Nietzsche: What Else?

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Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 12:40 am
@Fido,
Fido;156619 wrote:
Some idiot skate boarder on the tube repeated that oft quoted line from Nietzsche in this fashion: Like they say, what ever doesn't kill you makes you stronger...

If that is not the greatest lie philosophy has told the world, then I don't know what is bigger... What does any one think they die of if not the totality of their injuries when they die of nothing else...I can count my bones... Some days everything hurts...Ironwork for thirty years and a rough and tough life besides has me hurting from what may be called sports injuries...I still power through them on will, but if the pain grows too great, then the will goes with it and once any one becomes immoble at an advanced age, then everything, especially cardio vascular starts to fail... We hurt from all that does not kill us, and the pain kills us eventually... He proved it himself with syphilus; only for him the mind was the first to go...Very often people have perfectly fine minds trapped in rotten bodies, and they see life as through a window, at a distance... I don't want that to be me...

Granted, he is often a bad influence on those who love him for his faults and not his virtues, but Nietzsche had his moments. I think you are right as far as physical injuries go --with the exception of immunity gained from certain germs, etc. But surely Nietzsche, a man who lived in his head, who said the great events in a man's life were his great thoughts, meant that phrase in a "spiritual" sense. He was a sickly, effete prodigy it seems, raised by adoring women. Not exactly a touchdown king. But the man had a hunger for something about the eating, screwing, and dying that flesh is heir to. Did he indulge himself at times? Was he sometimes a fool and a bluff? Sure.
But you ignore what was good in him.
I don't think it's conclusive that he had syphilis. His father died of a brain disease. Nietzsche, if he had syphilis, did not manifest the symptoms in the usual way. This may have a been a rumor designed to discredit him during WW2. Or so I have read. If so, the world has been to cruel to the victim of a brain disease...and even if it was syphilis, is he beyond our sympathy somehow because his poetry was used in a crude way by crude minds? Einstein helped the bomb exist. Modern biology helps germ warfare exist. Progress is a two-edge sword, and Nietzsche was a progress in philosophical self-consciousness...at his best anyhow.

I agree with what you say about the window. But it's a tricky issue. Why do our top generals avoid the front lines? Isn't our society extremely specialized these days? Of course this specialization has its downside.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 12:50 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;165546 wrote:
Nietzsche does not fascinate me. I just find him an annoyance because he gives philosophy a bad name.


That's nice. Thanks for sharing. Many philosophers give philosophy a bad name. What's your point?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 12:51 am
@Fido,
Fido;156619 wrote:

It is the young who love Nietzsche because he justifies them, because he is a sort of Peter Pan of lost boys who never grew up...He was trapped in boyhood, a juvenile, unable to see the point of morality, family, community, and adulthood...


This is an exaggeration, I think, but essentially valid --to a degree.

But when was the last time you picked up Beyond Good and Evil? I know the title is indulgent, and will make you scowl. (Am I right?) Still, read the first part and see if it doesn't soften you a little on our friend Mr. Mustache.

Nietzsche helped me question and move beyond my world-hating young adult angst. He mocked the wise men for calling life an evil. He diagnosed certain questions as symptoms. The honest man doesn't wear his reasons on his sleeve. He made some excellent criticisms of Socrates. From the good side of Nietzsche, I learned to question and ditch the "bad" side of Nietzsche. I'm not denying that I found the "bad" side seductive once.

Nietzsche would only see the shallow side of religion -- at least at his possibly brain-damaged worst. Of course he was right to point out hypocrisy and mere sentimentality, but was that really all that there? Note his eerie analysis of Jesus in The Antichrist. He accuses Christ of being the Peter Pan, while yet spelling out his virtues better than most declared Christians have --as far as I know. He almost sounds like a radical Protestant fuming at idolaters for missing the utter immanence of "God."
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 12:54 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;165604 wrote:
Einstein helped the bomb exist. Modern biology helps germ warfare exist. Progress is a two-edge sword, and Nietzsche was a progress in philosophical self-consciousness...at his best anyhow.

