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Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche – Wikipedia

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Friedrich Nietzsche developed his philosophy during the late 19th century. He owed the awakening of his philosophical interest to reading Arthur Schopenhauer's Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (The World as Will and Representation, 1819, revised 1844) and admitted that Schopenhauer was one of the few thinkers that he respected, dedicating to him his essay Schopenhauer als Erzieher (Schopenhauer as Educator), published in 1874 as one of his Untimely Meditations.

Since the dawn of the 20th century, the philosophy of Nietzsche has had great intellectual and political influence around the world. Nietzsche applied himself to such topics as morality, religion, epistemology, psychology, ontology, and social criticism. Because of Nietzsche's evocative style and his often outrageous claims, his philosophy generates passionate reactions running from love to disgust. Nietzsche noted in his autobiographical Ecce Homo that his philosophy developed over time, so interpreters have found it difficult to relate concepts central to one work to those central to another, for example, the thought of the eternal recurrence features heavily in Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra), but is almost entirely absent from his next book, Beyond Good and Evil. Added to this challenge is the fact that Nietzsche did not seem concerned to develop his thought into a system, even going so far as to disparage the attempt in Beyond Good and Evil.

Common themes in his thought can, however, be identified and discussed. His earliest work emphasized the opposition of Apollonian and Dionysian impulses in art, and the figure of Dionysus continued to play a role in his subsequent thought. Other major currents include the will to power, the claim that God is dead, the distinction between master and slave moralities, and radical perspectivism. Other concepts appear rarely, or are confined to one or two major works, yet are considered centerpieces of Nietzschean philosophy, such as the bermensch and the thought of eternal recurrence. His later works involved a sustained attack on Christianity and Christian morality, and he seemed to be working toward what he called the transvaluation of all values (Umwertung aller Werte). While Nietzsche is often associated in the public mind with fatalism and nihilism, Nietzsche himself viewed his project as the attempt to overcome the pessimism of Arthur Schopenhauer.

Nietzsche saw nihilism as the outcome of repeated frustrations in the search for meaning. He diagnosed nihilism as a latent presence within the very foundations of European culture, and saw it as a necessary and approaching destiny. The religious worldview had already suffered a number of challenges from contrary perspectives grounded in philosophical skepticism, and in modern science's evolutionary and heliocentric theory.[citation needed] Nietzsche saw this intellectual condition as a new challenge to European culture, which had extended itself beyond a sort of point-of-no-return. Nietzsche conceptualizes this with the famous statement "God is dead", which first appeared in his work in section 108 of The Gay Science, again in section 125 with the parable of "The Madman", and even more famously in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The statement, typically placed in quotation marks,[1] accentuated the crisis that Nietzsche argued that Western culture must face and transcend in the wake of the irreparable dissolution of its traditional foundations, moored largely in classical Greek philosophy and Christianity.[2] In aphorisms 55 and 56 of Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche talks about the ladder of religious cruelty that suggests how Nihilism emerged from the intellectual conscience of Christianity. Nihilism is sacrificing the meaning "God" brings into our lives, for "matter and motion", physics, "objective truth." In aphorism 56, he explains how to emerge from the utter meaninglessness of life by reaffirming it through the Nietzsche's ideal of Eternal Return.

In The Antichrist, Nietzsche fights against the way in which Christianity has become an ideology set forth by institutions like churches, and how churches have failed to represent the life of Jesus. Nietzsche finds it important to distinguish between the religion of Christianity and the person of Jesus. Nietzsche attacked the Christian religion, as represented by churches and institutions, for what he called its "transvaluation" of healthy instinctive values. Transvaluation consists of the process by which one can view the meaning of a concept or ideology from a "higher" context. Nietzsche went beyond agnostic and atheistic thinkers of the Enlightenment, who simply regarded Christianity as untrue. He claimed that the Apostle Paul may have deliberately propagated Christianity as a subversive religion (a "psychological warfare weapon") within the Roman Empire as a form of covert revenge for the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and of the Second Temple in 70 AD during the Jewish War of 66-73 AD. Nietzsche contrasts the Christians with Jesus, whom he regarded as a unique individual, and argues he established his own moral evaluations. As such, Jesus represents a kind of step towards his ideation of the bermensch. Ultimately, however, Nietzsche claims that, unlike the bermensch, who embraces life, Jesus denied reality in favor of his "kingdom of God". Jesus's refusal to defend himself, and subsequent death, logically followed from this total disengagement. Nietzsche goes further to analyze the history of Christianity, finding it has progressively distorted the teachings of Jesus more and more. He criticizes the early Christians for turning Jesus into a martyr and Jesus's life into the story of the redemption of mankind in order to dominate the masses, and finds the Apostles cowardly, vulgar, and resentful. He argues that successive generations further misunderstood the life of Jesus as the influence of Christianity grew. Nietzsche also criticized Christianity for demonizing flourishing in life, and glorifying living an apathetic life. By the 19th century, Nietzsche concludes, Christianity had become so worldly as to parody itselfa total inversion of a world view which was, in the beginning, nihilistic, thus implying the "death of God".

Nietzsche argued that two types of morality existed: a master morality that springs actively from the "noble man", and a slave morality that develops reactively within the weak man. These two moralities do not present simple inversions of one another. They form two different value systems: master morality fits actions into a scale of 'good' or 'bad' consequences, whereas slave morality fits actions into a scale of "good" or "evil" intentions. Notably he disdained both, though the first clearly less than the second.

Since Martin Heidegger at least, the concepts of the will to power (Wille zur Macht), of bermensch and of the thought of Eternal Recurrence have been inextricably linked. According to Heidegger's interpretation, one can not be thought without the others. During Nazi Germany, Alfred Baeumler attempted to separate the concepts, claiming that the Eternal Recurrence was only an "existential experience" that, if taken seriously, would endanger the possibility of a "will to power"deliberately misinterpreted, by the Nazis, as a "will for domination".[3] Baeumler attempted to interpret the "will to power" along Social Darwinist lines, an interpretation refuted by Heidegger in his 1930s courses on Nietzsche.

The term Wille zur Macht first appeared in the posthumous fragment 23 [63] of 1876-1877.[citation needed] Heidegger's reading has become predominant among commentators, although some have criticized it: Mazzino Montinari by declaring that it was forging the figure of a "macroscopical Nietzsche", alien to all of his nuances.[4]

"Will to power" (Wille zur Macht) is the name of a concept created by Nietzsche; the title of a projected book which he finally decided not to write; and the title of a book compiled from his notebooks and published posthumously and under suspicious circumstances by his sister and Peter Gast.

The work consists of four separate books, entitled "European Nihilism", "Critique of the Highest Values Hitherto", "Principles of a New Evaluation", and "Discipline and Breeding". Within these books there are some 1067 small sections, usually less than a page, and sometimes just a key phrasesuch as his opening comments in the 1st section of the preface: "Of what is great one must either be silent or speak with greatness. With greatnessthat means cynically and with innocence."[5]

Despite Elisabeth Frster-Nietzsche's falsifications (highlighted in 1937 by Georges Bataille[3] and proved in the 1960s by the complete edition of Nietzsche's posthumous fragments by Mazzino Montinari and Giorgio Colli), his notes, even in the form given by his sister, remain a key insight into the philosophy of Nietzsche, and his unfinished transvaluation of all values. An English edition of Montinari & Colli's work is forthcoming (it has existed for decades in Italian, German and French).

Throughout his works, Nietzsche writes about possible great human beings or "higher types" who serve as an example of people who would follow his philosophical ideals. These ideal human beings Nietzsche calls by terms such as "the philosopher of the future", "the free spirit", "the tragic artist" and "the bermensch". They are often described by Nietzsche as being highly creative, courageous, powerful and extremely rare individuals. He compares such individuals with certain historical figures which have been very rare and often have been considered geniuses, such as Napoleon, Goethe and Beethoven. His main example of a genius exemplary culture is Archaic Greece.

In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche posits the bermensch(helpinfo) (often translated as "overman" or "superman") as a goal that humanity can set for itself. While interpretations of Nietzsche's overman vary wildly, here are a few of his quotes from Thus Spoke Zarathustra:[citation needed]

I teach you the bermensch. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him? [...] All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood, and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is ape to man? A laughingstock or painful embarrassment. And man shall be that to bermensch: a laughingstock or painful embarrassment. You have made your way from worm to man, and much in you is still worm. Once you were apes, and even now, too, man is more ape than any ape...The bermensch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the bermensch shall be the meaning of the earth... Man is a rope, tied between beast and bermenscha rope over an abyss...what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end...

