Nietzsche -- The Man Behind the Philosophy

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Reply Sat 28 Nov, 2009 07:50 am
Considering that many threads on Nietzsche are littered with ad hominem arguments that ignore the ideas of Nietzsche, this thread is being created so the others within the subforum can be used to discuss ideas, rather than complain about Nietzsche's life and why that discredits him. What this means is no posting ad hominem arguments in the other Nietzsche threads unless it is relevant to the topic being discussed (which is very rare).

Thank you for complying!
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 28 Nov, 2009 10:08 pm
@Theaetetus,
But Nietzsche himself was the type to examine the man behind the words, I think. He suggest that the ugliness of Socrates is a refutation, and also that Plato's philosophy was inspired by the beautiful youths of Athens. Of course he does it with ironic distance, but he does it.

Still, I sympathize with your desire to argue the work and not the biography.
 
Leonard
 
Reply Sat 28 Nov, 2009 10:39 pm
@Theaetetus,
Alright. A thread without ad hominem/irrelevant posts. I'll posit a short question: what aspects of Nietzsche's writing do you admire?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 28 Nov, 2009 11:50 pm
@Theaetetus,
On the Prejudices of Philosopers (BG&E) is golden.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Sun 29 Nov, 2009 07:40 am
@Theaetetus,
I admire his poetic use of language. Unfortunately, I cannot read German so I do not get the whole effect, but Kaufmann has done such a fine job translating his work that it is poetic even in English. Of all the philosophers, he is the champion of style.
 
Leonard
 
Reply Sun 29 Nov, 2009 05:02 pm
@Theaetetus,
Kaufmann is one of the best; he translated some Goethe and other German works too. Anyway, it adds effect when he speaks defiantly in his writing, and he's likely the oldest contemporary (some might call him the last) philosopher.
 
Fido
 
Reply Mon 30 Nov, 2009 07:43 am
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;106592 wrote:
Considering that many threads on Nietzsche are littered with ad hominem arguments that ignore the ideas of Nietzsche, this thread is being created so the others within the subforum can be used to discuss ideas, rather than complain about Nietzsche's life and why that discredits him. What this means is no posting ad hominem arguments in the other Nietzsche threads unless it is relevant to the topic being discussed (which is very rare).

Thank you for complying!

Why would anyone ever expect that the ideas of the man do not justify the man, and his morality or immorality as the case may be... The fruit of that tree is diseased, and it is the diseased mind that craves it...Ideas do not exist apart from human kind, outside of the human mind...Generally what we do is what we are, and what we think is what we are, and our ideas come out of our experience...It would be easy to see the likes of Nietzsche in any bus terminal in America where crazies must escape the cold...His like can be seen babbling in the alleys and streets of any big city...That he was a genius is obvious, and that he was defective in morality is equally obvious...He was diseased long before spirochetes squirreled away his mind...

It is nonsense to try to deny the man and assert the work...
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Mon 30 Nov, 2009 03:36 pm
@Theaetetus,
Ideas are things of history when they are documented. Thus, an idea can live far beyond the life of a single human. The idea does not change because the person that came up with it had syphilis, and the idea does not change when the person that thought it first end up insane. The idea is independent of the mind as soon as it has been recorded.

I have yet to see you provide any sort of evidence as to why Nietzsche's ideas are unworthy of discussed besides your personal convictions. You also keep telling that Nietzsche is defective morally, but you have yet to provide any sort of evidence from any of the texts that argues for your convictions.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 30 Nov, 2009 10:32 pm
@Theaetetus,
It's been a awhile, but I read a few biographies of Nietzsche, and I would say he lived the life of a good man, in the usual sense of the word. He worked hard, achieved a academic position that was remarkable for his age, had the guts to state unpopular opinions, turned his back on antisemitism, etc.

He lived on small pension, this sickly man, and spent his time thinking about the improvement of his species.

His rants are sometimes ridiculous, but his best sentences are immortal. He raised his mustache against prejudice. And his best sentences are like crystals or viruses, which certainly transcend the facts of his biography. While it's natural to consider his work in relation to his life, it's wasteful to neglect his genius in the name of his excesses.

