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> (mis)Understanding Nietzsche, perceptions and misperceptions
Lao_Tzu
post Oct 08, 2006, 11:14 AM
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Nietzsche was surely one of the most influential and controversial thinkers of the 19th century, and his name hardly ever fails to arouse intense debate. Unfortunately, due to the unsystematic nature of his thought and the controversy aroused by his ideas, a prejudice has become attached to his name that putts many people off this most entertaining and stimulating of writers.

My aim here is to stir a serious discussion on Nietzsche with the aim of countering some of that prejudice, because I think that Nietzsche should be read for his insights. Nietzsche is sure to shock and annoy his readers, but he definitely won't bore them. He startles more often with the lucidity of his perceptions than he does with his effrontery.

Take, for example, these simple truths expressed brilliantly by Nietzsche in Human, All Too Human (HH):

One may promise actions but no sentiments.

Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.

Or this statement, also from HH, which is just funny: We are so fond of being out among Nature, for it has no opinions about us.

Then there are statements that are thought-provoking because they're striking and because we struggle to decide whether they're true or not:

If she is to become beautiful a woman must not want to be considered pretty.

Profundity of thought belongs to youth, clarity of thought to old age.

The undissolved dissonances in the relation of the character and sentiments of the parents survive in the nature of the child and make up the history of its inner sufferings.

One person sticks to an opinion because he takes pride it having acquired it himself - another sticks to it because he has learnt it with difficulty and is proud of having understood it; both of them, therefore, out of vanity.


~~~

Now, to deal with three common prejudices: Nazism, God is dead, and being difficult to read...

Nazism

Nietzsche loved Wagner's Tristran und Isolde; Wagner loved Nietzsche's ideas on the need for a new morality. They became friends.

Hitler also liked Wagner.

That is the extent of the link between Nietzsche and Nazism, except for the commonality of their talk about the Ubermensch. However, on closer examination they used this term in ways so different that they can hardly be equated.

To quote Tom Griffith:

According to Nietzsche, Christian morality is slave morality, a morality created by weak and resentful individuals who encouraged gentleness, kindness, humility, forgiveness because such behaviour gave them some protection against the bold and the strong. Slave morality is essentially a willingness (born of fear) to give up on life in its entirety. By contrast, Nietzsche's superman (ubermensch) is secure and independent. He feels deeply, but his passions are rationally controlled. Concentrating on this world, not on the rewards of the next, the superman accepts and welcomes life, including the suffering and pain that accompany human existence. His superman creates his own values, a 'master morality' that reflects the strength and independence of one who is liberated from all values except those he himself deems valid. The essential thing is the will to power. In its positive sense, this will to power is not simply power over others, but power over oneself, as manifested in the superman's independence, creativity, and originality.

It is easy to see how talk of master morality and slave morality can be conflated with Hitler's ideas about the master race and slave races. So it is important to emphasise that this is not the kind of thing Nietzsche is talking about. According to Nietzsche, the superman has not yet appeared, but he mentions individuals who might serve as models: Socrates, Jesus, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Goethe, Julius Caesar, Napoleon. Two teachers, two painters, two writers, two soldier-statesmen. This is hardly the stuff of racist supremacy or totalitarian dictatorship.


God is dead

The most famous assertion that God is dead is not made by Nietzsche himself but by his character, Zarathustra, the 'madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours.' Nevertheless, Nietzsche comes very close to saying the same thing:

For all occasions where the Christian awaits the immediate intervention of a God, though in vain (for there is no god), his religion is inventive enough to find subterfuges and reasons for tranquillity. - Miscellaneous Maxims and Opinions

Nietzsche recognised that a pictorial representation of God which was convincing to many people 2000 years ago is unlikely to be convincing to them today, just as the Olympian gods of the ancient Greeks are unlikely to be convincing to many people today. However, he was also aware that even pictorially obsolete gods may represent something real in the world - Dionysus and Apollo just as much as the Judeo-Christian God.

Nietzsche saw an opposition between the two philosophical traditions of the ancient Greeks: "the life-affirming, yes-saying irrationalism of Dionysus and the life-denying, no-saying rationalism of Apollo" (Tom Griffith). In the nineteenth century, which saw the Greek world in its cool rationality, the Apolline element predominated to the detriment of the Dionysian element. In Nietzsche's view, the tragedy was that Apolline ideology prevailed, moving via Plato to inform "the gloomy self-denials of Christianity." (TG again).

Nietzsche favoured a 'new' morality, which was actually a very old but sidelined morality, as Nietzsche refers to Homer:

Whoever has the power of returning good for good, evil for evil, and really practices requital, and who is, therefore, grateful and revengeful, is called good; whoever is powerless, and unable to requite, is reckoned as bad ... the enemy is not looked upon as evil, he can requite. In Homer the Trojan and the Greek are both good. (HH)

In Homer we find only heroes and no villains. In Wagner we find both heroes and villains. And in Christianity we are all villains.

The idea that we define ourselves more by our enemies than by our friends comes up again in Zarathustra:

By our best enemies we do not want to be spared, now by those either whom we love from the very heart. So let me tell you the truth!
My brethren in war! I love you from the very heart. I am, and was ever, your counterpart. And I am also your best enemy. So let me tell you the truth!...
...I spare you not, I love you from my very heart, my brethren in war!


Is Nietzsche difficult to read?

Of course this is a matter of personal opinion, but so is the question of whether chess is a good game. I don't think that Nietzsche is at all hard to read.

To quote Tom Griffith (sorry to do this so much, but he really puts it much better than I ever could, and he's much more knowledgeable, of course):

It is difficult to give a systematic account of Nietzsche's thought, but that is because he is not a systematic thinker. It does not mean the things he says are difficult to understand. And his lack of system can be something of an advantage. It matters much less if you allow your attention to wander while you are reading. You may miss a few things, but you won't miss a vital step in the argument. What is more, Nietzsche offers so many striking insights that if you miss one on this page, there is certain to be another, equally striking, on the next. This makes him, if anything, the easiest of all philosophers to read.

Many people read Zarathustra and conclude that Nietzsche is unreadable. This is a pity, because Z is Nietzsche's most unreadable book, and also the least typical of his writing.