Nietzsche may have encountered the idea of the Eternal Recurrence in the works of Heinrich Heine, who speculated that one day a person would be born with the same thought-processes as himself, and that the same applied to every other individual. Nietzsche expanded on this thought to form his theory, which he put forth in The Gay Science and developed in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Schopenhauer directly influenced this theory.[6] Schopenhauer postulated that a person who unconditionally affirms life would do so even if everything that has happened were to happen again repeatedly.[citation needed]

Nietzsche's view on eternal return is similar to that of Hume: "the idea that an eternal recurrence of blind, meaningless variationchaotic, pointless shuffling of matter and lawwould inevitably spew up worlds whose evolution through time would yield the apparently meaningful stories of our lives. This idea of eternal recurrence became a cornerstone of his nihilism, and thus part of the foundation of what became existentialism."[7] Nietzsche was so impressed by this idea, that he at first thought he had discovered a new scientific proof of the greatest importance, referring to it as the "most scientific of hypotheses". He gradually backed-off of this view, and in later works referred to it as a thought-experiment. "Nietzsche viewed his argument for eternal recurrence as a proof of the absurdity or meaninglessness of life, a proof that no meaning was given to the universe from on high."[8]

What if a demon were to creep after you one day or night, in your loneliest loneness, and say: "This life which you live and have lived, must be lived again by you, and innumerable times more. And mere will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and every sigheverything unspeakably small and great in your lifemust come again to you, and in the same sequence and series. . . . The eternal hourglass will again and again be turnedand you with it, dust of dust!" Would you not throw yourself down and curse the demon who spoke to you thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment, in which you would answer him: "Thou art a god, and never have I heard anything more divine!" [The Gay Science (1882), p. 341 (passage translated in Danto 1965, p. 210).]

Nietzsche's work addresses ethics from several perspectives: meta-ethics, normative ethics, and descriptive ethics.

In the field of meta-ethics, one can perhaps most accurately classify Nietzsche as a moral skeptic; meaning that he claims that all ethical statements are false, because any kind of correspondence between ethical statements and "moral facts" remains illusory. (This forms part of a more general claim that no universally true fact exists, roughly because none of them more than "appear" to correspond to reality). Instead, ethical statements (like all statements) remain mere "interpretations." However, Nietzsche does not claim that all interpretations are equivalent, since some testify for "noble" character while others are the symptom of a "decadent" life-form.

Sometimes Nietzsche may seem to have very definite opinions on what he regards as moral or as immoral. Note, however, that one can explain Nietzsche's moral opinions without attributing to him the claim of their truth. For Nietzsche, after all, we needn't disregard a statement merely because it expresses something false. On the contrary, he depicts falsehood as essential for "life". Interestingly enough, he mentions a "dishonest lie", (discussing Wagner in The Case of Wagner) as opposed to an "honest" one, recommending further to consult Plato with regard 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 recognizes 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 include:

Nietzsche elaborated these ideas in his book On the Genealogy of Morality, in which he also introduced the key concept of ressentiment as the basis for the slave morality. Nietzsche's primarily negative assessment of the ethical and moralistic teachings of Christianity followed from his earlier considerations of the questions of God and morality in the works The Gay Science and Thus Spoke Zarathustra. These considerations led Nietzsche to the idea of eternal recurrence. Nietzsche primarily meant that, for all practical purposes, his contemporaries lived as if God were dead, though they had not yet recognized it. Nietzsche believed this "death" had already started to undermine the foundations of morality and would lead to moral relativism and moral nihilism. As a response to the dangers of these trends he believed in re-evaluating the foundations of morality to better understand the origins and motives underlying them, so that individuals might decide for themselves whether to regard a moral value as born of an outdated or misguided cultural imposition or as something they wish to hold true.

While a political tone may be discerned in Nietzsche's writings, his work does not in any sense propose or outline a "political project." The man who stated that "The will to a system is a lack of integrity" was consistent in never devising or advocating a specific system of governance, enquiry, or ethics just as, being an advocate of individual struggle and self-realization, he never concerned himself with mass movements or with the organization of groups and political parties although there are parts of his works where he considers an enigmatic "greater politics", and others where he thinks the problem of community.[9]

In this sense, some have read Nietzsche as an anti-political thinker. Walter Kaufmann put forward the view that the powerful individualism expressed in his writings would be disastrous if introduced to the public realm of politics. Georges Bataille argued in 1937, in the Acphale review, that Nietzsche's thoughts were too free to be instrumentalized by any political movement. In "Nietzsche and Fascists," he argued against such instrumentalization, by the left or the right, declaring that Nietzsche's aim was to by-pass the short timespan of modern politics, and its inherent lies and simplifications, for a greater historical timespan.[3]

Later writers, led by the French intellectual Left, have proposed ways of using Nietzschean theory in what has become known as the "politics of difference" particularly in formulating theories of political resistance and sexual and moral difference. Owing largely to the writings of Kaufmann and others, the spectre of Nazism has now been almost entirely exorcised from his writings.

Nietzsche often referred to the common people who participated in mass movements and shared a common mass psychology as "the rabble", or "the herd". He allegedly valued individualism above all else, although this has been considered by many philosophers to be an oversimplification, as Nietzsche criticized the concept of the subject and of atomism (that is, the existence of an atomic subject at the foundation of everything, found for example in social contract theories). He considered the individual subject as a complex of instincts and wills-to-power, just as any other organization. Beginning in the 1890s some scholars have attempted to link his philosophy with Max Stirner's radical individualism of The Ego and Its Own (1844). The question remained pendant. Recently there was unearthed further, still circumstantial, evidence clarifying the relationship between Friedrich Nietzsche and Max Stirner.[10] In any case, few philosophers really consider Nietzsche an "individualist" thinker. He is best characterized as a thinker of "hierarchy", although the precise nature of this hierarchy does not cover the current social order (the "establishment") and is related to his thought of the Will to Power. Against the strictly "egoist" perspective adopted by Stirner, Nietzsche concerned himself with the "problem of the civilization" and the necessity to give humanity a goal and a direction to its history, making him, in this sense, a very political thinker.[11][12]

Furthermore, in the context of his criticism of morality and Christianity, expressed, among others works, in On the Genealogy of Morals and in The Antichrist, Nietzsche often criticized humanitarian feelings, detesting how pity and altruism were ways for the "weak" to take power over the "strong". However, he qualified his critique of Christianism as a "particular case" of his criticisms of free will.[13] Along with the rejection of teleology, this critique of free will is one of the common points he shared with Spinoza, whom he qualified as a "precursor".[14] To the "ethics of compassion" (Mitleid, "shared suffering") exposed by Schopenhauer,[15] Nietzsche opposed an "ethics of friendship" or of "shared joy" (Mitfreude).[16]

While he had a dislike of the state in general, which he called a "cold monster" in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche also spoke negatively of anarchists and socialism, and made it clear that only certain individuals could attempt to break away from the herd mentality. This theme is common throughout Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

Although Nietzsche has famously been misrepresented as a predecessor to Nazism, he criticized anti-Semitism, pan-Germanism and, to a lesser extent, nationalism.[18] Thus, he broke with his editor in 1886 because of his opposition to his editor's anti-Semitic stances, and his rupture with Richard Wagner, expressed in The Case of Wagner and Nietzsche Contra Wagner, both of which he wrote in 1888, had much to do with Wagner's endorsement of pan-Germanism and anti-Semitism and also of his rallying to Christianity. In a March 29, 1887 letter to Theodor Fritsch, Nietzsche mocked anti-Semites, Fritsch, Eugen Dhring, Wagner, Ebrard, Wahrmund, and the leading advocate of pan-Germanism, Paul de Lagarde, who would become, along with Wagner and Houston Chamberlain, the main official influences of Nazism.[3] This 1887 letter to Fritsch ended by: "-- And finally, how do you think I feel when the name Zarathustra is mouthed by anti-Semites? ..."[19]

Section VIII of Beyond Good and Evil, titled "Peoples and Fatherlands", criticized pan-Germanism and patriotism, advocating instead the unification of Europe (256, etc.). In Ecce Homo (1888), Nietzsche criticized the "German nation" and its "will to power (to Empire, to Reich)," thus underscoring an easy misinterpretation of the Wille zur Macht, the conception of Germans as a "race," and the "anti-Semitic way of writing history," or of making "history conform to the German Empire," and stigmatized "nationalism, this national neurosis from which Europe is sick," this "small politics."[20]

Nietzsche heavily criticized his sister and her husband, Bernhard Frster, speaking harshly against the "anti-Semitic canaille:"

I've seen proof, black on white, that Herr Dr. Frster has not yet severed his connection with the anti-Semitic movement...Since then I've had difficulty coming up with any of the tenderness and protectiveness I've so long felt toward you. The separation between us is thereby decided in really the most absurd way. Have you grasped nothing of the reason why I am in the world?...Now it has gone so far that I have to defend myself hand and foot against people who confuse me with these anti-Semitic canaille; after my own sister, my former sister, and after Widemann more recently have given the impetus to this most dire of all confusions. After I read the name Zarathustra in the anti-Semitic Correspondence my forbearance came to an end. I am now in a position of emergency defense against your spouse's Party. These accursed anti-Semite deformities shall not sully my ideal!!

