Posts Tagged ‘Friedrich Nietzsche’

Nietzsche’s Perspectivalism

September 15, 2009

From now on, my philosophical gentlemen, let us protect ourselves better from the dangerous old conceptual fantasy which posits a “pure, will-less, painless, timeless subject of cognition”; let’s guard ourselves against the tentacles of such contradictory ideas as “pure reason,” “absolute spirituality,” “knowledge in itself”—those things which demand that we think of an eye which simply cannot be imagined, an eye which is to have no direction at all, in which the active and interpretative forces are supposed to stop or be absent—the very things through which seeing first becomes seeing something. Hence, these things always demand from the eye something conceptually absurd and incomprehensible. The only seeing we have is seeing from a perspective; the only knowledge we have is knowledge from a perspective; and the more emotions we allow to be expressed  in words concerning something, the more eyes, different eyes, we know how to train on the same thing, the more complete our “idea” of this thing, our “objectivity,” will be. But to eliminate the will in general, to suspend all our emotions without exception—even if we were capable of that—what would that be? Wouldn’t we call that castrating the intellect?

Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals, Third Essay, 12

This statement is the death blow to the Enlightenment and the door to relativism. Only the Christian worldview can avoid the pitfalls of both these errors. On the one hand it gives The Perspective (God’s) any and all humans lack, providing certain, absolute truth. On the other hand, this revelation is limited and requires the kind of humility Enlightenment man is incapable of, to receive it.

Nietzsche is right at least this far, man is not a pure reasoning machine as if he had no emtions or pre-commitments looking at any subject.

The impotence of their love of men keeps the Christians of today from burning us

September 12, 2009
...not their love of men but the impotence of their love of men keeps the
Christians of today from- burning us.

Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 104

Not that Scripture would have us burn anyone – but he would have us speak of hell.


September 9, 2009

What does nihilism mean? That the highest values devaluate themselves. The aim is lacking; “why?” finds no answer.

Radical nihilism is the conviction of an absolute untenability of existence when it comes to the highest values one recognizes; plus the realization that we lack the least right to posit a beyond or an in‑itself of things that might be “divine” or morality incarnate. This realization is a consequence of the cultivation of “truthfulness” ‑‑thus itself a consequence of the faith in morality.

Nietzsche, (Will to Power § 3)

Suffering without purpose is unbearable

September 9, 2009

Until the advent of the ascetic ideal, man, the animal man, had no meaning at all on this earth. His existence was aimless; the question, ‘Why is there such a thing as man?’ could not have been answered….behind every great human destiny there sounded as a refrain a yet greater “in vain!” This is precisely what the ascetic ideal means: that something was lacking, that man was surrounded by a fearful void—he did not know how to justify, to account for, to affirm himself; he suffered from the problem of his meaning…

He also suffered otherwise, he was in the main a sickly animal: but his problem was not suffering itself, but that there was no answer to the crying question, “why do I suffer?”

Man, the bravest of animals and the one most accustomed to suffering, does not repudiate suffering as such; he desires it, he even seeks it out, provided he is shown a meaning for it, a purpose of suffering. The meaninglessness of suffering, not suffering itself, was the curse that lay over mankind so far…man would rather will nothingness than not will.

Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals, Third Essay, 28

Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman

September 3, 2009

Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman–a rope
over an abyss. A dangerous across, a dangerous on-the-way,
a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous shuddering and
stopping. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and
not an end: what can be loved in man is that he is an overture
and a going under. I love those who do not know how to
live, for they are those who cross over.

Friedrich Nietzsche,
“Thus Spoke Zarathustra”

Nietzsche on Jesus

September 2, 2009

Truly, too early died that Hebrew whom the preachers of slow death honour: and that he died too early has since been a fatality for many. As yet he knew only tears and the melancholy of the Hebrews, together with the hatred of the good and just – the Hebrew Jesus: then he was seized by the longing for death.

Had he but remained in the wilderness, and far from the good and just! Then, perhaps, would he have learned to live, and love the earth and laughter also!

Believe it, my brethren! He died too early; he himself would have disavowed his doctrine had he attained to my age! Noble enough was he to disavow!

But he was still immature. Immaturely loveth the youth, and immaturely also hateth he man and earth. Confined and awkward are still his soul and the wings of his spirit.

Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, XXI

Hitler’s Indebtedness to Nietzsche

August 26, 2009

On Mussolini’s 60th birthday Hitler sent him a special edition of Nietzsche’s works in twenty-four volumes with a personal dedication.

Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, Penguin 1990, p.709

Christian morals rest on the Christian God

August 24, 2009

The greatest recent event—that God is dead, that the belief in the Christian God has become unbelievable is already beginning to cast its first shadows over Europe. For the few at least, whose eyes—the suspicion in whose eyes is strong and subtle enough for this spectacle, some sun seems to have set and some ancient and profound trust has been turned into doubt; to them our old world must appear daily more like evening, more mistrustful, stranger, “older.” But in the main one may say: The event itself is far too great, too distant, too remote from the multitude’s capacity for comprehension even for the tidings of it to be thought of as having arrived as yet. Much less may one suppose that many people know as yet what this event really means —and how much must collapse now that this faith has been undermined because it was built upon this faith, propped up by it, grown into it; for example, the whole of our European morality.

Nietzsche,The Gay Science, 1887, second edition, Book Five, Section 343, trans. Kaufmann

Morality is derived from a worldview

August 7, 2009

They have got rid of the Christian God, and now feel obliged to cling all the more firmly to Christian morality…In England, in response to every little emancipation from theology, one has to reassert one’s position in a fear-inspiring manner as a moral fanatic.” [e.g., utilitarians, socialists, utopists, etc.] “That is the penance one pays there.”

“With us [Immoralists] it is different. When one gives up Christian belief one thereby deprives oneself of the RIGHT to Christian morality. For the latter is absolutely NOT self-evident…”

“Christianity is a system, a consistently thought out and COMPLETE view of things. If one breaks out of it a fundamental idea, the belief in God, one thereby breaks the whole thing to pieces…”

“Christianity presupposes that man does not know, CANNOT know what is good for him and what evil; he believes in God, who alone knows. Christian morality is a command: its origin is transcendental; it is beyond all criticism, all right to criticize; it possesses truth only if God is truth – it stands or falls with the belief in God.”

“If the English really do believe they know, of their own accord, ‘intuitively’, what is good and evil; if they consequently think they no longer have need of Christianity as a guarantee of morality — That is merely the CONSEQUENCE of the ascendancy of Christian evaluation and an expression of the STRENGTH and DEPTH of this ascendancy…So that the origin of English morality has been forgotten, so that the highly conditional nature of its right to exist is no longer felt. For the Englishman, morality is not YET a problem…”

Nietzsche, in Twilight of the Idols, (on atheists such as George Elliot), Penguin 1968, pp.69-70

But for Englishmen and women it would be a problem when Nietzsche’s social darwinism took hold of Germany in the 1930s.

Atheism overthrows morality

August 7, 2009

When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet. This morality is by no means self-evident. Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole. It stands or falls with faith in God.”

Nietzsche, in Walter kaufman, ed., ‘The Gay Science,’ in The Portable Nietzsche (NY: Viking, 1954), p.515