~~~

Nietzsche is probably my favourite Western philosopher, and not because I take to heart everything he espouses. I just wanted to go some way toward clarifying what is often unclear in people's opinions of Nietzsche, so if anyone would like to discuss some controversial statements or themes of his, maybe this is the place...
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lucid_dream
post Oct 08, 2006, 11:53 AM
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to understand Nietzsche, you must go to the main source of his ideas, which is Schopenhauer. Thus, to understand Nietzsche, you must first understand Schopenhauer. Do not read commentaries or consult wikipedia. Read his own original works, especially his "World as Will and Idea/Representation". Read it thoroughly and do not settle for abridged versions. Then you can come back to Nietzsche with new eyes and you will see that much in Nietzsche was already said by Schopenhauer.
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Trip like I do
post Oct 08, 2006, 11:56 AM
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.....as thus, most thoughts can be deconstructed and their vestiges can be traced through various predecessors. But how it is articulated from their relative spatial and temporal frame of reference is what is key.
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lucid_dream
post Oct 08, 2006, 11:57 AM
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QUOTE(Trip like I do @ Oct 08, 2006, 12:56 PM) *

.....as thus, most thoughts can be deconstructed and their vestiges can be traced through various predecessors. But how it is articulated from their relative spatial and temporal frame of reference is what is key.


it's not the key because what is important is what goes beyond space and time. The particular manifestations are infinite.

Unless you understand the metaphysics of Will and the phenomena that it gives rise to, and the relation of space, time, and causality to the phenomena, which are clearly developed and discussed by Schopenhauer, you will never understand Nietzsche except in the most superficial manner since Nietzsche takes Schopenhauer's Will as a given.

