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Friedrich nietzsche

The Life & Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche

Philosophy Class Essay

Born: 1844. Rocken, Germany

Died: 1900. Weimar, Germany

Major Works: The Gay Science (1882),

Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883-1885),

Beyond Good & Evil (1886),

On the Genealogy of Morals (1887),

MAJOR IDEAS

Self deception is a particularly destructive

characteristic of West Culture. Life is The Will To Power; our

natural desire is to dominate and reshape the world to fit our

own preferences and assert our personal strength to the fullest

degree possible. Struggle, through which individuals achieve a

degree of power commensurate with their abilities, is the basic

fact of human existence. Ideals of human equality perpetuate

mediocrity -- a truth that has been distorted and concealed by

modern value systems. Christian morality, which identifies

goodness with meekness and servility is the prime culprit in

creating a cultural climate that thwarts the drive for excellence

and self realization God is dead; a new era of human creativity

and achievement is at hand.

-- Great Thinkers In The Western World.

By: Ian P. McGreal, 1992

PREFACE

Much information is available on Mr. Friedrich Nietzsche,

including many books that he wrote himself, during his

philosophical career. I took this as a good sign I would find a

fountain of enlightened material produced by the man. I've had

to go through a bit of my own philosophical meditations to put my

own value judgements aside, and truly look for the contributions

Nietzsche gave to philosophy. Much of my understanding came only

after I had a grasp of Neitzsche's history; therefore, I

encourage you to read-up on his history before diving into his

philosophy (see Appendix I). The modern Westerner might

disagree with every aspect of his philosophy, but there are many

things one must unfortunately admit are true (only if you put

your morality aside). So, from here, I will present his

contributions to philosophy, and do my best to delete my own

opinions, other than to say that he was not the chosen topic of

this paper out of any admiration.

THE PHILOSOPHY OF FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

Sometimes philosophy is called "timeless," implying that it's

lessons are of value to any generation. This may be hard to see

in Nietzsche's work; but, we are assured that it was

appropriate thought for his time. However, even Nietzsche's

critics admit that his words hold an undeniable truth, as hard as

it is to accept. Perhaps this is why his work is timeless,

and has survived 150 years in print.

Christianity "God is Dead!" announced Zarathustra (better known

as Zoroaster), in Neitzsche's proudest book, Thus Spoke

Zarathustra (1883-1885). Unlike many philosophers, Nietzsche

never tried to prove or disprove the existence of God, just that

belief in God can create sickness; and to convince that highest

achievements in human life depend on elimination of

God. Whether God existed had no relevance in his goal.

Proclamation of the death of God was a fundamental ingredient in

the revaluation of values Nietzsche advocated.

"Nothing has done more than Christianity to entrench the

morality of mediocrity in human consciousness."

"Christian love extols qualities of weakness; it causes

guilt. Charity is just teaching hatred and revenge directed

toward nobility."

"Belief in God is a tool to bring submission to the

individual of noble character."

-- F. Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

Hero Morality

Nietzsche had an ideal world in mind, with an ideal government

and an ideal God: the "Overman" or "Superman." These Gods were a

product of natural selection, or social Darwinism. He felt, very

strongly, that any kind of moral limitations upon man would only

stand in the way of The Overman. "The Will To Power," his

strongest teaching, meant that The Overman should and would do

anything possible to gain power, control and strength.

If one showed the smallest bit of weakness or morality, he would

be killed by the stronger Overman, and taken over. Thus, the

advancement of The Master Race (Nietzsche's "Master Race" will be

discussed later).

"Not mankind, but superman is the goal. The very last

thing a sensible man would undertake would be to improve mankind:

mankind does not improve, it doesn't even exist - it is an

abstraction."

"... his superman as the individual rising precariously

out of the mire of mass mediocrity, and owing his existence more

to deliberate breeding and careful nurture than to the hazards of

natural selection."

Master Race

Nietzsche is often referred to as a pre-Nazi thinker, by his

idealism of The Master Race. He was, in fact, a prime influence

on the writing of Hitler's highest men, and quoted in Hitler's

speeches. But, his writings were mostly taken out of context,

because he was very open about his distaste for "those anti-

semites." If one is able to come from a more intelligent

place, regarding the breeding of best-fit humans, Nietzsche was

far beyond Hitler. Nietzsche understood the necessity for

variation in a population, and especially was able to

appreciate the contributions of other races and cultures. His

ideal society would be a race that included select bits from many

races/cultures. The only culture that he seemed to have

a special appreciation for were the Polish. He wrote, "The

Poles, I consider the most gifted and gallant among Slavic

people..." Still, he wrote about his value for the Jews, as

response to the growing anti-semite culture in Germany during his

time:

"The whole problem of the Jews exists only in nation

states, for here their energy and higher intelligence, their

accumulated capital of spirit and will, gathered from generation

to generation though a long schooling in suffering, must become

so preponderant as to arouse mass envy and hatred. In almost all

contemporary nations, therefore -- in direct proportion to the

degree which they act up nationalistically -- the literary

obscenity of leading the Jews to slaughter as scapegoats of every

conceivable public and internal misfortune is spreading. As soon

as it is no longer a matter of preserving nations, but of

producing the strongest possible Euro-Mixed race, the Jew is just

as useful and desirable as ingredient as any other national

remnant."