.


And this is Nietzsche's revelation to us, that progress has its downside? I read that in The Weekly Reader my granddaughter brings home from school on Friday afternoons. Maybe the saying should go, "What does not kill you makes you dumber".
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 01:01 am
@kennethamy,
Nietzsche was also great at mocking the shallowness at some who covet the title of Foolosopher.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 01:04 am
@Reconstructo,
Despite all his flattery of and popularity among the artistically inclined, isn't there something of the philistine about Nietzsche? "God is dead" and "Beyond good and evil" at the core are just the credo of the philistines and Nietzsche is their Moses.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 01:07 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;165617 wrote:
Nietzsche was also great at mocking the shallowness at some who covet the title of Foolosopher.


Res Ipsa Loquitur, all over again. So what does it matter what he was great at mocking? It is his own abilities which are at issue. If N. was a fool, then who cares who he mocks, or what he does? You have the issue backwards, once again.

---------- Post added 05-18-2010 at 03:13 AM ----------

Deckard;165622 wrote:
Despite all his flattery of and popularity among the artistically inclined, isn't there something of the philistine about Nietzsche? "God is dead" and "Beyond good and evil" at the core are just the credo of the philistines and Nietzsche is their Moses.


Sure. It is The Weekly Reader stuff. The same people who think that Kahil Gibran was a great poet think that Nietzsche was a great philosopher. That is why Wittgenstein wrote of, "the darkness of these times". It really comes down to just a lack of taste.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 01:21 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;165623 wrote:

Sure. It is The Weekly Reader stuff. The same people who think that Kahil Gibran was a great poet think that Nietzsche was a great philosopher. That is why Wittgenstein wrote of, "the darkness of these times". It really comes down to just a lack of taste.

There is also dandyism which, on the playground at least, seems to stand opposite to philisitinism. Oddly Nietzsche might also be considered both dandy and philistine at the same time... and this dual nature might be the key to the enigma.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 01:24 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;165612 wrote:
And this is Nietzsche's revelation to us, that progress has its downside? I read that in The Weekly Reader my granddaughter brings home from school on Friday afternoons. Maybe the saying should go, "What does not kill you makes you dumber".


But that is a ridiculous utterance because your granddaughter did not bring home a The Weekly Reader from the 19th Century that predates Nietzsche's writing. The Weekly Reader could have been influenced by Nietzsche.

You are also guilty of equalizing vastly different forms of the ideas that "progress has its downside." First, progress is subjective in this vague instance, and thus, downside is subjective to the definition of progress chosen.

For example, the reactionary born-again Christian may see progress as the actualization of a world in which the white, Christian male is justified in their brutality towards others who do profess to believe their held dogma. But on the other hand, a hardcore liberal progressive socialist would not see this as progress but rather, would see a gross regression towards the barbarism their forepeople had fought for centuries. Their idea of the downside of progress would be vastly different as a result.

It is always nice when it is confirmed that some things will never change.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 01:28 am
@Deckard,
Deckard;165622 wrote:
Despite all his flattery of and popularity among the artistically inclined, isn't there something of the philistine about Nietzsche? "God is dead" and "Beyond good and evil" at the core are just the credo of the philistines and Nietzsche is their Moses.


Those two phrases support your point. Of course BG&E is actually a good book. Nietzsche was ultimately a good boy, who liked to pretend he was bad. At his best, he mocks all that would cramp the human spirit. At his worst, he makes an ugly cartoon of something as profound as Christianity.

He says he puts on gloves when he reads the New Testament. And yet Nietzsche himself is a New Testament. A man who stresses the spirit more than the law. This is an oversimplification for clarity: Nietzsche attacked the religion of his tribe for the same reasons Christ did, because he thought it was false, decayed, imperfect. His attack on God was an attack on idolatry. The incarnation myth is god-as-mortal-man. How far is this from the Overman? It's just that Nietzsche took his own deep compassion for a sin, a weakness. This was his mistake, I think. I think N was right to attack the sentimentality and hypocrisy of the usual Christianity. This is similar to calling out the liberals who recycle and drive a Prius for Mother Earth and yet ultimately worship Property and Respectability.

