1844-1900 • Born near Leipzig • The son of a Lutheran priest • Studied philology at Bonn and Leipzig Universities • Influenced by Schopenhauer and Romanticism • 1868 – Appointed as the Chair of classical philology at Basle University. • 1879 – Retirement (for health problems)
Major Works • The Birth of Tragedy (1872) • Untimely Meditations (1873-6) • Human, All Too Human (1878-9) • 1880-1889: With the exception of brief periods, he abandons intellectual life and lives in France, Italy, and Switzerland (with his pension). In this period he writes • Thus Spoke Zarathustra • On the Genealogy of Morals (1887) • 1889: Nietzsche becomes insane “while watching a horse being flogged”(E&E 689) and will remain physically and mentally handicapped until his death in 1900.
Main themes • Radical critique of Western philosophy (reason/justice/“love”) • Slave/Master mentality • Jewish/Christian/Modern philosophy/the French revolution (=decay) • Death of God • “revaluation of values” (life-affirming) • The will to power • Eternal recurrence (life grows within this “cosmic drama”) • Overman/aristocratic values
Problem • Problem: Western civilization has degenerated and makes us sick (sickness of spirit) • “I understand corruption as you will guess, in the sense of decadence. (…) I call an animal, a species, or an individual corrupt when it loses its instincts, when it chooses, when it prefers, what is disadvantageous.” (700) • Triumph of a slave morality through Socratic philosophy, Christianity, the Enlightment, the French Revolution, and Socialism.
Socrates & the beginning of the End • Aesthetic Socratism is the principle behind its death. … we may call Socrates the opponent of Dionysus • “we need only see him as the prototype of a new and unimagined life-form, the prototype of theoretical man.” (72)
The Birth of Tragedy • “Morality itself –might morality not be a “will to the denial of life”, a secret instinct of annihilation, a principle of decay, trivialization, slander, the beginning of the end?”(9) • Jewish/Christian/Western/Modern Morality = Denial of Life • A Life Affirming position requires to be against morality (what in Western modernity means also being anti-Christian). • “What should I call it? As a philologist and man of letters, I baptized it… with the name of a Greek god: I called it the Dionysiac.”
BT • “Let these serious people know that I am convinced that art is the supreme task and the truly metaphysical activity of this life in the sense of that man, my noble champion on that path, to whom I dedicate this book.” • “Man is no longer an artist, he has become a work of art: the artistic power of the whole of nature reveals itself to the supreme gratification of the primal Oneness amidst the paroxysms of intoxication.” (18)
Neither Universals nor Progress • Nietzsche rejects the possibility of Universal truths, and Christianity and the Enlightenment with it (Kant and Hegel overall) • “Truth” consists only in the philosophers’ particular viewpoints they call “truth” • Truth is an exercise of power: “Whatever a theologian feels to be true must be false: This is almost a criterion of truth.”(701).
Challenge: Equilibrium • Civilization must provide life with order and continuity. • The Apollinean forces should be developed in such a way that they allow and facilitate the expressions of the Dionysian forces.
Zarathustra • “I teach you the Superman. Man is something that is to be surpassed. What have ye done to surpass man? All beings hitherto have created something beyond themselves: and ye want to be the ebb of that great tide, and would rather go back to the beast than surpass man?” (695) • “What is the ape to man? A laughing-stock, a thing of shame. And just the same shall man be to the Superman: a laughing-stock, a thing of shame.” (695) • “Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman—a rope over an abyss. A dangerous crossing, a dangerous way-faring, a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous trembling and halting.” (696)
Antichrist • “This book belongs to the very few.(…) One must be honest in matters of the spirit to the point of hardness before one can even endure my seriousness and my passion. (…)The predilection of strength for questions for which no one today has the courage; the courage for the forbidden; the predestination to the labyrinth.”(699)
Modernity • “This modernity was our sickness: lazy peace, cowardly compromise, the whole virtuous uncleanliness of the modern Yes and No.”(699) • “‘Progress’ is merely a modern idea, that is, a false idea. The European of today is vastly inferior in value to the European of the Renaissance.” (700)
Good & Evil “What is good? Everything that heightens the feeling of power in man, the will to power, power itself. What is bad? Everything that is born of weakness.” (699) “The weak and the failures shall perish: first principle of our love of man. And they shall even be given every possible assistance. What is more harmful than any vice? Active pity for all the failures and all the weak: Christianity.” (700)
God/s • “…a proud people needs a god: it wants to sacrifice. Under such conditions, religion is a form of thankfulness. Being thankful for himself, man needs a god. Such a god must be able to help and to harm, to be friend and enemy—he is admired whether good or destructive.(…) What would be the point of a god who knew nothing of wrath, revenge, envy, scorn, cunning, and violence?(…) No one would understand such a god: Why have him then?” (701) • “The Christian conception of God—God as god of the sick, God as a spider, God as spirit—is one of the most corrupt conceptions of the divine ever attained on earth.” (702)
The Genealogy • The Genealogy intends to serve as a clarification to Beyond Good and Evil • It is an attempt to rise above the slave morality, but it is also an attempt to rise above “the faith in opposite values”. • He invites us to go beyond established parameters of morality –which cannot be done without passing through them before.
Problem • Western civilization has degenerated and makes us sick (sickness of spirit) • Triumph of a slave morality through Socratic philosophy, Christianity, the Enlightment, the French Revolution, and Socialism.
Systems of Morality • Arise from the struggle between social groups
Basic Principles • Life Affirming • Life Denying • Ideas and practices
Master & Slave Moralities • Aristocratic ideal of morality embodied by the noble type of man -a “free spirit” –solitary, courageous, honorable- who creates his own values, according to what is pleasant or harmful for him (life affirming principle). • Slave morality: oppressed individuals gather together and create a morality of resentment. Universal Values that seek to end suffering (and seek social change without suffering, so suffering is denied): Herd morality (yet, the herd morality is conservative.