Draft for a letter to his sister Elisabeth Frster-Nietzsche (December 1887)

Georges Bataille was one of the first to denounce the deliberate misinterpretation of Nietzsche carried out by Nazis, among them Alfred Baeumler. In January 1937 he dedicated an issue of Acphale, titled "Reparations to Nietzsche," to the theme "Nietzsche and the Fascists.[3]" There, he called Elisabeth Frster-Nietzsche "Elisabeth Judas-Frster," recalling Nietzsche's declaration: "To never frequent anyone who is involved in this bare-faced fraud concerning races."[3]

Nietzsche titled aphorism 377 in the fifth book of The Gay Science (published in 1887) "We who are homeless" (Wir Heimatlosen),[21] in which he criticized pan-Germanism and patriotism and called himself a "good European". In the second part of this aphorism, which according to Bataille contained the most important parts of Nietzsche's political thought, the thinker of the Eternal Return stated:

No, we do not love humanity; but on the other hand we are not nearly "German" enough, in the sense in which the word "German" is constantly being used nowadays, to advocate nationalism and race hatred and to be able to take pleasure in the national scabies of the heart and blood poisoning that now leads the nations of Europe to delimit and barricade themselves against each other as if it were a matter of quarantine. For that we are too open-minded, too malicious, too spoiled, also too well-informed, too "traveled": we far prefer to live on mountains, apart, "untimely," in past or future centuries, merely in order to keep ourselves from experiencing the silent rage to which we know we should be condemned as eyewitnesses of politics that are desolating the German spirit by making it vain and that is, moreover, petty politics:to keep its own creation from immediately falling apart again, is it not finding it necessary to plant it between two deadly hatreds? must it not desire the eternalization of the European system of a lot of petty states? ... We who are homeless are too manifold and mixed racially and in our descent, being "modern men," and consequently do not feel tempted to participate in the mendacious racial self-admiration and racial indecency that parades in Germany today as a sign of a German way of thinking and that is doubly false and obscene among the people of the "historical sense." We are, in one wordand let this be our word of honor! good Europeans, the heirs of Europe, the rich, oversupplied, but also overly obligated heirs of thousands of years of European spirit: as such, we have also outgrown Christianity and are averse to it, and precisely because we have grown out of it, because our ancestors were Christians who in their Christianity were uncompromisingly upright; for their faith they willingly sacrificed possessions and position, blood and fatherland. Wedo the same. For what? For our unbelief? For every kind of unbelief? No, you know better than that, my friends! The hidden Yes in you is stronger than all Nos and Maybes that afflict you and your age like a disease; and when you have to embark on the sea, you emigrants, you, too, are compelled to this by a faith! ...[22]

Nietzsche's views on women have served as a magnet for controversy, beginning during his life and continuing to the present. He frequently made remarks in his writing that some view as misogynistic. He claimed in Twilight of the Idols (1888) "Women are considered profound. Why? Because we never fathom their depths. But women aren't even shallow."[23]

Nietzsche knew little of the 19th-century philosopher Sren Kierkegaard.[24][25]Georg Brandes, a Danish philosopher, wrote to Nietzsche in 1888 asking him to study the works of Kierkegaard, to which Nietzsche replied that he would.[26][nb 1]

Recent research, however, suggests that Nietzsche was exposed to the works of Kierkegaard through secondary literature. Aside from Brandes, Nietzsche owned and read a copy of Hans Lassen Martensens Christliche Ethik (1873) in which Martensen extensively quoted and wrote about Kierkegaards individualism in ethics and religion. Nietzsche also read Harald Hffdings Psychologie in Umrissen auf Grundlage der Erfahrung (ed. 1887) which expounded and critiqued Kierkegaards psychology. Thomas Brobjer believes one of the works Nietzsche wrote about Kierkegaard is in Morgenrthe, which was partly written in response to Martensen's work. In one of the passages, Nietzsche wrote: Those moralists, on the other hand, who, following in the footsteps of Socrates, offer the individual a morality of self-control and temperance as a means to his own advantage, as his personal key to happiness, are the exceptions. Brobjer believes Kierkegaard is one of "those moralists".[27]

The first philosophical study comparing Kierkegaard and Nietzsche was published even before Nietzsche's death.[28] More than 60 articles and 15 full-length studies have been published devoted entirely in comparing these two thinkers.[28]

According to Santayana, Nietzsche considered his philosophy to be a correction of Schopenhauers philosophy. In his Egotism in German Philosophy,[29] Santayana listed Nietzsches antithetical reactions to Schopenhauer:

The will to live would become the will to dominate; pessimism founded on reflection would become optimism founded on courage; the suspense of the will in contemplation would yield to a more biological account of intelligence and taste; finally in the place of pity and asceticism (Schopenhauer s two principles of morals) Nietzsche would set up the duty of asserting the will at all costs and being cruelly but beautifully strong.

These points of difference from Schopenhauer cover the whole philosophy of Nietzsche.

These emendations show how Schopenhauers philosophy was not a mere initial stimulus for Nietzsche, but formed the basis for much of Nietzsches thinking.

Perhaps Nietzsche's greatest philosophical legacy lies in his 20th century interpreters, among them Pierre Klossowski, Martin Heidegger, Georges Bataille, Leo Strauss, Alexandre Kojve, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze (and Flix Guattari), Jacques Derrida and Albert Camus. Foucault's later writings, for example, adopt Nietzsche's genealogical method to develop anti-foundationalist theories of power that divide and fragment rather than unite politics (as evinced in the liberal tradition of political theory). The systematic institutionalisation of criminal delinquency, sexual identity and practice, and the mentally ill (to name but a few) are examples used to demonstrate how knowledge or truth is inseparable from the institutions that formulate notions of legitimacy from 'immoralities' such as homosexuality and the like (captured in the famous power-knowledge equation). Deleuze, arguably the foremost of Nietzsche's interpreters, used the much-maligned 'will to power' thesis in tandem with Marxian notions of commodity surplus and Freudian ideas of desire to articulate concepts such the rhizome and other 'outsides' to state power as traditionally conceived.

Certain recent Nietzschean interpretations have emphasized the more untimely and politically controversial aspects of Nietzsche's philosophy. Nietzschean commentator Keith Ansell Pearson has pointed out the absurd hypocrisy of modern egalitarian liberals, socialists, feminists and anarchists claiming Nietzsche as a herald of their own left-wing politics: "The values Nietzsche wishes to subject to a revaluation are largely altruistic and egalitarian values such as pity, self-sacrifice, and equal rights. For Nietzsche, modern politics rests largely on a secular inheritance of Christian values (he interprets the socialist doctrine of equality in terms of a secularization of the Christian belief in the equality of all souls before God" (On the Genealogy of Morality, Ansell-Pearson and Diethe, eds., Cambridge University Press, 1994, p.9). Works such as Bruce Detwiler's Nietzsche and the Politics of Aristocratic Radicalism (University of Chicago Press, 1990), Fredrick Appel's Nietzsche Contra Democracy (Cornell University Press, 1998), and Domenico Losurdo's Nietzsche, il ribelle aristocratico (Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 2002) challenge the prevalent liberal interpretive consensus on Nietzsche and assert that Nietzsche's elitism was not merely an aesthetic pose but an ideological attack on the widely held belief in equal rights of the modern West, locating Nietzsche in the conservative-revolutionary tradition.

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Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche - Wikipedia

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The challenge begins with how to pronounce his name. The first bit should sound like Knee, the second like cher: Knee cher.Friedrich Nietzsche was born in 1844 in a quiet village in the eastern part of Germany, where for generations his forefathers had been pastors. He did exceptionally well at school and university; and so excelled at ancient Greek (a very prestigious subject, at the time) that he was made a professor at the University of Basel when still only in his mid-twenties

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PHILOSOPHY - Nietzsche - YouTube

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18 Rare Friedrich Nietzsche Quotes to Make You Question …

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Friedrich Nietzsche is one of the most misinterpreted philosophers the world has ever seen.