In other words, Nietzsche picks up where Schopenhauer left off. You cannot understand him without first understanding Schopenhauer's system. It's unfortunate that Nietzsche does not spell it out more clearly that he is in fact doing this, but he is. He pays homage to Schopenhauer, but only as a short note in his "Will to Power" where he explains that what he (Nietzsche) does differently from Schopenhauer is deify the Will, which is completely off base and certainly Schopenhauer would not have subscribed to that. I believe Nietzsche tried to take more credit then he deserves by failing to clearly cite his reliance and acceptance of Schopenhauer's system of thought. I'm sure he could justify this type of action, though other people would find it shady and dishonest, and would lead to many people reading his philosophy without having the concepts needed for comprehension, these concepts being Schopenhauer's metaphysical concept of Will and everything related.
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post Oct 08, 2006, 12:08 PM
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.....which leads one to ask, what/who influenced the thought of Schopenhauer. Did his train of thought spontaneously appear as something completely new, having never been contemplated before that space and that time.
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lucid_dream
post Oct 08, 2006, 12:09 PM
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QUOTE(Trip like I do @ Oct 08, 2006, 01:08 PM) *

.....which leads one to ask, what/who influenced the thought of Schopenhauer. Did his train of thought spontaneously appear as something completely new, having never been contemplated before that space and that time.


Hume, Berkeley, Kant, Plato, and Eastern philosophy (Buddhism and the Upanishads). They influenced him, but he created and synthesized something much greater than the sum of his predecessors. It is unfortunate that he is not better known, which I think is in large part due to people hearing that he's a pessimist, and then writing him off. But it would be incorrect to classify his philosophy as what people understand by 'pessimism'. In fact, the greater understanding that his philosophy imparts and the different mindset that it can lead to will unlikely cause anyone to become pessimistic. A better word would be 'enlightened'.
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Lao_Tzu
post Oct 08, 2006, 12:19 PM
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Holy piglets, I sparked a discussion before I even had a chance to introduce what I wanted to discuss...
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post Oct 08, 2006, 12:33 PM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Oct 08, 2006, 04:09 PM) *

QUOTE(Trip like I do @ Oct 08, 2006, 01:08 PM) *

.....which leads one to ask, what/who influenced the thought of Schopenhauer. Did his train of thought spontaneously appear as something completely new, having never been contemplated before that space and that time.


Hume, Berkeley, Kant, Plato, and Eastern philosophy (Buddhism and the Upanishads). They influenced him, but he created and synthesized something much greater than the sum of his predecessors. It is unfortunate that he is not better known, which I think is in large part due to people hearing that he's a pessimist, and then writing him off. But it would be incorrect to classify his philosophy as what people understand by 'pessimism'. In fact, the greater understanding that his philosophy imparts and the different mindset that it can lead to will unlikely cause anyone to become pessimistic. A better word would be 'enlightened'.

....which then leads one to ask, what/who influenced Hume, Berkeley, Kant, Plato, and Eastern philosophy (Buddhism and the Upanishads)?

....ahh the enlightenment project, so Schopenhauer was a part of modernity or was he a premodernist? He definately was not a post-modernist!?

Enlightenment - man's emergence from his self-incurred immaturity, the inability to use one's own understanding without the guidance of another.
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lucid_dream
post Oct 08, 2006, 01:15 PM
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that's hardly a definition for enlightenment. It's helps to speak from experience.
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post Oct 08, 2006, 05:59 PM
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....so speak! and throw off the yolk of immaturity!
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lucid_dream
post Oct 08, 2006, 09:15 PM
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Disregard 'Trip like I do', the resident buffoon. He commonly tries unsuccessfully to hijack threads.

