FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (1844-1900)
Age 5 - father died
11 - entered Gymnasium
14 - discovered Hölderlm
17 - lost his faith
21 - studied theology at the University of Bonn
22 - transferred to Leibzig to study classical philology
24 - full professor (without a doctorate) at Basel
34 - resigned his position because of ill health
Wandered all over Switzerland and Italy, producing a book a year until his madness in 1888.
Nietzsche=s Illnesses, The Portable Nietzsche, pp. 116-17
Stephan Zweig: @No devilish torture is lacking in this dreadful pandemonium of sickness: headaches, deafening, hammering headaches, which knock out the reeling Nietzsche for days and prostrate him on sofa and bed, stomach cramps with bloody vomiting, migraines, fevers, lack of appetite, weariness, hemorrhoids, constipation, chills, night sweatCa gruesome circle. In addition, there are his >three-quarters blind eyes,= which, at the least exertion, begin immediately to swell and fill with tears and grant the intellectual worker only >an hour and a half of vision a day.= But Nietzsche despises this hygiene of his body and works at his desk for ten hours, and for this excess his overheated brain takes revenge with raging headaches and a nervous overcharge; at night, when the body has long become weary, it does not permit itself to be turned off suddenly, but continues to burrow in visions and ideas until it is forcibly knocked out by opiates. But ever greater quantities are needed (in two months Nietzsche uses up fifty grams of chloral hydrate to purchase this handful of sleep); then the stomach refuses to pay so high a price and rebels. And nowCvicious circleCspasmodic vomiting, new headaches which require new medicines, an inexorable, insatiable, passionate conflict of the infuriated organs, which throw the thorny ball of suffering to each other as in a mad game. Never a point of rest in this up and down, never an even stretch of contentment or a short month full of comfort and self-forgetfulness.@
NIETZSCHE=S THE BIRTH OF TRAGEDY (1872)
Parts of his thesis now confirmed by archeology: Dionysian rites were the foundation of Greek tragic plays and their festivals.
APOLLO--reason, moderation, order, detached contemplation, mind-body dualism, individual autonomy.
DIONYSOS (Roman Bacchus)--irrationality, willful, excess, vitality, active participation, no mind-body dualism, dissolution of the individual. AEcstatic@ AI write with my whole body and life.@ Signed himself either AChrist@ or Dionysos@ during mad years.
The transvaluation of values ABeyond good and evil.@ Does this mean moral nihilism? No, it means the resurrection of an ancient warrior virtue ethics. Virtues of vitality, courage, honesty, self-discipline, pride, and mastery.
Humility, benevolence, and compassion are not virtues, but vices. The Slave Morality.
OVERPERSON (Übermensch)--being true to yourself. Making yourself into a work of art.
ETERNAL RECURRENCE--a hyperbolic cosmology designed to force one into total self-acceptance.
NIETZSCHE AND THE ADEATH OF GOD@
At least two different meanings to the phrase:
FEUERBACH-FREUD--God is a creation (psychical projection) of human beings. Nietzsche: it=s now no trivial matter for humans to create themselves rather than creating God.
HEGEL-ALTIZER--ontological change in the nature of reality. God the Father (transcendent and wholly Other) negates himself and becomes a human being. Martin Luther and John Donne speak of the Crucifixion as the Death of God. Christmas celebrates the birth of God and Easter celebrates the death of God. Altizer, however, starts it at Christmas:
This is sometimes called a “kenotic” theology, which has always been consider at least suspect and at most heretical by church authorities. See Phillipians 2:7 on the self-emptying (kenosis) of God. For orthodox Christians, the most troubling aspect of this is that loss of God the Father and divine transcendence.
NIETZSCHE ON (SELF) CONSCIOUSNESS
Simple consciousness is for the herd Aindividual@vs. self-consciousness for the authentic individual?
Nietzsche says ANo.@ Why? Note: by the term Aconsciousness,@ Nietzsche really means self-consciousness. Both the herd person and the sovereign individual are self-conscious but in significantly different ways.
What about consciousness and the Three Metamorphoses?