Just one more opinion.
Smile
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 07:46 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;107112 wrote:
Ideas are things of history when they are documented. Thus, an idea can live far beyond the life of a single human.


As I read this the old dog in me licks his chops and considers sinking his teeth in and hanging on for the ride... Aahem; sooo, Ideas live??? Do they pay taxes and go to the bar with their favorite people???
So, Ideas are things... How many of these living things have you captured live??? I think you do not guess that things are real, and ideas are not real, and cannot be conjured out of the mind, but must reflect reality much as a face appears in the mirror of the person facing it...It defines some reality, even when it is a moral reality mirrored by a moral form....

Quote:
The idea does not change because the person that came up with it had syphilis, and the idea does not change when the person that thought it first end up insane. The idea is independent of the mind as soon as it has been recorded.
People do not think up ideas but think with ideas, and can only recognize those qualities they can conceive of in the form of an idea... Nietzsche was not comming up with ideas but offering a certain narative for the human experience, saying where we went wrong and what we must do to rectify our path... I am certain Nietzsche would agree that this narrative required a certain perspective, but what was that perspective... The guy was always odd, a peter pan of a man incapable of emotional growth and maturity, trapped in childhood by doting sisters, but without a giant of a father to slay and become...Yet, he had a larger father to slay, his father in heaven...Did it escape you that he was a music critic???That Wagner was a father figure, and his girl, a foil and flirt, an improvement on his own mother... Upon what basis was he to judge music...One who knew called his music rubbish if I remembered the word correctly, but I still have the book... We know from the work of Van Gough, if we can discount the notion that he ate his paints, that syphilus does affect perception, and having seen some of Van Goughs work up close, that it may distort perception almost to the breaking point...The postmans wife who resembles a frog nursing a pig was hated by its subject, and she once used it to patch a broken fence...The same is true of Baudelaire... Who else but a syphiletic could be inspired to compare his love to a rotting corps, and that is not the object of his love, but the love itself...If you could compare the superman with the man Nietzsche the difference would be shocking... The syphilus was only a part, a symptom taken alone of a larger disease... He felt small and irrelevent, and superman was his secret self... He was unable to relate as an equal with women, and women had for too long bossed him around... Set free, he sought out immoral relationships with women, and these relationships were all financial primarily having sexual overtones, and there the buyer was presumably always right...But again; where was Mrs. superman and baby superman??? Even in his fantasies he could not relate to women... He was always a cracked plate...He always saw things differently... He lived so much in the past of his fantasies that he wanted to go there in person... He had death wish, and there he was not alone... It is quite common for people who have lost part of their brains and minds to see things differently...Isn't that the point of a Rorschach test???
Quote:
I have yet to see you provide any sort of evidence as to why Nietzsche's ideas are unworthy of discussed besides your personal convictions. You also keep telling that Nietzsche is defective morally, but you have yet to provide any sort of evidence from any of the texts that argues for your convictions.
I do not think Nietzsche had any new ideas, and the proof of this is that ideas have names, so they can be recalled...What have you in mind??? Infinite recurrence, perspectivism if that is one of his, morality as immorality??? What is new here???Sure; now his opinion must be discussed, because their historical effect has been so great...He was not alone inrecognizing the unreasonableness of mankind...Baudelaire was with him in a general antirationalist movement culminating in Freud...His individuation of the will, which Schopenhaur warned against, if I remember correctly, could have come from the general dis-individuation of society and the economy... Nietzche hated the common man, and clearly believed the individual is responsible for all human progress...That is immoral because community is morality... The slaves cannot be expected to share the morality of the masters, though often they do...What the superman is is the ultimate criminal, which as a form of self expression he defends...And I hope you do not miss the fact that our criminals have always been our anti heroes, which are the heroes set against society rather then within society...And there is a reason i don't actually site a lot of his work unless challenged...Youth is a form of madness, and this is said as much in the Republic...In my youth I read thus spake, and all of that crap appealed to me more in my youth than you can imagine...I was a man of will, and ironworker, and far more a superman than Nietzsche's wildest wet dream, and what I desired was my moral and the whole world could just eat my shet if they did not like it because I was going to do as I wanted without regard... I had to be rehabilitated to become a human being, and that did not ever happen with Nietzsche...Today it hurts me to read to read his writing because I feel I am witnessing the struggle of a madman with all his demons... He is so OC, all that talk of rot, and the tyrade against Paul is classic...He saw things as a brilliant child sees things, but he never quite grew up and learned how to relate in equal relationships...Any one could tailor a message to irresponsible and immoral youth...Just tell them what they want to hear....Anyone else would be immitation...
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2009 09:24 pm
@Theaetetus,
Good post, Fido. A little unfair perhaps, but you do put your finger on the issues.