Back to the discussion at hand, it is not necessary to read Schopenhauer's predecessors because he does a good job discussing what ideas he uses from other people and is a lucid writer. Nietzsche, in contrast, often uses the term 'will' but does not make clear that he borrows the term from Schopenhauer and does not mean by 'will' what people usually understand by the term. For both Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, will is a metaphysical entity that transcends experience, space, time, and causality. Not once in Thus Spoke Zarathustra does Nietzsche spell this out, and reading this without first reading Schopenhauer will undoubtedly result in misinterpreting what Nietzsche meant. What Nietzsche meant is more clearly spelled out in his posthumously published notes, 'Will to Power'.
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Culture
post Oct 09, 2006, 02:17 AM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Oct 08, 2006, 11:53 AM) *

to understand Nietzsche, you must go to the main source of his ideas, which is Schopenhauer. Thus, to understand Nietzsche, you must first understand Schopenhauer. Do not read commentaries or consult wikipedia. Read his own original works, especially his "World as Will and Idea/Representation". Read it thoroughly and do not settle for abridged versions. Then you can come back to Nietzsche with new eyes and you will see that much in Nietzsche was already said by Schopenhauer.


Even better if you understand German. The translations however good, do not capture certain nuances.
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lucid_dream
post Oct 09, 2006, 03:57 AM
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Can you try to communicate some of these nuances? Have you read Schopenhauer in his original German? What are your thoughts on his system? And how would you compare his to Nietzsche's? I love Nietzsche but prefer Schopenhauer. There is much to be said about him being nicknamed the 'philosopher of disillusion'. I would be curious to know what Schopenhauer would have thought of Nietzsche's system, of whether he would have classified him as a philosophaster or would have approved his work and considered it an extension of his own (at least with regard to Nietzsche's emphasis on a re-evaluation of all values).

One interesting question: what relation is there, if any, between Niezsche's 'overman' and Schopenhauer's 'genius'? Does the genius lie between the common man and the overman, are they synonymous, or are they completely unrelated?
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post Oct 09, 2006, 10:04 AM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Oct 09, 2006, 01:15 AM) *

Disregard 'Trip like I do', the resident buffoon. He commonly tries unsuccessfully to hijack threads.

Back to the discussion at hand, it is not necessary to read Schopenhauer's predecessors because he does a good job discussing what ideas he uses from other people and is a lucid writer. Nietzsche, in contrast, often uses the term 'will' but does not make clear that he borrows the term from Schopenhauer and does not mean by 'will' what people usually understand by the term. For both Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, will is a metaphysical entity that transcends experience, space, time, and causality. Not once in Thus Spoke Zarathustra does Nietzsche spell this out, and reading this without first reading Schopenhauer will undoubtedly result in misinterpreting what Nietzsche meant. What Nietzsche meant is more clearly spelled out in his posthumously published notes, 'Will to Power'.

nice one....no hijacking here. I was merely quoting Kant (An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?) who you have previously stated was an influence of Schopenhauer, but obviously you have not delved into those that have influenced Schopenhauer, and thus your knowledge IS limited and immature.... smart one you are ....time to wake up lucid, you are dreaming, but not all of us share in your dream.

You really think that I am the resident baffoon heh? Now I'M the resident bad boy am I? Who am I hijacking this thread from and what the heck are you talking about. I am merely contributing what and when I feel its relevant. If you disagree, then fine, you are by all means entitled to disregard what I have to contribute, but there is no need to resort to insulting and name calling. I think you just proved my point about immaturity....thank you.
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post Oct 09, 2006, 10:47 AM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Oct 09, 2006, 01:15 AM) *

Back to the discussion at hand, it is not necessary to read Schopenhauer's predecessors because he does a good job discussing what ideas he uses from other people and is a lucid writer. Nietzsche, in contrast, often uses the term 'will' but does not make clear that he borrows the term from Schopenhauer and does not mean by 'will' what people usually understand by the term. For both Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, will is a metaphysical entity that transcends experience, space, time, and causality. Not once in Thus Spoke Zarathustra does Nietzsche spell this out, and reading this without first reading Schopenhauer will undoubtedly result in misinterpreting what Nietzsche meant. What Nietzsche meant is more clearly spelled out in his posthumously published notes, 'Will to Power'.