His incomparable, fierce literary style and tenacious will to question allorthodox beliefs and institutionshave captivated and perplexed readers for over a century.

I hesitate to share a list of quotations from his work, knowing full well that without the proper context, it is easy to misapprehend the full meaning and significance of his words. However, Nietzsche is also one of the most quotable writers who ever lived, and I think it is worth providing a sampling of some of his less commonly cited quotations here for a couple of reasons.

For one, those familiar with Nietzsche will probably find something illuminatingin this collection that they would be unlikely to come across elsewhere online. And, for those unfamiliar, this collection will hopefully provide a fine appetizer of Nietzsches inimitable personality and paradigm-incineratingideas.

In either case, the hope is that this collection will inspire readers to seek out thebooksfrom which these quotes were taken, in order to gain a fuller understanding of Nietzsches profound view of the world. Most all of these quotes were found in my copy ofThe Portable Nietzsche(the Walter Kaufmann translation), which I cannot recommend enough.

Now, contemplateand enjoy these quotes, but be warned: Nietzsches work can be dense and challenging!Let your mental muscle exert itself and resist the temptation to hastily form final opinions of the meanings of these sentiments. Keep in mind that this is but a glimpse into the beautiful and complex philosophy of a man who cannot be pinned down in a single blog post.

These first two quotes showcase Nietzsches zeal for life, for cheer, for the ecstasy of artistic intoxication. This is a fitting place to begin, as it gives us a sense ofthe life-affirming essence of Nietzsches worldview: hissupreme distaste for things which he saw asdenyinglife, ordiminishingones ability to affirm life. You will note the recurrence of this theme ofopposition to all things life-denying in the remainder of this collection.

These two sentiments of Nietzsches were unpublished in his lifetime and are particularly interesting, as they suggest just how far Nietzsche was willing to go in terms of rejecting what he saw as life-denying structures. The first quote suggests that he came to see the individual ego as something to be overcome along the path to the realization and affirmation of oneself as inseparable from the transpersonal force of the entire cosmos. The latter seems to suggest that he viewed excessive nationalism as a fallacious and limiting attitude that was not in harmony with deeper spiritual or ethical compulsions.

The previous six quotes challenge our common conceptions of self-interest versus altruism. Nietzsche was obsessed with the idea that the people of his time unquestioningly assumed that pity and altruism arealwaysgood, when in fact the truth is much more complex.

Nietzsche thought excessive pity could cripple the subject who felt it, and that an altruistic attitude could actually be quite destructive, if one had the hubris to assume that one actuallyknewwhat was best for another person. Self-interest was often decried as sinful in his time, but Nietzsche felt that for the truly life-affirming individual, being self-interested in the sense of being true to ones deepest compulsions and truest values was precisely the best way to honor the spirit of life. Intriguingly, Nietzsche seems to have seen self-interest as a necessary phase on the path to eventual self-overcoming.

The above two quotes are indicative of Nietzsches sense that mankind was far too arrogant in assuming it was possible to gain any final knowledge or to make any ultimate value judgments about life. For Nietzsche, value and truth were always relative to the individual doing the supposing. He even went further still, questioning whether truth was valuable in the first place why not untruth?

The above two passages, which occur in close succession inThe Gay Science,reflect the fact that Nietzsche went as far as to question the value of truth-seeking as an activity. Man manages to live only because of immense self-deception, Nietzsche thought, so the act of seeking the capital-T truth might ultimately be another covert form of life-denial.

The final four quotes in this collection are miscellaneous, not connected by any apparent theme, except perhaps the theme of how to live in such a way so as to affirm life. I hope you will enjoy soaking in these final sentiments, and I thank you for taking the time to read this collection and to gain insight into the illustrious mind of Friedrich Nietzsche.

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18 Rare Friedrich Nietzsche Quotes to Make You Question ...

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Nietzsche Quotes: Christianity

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Christianity as antiquity.-- When we hear theancient bells growling on a Sunday morning we ask ourselves: Is itreally possible! This, for a jew, crucified two thousand years ago,who said he was God's son? The proof of such a claim is lacking.Certainly the Christian religion is an antiquity projected into ourtimes from remote prehistory; and the fact that the claim isbelieved - whereas one is otherwise so strict in examiningpretensions - is perhaps the most ancient piece of this heritage. Agod who begets children with a mortal woman; a sage who bids menwork no more, have no more courts, but look for the signs of theimpending end of the world; a justice that accepts the innocent asa vicarious sacrifice; someone who orders his disciples to drinkhis blood; prayers for miraculous interventions; sins perpetratedagainst a god, atoned for by a god; fear of a beyond to which deathis the portal; the form of the cross as a symbol in a time that nolonger knows the function and ignominy of the cross -- howghoulishly all this touches us, as if from the tomb of a primevalpast! Can one believe that such things are still believed?

from Nietzsche's Human, all too Human, s.405,R.J. Hollingdale transl.

Christianity was from the beginning, essentially andfundamentally, life's nausea and disgust with life, merelyconcealed behind, masked by, dressed up as, faith in "another" or"better" life.

from Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy, p.23,Walter Kaufmann transl.

Change of Cast. -- As soon as a religion comesto dominate it has as its opponents all those who would have beenits first disciples.

from Nietzsche's Human, all too Human, s.118,R.J. Hollingdale transl.

Blind pupils. -- As long as a man knows verywell the strength and weaknesses of his teaching, his art, hisreligion, its power is still slight. The pupil and apostle who,blinded by the authority of the master and by the piety he feelstoward him, pays no attention to the weaknesses of a teaching, areligion, and soon usually has for that reason more power than themaster. The influence of a man has never yet grown great withouthis blind pupils. To help a perceptionto achieve victory often means merely to unite it with stupidity sointimately that the weight of the latter also enforces the victoryof the former.

from Nietzsche's Human, all too Human,s.122, R.J. Hollingdale transl.

Speaking in a parable.--A Jesus Christ waspossible only in a Jewish landscape--I mean one over which thegloomy and sublime thunder cloud of the wrathful Yahweh wasbrooding continually. Only here was the rare and sudden piercing ofthe gruesome and perpetual general day-night by a single ray of thesun experienced as if it were a miracle of "love" and the ray ofunmerited "grace." Only here could Jesus dream of his rainbow andhis ladder to heaven on which God descended to man. Everywhere elsegood weather and sunshine were considered the rule and everydayoccurrences.

from Nietzsche's The Gay Science, s.137,Walter Kaufmann transl

The first Christian. All the world stillbelieves in the authorship of the "Holy Spirit" or is at leaststill affected by this belief: when one opens the Bible one does sofor "edification."... That it also tells the story of one of themost ambitious and obtrusive of souls, of a head as superstitiousas it was crafty, the story of the apostle Paul--who knows this ,except a few scholars? Without this strange story, however, withoutthe confusions and storms of such a head, such a soul, there wouldbe no Christianity...That the ship of Christianity threw overboard a good deal of itsJewish ballast, that it went, and was able to go, among thepagans--that was due to this one man, a very tortured, verypitiful, very unpleasant man, unpleasant even to himself. Hesuffered from a fixed idea--or more precisely, from a fixed,ever-present, never-resting question: what about the Jewish law?and particularly the fulfillment of this law? In his youth he had himself wanted to satisfy it, with a ravenoushunger for this highest distinction which the Jews couldconceive - this people who were propelled higher than any otherpeople by the imagination of the ethically sublime, and who alonesucceeded in creating a holy god together with the idea of sin as atransgression against this holiness. Paul became the fanatical defender of this god and his law andguardian of his honor; at the same time, in the struggleagainst the transgressors and doubters, lying in wait for them, hebecame increasingly harsh and evilly disposed towards them, andinclined towards the most extreme punishments. And now he foundthat--hot-headed, sensual, melancholy, malignant in his hatred ashe was-- he was himself unable to fulfill the law; indeed, and thisseemed strangest to him, his extravagant lust to domineer provokedhim continually to transgress the law, and he had to yield to thisthorn.Is it really his "carnal nature" that makes him transgress againand again? And not rather, as he himself suspected later, behind itthe law itself, which must constantly prove itself unfulfillableand which lures him to transgression with irresistable charm?But at that time he did not yet have this way out. He had much onhis conscience - he hints at hostility, murder, magic, idolatry, lewdness,drunkenness, and pleasure in dissolute carousing - and...moments came when he said to himself:"It is all in vain; thetorture of the unfulfilled law cannot be overcome."... The law wasthe cross to which he felt himself nailed: how he hated it! how hesearched for some means to annihilate it--not to fulfill it anymore himself!And finally the saving thought struck him,... "It isunreasonable to persecute this Jesus! Here after all is theway out; here is the perfect revenge; here and nowhere else I haveand hold the annihilator of the law!"... Until then the ignominiousdeath had seemed to him the chief argument against the Messianicclaim of which the new doctrine spoke: but what if it werenecessary to get rid of the law?The tremendous consequences of this idea, of this solution of theriddle, spin before his eyes; at one stroke he becomes the happiestman; the destiny of the Jews--no, of all men--seems to him to betied to this idea, to this second of its sudden illumination; hehas the thought of thoughts, the key of keys, the light of lights;it is around him that all history must revolve henceforth. For heis from now on the teacher of the annihilation of thelaw...This is the first Christian, the inventor of Christianity. Untilthen there were only a few Jewish sectarians.

from Nietzsche's Daybreak, s.68, WalterKaufmann transl.

