Who or what will take the place of God?
What prodigies will fill the vacuum left by a faltering morality? What unfathomed comforts will man devise for himself in the absence of faith? Nietzsche also seemed to believe that he had fashioned a novel—and honest—response to nihilism, though it is not always clear that his answers are usefully distinguishable from the problems that they are meant to address. A n inventory of the philosophers, writers, and artists whom Nietzsche influenced would form a compendious tour of twentieth-century culture.
Auden, and Wallace Stevens were all deeply influenced by aspects of his thought; ditto for D. From the beginning nothing has been more alien, repugnant, and hostile to woman than truth—her great art is the lie, her highest concern mere appearance and beauty. More even than with most thinkers, people have taken very different sorts of things from Nietzsche.
This is partly a function of his style, which is epigrammatic, literary, and sometimes elusive to the point of enigma. Indeed, while it cannot exactly be said that Nietzsche spurned arguments, one has the sense that he resorted to them reluctantly: how much better—more dramatic, more convincing—to present an unforgettable image instead of stooping to develop an argument! And, we wonder, is Nietzsche? H e is, at any rate, rightly regarded as one of the great masters of German prose.
Because of serious eye trouble—Nietzsche was often close to blindness for much of his adult life—he could neither read nor write for extended periods. He tended to compose in his head during long daily walks. Is it aphorisms? That one does not get to the depths that way, not deep enough down, is the superstition of those afraid of the water, the enemies of cold water; they speak without experience.
The freezing cold makes one swift. Here are a few from Beyond Good and Evil :. He who does not wish to see what is great in a man, has the sharpest eye for that which is low and superficial in him, and so gives away—himself. Anyone who has looked deeply into the world may guess how much wisdom lies in the superficiality of men.
When we have to change our mind about a person, we hold the inconvenience he causes us very much against him. Eventually—memory yields. Thus Spoke Zarathustra , for example, is a pretentious rhetorical swamp, punctuated here and there with glittering observations.
Nietzsche: A Radical Challenge To Political Theory?
Many critics have endeavored to show that, taken as a whole, his work reveals considerably more unity than is at first apparent; it also undoubtedly reveals a more systematic character that one might initially suspect: epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, aesthetics—Nietzsche had distinctive things to say about all the traditional philosophical topics, albeit he often said them in an untraditional way. It is easy to quote Nietzsche to almost any purpose, and it is not surprising that his work has been mined to support ideas that he would radically oppose. W hile those influenced by Nietzsche fall into many categories, one useful dividing line is between those who came to Nietzsche before Nazism and those who came later.
The former can seem remarkably innocent. Typical is the American writer H. In his book The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche first published in , Mencken presents us with a bluff, irascible Nietzsche who sounds a good deal like … H. And indeed, some of Nietzsches writings on truth, language, and morality seem extraordinarily prescient—or at least extraordinarily contemporary.
Where Mencken pronounced anathema on teetotalers, the YMCA, and chiropractic, Nietzsche sought to overturn the very foundation of Western morality. As always, there are conflicting passages in Nietzsche. Nietzsche's sympathetic commentators are no doubt correct that he would have been horrified by Nazism and the Third Reich. In a move that anticipated Nietzsche and Freud, he inverts the Platonic-Christian view of man, claiming that man is essentially will , not reason. According to Schopenhauer, reason, consciousness, morality, judgment—all the properties that we associate with the ego —are mere epiphenomena of the essentially unfathomable and purposeless striving that animates all nature.
We celebrate the Sabbath of the penal servitude of willing; the wheel of Ixion stands still. Nietzsche believed that his solitary wanderings and meditations had brought him insights far too advanced and devastating for most of his contemporaries. Not only was the tradition wrong in seeing man as primarily a rational animal, Nietzsche argued, it was wrong in valuing being over becoming, permanence over evanescence, timelessness over time.
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Making a virtue of a necessity, Nietzsche came to exalt willing —and hence suffering—as the source of all joy and power. This was his essential innovation on Schopenhauer.
Nietzsche, Power and Politics: Rethinking Nietz
Where Schopenhauer saw art as a kind of propaedeutic to renunciation, for Nietzsche art was an alternative to renunciation and the pessimism it presupposed. Instead of disparaging the will, Nietzsche celebrated it. Whether Nietzsche believed he had achieved the radical affirmation of mortality that he championed is open to question. T here is a tremendous pathos in Nietzsche's struggle to affirm life. Nietzsches New Politics. Nietzsche and Hindu Political Philosophy.
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Nietzsche, Power and Politics: Rethinking Nietzsche's Legacy for Political Thought
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