Schopenhauer seems to have believed and was influenced by his associations with Vedantist and Buddhism, that there was an underlying reality beneath the changing world. This he called the "Will." Schopenhauer's Will is superficially naturalist in that it is a will to survive. This will to survive according to him gave rise to all the happiness and suffering in the phenomenal world. Despite its naturalistic sounding tones, Schopenhauer's Will is closer to Hegel's "Geist" than to Darwin's "natural selection." It is more like a world-historical force than an elegant algorithm. This indeed lead to his famous "pessimism." If everything you do is because of the Will then your unhappiness derives from it. You try to oppose the Will but you cannot because all actions are the Will's actions. Thus he (perhaps ironically) suggested resignation, asceticsm or aesthetic enjoymnent as consolation.

Nietzsche's Will to Power is his name for what you could call roughly the "creative spirit." The Will to Power is exemplified in those who create works of art or new moralities, etc. This thesis is tied to his complicated notions about truth and knowledge but I am unaware what the ontological status of Nietzsche's Will might be.

Nietzsche's writings, unlike Schopenhauer strive to be Heraclitean. Whereas Schopenhauer's the "World as Will and Representation" is an attempt at systematic philosophy, Nietzsche's tends to puposely hide the systematic aspects of his thought.

On a side note about Nietzsche, if you want a new angle that nobody will have taken, run from his poetry. That should make for a very interesting review indeed..

Unfortunately it's almost all in German, but if you can get hold of a copy of 'The Peacock and the Buffalo', that has full translation of all of his poetry, I would recommend it.

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Lao_Tzu
post Oct 09, 2006, 11:28 AM
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Awesome. Thanks Culture, lucid, and Trip (peace, gentlemen... if you are both gentlemen). I've found this very edifying so far.
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Lindsay
post Oct 09, 2006, 07:14 PM
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As I said earlier, I am not an expert on Nietzsche. But I wish to know more of who he was and what was his message. I did read the STORY OF PHILOSOPHY, by Will R. Durant, and what it said about Nietzsche.

Who can tell us who Nietzsche was and what did he really accomplish which still demands our attention? In my opinion, he may have writtren poetically, but not with clarity.

To be honest, I feel that Nietzsche was, what I call, pneumatologically, or spiritually, ill--that is, for whatever reasons, he lost control of his life. Was he not addicted to a form of opium? Is there any medical history?

Keep in mind, I state this, simply, as a fact, not as a judgement. Personally speaking, I feel very sorry for what Nietzsche went through, especially in the last part of his life.
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Lao_Tzu
post Oct 10, 2006, 12:16 PM
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I think the best way of getting to know Nietzsche's message would be to read his writing for yourself. I have a few translated writings of his (Beyond Good and Evil; On Truth And Lies in a Nonmoral Sense; The Antichrist; The Use and Abuse of History; Thus Spake Zarathustra) that I could upload - once I work out how.

But if you're looking for a short take on Nietzsche's message, his Superman could be a guide toward the kind of values he would encourage. The Superman was the creator of a 'master morality', which was free from all values except those he himself chose - so self-determination is obviously crucial.

Although he's often labelled a nihilist (perhaps because he demolished the conventional values of what he called 'slave morality', leaving people with no values - the intention being that they should create their own anew) I think Nietzsche championed the human spirit against repressive religion on the one hand and nihilism on the other. For me his philosophy is a very self-empowering and rousing message - to battle fiercely against all the things that weaken you or would exert control over you.
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post Oct 11, 2006, 11:30 AM
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QUOTE(Lao_Tzu @ Oct 10, 2006, 12:16 PM) *

I think the best way of getting to know Nietzsche's message would be to read his writing for yourself....
Is the following a good translation a good one? TSZ was written nine years before he died, in 1900.

1891
THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA
by Friedrich Nietzsche
translated by Thomas Common
http://philosophy.eserver.org/nietzsche-zarathustra.txt
========================
I have tried, more than once, to read TSZ in which skepticism is lauded and where what Durant calls a "hilarious atheism" is set forth. According to students of the life of Zoraster, he was no atheist, but believed in the oneness of God--Ahura-Mazda http://www.dlshq.org/saints/zoroaster.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroaster

It is said that, intellectually, Nietzsche was a genius--more of a poet than a philospher. It is written that the difference between genius and stupidity is: There is a limit to genius. smile.gif It is also written that there is quite a difference between stupidity and ignorance: Ignorance is cureable.

