Thus Spoke Zarathustra

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gaz7224
 
Reply Mon 17 Aug, 2009 10:49 am
Hi all,

I have a question regarding Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Nietzsche.

In particular, the following quote.......

Quote:
For the evil is man's best force, man must become better and eviler


I understand this quote in the context of psychology. When someone hurts somebody, it's because they feel inferior to them. Buy hurting, being evil, it allows that person to feel superior. For example, most bullies are insecure so they pick on people to boost their self-esteem.

Is this an accurate interpretation or does it mean something else?

Thanks,
Gaz
 
Theages
 
Reply Mon 17 Aug, 2009 12:02 pm
@gaz7224,
People who play by the rules are considered good. People who break the rules are considered evil. Anybody who does or creates something genuinely new or interesting must necessarily break some rules. Hence anybody who does or creates something genuinely new or interesting must become "eviler".
 
gaz7224
 
Reply Mon 17 Aug, 2009 12:11 pm
@gaz7224,
I see. So without evil, civilization would become static because the would be no rule breaking, which is ultimately necessary in order to create/invent new things.

So evil is man's best force, it is creation?

Thanks
Gaz
 
PoeticVisionary
 
Reply Mon 17 Aug, 2009 01:32 pm
@gaz7224,
Hey Gaz when you are finished with "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" read "Beyond Good & Evil". Immediately afterward if you have it available, I found that it helped tie up a lot of the lingering questions from "-Zarathustra". Hope this helps.
 
Grimlock
 
Reply Mon 17 Aug, 2009 01:54 pm
@gaz7224,
gaz7224;83799 wrote:
I see. So without evil, civilization would become static because the would be no rule breaking, which is ultimately necessary in order to create/invent new things.

So evil is man's best force, it is creation?

Thanks
Gaz


In a quite superficial way, this is headed in the right direction, yes. Zarathustra should probably be read last among N's books; the fact that it is often the first (and only) book to which his readers are exposed is a little bit troubling, though less troubling than the fact that many people who read Zarathustra are drawn to its style, alone, and fail to distinguish its content from the vast flotsam and jetsam of modern pseudo-philosophical trash. But this is mainly Nietzsche's own fault. With Z, N may well have bitten off more than even he could chew. N was, alas, not the poet he'd have liked to have been.

Chalk it up to a noble effort and read Nietzsche's more serious works (BG&E is a good start, but the Genealogy of Morals cannot be skipped if one is starting at that point) if you're actually interested. There's no real sense in discussing this (or any) particular N quote in a vacuum, however, until we're all on roughly the same page regarding background of the citation, which is not the case here.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Mon 17 Aug, 2009 07:01 pm
@gaz7224,
The quotation is found in "The Higher Man" (Z,IV,13). Note what Z says immediately after: "The greatest evil is necessary for the overman's best. It may have been good for that preacher of the little people that he suffered and tried to bear man's sin. But I rejoice over great sin as my great consolation"(trans. Kaufmann).

In addressing the higher men, N. is making a strong contrast between the teachings of Jesus and Zarathustra. Given that N. sees what passes for Christian morality (the herd morality) as diseased through and through, and given his psychological analysis of "sin," it is not surprising that he urges the creative superman to become more "evil." Note too, that the chapter ends with another kind of "evil" and that is laughter and dancing, the opposite of the spirit of seriousness of the "good" people.

I quite agree that Z. should not be the first (or only) of N.'s writings read, and that it must be approached from his more philosophical works: in particular, Genealogy of Morals and Beyond Good and Evil. Moreover, many of his key words involve themes and variations (the musical analogy seems especially apt given the fascination of composers such as Delius, Strauss, and Mahler with Z) each of which receives added nuance and extended meanings after one becomes acquainted with his other works as well as the context of surrounding passages.
 
Theages
 
Reply Tue 18 Aug, 2009 10:04 am
@jgweed,
Would I be out of line if I said that Beyond Good and Evil bored me to tears? I say go with Twilight of the Idols and the Gay Science. They're much better written and much more interesting.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Tue 18 Aug, 2009 12:05 pm
@gaz7224,
The Gay Science was written shortly before Thus Spoke, and contains many of the same ideas that are presented in the latter. By reading the Gay Science first, I was able to better understand Thus the second time I read through it.

I have to actually do my senior capstone research project this semester on Nietzsche, so I have been reading as much of his works as I can.
 
Grimlock
 
Reply Tue 18 Aug, 2009 01:58 pm
@Theages,
Theages;84029 wrote:
Would I be out of line if I said that Beyond Good and Evil bored me to tears?


Simply asking such a question on a board devoted to Nietzsche is more likely "out of line" than any possible opinion contained therein. But then again: if there is a line to be out of, I am unaware of it.
 
Theages
 
Reply Tue 18 Aug, 2009 03:44 pm
@Grimlock,
Grimlock;84122 wrote:
Simply asking such a question on a board devoted to Nietzsche is more likely "out of line" than any possible opinion contained therein.