The persecutor of God. -- Paul thought up theidea and Calvin rethought it, that for innumerable people damnation has been decreed from eternity,and that this beautiful world plan was instituted to reveal theglory of God: heaven and hell and humanity are thus supposed toexist - to satisfy the vanity of God! What cruel and insatiablevanity must have flared in the soul of the man who thought this upfirst, or second. Paul has remained Saul after all - the persecutorof God.

from Nietzsche's The Wanderer and hisShadow, R.J. Hollingdale transl.

The everyday Christian. -- If the Christiandogmas of a revengeful God, universal sinfulness, election by divine grace and the danger of eternal damnation were true, it would be a signof weak-mindedness and lack of character not to become apriest, apostle or hermit and, in fear and trembling, to worksolely on one's own salvation; it would be senseless to lose sightof ones eternal advantage for the sake of temporal comfort. If wemay assume that these things are at any rate believed true,then the everyday Christian cuts a miserable figure; he is a manwho really cannot count to three, and who precisely on account ofhis spiritual imbecility does not deserve to be punished so harshlyas Christianity promises to punish him.

from Nietzsche's Human, all too Human, s.116,R.J. Hollingdale transl.

What a crude intellect is good for.-- TheChristian church is an encyclopaedia of prehistoric cults andconceptions of the most diverse origin, and that is why it is socapable of proselytizing: italways could, and it can still go wherever it pleases and it alwaysfound, and always finds something similar to itself to which it canadapt itself and gradually impose upon it a Christian meaning.It is not what is Christian in it, but the universalheathen character of its usages, which has favored thespread of this world-religion; its ideas, rooted in both the Jewishand the Hellenic worlds, have from the first known how to raisethemselves above national and racial niceties and exclusiveness asthough these were merely prejudices. One may admire thispower of causing the most various elements to coalesce, butone must not forget the contemptible quality that adheres to thispower: the astonishing crudeness and self-satisfiedness of thechurch's intellect during the time it was in process of formation,which permitted it to accept any food and to digestopposites like pebbles.

from Nietzsche's Daybreak,s. 70, R.J.Hollingdale transl.

The despairing.-- Christianity possesses thehunters instinct for all those who can by one means or another bebrought to despair - of which only a portion of mankind is capable.It is constantly on their track, it lies in wait for them. Pascalattempted the experiment of seeing whether, with the aid of themost incisive knowledge, everyone could not be brought to despair:the experiment miscarried, to his twofold despair.

from Nietzsche's Daybreak,s. 64, R.J.Hollingdale transl.

The compassionate Christian.-- The reverseside of Christian compassion for the suffering of one's neighbor isa profound suspicion of all the joy of one's neighbor, of his joyin all that he wants to do and can.

from Nietzsche's Daybreak,s. 80, R.J.Hollingdale transl.

Doubt as sin.-- Christianity has done itsutmost to close the circle and declared even doubt to be sin. One is supposed to be cast intobelief without reason, by a miracle, and from then on to swim in itas in the brightest and least ambiguous of elements: even a glancetowards land, even the thought that one perhaps exists forsomething else as well as swimming, even the slightest impulse ofour amphibious nature- is sin! And notice that all this means thatthe foundation of belief and all reflection on its origin islikewise excluded as sinful. What is wanted are blindness andintoxication and an eternal song over the waves in which reason hasdrowned.

from Nietzsche's Daybreak,s. 89, R.J.Hollingdale transl.

Other fears, other securities.-- Christianityhad brought into life a quite novel and limitlessperilousness, and therewith quite novel securities,pleasures, recreations and evaluations of all things. Our centurydenies this perilousness, and does so with a good conscience: andyet it continues to drag along with it the old habits of Christiansecurity, Christian enjoyment, recreation, evaluation! It evendrags them into its noblest arts and philosophies! How worn out andfeeble, how insipid and awkward, how arbitrarily fanatical and,above all, how insecure all this must appear, now that the fearfulantithesis to it, the omnipresent fear of the Christian forhis eternal salvation, has been lost.

from Nietzsche's Daybreak,s. 57, R.J.Hollingdale transl.

What distinguishes us [scientists] from the pious andthe believers is not the quality but the quantity of belief andpiety; we are contented with less. But if the former shouldchallenge us: then be contented and appear to be contented! - thenwe might easily reply: 'We are, indeed, not among the leastcontented. You, however, if your belief makes you blessed thenappear to be blessed! Your faces have always been more injurious toyour belief than our objections have! If these glad tidings of yourBible were written on your faces, you would not need to insist soobstinately on the authority of that book... As things are,however, all your apologies for Christianity have their roots inyour lack of Christianity; with your defence plea you inscribe yourown bill of indictment.

from Nietzsche's Assorted Opinions andMaxims,s. 98, R.J. Hollingdale transl.

Christianity's Destiny

Historical refutation as the definitiverefutation.-- In former times, one sought to prove that thereis no God - today one indicates how the belief that there is a Godarose and how this belief acquired its weight andimportance: a counter-proof that there is no God thereby becomessuperfluous.- When in former times one had refuted the 'proofs ofthe existence of God' put forward, there always remained the doubtwhether better proofs might not be adduced than those just refuted:in those days atheists did not know how to make a clean sweep.

from Nietzsche's Daybreak,s. 95, R.J.Hollingdale transl.

But in the end one also has to understand that theneeds that religion has satisfied and philosophy is now supposed tosatisfy are not immutable; they can be weakened andexterminated. Consider, for example, that Christian distressof mind that comes from sighing over ones inner depravity and carefor ones salvation - all concepts originating in nothing but errorsof reason and deserving, not satisfaction, but obliteration.

from Nietzsche's Human, all too Human, s.27,R.J. Hollingdale transl.

Destiny of Christianity. -- Christianity cameinto existence in order to lighten the heart; but now it has firstto burden the heart so as afterwards to be able to lighten it.Consequently it shall perish.

from Nietzsche's Human, all too Human, s.119,R.J. Hollingdale transl.

At the deathbed of Christianity.-- Reallyunreflective people are now inwardly without Christianity, and themore moderate and reflective people of the intellectual middleclass now possess only an adapted, that is to say marvelouslysimplified Christianity. A god who in his love arrangeseverything in a manner that in the end will be best for us; a godwho gives to us and takes from us our virtue and our happiness, sothat as a whole all is meet and fit and there is no reason for usto take life sadly, let alone exclaim against it; in short,resignation and modest demands elevated to godhead - that is thebest and most vital thing that still remains of Christianity. Butone should notice that Christianity has thus crossed over into agentle moralism: it is not so much 'God, freedom andimmortality' that have remained, as benevolence and decency ofdisposition, and the belief that in the whole universe toobenevolence and decency of disposition prevail: it is theeuthanasia of Christianity.

from Nietzsche's Daybreak,s. 92, R.J.Hollingdale transl.

After Buddha was dead, hisshadow was still shown for centuries in a cave - a tremendous,gruesome shadow. God is dead; but given the way of men, there maystill be caves for thousands of years in which his shadow will beshown. -And we- we still have to vanquish his shadow, too.

from Nietzsche's The Gay Science, s.108,Walter Kaufmann transl.

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Nietzsche Quotes: Christianity

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Friedrich Nietzsche’s Religion and Political Views …

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Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Rcken in what is now Germany and grew up there and inNaumburg, Germany. He died of stroke, pneumonia and insanity in Weimar, Germany in 1900.

Nietzsche was originally quite religious. His father was a Lutheran minister and Friedrich studied theology at the University of Bonn. During his studies, however, he learned of the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer and became a staunch atheist.

That is the Nietzsche we are now familiar with, the creator of the now-famous quote:

God is dead We have killed him.