Spengler called Nietzsche a socialist, by which he meant moralist. Indeed, Nietzsche was a part time moralist. He thought man was too naive, too tame, too broken. But he should have realized that buying and selling and eating and shetting were going on like usual, that people were stuffing their faces, that criminals were being executed, wars fought. Where was all this pity? In the pulpit? But that was just whitewash. Nietzsche forgot that intellectual conscience or if you prefer consistency is the virtue of a subculture, not humanity at large.

The strange thing is that you criticize Nietzsche in a depth-psychology biographical way, and this to me is what Nietzsche did well to other philosophers. As you say, youth is madness, and I was drawn to Nietzsche by the phrase "beyond good and evil." What young man of spirit does not want to go beyond? And I digested all of this and even his errors were useful. As determinate negations, as capes tried on and found wanting. But Nietzsche was still a first-rank philosopher at times, in spite of all his absurdities. And even his absurdities are instructive, just as porn is instructive. Ecce Homo is an x-ray of philosophic ambition. Un-edited megalomania and power-drive, blah blah, etc.
 
Fido
 
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2009 09:47 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;108659 wrote:
Good post, Fido. A little unfair perhaps, but you do put your finger on the issues.

Spengler called Nietzsche a socialist, by which he meant moralist. Indeed, Nietzsche was a part time moralist. He thought man was too naive, too tame, too broken. But he should have realized that buying and selling and eating and shetting were going on like usual, that people were stuffing their faces, that criminals were being executed, wars fought. Where was all this pity? In the pulpit? But that was just whitewash. Nietzsche forgot that intellectual conscience or if you prefer consistency is the virtue of a subculture, not humanity at large.

The strange thing is that you criticize Nietzsche in a depth-psychology biographical way, and this to me is what Nietzsche did well to other philosophers. As you say, youth is madness, and I was drawn to Nietzsche by the phrase "beyond good and evil." What young man of spirit does not want to go beyond? And I digested all of this and even his errors were useful. As determinate negations, as capes tried on and found wanting. But Nietzsche was still a first-rank philosopher at times, in spite of all his absurdities. And even his absurdities are instructive, just as porn is instructive. Ecce Homo is an x-ray of philosophic ambition. Un-edited megalomania and power-drive, blah blah, etc.

There is no essential difference between philosophy and morality, or properly, ethics...It is moral forms we deal with and not physical ones...

I would put Spengler in the same class as NIetzsche...Each in their narratives of European civilization saw it in decline, much as people before the end of the first millenium saw everything winding down to the end, and the coming of Jesus...And the fact the Jesus did not return left the Church in position to take over society, and they did, and pretty much gave us Western law as we have it, excepting England and the U.S., of course...

In any event, I don't see it...I don't see that we are winding down, or that we need some super man types to lift humanity out of the dirt...If Nietzsche had read Engals, or perhaps Morgan on anthropology, he might have gathered that the state was founded on the power of raiding chiefs who eventually set themselves above their own people... There were never two classess of people in Tribal Europe until the Franks discovered the stirrup, which made one man on a horse the equal of many...The difference between the supermen and the peasants was four more feet...And all that was a step down for humanity for sure, because all the talents of all the people were wasted by class division...

Humanity marches forward...It is because of democracy, because equality of humanity has been given some of its due that we know the great advance of technology in the span of time between Nietzsche and ourselves... The lords couldn't balance their checkbooks...The people can do anything...
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2009 10:00 pm
@Theaetetus,
I think Spengler was quite different than Nietzsche. He strikes me as much colder. His influence is Goethe. He has much of Hegel's organicism.