QUOTE
But if you're looking for a short take on Nietzsche's message, his Superman could be a guide toward the kind of values he would encourage. The Superman was the creator of a 'master morality', which was free from all values except those he himself chose....
Does this not describe all fascist dictatorships--government by the combined powers of industrialists and politicians approved by them--including Nazism? Is this a way of life to be emulated by us?

It is said that N called himself a pagan and that he abhorred the rituals of all religions and the "slave morality" preached by Christians.
Q. Pagans are not necessarily atheists. Was he, or was he not, an atheist?
Q. In what ways did he champion "the human spirit against repressive religion on the one hand and nihilism on the other"?
Q. If as you say you find "his philosophy is a very self-empowering and rousing message - to battle fiercely against all the things that weaken you or would exert control over you."
how come it didn't work for N?
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Rick
post Oct 11, 2006, 12:05 PM
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QUOTE(Lindsay @ Oct 11, 2006, 12:30 PM) *
Is the following a good translation a good one? TSZ was written nine years before he died, in 1900.

1891
THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA
by Friedrich Nietzsche
translated by Thomas Common

That translation is still commonly available in libraries, but it's not a good one. The English, in particular, had a prejudice against Nietzsche at that time, and deliberately made him sound pompous in translation. It may have been due to the filtering of Nietzsche's writings by his surviving sister, which emphasized the aspect of Nietzsche attractive to fascists. I recommend finding a modern translation.
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Lindsay
post Oct 11, 2006, 01:15 PM
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L_T, did you write?
QUOTE
Nietzsche recognised that a pictorial representation of God, which was convincing to many people 2000 years ago, is unlikely to be convincing to them today, just as the Olympian gods of the ancient Greeks are unlikely to be convincing to many people today.
How true!!!!
QUOTE
However, he was, also, aware that even pictorially obsolete gods may represent something real in the world...
Again, I say: How true!!! Is this not something which is basically true.
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post Oct 11, 2006, 06:16 PM
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The following essay give a lot of interesting things about N.
http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/hum_303/nietzsche.html
Here is a taste:

The Influence of Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was notoriously unread and uninfluential during his own lifetime, and his works suffered considerable distortion in the hands of his sister Elisabeth, who managed his literary estate and twisted his philosophy into a set of ideas supporting Hitler and Nazism (Hitler had Thus Spoke Zarathustra issued to every soldier in the German army). By far his most often quoted utterance--seldom understood--is "God is dead," which placed his thought beyond the pale for many readers.

But Nietzsche's influence has been much richer and varied than these simple stereotypes suggest. It is not surprising that an author who embraced such contradictions should have influenced thinkers of an extraordinary variety.


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Lao_Tzu
post Oct 12, 2006, 03:54 AM
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QUOTE(Lindsay @ Oct 11, 2006, 11:15 PM) *

L_T, did you write?...

Yea verily, 'twas I which writ both thoyse thinges.... though I think I was actually quoting Tom Griffith, who compiled and introduced a little compilation of some Nietzsche writings that I have.

Nietzsche quote for today: It is the stillest words that bring on the storm. Thoughts that come on doves' feet guide the world. (TSZ)

But there are so many more... at http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Nietzsche.
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Lao_Tzu
post Oct 12, 2006, 04:23 AM
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QUOTE(Lindsay @ Oct 11, 2006, 09:30 PM) *

QUOTE
But if you're looking for a short take on Nietzsche's message, his Superman could be a guide toward the kind of values he would encourage. The Superman was the creator of a 'master morality', which was free from all values except those he himself chose....

Does this not describe all fascist dictatorships--government by the combined powers of industrialists and politicians approved by them--including Nazism? Is this a way of life to be emulated by us?