I just think that BGE has been given way too prominent a place in the study of Nietzsche's thought. He didn't seem to think too highly of it himself:

Quote:
It was God himself who at the end of his day's work lay down as a serpent under the tree of knowledge: thus he recuperated from being God ... He had made everything too beautiful ... The devil is merely idleness of God on that seventh day ...

[/COLOR][/SIZE]TSZ was too beautiful, so he wrote BGE.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Tue 18 Aug, 2009 08:52 pm
@gaz7224,
I think it fair to say that most philosophers recognise that BGE is N's most sustained attempt at philosophy, although certainly N. made some extravagant claims for Z in Ecce Homo and thought it his best work. The questions raised in BGE about truth itself (e.g.,)as well as the three essays in GM have been influential in post-Nietzschean discussions, and are usually more quoted than are similar passages in Z.

To judge the philosophical value of a book by whether it seems boring or not would seem to preclude taking the thinking seriously of a great bookshelf of very interesting and important books and philosophers.
 
Theages
 
Reply Tue 18 Aug, 2009 10:33 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed;84223 wrote:
To judge the philosophical value of a book by whether it seems boring or not would seem to preclude taking the thinking seriously of a great bookshelf of very interesting and important books and philosophers.

Okay, but I never did that. I love Nietzsche and have spent a tremendous deal of time with him. All I said was that BGE is overrated. GS and TI make much more important points (death of God, eg), yet still manage to achieve an engaging rhythm. BGE just trudges on and on, with none of Nietzsche's characteristic lightheartedness (as he himself points out).

I say pick GS and TI over BGE because with Nietzsche, there is a choice. If you want to study Aristotle's metaphysics, for example, you pretty much have to read the Metaphysics. He didn't write it somewhere else in a more interesting form, so you have to read it in the one boring form available. With Nietzsche this is not the case.
 
gaz7224
 
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2009 12:48 pm
@Theages,
Perhaps I'm wrong, but I can see a link between the quote I enquired about, and the paradox of the Human Shadow.

In Jungian/Analytical psychology, the aspects of ourselves that we deny and repress, through the process of acculturation and other introjections, are put into our Shadow. The Shadow contains both positive and negative qualities, but is generally seen as negative by our Ego, because its contents doesn't fit with who we think we are and who we want to be seen as. The paradox is basically that these aspects are generally seen as 'bad' but they are great sources of strength and so need to be integrated back into concious awareness.

Although not exactly identical, I can see a link between N's view of evil and Jung's views. Breaking rules, or 'evil', is seen as a source of strength by both.

I apologise because I feel I am over-simplifying things; however, I am a newbie and we all have to start somewhere.

I'm enjoying reading other people's views, and learning from it at the same time.

Thanks
 
Grimlock
 
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2009 01:25 pm
@gaz7224,
Nietzsche would have almost certainly considered Jung a peddler of superstitious tripe, as there is really nothing resembling naturalistic evidence for Jung's theories of the universal unconscious. Regarding their conceptions of "evil", N was speaking on the level of cultural morality, while Jung was (at least in this case) dealing with much more personal questions. They were frying different fish.

Jung is an interesting case. Nietzsche scorched the earth of human ethics, and maybe the best possibility for the rehabilitation of ethics as a metaphysical system that can be taken seriously comes with a starkly Jungian slant. A "universal" link between geist and geist (I use the German word because neither the English "mind" nor "spirit" exactly cover what I am trying to say) could provide a rational foundation for ethics, were such a link to exist. I do not believe that one geist is related to another except through the physical interactions of the attending bodies, but it is an interesting question to consider.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 28 Nov, 2009 06:42 pm
@Grimlock,
Man's mind has an inherited structure. He responds to and spontaneously generates myth. Nietzsche constantly refers to Dionysus and defines himself also with metaphors. (He said he was a female elephant. He said he was dynamite.) He also defined truth as an army of metaphors. Metaphor and myth are closely related and often overlap. For instance, when Nietzsche called himself an Antichrist, he was using a myth as a metaphor for himself.

I find a Jungian criticism of Nietzsche to be as promising as a Nietzschean criticism of Jung. Both saw themselves as depth-psychologists. Both were right. Jung had money, women, fame. Nietzsche had much less.

I like applying the first part of BG&E to Nietzsche himself. He would have wanted it that way.

(Jung wrote well about Nietzsche in Psychological Types. )
 
IntoTheLight
 
Reply Sat 28 Nov, 2009 07:44 pm
@Reconstructo,
Interesting book, but terribly misogynistic.

-ITL-
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 28 Nov, 2009 10:02 pm
@IntoTheLight,
Nietzsche's a woman himself. He is man of many styles, many masks. He is a cynical woman in heat for her fantasized superman, disgusted with little grannies like Kant. Disgusted with altar boys. Disgusted with herself. One should read his misogyny as secret self-criticism.

Nietzsche was not only this lascivious woman though, he also identified himself with this woman's fantasy, Zarathustra. Nietzsche's work is the scream of a thickly-lined uterus.

Derrida (who is usually boring) writes up the issue of Nietzsche and woman and truth quite well in Spurs. Highly recommended.

Of course all this is offered with a grin. (Those who have read and re-read him will notice(?) certain hints of bisexuality..)
 
 

 
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