Nietzsche was quite critical of religionand Christianity in particular. According to Nietzsche, religion was a shield with which mankind protects itself from fear and anxiety over his mortality, insignificance and confusion. Influenced by Darwin, Nietzsche posited that a new kind of human will eventually emerge, far greater than any current manifestation. He called this new human the Overman or Superman, or in German, the bermensch. He wrote:

All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the Overman: a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment

In place of Christian ethics, Nietzsche simply felt that people should do whatever makes them happy. However, as evolution and nature dictates, those stronger people (such as the Overman) can do what they want and the weaker folks have to deal with it. It was his Master and Slave philosophy.

There is not truth to Nietzsche, only subjectivity. There is no justice or equality, only power and weakness.

Nietzsche is often associated with the Nazi ideology. And, it is true that Hitler and his cronies were quite fond of Nietzsches philosophy. Think about it: A philosophical justification for the idea that one person (or race of people) is stronger, better, smarter and more powerful than others. And action, violent or otherwise, is completely sanctioned by the ethics of said philosophy. Nietzsches book, Will to Power, reads:

The possibility has been established for the production of international racial unions whose task will be to rear a master race, the future masters of the earth a higher kind of man who, thanks to their superiority in will, knowledge, riches, and influence, employ democratic Europe as their most pliant and supple instrument for getting hold of the destinies of the earth, so as to work as artists upon man himself.

Sounds like the Nazi Aryans, doesnt it? Needless to say, Nietzsche was not an advocate of Democracy. The good politicians, he said, divides mankind into two classes: tools and enemies.

However, Nietzsche wasnt an anti-semite and by the end of his life, in his madness, he was calling upon all of Europe to attack Germany.

Friedrich Nietzsche was one of the most interesting, controversial and possibly clearest thinkers in western history. His philosophy still attracts adherents and the curious to this day. He is considered one of the fathers of a still-popular philosophical movement called existentialismthat, at the end of the day, is an optimistic philosophy centered around the idea that people are free and in control of their own destiny. It is up to them to have the good lifeand they are perfectly capable of doing it.

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Friedrich Nietzsche's Religion and Political Views ...

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October 17th, 2017 at 12:51 am

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Friedrich Nietzsche – The New York Times

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By Julian Young

In both style and content, Friedrich Nietzsche's works mark the end of the 19th century. His short, punchy aphorisms What doesn't kill me makes me stronger, Man does not pursue pleasure, only the Englishman does signal a departure from the florid, German prose of the Victorian era. His recognition of the death of God and of the will to power as a dominant human motive, as well as his anticipation of World War I, of the rise of dictatorships, and even of global warming, speak to the troubled realism of the 20th century. Apart from this, however, there is little agreement as to the character of Nietzsche's significance or indeed about his primary message.

Everyone democrats, fascists, feminists, antifeminists, Christians, atheists, analytic philosophers, anti-analytic deconstructionist philosophers has found Nietzsches work to contain precisely their message.

For some he is an authoritarian antidemocrat who believes that only the wellbeing of the superman, that exceptional individual such as Goethe, Shakespeare or Socrates, is of any value. Many who read him this way find it unsurprising that (notwithstanding his vociferous anti-anti-Semitism) the Nazis adopted him as their intellectual forerunner. For other readers, however, he is the father of postmodernism who discovered that there are no truths, only interpretations (except, perhaps, this truth), a believer in playfulness, dance, and individual free-spiritedness.

Largely unknown during his life, Nietzsche was a world star at the time of his death.


Nietzsche was born in 1844 in the village of Rcken, near Leipzig, in Prussian Saxony. His father was a Lutheran pastor, as were both his grandfathers. Following the death of his father in 1849, the family he, his mother and his sister Elizabeth, two years younger than himself moved to nearby Naumburg. In 1858 he won a scholarship to Pforta, the best boarding school in Germany, about a two-hour walk from his home. At Pforta, he received a superb training in Greek and Latin. As a graduate student in Leipzig, he was regarded as the most gifted classicist of his generation, which resulted, in 1869, in his becoming a professor of Greek literature at the University of Basel in Switzerland at age 24. During Nietzsche's first three years in Basel, he paid 23 visits on the German composer, Richard Wagner, and his wife, Cosima (ne Liszt), who lived in Tribschen, Lucerne, three hours away by train. (Wagner was in political exile from Germany, having played a leading role in the failed socialist revolution of 1848.)


At Tribschen, Nietzsche wrote his first book, The Birth of Tragedy (1872), as his contribution to Wagner's project of building his own opera house in Bayreuth. In the book, he argued that Greek culture, the highest point of Western civilization, survived and thrived on account of the community-gathering effect of the Greek tragic festival. Wagner's music-dramas are a rebirth of Greek tragedy. Increasingly, though, Nietzsche became disillusioned by what he considered Wagners jingoistic anti-Semitism and cheap showmanship. In 1876, his objections to Wagner led him to walk out of the first of the Bayreuth Festivals, an annual event devoted to Wagners operas. Simultaneously his philosophy took a dramatic turn towards the positivist spirit of the age. The Birth of Tragedy had been based on a romantic idealism which Nietzsche inherited from the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer: since the natural world is ultimately merely a dream, science is superficial and the only route to reality is through art. Two years later, however, in Human, All-too-Human, Nietzsche asserted that only matter is real so that science alone can deliver knowledge of reality.

Human, All-too-Human was written in close collaboration with Nietzsche's then best friend, Paul Re, with whom he developed the practice of psychological observation based on the idea that human beings habitually deceive themselves as to the true motives of their actions, and that their real motives typically fall far short of what their morality says they should be. One prefers, Nietzsche observes, to save a drowning man when there is someone on hand to applaud the action. People give money to beggars because they enjoy displaying their superior status and power the first glimmering of the 'will to power' thesis.

In 1879 Nietzsche resigned his position at the University of Basel. For years he had struggled with deteriorating eyesight and bouts of headaches and vomiting that often lasted for days. In addition he had become ever more alienated from the life of a classics professor and wanted to devote himself entirely to the philosophical work he considered his life task. The university granted him a small pension from which he was (just) able to live for the rest of his life. For the next decade he led a nomadic existence. Believing that his health required permanent, mild winter he would spend the summers in the Swiss Alps Sils Maria, a village above St. Moritz, became his spiritual homeland and the winters on the Mediterranean, mainly in Genoa and later Nice.

It was in Sils Maria that what he considered his greatest thought came to him: the idea that if one were in perfect mental health and were to be told that one's exact life, down to the very last detail no matter how painful or shameful, was destined to return again and again throughout endless time, one would embrace this fact with ecstatic joy. He published this thought of the eternal return of the same in The Gay Science (probably his single most brilliant, comprehensive and delightful work) in 1882.


In April 1882, in Rome, Nietzsche met Lou Salom, an emancipated, beautiful and brilliant 20-year-old Russian. (She would later become the lover and friend of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, qualify as a psychoanalyst, and become a member of Freud's inner circle.) Lou was profoundly impressed by, and had a precocious grasp of, Nietzsche's philosophy. He, not surprisingly, fell in love. Unfortunately so, too, did Re, his best friend. The whole affair turned into a poisonous custard with both men seeking to undermine the other, while Nietzsches sister, Elizabeth, pathologically jealous of any women who threatened to become closer to her brother than herself, stirred the pot with lies and half-truths. Lou had no sexual interest in either man but in the end she went off to live (unbeknownst to Nietzsche, platonically) with Re, leaving Nietzsche to realize by the end of the year that he had been dumped. Traumatized, he retreated to Rapallo, a town near Genoa, to lick his wounds. Nietzsches romantic pursuits ended after the Salom affair. He became absorbed in his writing. It was in Rapallo that he completed Part I of Thus Spoke Zarathustra which was published in 1883. (In the course of the next two years it would acquire three further Parts. As a totality it is an exposition of his entire philosophy in poetic, allegorical form, the language often imitating that of the Bible.)

The first Part of Zarathustra is notable for its infamous remarks about women: A man should be brought up for war, a woman for the recreation of the warrior, Are you going to women? Then don't forget the whip,, and so on. Since prior to the Salom affair Nietzsche had been something of a supporter of the women's emancipation movement that was gathering strength around him - as dean of Humanities at the University of Basel in 1874 he had fought (unsuccessfully) for the admission of women - it is likely that his antifeminism, indeed misogyny, can be traced to the Salom trauma. Later on he more or less admits that his views on women, though an indelible part of his personality, are pathological and are not to be regarded as an intrinsic part of his philosophy. In Beyond Good and Evil (1886) he calls his views on women a great stupidity..