At his best, he was intensely alive to music, nature, politeness of the heart, golden laughter, the things of the spirit. His personal problem, an excessive sympathy, suddenly became humanity's problem. I don't think a Nietzsche / Luther comparison is absurd. Nietzsche is just another step away from idolatry (at his best.) God becomes more and more immanent, less and less some distant King. Hegel thought that Christianity was the Absolute Religion precisely because the Incarnation myth was the truth in symbolic form, nevermind all the confused interpretations of it. God only exists in man. Just as man only exists in the tribe, in a shared world, in an inherited language. Man as an island is a fascinating but dangerous myth, as John Donne saw. The world apart from man is a useful check on bias, and has served natural science, but isn't this too a bit dangerous? Useful but almost superstitious?

"Man with rather have the void for his purpose than be devoid of purpose." Some call it purpose. Others call it religion. Still other philosophy, art, wisdom, decency, virtue, the Good, etc. Cynics call it food, lodging, and a pat on the back from the neighbors.

---------- Post added 05-18-2010 at 02:36 AM ----------

Deckard;165630 wrote:
There is also dandyism which, on the playground at least, seems to stand opposite to philisitinism. Oddly Nietzsche might also be considered both dandy and philistine at the same time... and this dual nature might be the key to the enigma.


Excellent point. And there is that part of him that transcends both. An insistence on the beauty and joy that can be had on Earth. Even if he denies God, he writes prose poems to the life more abundant.

---------- Post added 05-18-2010 at 02:44 AM ----------

Theaetetus;165631 wrote:

For example, the reactionary born-again Christian may see progress as the actualization of a world in which the white, Christian male is justified in their brutality towards others who do profess to believe their held dogma.

Excellent point. It pains me to see Christianity used in this way. There are lines in the New Testament as profound as anything I've found elsewhere..and my adult life has largely been a seeking out of whatever the hell truth and virtue are purpose are. In the beginning was the logos, the word! Well, if this isn't linguistic philosophy at its finest... I find Witt, Hegel, and Nietzsche here. "Truth is an army of metaphors." "The real is rational--(read conceptual, lingual). "The limits of my language are the limits of my world."
You want the transcendental?
"Before Abraham was, I am."
Who is this "I" that "am"? And doesn't this outdo Joyce, as far as prose style goes? It's more efficient than the TLP.

You want ethics?
"Be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove"
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 06:13 am
@Deckard,
Deckard;165630 wrote:
There is also dandyism which, on the playground at least, seems to stand opposite to philisitinism. Oddly Nietzsche might also be considered both dandy and philistine at the same time... and this dual nature might be the key to the enigma.


What enigma?................
 
qualia
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 06:35 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;114656 wrote:
Apart from his telling us that God is dead; that we should get beyond good and evil (and pull our socks up); and that there are many perspectives on the same thing (if there is anything) but that none of them are correct or incorrect; is there anything else Nietzsche informed us about that I should know?


During the nineteenth century there was a general naturalistic current, or anti-rationalistic perspective working in the minds of men which argued that in all likelihood there is probably no other reality than that of the sensory world.

From Marx came the suspicion that human ideas and beliefs are a product of the material and base conditions of society. From Darwin, the suspicion that life had evolved from non-living matter, and that God had not created all the individual species, but that they had evolved through a process of natural selection. From Nietzsche came the suspicion that our morality, actions, passions are the result of unconscious and deep seated urges and animal instincts driven by power and domination.

Nietzsche helped map what is today considered broadly as the post modern condition: the deconstruction of grand themes and a general suspicion against absolutes and immutable truths, be these in politics, reason, science, language, religion or morality. Such a decentralised state leads to the proliferation of dogmas, ideologies, truths, and the bewildering explosion of theories and themes. In such a world, the decentralisation of man can account for an absolute reality, for no absolute can now exist. No system of representation can refer to reality in its totality, for reality after Nietzsche is merely that which is simulated through language, through signs.