Nietzsche fosters a New Beginning, in which we may become innocent like children and life turns into a game. • Amor Fati: Nietzsche invites us to embrace Fate (Ecce Homo)
GM. Problem: the origin of moral values. • “Where our good and evil really originated.” (16) • Why is “the unegoistic” (pity, self-abnegation, self-sacrifice) considered “good” ? • What is the value of morality? (17)
Nietzsche: • “Let me articulate this new demand: we need a critique of moral values, the value of these values themselves must first be called in question –and for that there is needed a knowledge on the conditions and circumstances in which they grew, under which they evolved and changed (morality as a consequence, as symptom, as mask, as tartufferie, as illness, as misunderstanding; but also morality as cause, as remedy, as stimulant, as restraint, as poison)” (20)
Nietzsche: • We never doubt the “good man” is of greater value than the “evil man”... “But what if the reverse were true?” (20)
Genealogy • “The project is to traverse with quite novel questions, and as though with new eyes, the enormous, distant, and so well hidden land of morality...” • As a “genealogist of morals” (21) (deciphering hieroglyphic records of “the moral past of mankind”) • A Genealogy of Morals cannot be serious (as it is science), but cheerful...
(The Noble) Man • ...is “an animal with the right to make promises” and the capacity to forget, that is to “digest” memories... • Memories – Forgetfulness • Promises make a future for us (58)
“This emancipated individual, with the actual right to make promises, this master of a free will, this sovereign man –how should he not be aware of his superiority over all those who lack the right to make promises and stand as their own guarantors, of how much trust, how much fear, how much reverence he arouses –he ‘deserves” all three- and of how this mastery over himself also necessarily gives him mastery over circumstances, over nature, and over all more short-willed and unreliable creatures?” (60)
“The ‘free’ man... Also possesses his measure of value” (60)- “the strong and reliable (those with the right to make promises) –that is, all those who promise like sovereigns, reluctantly, rarely, slowly... Whose trust is a mark of distinction” these men also show -responsibility -power over overselves and over fate
“[O]nly what never ceases to hurt stays in the memory” The human species created a mnemonics through a system of cruelty (and religion is but a sophisticated such a system) ASCETICISM Memory is needed for us to live in society (promises)
Asceticism • The ascetic ideal serves individual to gain release from his torture (p.106,) converting suffering in sth. meaningful (“he suffered from the problem of his meaning”(p.162) There is no cure for suffering, and we must face it. • The ascetic ideal has preserved the Will throughout history, even if in an isolated form. It also has constructed new kinds of stronger individuals… it seems not to be necessary anymore.
“To see others suffer does one good, to make others suffer even more...Without cruelty there is no festival...” (67)(ancient Gods, “the friends of cruel spectacles) Besides,
“A legal order thought as of sovereign universal-as a means of preventing all struggle in general… would be a principle hostile to life.” Therefore,
Legal Developments... Contracts – Debts – Guilt – Compensation –Punishment (“duty” appears in the sphere of legal obligations structuring all social relationships and morality) “the feeling of guilt... Is the oldest and most primitive personal relationship” (70)
Punishment WarYet, “[a]s the power and self-confidence of a community increase, the penal law always become more moderate” (72) and Forgetfulness & Mercy tend to replace Punishment
Man needs enemies (p.85) The violence that we do not employ, turns into ourselves, and will turns against life (resentment, illness) • Every single good value has a background of cruelty and violence in its development • Spiritualization and deification of cruelty (without cruelty there is no festival)--- Wars: festival plays for the goods.
The State • “the oldest ‘state’ thus appeared as a fearful tyranny, as an oppresive and remorseless machine, and went on working until this raw material of people and semi-animals was at last not only thoroughly kneaded and pliant but also formed.” (86)
The State • “some pack of blond beasts of prey, a conqueror and master race which, organized for war and with the ability to organize, unhesitatingly lays its terrible claws upon a populace perhaps tremendously superior in numbers but still formless and nomad. That is after all how the ‘state’ began on earth...” (86)
So, how did the “bad conscience” come into the world? • Unavoidability and senselessness of Suffering... • Leads suffering to be made into an argument against existence (67)
“All instincts that do not discharge themselves outwardly turn inward – this is what I call the internalization of man: thus it was that man first developed what was later called his ‘soul’.” (84)
“Hostility, cruelty, joy in persecuting, in attacking, in change, in destruction –all this turned against thepossessors of such instincts: that is the origin of the ‘bad conscience.’” (85)
“The bad conscience is an illness” (86)(developed out of guilt – fear of ancestors –turned into Gods...Fear is turned into LoveThe Christian God expresses the maximun guilt ever developed)
Subjectivity constitutes a territory of power. The Genealogy of morals is the genealogy of our modern subjectivity. Nietzsche’s approach is unique. He presents in a unique way the processes by which we became not only a territory of power, but still more: we are the work of power, power makes us souls.
Nietzsche shows us that each one is not only an alienated being, but that inside each individual there is a whole universe of power, made of power, in struggle with power. In sum, he reveals before us an entire new dimension of power: our subjectivity, our soul.
v Power operates from the inside, our guilt functions as a fishhook by which I am increasingly tied to power. This would show how revolutions failed up to the present: because people united in herds.vThe struggle is fundamentally internal. … and is it also unending?
Human subjectivity is a product of power in itself. The challenge of gaining our will for ourselves to become sovereign of ourselves is still and will be open.
Thus, • “Atheism and a kind of second innocence belong together.” (87)