Still, I thought you post was good. Yes, Nietzsche was a boy in love with comic books. He was Romantic poet in the wrong genre. But consider the opening of Beyond Good and Evil. "Supposing Truth to be a woman.." He proceeds to expose the prejudices of philosophers, judges them from the better parts of himself. He assimilated Schopenhauer, but added a twist. He saw that Life was the maker and breaker of truth. In many ways, Nietzsche is just the return of the Sophist, the same sophist that Plato declared himself morally superior to. But Nietzsche inherited Plato's moral superiority. It still clung to him, the smell of the priest. Whereas a Protogoras was paid well, lived to a ripe old age. So Nietzsche is a Chatterton in the attic type of Romantic Sophist. Or that's one of many possible descriptions.

What do you think of Rorty? He's an example of a modern smiling sophist who has assimilated the Romantics and the linguistic philosophers quite well I think. A well-adjusted Nietzsche who writes in a calm clear English.
 
de budding
 
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 05:35 am
@Theaetetus,

I both admire and detest Nietzsche's enigmatic style of writing.
His writing seems to ask that you work him out, rather than him explaining himself. I find this both original and interesting but also a little lazy.

I think Nietzsche strives to be super-succinct and catchy - even referring to his aphorisms as 'barbs'... or catchy points. And his 'barbs' are catchy and I thinnk this sort of use of pun and wit is great.

I always dip in and out of BGaE and TotI and find both full of advice and reflections which I find relevant and interesting. However, I struggle to follow his larger ideas which are meant to be woven into the books, although I have tried to pick these up from books like 'A very short introduction to Nietzsche' (oxford press) and fine these equally inspired and original, especially regarding religion and slave morality.

In a nut shell I think his writing style (particularly in BGaE and TotI) is original and adventurous... both reflections of his thought and ideas in my opinion.

Regards,
Dan
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2009 10:42 am
@de budding,
de_budding;108776 wrote:

I both admire and detest Nietzsche's enigmatic style of writing.
His writing seems to ask that you work him out, rather than him explaining himself. I find this both original and interesting but also a little lazy.

I think Nietzsche strives to be super-succinct and catchy - even referring to his aphorisms as 'barbs'... or catchy points. And his 'barbs' are catchy and I thinnk this sort of use of pun and wit is great.

I always dip in and out of BGaE and TotI and find both full of advice and reflections which I find relevant and interesting. However, I struggle to follow his larger ideas which are meant to be woven into the books, although I have tried to pick these up from books like 'A very short introduction to Nietzsche' (oxford press) and fine these equally inspired and original, especially regarding religion and slave morality.

In a nut shell I think his writing style (particularly in BGaE and TotI) is original and adventurous... both reflections of his thought and ideas in my opinion.

Regards,
Dan

It could be that he was a shiney pin ball bouncing off the bumpers and paddles of contradition...If he was telling the truth, then why the enthusiasim??? Every one with the truth is the bearer of bad tidings, as welcome as discord at any party... The truth discovered at great pains also means change at great cost...Is the truth so difficult to gather, or does humanity not want to bother???As far as I can tell people just need enough truth to keep tomorrow like yesterday.... Offer them any more and you will suffer rejection...The reason Nietzsche was successful is for telling what people wanted to hear...Everyone tends to see the superman in their own reflections...Everyone can bathe in their pleasure at cruelty...Did Nietzsche ask for sacrifice as Jesus did???
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2009 02:13 pm
@Fido,
"Wisdom maketh a man's face to shine." Ecclesiastes.

At moments, Nietzsche gets there. But he doesn't have the personality type to be a lawgiver.

He is a pinball, but his journey is instructive. A young reader will first assimilate his lesser thoughts and then negate them. But a kernel remains that is valuable.
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2009 03:14 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;109627 wrote:
"Wisdom maketh a man's face to shine." Ecclesiastes.

At moments, Nietzsche gets there. But he doesn't have the personality type to be a lawgiver.

He is a pinball, but his journey is instructive. A young reader will first assimilate his lesser thoughts and then negate them. But a kernel remains that is valuable.

So does alcohol...
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2009 04:55 pm
@Theaetetus,
Sometimes alcohol is Liquid Wisdom.

But seriously, a thinker's happiness is a recommendation of his thoughts as well as his liquor.
 
 

 
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