War Mentality

Nietzsche had an incredible infatuation with evil and violence.

He did so much to find evil and cruelty in the world, that he

seemed to have a sadistic pleasure in celebrating it; "man is

the cruelest animal," he states in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. In

his book, Beyond Good and Evil, he really aims at changing the

reader's opinion as to what is good and what is evil, but

professes, except at moments, to be raising what is "evil" and

decrying what is "good." It is necessary for higher men to make

war upon the masses, and resist the democratic tendencies of the

age, for in all directions mediocre people are joining hands

to make themselves masters. "Everything that pampers, that

softens, and that brings the 'people' or 'woman' to the front,

operates in favor of universal suffrage -- that is to say, the

dominion of 'inferior' men."

Women & The Family

This brings us to Nietzsche's view of women. At this point, I

believe it's important to note Nietzsche's experience with women,

because his writings about them seemed to begin closely after

being rejected by the only woman he admitted to love. She

rejected him as heasked her hand in marriage.

"Men shall be trained for war and woman for the

recreation of the warrior. All else is folly."

"The patriotic member of a militant society will look

upon bravery and strength as the highest virtues of a man; upon

obedience as the highest virtue of the citizen; and upon silent

submission to multiple motherhood as the highest virtue of

woman."

"Thou goest to woman? Do not forget thy whip."

From Nietzsche's experience with women, as author Betrand Russell

said, "Nine out of ten women would get the whip away from him,

and he knew it, so he kept away from women, and soothed his

wounded vanity with unkind remarks." Many of his comments

toward women reflected what a lonely and unloved person he was.

In some poems he wrote after his prospective wife left him, he

wrote this lonely line: "I could sing a song, and I will sing it,

although I am alone in an empty house and must sing it to mine

own ears." So, he added appropriately to his beliefs the

following:

"How absurd it is, after all, to let higher individuals

marry for love -- heroes with servant girls and geniuses with

seamstresses! When a man is in love he should not be permitted

to make decisions affecting his entire life. We should declare

invalid the vows of lovers and should make love a legal

impediment to marriage."

The Aristocracy

Nietzsche loved his aristocratic anarchism, and had such a hate

for democracy, that it consumes nearly every bit of his

philosophy. His ideal society was divided into three classes:

producers (farmers, merchants, business men), officials (soldiers

and government), and rulers. The latter would rule, but they

would not officiate in government; the actual government is a

menial task. The rulers would be philosopher-statesmen rather

than office-holders. Their power will rest on the control of

credit and the army; but they would live more like the proud-

soldier than like the financier.

Nietzsche believed that some people were inherently more

important than others; their happiness or unhappiness counted for

more than the happiness of average people. He dismissed John

Stuart Mill as a "blockhead" for the presupposition that

everyone was equal. He wrote about Mill:

"I abhor the man's vulgarity when he says "what is right

for one man is right for another. Such principals wild fain

establish the whole of human traffic upon mutual services, so

every action would appear to be a cash payment for something done

to us. The hypothesis here is ignoble to the last degree; it is

taken for granted that there is some sort of equivalence in value

between my actions and thine."

Nietzsche, as I said before, hated democracy, but he recognized

Christianity as a greater risk. Perhaps this was because people

are always more loyal to their od, than their government.

He felt that democracy began with Christianity: "...holy

epileptics like saint Paul, who had no honesty. The new

testament is the gospel of a completely ignoble species of

man. Christianity is the most fatal and seductive lie that ever

existed." So, before stripping people of their choice and

equality, their God had to be taken first, Then the government.

"Consequently, the road to the superman must lie through

aristocracy. Democracy - - this manner for counting noses -- must

be eradicated before it Is too late. The first step here is the

destruction of Christianity so far as all higher men are

concerned."

Conclusion

As Will Durant stated Nietzsche's faults so eloquently, "we can

see him suffering at every line, and we must love him even where

we question him," I couldn't agree more. I always ask the

supremacist the question, "why do you support a supremacist

government that would probably reject you into it's lower class?"

I have no doubt, that if Nietzsche lived in his ideal society, he

would have no honor, as he misses every requirement, being a

sickly man who was rejected from the army, and lacking the

strength to compete with his own "superman."

Word Count: 1,878

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