Friedrich Nietzsche Essay
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I chose to write on Freidrich Nietzsche . He was criticized for all of his writing because they were so controversial. He was mostly known for his statement “the Death of God”. It was said that a lot of his philosophies were misunderstood by most of his readers. He was commonly classified as a German philosopher. He believed in life, creativity, health, and the realities of the world we live in, rather than those situated in a world beyond. His key ideas were the death of god, perspectivism, the Ubermensch, the will to power, and the eternal recurrence.
His philosophy was highly innovative and revolutionary but was also indebted to the pre-Socratic Greek thinker Heraclitus. Nietzsche frequently criticized Christianity in offensive and the most blasphemous ways possible. His views on morality were what got the most attention by other scholars. In his Daybreak he called himself an “immoralist” and often criticized the morality of his day. He wanted to create a new more naturalistic source of value in the fundamental impulses of life itself.
He claims that Christianity had more of a master-slave morality than anything else.
He associated the master-slave morality to that of the Jewish and Christian traditions. He associates good morals with charity, piety, restraint, meekness and submission and evil one’s being cruel, selfish, wealthy, and aggressive. He saw slave morality was mainly born out of the resentment slaves held toward their masters. It worked to give the slaves their own sense of inferiority over the wealthy or better off masters. His beliefs made it seem as if the slaves had chosen to be enslaved because they were believed to have the good morals.
Their refusal to stand up for themselves was relabeled as meekness to further prove this point. Nietzsche argued that slave morality is essentially the morality of effectiveness since moral goodness involves anything that is helpful to whom is weak and poor. Nietzsche saw modern day Europe and its Christianity existing only as a hypocritical state due to the tension created by the master-slave morality. He made it clear that although he didn’t believe that morality was bad, it was just portrayed wrongfully. He believed that each individual should be responsible for their own morality and how they wanted to portray it.
One of his favorite mottos was taken from Pindar was “Become what you are. ” In Nietzsche’s view recent development in modern science and the increasing of secularization of European society had effectively “killed” the Christian God who served as a meaning and value in the west for more than a thousand years. He claimed that the death of god would eventually lead to the loss of any if not all universal perspective on things. The death of god would also cause people to hang on to their own multiple, diverse, fluid perspectives.
This thought was eventually named perspectivism. But instead it was believed that the death of god would eventually go from perspectivism to nihilism or the belief that nothing had natural importance and that life itself lacked purpose. Nietzsche then said in The Spoke Zarathustra that an Ubermensch would be brought upon the people. He believed that only after a long twilight period with no God and nihilism Zarathustr’s gift of the superman would be given to mankind. Any problem that shall arise could be solved by the superman.
An important element form his philosophical attitude was “will to power” which was a foundation for understanding motivation in human behavior. He held that the will to power was much more important than the force for adaptation or survival. According to him, it was only in limited situations where the drive for conservation was higher than the will to power, primarily when life was reduced to a state of poverty and limitation. He claimed that the natural condition of life was one of abundance. Later in his works he claimed that the will to power applied to all living things not just mankind.
He suggested that adaptation and the struggle to survive came secondary in the evolution of animals and was less important than their desire to expand their power. He eventually took it even further claiming that even inorganic nature also followed the same rules. Nietzsche will to power was often compared to Schopenhauer’s will to live theory. Schopenhauer work was written an entire generation before Nietzsche and was believed to be borrowed. Schopenhauer’s belief was that the entire universe and everything in it was driven by a primordial will to live, resulting in all creatures’ desire to avoid death and procreate.
Nietzsche however challenged this belief stating that people and animals really just want power and living in itself is only a subsidiary aim necessary to promote one’s own power. He backed up this belief by using competitive fighting as an example. He stated that people as well as animals were willing to risk their lives to gain power or higher ranking within their groups. Nietzsche was compared to other writers before him along with their views and beliefs on motivation of the human behavior, each time Nietzsche argued that in the end the will to power provided the most useful and general explanation.
One of Nietzsche’s articles Eternal Return, was also known as the eternal recurrence, and was used as an answer to nihilism. In it he states that the wish for eternal return of all events would mark the ultimate affirmation of life. To comprehend the eternal recurrence in his thought and not to purely come to peace with it but to embrace it required the love of fate. Some people had stated that the Eternal Return was a crucial part of Nietzsche’s work and was central to his entire philosophy but was not widely discussed felt as though a large part of his philosophy was left untouched and unexplored.
The basic explanation was that the universe was limited in extent and contained a finite amount of matter; time was viewed as being infinite. The universe however had no starting or ending state and matter comprised its constant changing state. The number of possible changes was infinite so sooner or later the same state would eventually occur. This concept was one of his most difficult to understand, he used it as an existential thought experiment. His most famous quote on eternal recurrence was called “the heaviest burden” and the best way to comprehend it was to let it be read by the reader.
What if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: “This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but ever pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything immeasurably small or great in your life must return to you-all in the same succession and sequence-even this spider and his moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself.
The eternal hourglass of existence is turned over and over, and you with it, a grain of dust! ” Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently that this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal? -Nietzsche