of the repulsive, sinful scent of a rotting free will that has spoiled on the tree (BGE 203, 211; Z III 'The Convalescent', 2).

It is not altogether surprising that Shapiro has a blind spot for these themes, for they tend to clash with those favored by the type of philosophic tradition in which he feels at home, and for which this kind of eternalizing metanarrative is part of the problem. Nietzsche often speaks positively of tradition. Its tyrannical hold can serve to educate the spirit in self-discipline and prepare it for freedom (BGE 44, 188). The will to tradition is also, for him, part of the engine that drives those powers, like the Roman Empire, "that can wait, that can still make promises", for this will belongs to "the sort of instincts that give rise to institutions, that give rise to a future" (TI 'Skirmishes', 39). But in his characteristic nuanced way, Nietzsche also warns us against becoming so comfortable within our traditions that we simply let our thoughts grow peacefully, all too peacefully from them (UM III.8). One of the things he admired in our modern culture was precisely its ability to contradict and to be hostile towards what is traditional; the ability to take sides against all that is familiar and wants to become firm in us (GS 296, 297).

None of us can completely escape the influence of our preferred traditions. But remembering to remain vigilant of the ways in which they might skew our outlooks might perhaps be one of the most important lessons I am bringing back home with me from my fortunate encounter with Shapiro's thought-provoking work.

REFERENCES

Nietzsche, Friedrich. (1997 [1873-6]), Untimely Meditations (UM), D. Breazeale (ed.) and R.J. Hollingdale (trans.). Cambridge University Press.

-- (2001 [1882 and 1887 (Book V added)]), The Gay Science: with a Prelude in German Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs (GS), B. Williams (ed.), and J. Nauckhoff and A. Del Caro (trans.). Cambridge University Press.

-- (2002 [1886]), Beyond Good and Evil (BGE), R.P. Horstmann and J. Norman (eds.), and J. Norman (trans.). Cambridge University Press.

-- (2005 [1888]), The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols and Other Writings (A, EH, and TI, respectively), A. Ridley and J. Norman (eds.), and J. Norman (trans.). Cambridge University Press.

-- (2006 [1887]), On the Genealogy of Morality (GM), K. Ansell-Pearson (ed.) and C. Diethe (trans.). Cambridge University Press.

-- (2006 [1883-5]), Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Z), R. Pippin (ed.) and A. Del Caro (trans.). Cambridge University Press.

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Nietzsche's Earth: Great Events, Great Politics // Reviews ...

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April 20th, 2019 at 10:46 am

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