Though all of his books are polemical, Beyond Good and Evil is Nietzsche's most deliberately shocking. In it he postulates that the world is will to power - and nothing besides a proposition he took to be an improved version of Darwinism: creatures, he claims, often risk life for the sake of an increase in power, so the drive to power, rather than the drive to survive, must be the fundamental one. The point of the work's deliberately lurid language life itself is essentially a process of appropriating, injuring, overpowering the alien and the weaker, oppressing exploiting is to force his age to wake up to the desperate need for a revaluation of all values.

The Genealogy of Morals, which appeared in 1887, provides a clue as to how one is to revalue values, what alternative morality should be adopted. The first moralities were 'master moralities': feeling good about themselves, the successful warrior bands, the Vikings for instance, elevated to the status of virtues those qualities which facilitated their success: self-confidence, lust for war, courage, resoluteness, intelligence, strength, and so on. Graeco-Roman antiquity valued these same qualities, primarily, however, not in their crude expression but in a 'spiritualised', sublimated, form. The greatness of Greece was based on agon, the sublimation of warfare into 'competition'. No less than the Olympic Games, the great Greek tragedies were the product of intense competition between playwrights. But then, during the Roman Empire, a new form of morality grew up, the morality of the underclass, slave morality. Experiencing intense ressentiment against their oppressive masters, the slaves invented the new morality of Christian (so-called) love. This was the product of 'spin', a transformation of the virtues of the masters into vices: self-confidence became 'arrogance', resoluteness 'cruelty', courage 'aggression' and so on. And the characteristics which the slaves, as slaves, had to exhibit--timidity, fawning friendliness, self-effacement became, under new names, virtues: peacefulness, love and humility. And so one arrived at the morality of the present, the morality which leads inexorably to self-hatred and nihilism. The solution to the problem, the way to bring morality into line with what is known to be the nature of reality, is to return to a master morality, to the sublimated master morality of the Greeks, updated, of course, so as to make sense in the current context.


For much of 1888, Nietzsche struggled to complete The Will to Power: a Revaluation of all Values, the vast and systematic masterwork designed to gain him entry into the pantheon of truly great German philosophers. But eventually he gave up, realizing the implausibility of claiming the will to power as the only human motive and the even greater implausibility of extending the idea to non-human nature. Much of the material, however, he was able to recycle in a final flourish of creative genius: in the closing months of the year he completed Twilight of the Idols (a distillation of his philosophy into his most sublime aphorisms), The Wagner Case (an assassination of Wagner as man and artist, The Antichrist (subtitled A Curse on Christianity) and Ecce Homo, his spiritual autobiography.

These final months of 1888 were spent in Turin in a state of almost constant euphoria. By December, however, he was exhibiting unmistakable sighs of mental derangement. In a series of crazy letters he expressed the belief he had deposed both the German Emperor and the Pope, had arranged for all anti-Semites to be shot, and that he was, in fact, 'God'. At the beginning of January 1889 he flung his arms around a horse being beaten by a coachman in a Turin piazza, collapsed into tears, and was taken to an asylum, first in Basel then in Jena. Though he did not die until 1900 his final years were spent in a vegetative state. Among doctors who have taken an interest in the question of why, at age 44, Nietzsche went mad, the traditional diagnosis of syphilis is now largely discredited. Though there is speculation that he had a slow-developing brain-tumor, it is more likely he suffered from a bi-polar disorder that eventually developed schizophrenia-like symptoms. ( He saw rifles pointing at him through windows in Jena.)

For most of his life, Nietzsche's work was largely unknown. In 1888, however, lectures in Copenhagen by Georg Brandes, the Danish literary critic, brought Nietzsches work to a wider public. By the mid-1890s the comatose Nietzsche was a world star. His sister moved him and his huge collection of unpublished notebooks and letters to Weimar which, as Goethe's city and the home of the Goethe-Schiller Archive, was the seat of German Kultur. People came from far and wide, among them Richard Strauss, Rudolf Steiner, and Isadora Duncan, to pay homage to the silent philosopher who, many felt, was not mad but rather ascended. Elizabeth's shrewd commercial sense encouraged Nietzsche's transformation into guru and saint. Her control and manipulation often involving outright forgery of his writings, both published and unpublished, enabled her to present him as sympathetic to her own nationalistic and anti-Semitic outlook, to turn him into a forerunner of Nazism. Hitler was one of those who visited the shrine in Weimar and when Elizabeth died in 1935 he attended her funeral. It has taken 60 years of patient work by scholars to overcome the perverted image of Nietzsche that she presented to the world.

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Friedrich Nietzsche - The New York Times

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Quotes About Nietzsche (198 quotes) – Goodreads

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You desire to LIVE "according to Nature"? Oh, you noble Stoics, what fraud of words! Imagine to yourselves a being like Nature, boundlessly extravagant, boundlessly indifferent, without purpose or consideration, without pity or justice, at once fruitful and barren and uncertain: imagine to yourselves INDIFFERENCE as a powerhow COULD you live in accordance with such indifference? To liveis not that just endeavouring to be otherwise than this Nature? Is not living valuing, preferring, being unjust, being limited, endeavouring to be different? And granted that your imperative, "living according to Nature," means actually the same as "living according to life"how could you do DIFFERENTLY? Why should you make a principle out of what you yourselves are, and must be? In reality, however, it is quite otherwise with you: while you pretend to read with rapture the canon of your law in Nature, you want something quite the contrary, you extraordinary stage-players and self-deluders! In your pride you wish to dictate your morals and ideals to Nature, to Nature herself, and to incorporate them therein; you insist that it shall be Nature "according to the Stoa," and would like everything to be made after your own image, as a vast, eternal glorification and generalism of Stoicism! With all your love for truth, you have forced yourselves so long, so persistently, and with such hypnotic rigidity to see Nature FALSELY, that is to say, Stoically, that you are no longer able to see it otherwiseand to crown all, some unfathomable superciliousness gives you the Bedlamite hope that BECAUSE you are able to tyrannize over yourselvesStoicism is self-tyrannyNature will also allow herself to be tyrannized over: is not the Stoic a PART of Nature?... But this is an old and everlasting story: what happened in old times with the Stoics still happens today, as soon as ever a philosophy begins to believe in itself. It always creates the world in its own image; it cannot do otherwise; philosophy is this tyrannical impulse itself, the most spiritual Will to Power, the will to "creation of the world," the will to the causa prima. Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

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Quotes About Nietzsche (198 quotes) - Goodreads

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September 3rd, 2017 at 12:42 am

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On this day in 1900: Friedrich Nietzsche dies –

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Friedrich Nietzsche was born into a devoutly Lutheran family in Rcken, Saxony, on 15 October 1844. His father, a pastor, died when Nietzsche was four, and the young boy grew up in a house of five women: his mother, grandmother, two aunts, and younger sister.

A few years later the family moved to Naumburg, where Nietzsche went to a local school, before being accepted into the prestigious Schulpforta Protestant boarding school, where he received a rich and deep classical education.

Nietzsche was highly gifted, and went on to read theology and classical philology at the University of Bonn. His studies were disrupted by a feud between two of his professors during which he sought refuge in writing music before following one of them to the University of Leipzig.

He broke off his studies for a period in 1867 to commence military service as a cavalryman, but was injured and returned to university,...

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On this day in 1900: Friedrich Nietzsche dies -

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August 30th, 2017 at 4:41 am

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Nietzsche had his flaws. Anti-Semitism wasn’t one of them. – Washington Post

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August 25

In distinguishing the world of love vs. one of hate, David Von Drehle cited the difference between two philosophers, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Friedrich Nietzsche [Averting humanitys deadliest tendency, op-ed, Aug. 16]. Emerson embodied the optimism and general compassion of the American attitude, whereas, in Von Drehles words, the Nazis had their Friedrich Nietzsche.

Nietzsche could be critical of Judaism, but he was critical of almost every religion (especially Christianity) and institution. Much of the Nazis alleged affinity for Nietzsche was not from reading his works but through his sister Elisabeth, who met Adolf Hitler and tried to promote her dead brothers writings.

Most important, Friedrich Nietzsche despised anti-Semitism. His sister and her husband hated Jews and shared visions of a pure race. They even developed a colony in Paraguay to realize their dream. (They failed.) Not the philosopher Nietzsche. In one book, Beyond Good and Evil, he proposed that we expel the anti-Semitic squallers out of the country. In a letter to his sister, he wrote, Your association with an anti-Semitic chief expresses a foreignness to my whole way of life which fills me ever again with ire or melancholy.

Nietzsche, regardless of his genius, certainly had his flaws. But anti-Semitism was not one of them.