CamelCCC> Lion CCC> Child
CAMEL--self-consciousness levels everyone to the same level under a ruling slave morality. Consciousness has utility Abetween man and man (especially between those commanding and those obeying@ (p. 47). Self-consciousness works in a leveling way, because the camel self mirrors the values and norms of society and projects them back on society as a whole. Also seen in self-conscious conformity to fads and fashions. Existentialists would say that this is an inauthentic use of self-consciousness.
Rule of sacred and political rulers. The temporal dimension must be the past, the firm hold of traditional authorities.
Primarily predmodern mode of thought, although one must say that early premodern peoples were not consistently self-reflective and self-conscious. Eternal Recurrence is affirmed collectively and ignorantly. ER is made meaningful through ritual and credible authorities. Implicitly describing this stage as predmodern, Graham Parkes calls this the stage of “immersion. This is a stage of ignorant and collective “yes-saying” to authorities.
LION--hyper-self-consciousness. Here self-consciousness is used in what strict existentialists would call an authentic way. It is used to judge the camel life as a denial of freedom and creativity. The lion says “No” to oppressive authority.
The Lion takes the “Thou Shalt” of political and religious institutions and turns them into a “Thus I willed it.” This changes the temporal mode from past to an open future. It also changes a premodern cyclical view of history into a linear, progressive idea of history.
This stage is thoroughly modern, stressing personal autonomy, the use of reason in science and morality, and the rejection of political and religious authority. This is expressed most dramatically in the French and American Revolutions, which embody what we now call classical liberalism. The lion creates modernist dichotomies such as faith and reason, private and public, religion and politics, the inner and the outer.
The lion stage runs inevitably to an extreme form of modernism—nihilism, alienation, and moral relativism, the license of absolute freedom, leading even spiritual and technological Titanism, which, ironically appears to be little different from deconstructive postmodernism. Graham Parkes calls this stage one of “detachment,” but it could also be called one of “deconstruction.”
Many strict existentialist philosophers and heroes such as Dostoevsky’s appear here.
CHILD-- No subject-object split, spontaneity, full self-acceptance, nonjudgmental. Freud: rejection of genital sexuality and return to polymorphous sexuality of the child. Dionysian rejected of self-consciousness, but the child must be self-conscious enough to create new values. (Nietzsche of course had to be fully self-conscious to produce his great works.) This means that the child stage is not a simple return to infancy, but this person is a mature adult who has learned to take on child-like qualities.
Therefore, it is not really "animal" consciousness, because this is an new innocence after the full insights of experience, as in T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets, where the protagonist returns to the Garden and "knows it for the first time." Parkes calls this stage “reintegration,” and this term represents constructive postmodernism very nicely. This is where the true Overman comes into being.
The temporal mode here might be called an ecstatic Now. The dualism of Hesse’s wolf and human self is replaced by the transformative multiple body-ego that Nietzsche alludes to in The Will to Power (## 489, 490).
Main theme of selections from Beyond Good and Evil and The Geneaology of Morals: The origins of morality.
What do you think of Nietzsche=s theory? What parts of this reading would the Nazis have liked? Not liked?
p. 53: Philosophy is always based on human interests and is thoroughly personal and cultural. William James: philosophy and temperament.
What, according to Nietzsche, is the origin of Agood@ and Abad@ (schlecht)? German word schlecht means Aplain and simple [people].@
Master Morality and Slave Morality are both virtue ethics, but the former emphasizes the Ahard@ virtues: courage, strength, pride, power, selfishness, autonomy, willfulness; while the latter emphasizes the Asoft@ virtues: humility, weakness, compassion, selflessness, relationality. These are based on utility?
Who follows Nietzsche most closely today? Ayn Rand The Virtue of Selfishness. She would reject Nietzsche=s Aperspectivism@ in favor of her Aobjectivism.@
No egalitarianismCno levelling or trading places of the nobles (Arya) and the non-nobles.
It would be absurd to insist that the predator (= nobility) change places with its prey or give up its predation. It=s natural for the predator to express its Astrength.@ The eagle should not become self-conscious.
p. 61: Why does Nietzsche keep mixing Judaism and Christianity? Big difference between Messiah as Warrior and Messiah as the meek and mild Jesus. The vengefulness of the Book of Revelation?
p. 63: ARipest fruit is the sovereign individual.@ Anti-Kant: Aautonomy and morality are mutually exclusive.@
p. 62: Aryan nobility came back in the Renaissance, but Reformation killed it.