With this suspicion rises the spectre of interpretation, especially within the humanities, such as law, politics, religion, economics in which there can be no final or absolute interpretation. Instead, there are multiple, contestable interpretations backed by systems of power.

Because for Nietzsche an all-encompassing cosmological story-system in which everyone can fit into, a system which provides a background, a place and life meaning for the individual is gradually disintegrating, the potential consequence is a newly constructed category of the individual, no longer a member of the community of God, but the individual who must construct their life in singularity, upon their own resources. The threat of such an endeavour is potentialy nihilism.

Nietzsche is often accussed of being a relatavist, but this is nonsense. Very few, if anyone, could ever coherently state a position of relativism without appealing to the notion of truth which the position tries to undermine. Niietzsche does not say that every view is as good as any other, nor does he argue for perspectivism, that your perspective is right from where you are, mine from mine. Nietzsche's concern was to investigate how is the discourse of truth employed, and who has control over what counts as true and false.

Nietzsche identified a kind of menacing dogmaticism running through Western culture: the belief that your belief is not only good for you, but is also good for everyone else, that the belief is all-binding. Nietzsche's critique is not a criticism on belief, then, or that one's belief is no better than any other, but more about the meta-belief, the belief about your belief in which everyone should partake and believe in.

For Nietzsche, there are many ways to express, interpret, create and explain truth. That a given power structure dictates that x is the correct and only true way of discourse is dogmatism. Obeying such power systems might be comforting and rewarding, but cannot be said to be the Truth. Truth is a sum of human relations, power relations, agreed upon fictions, a holism which are open to critique and Nietzsche's relativism is simply to believe that beliefs should hold the meta-belief that they could be wrong.

It is part of Nietzsche's style not to offer demonstrable arguments but to raise suspicions into the idols of mankind. Its gods, truths, universals, first principles, and the such. He wanted us to think about the possible untruthful origins of truth, of facts which do not exist independently from interpretations, about the possible immoral origins of our morality and values. It is from this approach that Nietzsche formulated the methodology of genealogy, uncovering the conditions in which discourses, ideas and social practices appear.

Essentially, Nietzsche asked himself, 'what are the conditions and motivations which have formed or driven this kind of given discourse?' and he did not necessarily need to seek out the arguments and investigate their internal validity, but instead, questioned the type who would make valuations of that kind. This approach is useful to the extent that it can reverse perspective to that of the marginalised, or to those in which history has happened to negate. It can focus on relations of power and how they have played out, and thus avoid any singular point of view. The method of genealogy, then, is not grounded on deductive argument, but merely helps raise the question about what power the individual and/or collective is deriving from their discourse. Perhaps the discourse on love and compassion, for example, is one really rooted in a mechanism of resentment, a mask of hate.

For Nietzsche, all creatures are driven by a will to power and live to augment this power and what he seemed to fear was that some time in the future, with the growth of capitalism and mass-democracy, many people would begin to deny their force of will, to flee from life and all its pain, miseries, sufferings and confussions and would simply will a kind of banal nothingness, succumbing to the crippling psychological state of disenchartment in the self, others, and the world. A state which today is often described as the post-modern condition.

There is so much more to say, but I'll leave it there.
 
walkingaround
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 11:50 am
@kennethamy,
well, he's not fascinating to all philosophers, but to some. I think he is interesting(i am not a philosopher), because I read him as a poet, and frankly, I dont care what he called himself. But I also dont care about the reputation of philosophy,as I dont identify with it that much.

I like to look at the preposterosity of his writings, which says a lot about the psyche of humans, not nessecarily good things though, but things I usually dont like to look at. And nietzsche forces me to look at those things. but i would never take his stuff for relevant in it self. its more like looking at a disease to learn something about health
 
 

 
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