Regarding your first question... well, from those lines alone a master morality could be construed to align with fascism, but on closer examation I'm not so sure.

The superman exemplifies the values of individuals who are walk a way that's entirely their own, according with their very own values and no others, and who are indifferent to fame or disgrace.

Master morality has no need for propaganda, or for rule over others. The Superman is secure and independent, and his morality is expressed in his independence, creativity and originality. By comparison, fascist dictators are thoroughly dependent upon their armies and industrialists. Others' opinions are so important to them that they employ propaganda to shape them. Fascist regimes are formulaic in their methods, not creative.

To quote Tom Griffith again (this is an excerpt from the introductory post on this topic):

It is easy to see how talk of master morality and slave morality can be conflated with Hitler's ideas about the master race and slave races. So it is important to emphasise that this is not the kind of thing Nietzsche is talking about. According to Nietzsche, the superman has not yet appeared, but he mentions individuals who might serve as models: Socrates, Jesus, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Goethe, Julius Caesar, Napoleon. Two teachers, two painters, two writers, two soldier-statesmen. This is hardly the stuff of racist supremacy or totalitarian dictatorship.

QUOTE(Lindsay @ Oct 11, 2006, 09:30 PM) *

It is said that N called himself a pagan and that he abhorred the rituals of all religions and the "slave morality" preached by Christians.
Q. Pagans are not necessarily atheists. Was he, or was he not, an atheist?

Methinks yea.

QUOTE(Lindsay @ Oct 11, 2006, 09:30 PM) *

Q. In what ways did he champion "the human spirit against repressive religion on the one hand and nihilism on the other"?

long answer required here... someone please help... I'm slacking off at work. wink.gif

QUOTE(Lindsay @ Oct 11, 2006, 09:30 PM) *

Q. If as you say you find "his philosophy is a very self-empowering and rousing message - to battle fiercely against all the things that weaken you or would exert control over you."
how come it didn't work for N?

What, because he became insane? Because he was almost unpublished during his life? That doesn't prove he didn't battle fiercely against the things that would weaken him. If his ideas inflame people in today's intellectual and moral environment, just imagine the intellectual and moral environment of his own time, and how much he would have had to believe in his ideas to publish what he did... few people have that kind of selfdetermination, I would say...

Conjecture, of course.
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Lindsay
post Oct 12, 2006, 07:07 AM
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QUOTE(Lao_Tzu @ Oct 12, 2006, 04:23 AM) *


... because he became insane? Because he was almost unpublished during his life? That doesn't prove he didn't battle fiercely against the things that would weaken him. If his ideas inflame people in today's intellectual and moral environment, just imagine the intellectual and moral environment of his own time, and how much he would have had to believe in his ideas to publish what he did... few people have that kind of selfdetermination, I would say...

Conjecture, of course.
Yea, that's the big problem with existential atheism. Based on the idolatry of materialism, it is ALL (100%) irrational conjecture (blind faith).

BTW, I consider myself to be an existentialist--but one who accepts the obvious values of materialism, plus those of idealism, both integrated with spiritual (transcendent and mysterious) values.

My old phil and psyche prof, at http://www.mta.ca in the 1940's, defined himself as "an objective (reality-based materialist) idealist (spirituality-based thinker), who believed in the value of cultivating mystical insights--the mystery of being".
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cerebral
post Oct 12, 2006, 08:16 AM
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QUOTE(Lindsay @ Oct 12, 2006, 08:07 AM) *
Yea, that's the big problem with existential atheism. Based on the idolatry of materialism, it is ALL (100%) irrational conjecture (blind faith).


existential atheism does not imply materialism idolatry. You've heard of idealism, right?
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Lao_Tzu
post Oct 12, 2006, 12:34 PM
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QUOTE(Lindsay @ Oct 12, 2006, 05:07 PM) *

BTW, I consider myself to be an existentialist--but one who accepts the obvious values of materialism, plus those of idealism, both integrated with spiritual (transcendent and mysterious) values.