Alexander E. Hooke, Baltimore

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Nietzsche had his flaws. Anti-Semitism wasn't one of them. - Washington Post

Written by grays

August 30th, 2017 at 4:41 am

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Ain’t nobody praying for Nietzsche – The Herald

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Stanely Mushava Literature TodayFrom Cecil John Rhodes in Cape Town to Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, monuments of historys bad guys are in the path of sledgehammer-wielding activists who see them as rallying points for reactionary sentiment. The call has not sat well with resurgent Nazis and rednecks, but many who fit neither category also oppose Photoshopping history to pacify any afterthought.

This year, a character who is neither colonialist nor confederate flared up her own public art brawl, one just as intense. The Fearless Girl, a sculpture of a young girl in the blast radius of the Charging Bull near Wall Street and Broadway, led some to question the adequacy of a child matador with a waving frock, rather than a grown woman, as a symbol of feminist strength.

While the feminists were at it, a grumpy iconoclast weighed in too: Arturo di Monica, the creator of the Charging Bull. According to The Guardian, the sculptor saw the installation of the Fearless Girl in vulnerable proximity to his bull as an overreach.

He felt that his work, originally purposed to represent optimism at a time of market turmoil, had been wrested out of context.

Oddly, metamodernists philosophers of art documenting new attitudes and aesthetics in politics and culture would see optimism and irony pairing just right. The sculpture fits identically into the metamodernist model where informed naivety is the dominant sensibility, where the new default is dizzy oscillation between modernist enthusiasm and postmodernist irony.

This new feeling, first explained by Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker in their 2010 essay, Notes on Metamodernism, has been proposed as the gravestone for postmodernism. The duo observes that postmodern tendencies of detachment, relativism and irony are being phased out by millennial forms of correspondence that are reviving engagement, affect and storytelling.

Whereas postmodernism largely maintained cynical detachment and pessimistic divestment from grand narratives and global problems, the turbulent 2000s facilitated a new structure of feeling equal to existential threats crawling the world, the civilisational faultlines and the moral failures of capitalism.

Fastening on to the three Greek definitions of meta as with, between, and beyond, Vermeleun and van ee Akker, place metamodernism epistemologically (its handling of knowledge) with modernism and postmodernism, ontologically (its structure of concepts) between modernism and postmodernism, and historically (its period as the dominant cultural sensibility) beyond modernism and postmodernism.

Yet the new romanticism sitting in the trends and tendencies across current affairs and contemporary aesthetics is not a hopelessly innocent one, Rather, one that basks in defiance while being to the limitations. In the essay, Vermeulen and van den Akker detail art works with lofty ideals but missing rungs, so to speak.

The reason these artists havent opted to employ methods and materials better suited to their mission or task is that their intention is not to fulfil it, but to attempt to fulfil it in spite of its unfulfillableness, notes the duo.

The Fearless Girl is not a fearless woman or a fiery matador, as feminists would have her signify, precisely to allow the irony of optimism. There is enthusiasm, but one alert to the misanthropic tilting of the setting, one that both pulls a cold calcus and thaws it with sunny optimism.

Seth Abramson explains the metamodernist concept of informed naivety as a wilful decision to act as though the facts on the ground arent the facts on the ground. Informed naivete helps us come up with shockingly fresh ideas. In such instances its not that one forgets reality, its rather that, informed by reality, one makes a quite conscious decision to temporarily sidestep or even ignore it in service of ones own mental health and/or the greater good.

Spirit is not tamed by structure. That is what the little girl staring courageously at the charging beast possesses and any alteration would be a needless variable. That is what Kendrick Lamar, precariously standing at pole with a bulls eye on his head, is chanting in defiance of the trigger-happy popo.

Smug elders who perceive in younger peers a naivety they were only plagued with before blending into the practical order of the world, who brush off zeal to change the world with knowing superchill: Thats not how the world works, my dear, are now confronted with a complicated breed of successors.

The Notes on Metamodernism duo imagines young artists telling themselves: I know that the art Im creating may seem silly, even stupid, or that it might have been done before, but that doesnt mean this isnt serious.

Postmodernism is associated with the end of history, captured by Francis Fukuyama as the neoliberal ship landing on Ararat with Karl Marx and others in its ideological body bag. Such complacent times gelled well with postmodernist distrust of meta-narratives, the emergence of late capitalism, the fading of historicism and the waning of affect where modernism had gravitated to utopism, to (linear) progress, to grand narratives, to Reason, to functionalism and formal purism . . .

Enter the turbulent millennium, with climate change, the financial crisis, geopolitical fragmentation, political instability, nuclear brinkmanship, populism, xenophobia, the digital revolution as well as its misanthropic nodes of capital, and nothing is quite the same.

New artists respond to the shifts but, emerging out of postmodernist cynicism, they can no longer move with modernist confidence or romantic abandon. Their defiance, desire and deprivation, oscillates like a pendulum between polar extremes, appropriating the insights inheriting contradictions.

Luke Turners Metamodernist Manifesto sets forth the imperative to liberate ourselves from the inertia resulting from a century of modernist ideological naivety and the cynical insincerity of its antonymous bastard child and proposes a pragmatic romanticism unhindered by ideological anchorage.

Cultural lenses for viewing the world as cynical bystanders and innocuous entertainers have become unsustainable. Artists can no longer push aside the responsibility to be morally invested in the problems of the world. When the art of late modernity self-immolated under its apathy and cynicism, capitalism and state power not only floored the poor but also compromised the planets capacity to support life.

Metamodernists know that artists can no longer treat global problems as teapot storms that will boil out on their own yet they also acknowledge the real-time limitations of their project. They are with their postmodernist predecessors, short-circuiting grand narratives but they also see what can be redeemed from them.

Metamodernism has been theorised from varied angles (I commend articles of Seth Abramson, Luke Turner, Timotheus Vermeulen, Robin van den Akker, Hanzi Freinacht and associated acts for a fuller picture) but I am interested in mapping here changes within more African art forms.

For me, the foregrounding of the prophetic text in popular culture once again is a key metamodernist shift and, tied to it, the suspension of the prophetic from the ego and the hyperliterate blending of prophetic references.

If Sheol is connected to YouTube, Friedrich Nietzsche, the spiritual father of postmodernist Antichrists, may be turning in his grave to realise that the only funeral that happened is his own, not Gods, with invocations of the divine once again reigning atop popular culture. Religion is back, not as the opium of the masses but as the language for speaking truth to power.

The prophetic text is washing away hedonistic decay from popular culture and chanting down power factions. Crucially, the prophetic is suspended from the ego and from narrow sectarianism, both to deflate fanaticism and to maintain a buffer between prophecy and power.

A persuasive case would be the vital and experimental Kendrick Lamar. Visuals and lyrics to Alright, the default soundtrack for Black Lives Matter, where defiance rubs against vulnerability, magic against mortality in metamodernist fashion.

The juxtaposition of u and i, the cathartic progression of To Pimp a Butterfly, the double conflict of DAMN. with its late-cut exclamation: It was always me versus the world until I realised its me versus me are essentially metamodernist.

The sonic experiments, the hyperliterate, part confessional, part sympathetic appropriation of prophetic texts from The Bible to Pan-Africanist figureheads, from Hiii Power mantra and gangsta rap to Hebrew Israelite doctrine, blend the canonical text with pop appeal, utopia and paranoia, the misanthropic system and personal warts into a great experiment of modern art.

In the metamodern, the collapse of the intellectual and the pop, as set for by Seth Abrahamson, is a key feature, a feasible cutting away from the post-moderns anti-world monastery. And one needs only to contrast the Lamartian document with the gore-fetishising, ego-driven, smug and resigned motifs of earlier artists to appreciate the extent of the transgression.

Then there are the midlife spiritual crises of dancehall artistes who led the break from spiritually driven and socially engaged reggae, with Lady Saw, Mr Vegas, Sasha, Stitchie, Papa San and others reaching to the Bible for meaning, and younger acts like Chronixx, Bugle and Raging Fyah making Rasta pop again.

While this cultural front may not be readily bundled into the metamodern school, it shows a resurgent motivation to transcend.

There is new hunger, there is a new feeling and as the world increasingly stares into the Apocalypse, prematurely dismissed cultural strands like romanticism, myth, grand narratives, justice, truth, prophecy, reason and faith will still be pushing out of the postmodernist body bag.

But they will not be free from the darkness and conflict of the elapsed era.

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Ain't nobody praying for Nietzsche - The Herald

Written by grays

August 30th, 2017 at 4:41 am

Posted in Nietzsche

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