Wow. That's pretty big. I dig it though. Maybe you should set out your position in a separate post, so we can clarify it. What are the obvious values of materialism? And those of idealism? What are the transcendent and mysterious values? How do they integrate? What sort of existentialist is it that accepts these values? That sort of thing... it would be an epic topic. wink.gif Or perhaps I'm just confused and going over the top.

Anyway, I'm thoroughly tired so it's bed time. Keep it real. Or perhaps merely apparent.
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post Oct 12, 2006, 03:08 PM
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QUOTE(Lindsay @ Oct 12, 2006, 05:07 PM) *

BTW, I consider myself to be an existentialist--but one who accepts the obvious values of materialism, plus those of idealism, both integrated with spiritual (transcendent and mysterious) values.


L_T writes
QUOTE
Wow. That's pretty big.
By "big", I presume you mean "inclusive". If so, yes: I believe in being as "inclusive" as possible. Therefore, I am glad to hear you say: "I dig it though. Maybe you should set out your position in a separate post, so we can clarify it. What are the obvious values of materialism?"

Using my senses, I (LGK} am forced to agree: I am a material being. That is, I have weight and I take up space/time.

QUOTE
And those of idealism? What are the transcendent and mysterious values?
I, we, do NOT know. This is what makes, it seems to me, such values transcendent and mysterious.
QUOTE
How do they integrate?
I wish I knew. The only word that comes to mind is "LOVE". That is, integration will take place when you and I, lovingly and sincerely, want it to take place.
QUOTE
What sort of existentialist is it that accepts these values?

May I be so bold as to suggest the following: I am the kind of existensialist who is motivated by the agape/love. That is: I endeavour to begin all transactions with an attitude of good will, will without any kind of emotional conditions.

THE SUMMUM BONUM--The Highest Good
In other words, as a spiritual being, I have the power to choose and to give you, and others--even those who appear to be dowright evil--good will (agape-love). I can do this regardless of what I know about you, think of and feel about you, and imagine you to be--physically, mentally and spiritually.

You write:
QUOTE
That sort of thing... it would be an epic topic. wink.gif Or perhaps I'm just confused and going over the top.

Anyway, I'm (L_T) thoroughly tired... so it's bed time. Keep it real. Or perhaps merely apparent.


Two Questions to L-T: What do you suggest as a title for the "epic topic"? What, for you, is the difference between being "real" and "apparent"?
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post Oct 13, 2006, 02:27 AM
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Please note the revision I made to my last post.
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Lao_Tzu
post Oct 13, 2006, 10:39 AM
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QUOTE(Lindsay @ Oct 13, 2006, 01:08 AM) *

QUOTE
What sort of existentialist is it that accepts these values?

May I be so bold as to suggest the following: I am the kind of existensialist who is motivated by the agape/love. That is: I endeavour to begin all transactions with an attitude of good will, will without any kind of emotional conditions.

THE SUMMUM BONUM--The Highest Good
In other words, as a spiritual being, I have the power to choose and to give you, and others--even those who appear to be dowright evil--good will (agape-love). I can do this regardless of what I know about you, think of and feel about you, and imagine you to be--physically, mentally and spiritually.

I like it! Yay.

QUOTE

QUOTE
Anyway, I'm (L_T) thoroughly tired... so it's bed time. Keep it real. Or perhaps merely apparent.

Two Questions to L-T: What do you suggest as a title for the "epic topic"? What, for you, is the difference between being "real" and "apparent"?

Heheh. Um. "My metaphysical position" would be a good title. But I don't think it's so convoluted that it needs extensive explication, I just thought your "I consider myself..." was very cool. Broad in scope. Ambitious. Noteworthy.

The difference between real and apparent... well, I think 'real' means "has property of its own existence". In Buddhist philosophy nothing has the property of its own existence - no phenomenon is truly real, everything is merely apparent. So it's a kind of a private joke to say "keep it merely apparent" where one would usually say "keep it real" (or "keep it surreal"). As you can tell, I am an expert on "keep it..." pop valedictions. tongue.gif

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