I just read this "masterpiece," and though it is very profound at times and at the very least entertaining at others, Something doesn't sit quite right with me.
The second part refutes that an aesthetic existence can have true meaning like that of the ethical; until the point at which one is told to despair, it is very successful at illustrating this. My problems are that I fail to see
>how one is to despair/"choose the absolute absolutely."
>how the ethical lifeview is any different than that of the aesthetic
>how anyone is to avoid the sorrowful "purgatory" of desiring but not achieving the ethical in their movement to it.
Firstly one is to despair because the aesthetic life-view cannot have sufficient meaning. In their despair, they choose themself. This is all very clear. But is choosing oneself (through choices of the external) significantly different than choosing the external? Moreover one is to repent to God. I'm not a religious man, so I repent to myself. God creates man in his own image, no? Then why are we expected to have a perfection which God cannot have, that is, how can we have a courage to relinquish ourselves to a higher power when God cannot? If we are indeed expected to be superior to God in this way, he does have this power when he relinquishes his will to that of the prophets (I.e. he has not the power to save his children himself). He then concedes implicitly that man is his more perfect in his imperfection. Moreover, he is perfect so he cannot repent. Yet through Christ, he becomes man and thereby gains the power of man to repent. Through the sacrifice of Christ, man repents to man, God repents to God, and each repents to the other; but only because as man, god is man and still himself. So I repent to myself. I am all the time repenting to myself. Every mistake I make prompts me to repent to myself. But this is true even when I fail in the aesthetic life--repenting is not exclusive to the ethical, nor to the transformation in despair.
I mean not to claim that my blasphemy nullifies what has been said. I merely explain why I do not repent to what I do not believe in. My next point of disagreement is much more crucial.
If cultivation of talents and forgetting oneself in work are not the ethical, how does duty provide an alternative? If one's duty and oneself are inseparable from tasks, how is this finding self in duty significantly different than losing oneself in work? Are not talents essential to these tasks? Yes the ethical life-view would believe they are; the aesthetic holds that they are essential for their own sake. A talent not yet applied to duty is not then essential and to this I shall return in my next reply. The point is that talents are essential for accomplishing tasks and are thus essential for their own sake.
Take two people who work and find themselves in relation to duty. For one the duty is external and this difficult, to the other internal. Both find themselves in their duty, both relish in the accomplishment. One is an ethicist, the other an asthete. How do the life-views change the meaning or beauty of the situation or are they the same?
My third objection is of equal importance to the previous and will show to what extent I am not a philosopher in any true capacity.
If an asthete despairs and devotes himself to the universal in his doing his duty, how is he to avoid the sorrow of failing to attain the universal? Vilhelm explains to us that one may set himself to the task of the ethical and fail to achieve it. His is a purgatory devoid of joy or possibility to escape. He admires the universal yet cannot enjoy it himself; it is forever external to him.
Back to this former asthete. Say he sees his duty as concrete tasks which will improve humanity either ethically or intellectually. He builds talents to achieve these goals. When he has these talents, he must find the tasks about which he must set himself. In this movement he is in infinite sorrow. The tasks are ahead, the aesthetic life behind, and he lies between. He has not fulfilled his duty yet, as such he has an infinite possibility of failure, or worse death before success.
Say he realizes his place is far away. He is a young man with little prospects to leave; he knows he has a place, yet he cannot be there. The asthete (who has not yet despaired) believes he has no place; when he finds uncomfortable situations, he has the comfort of saying "Ce n'est pas de ma faute." The reformed asthete has not this satisfaction. He can only suppose that while he was an asthete, he cheated himself out of the means to escape. Now he knows he has a place at which he cannot be and he repents to himself, yet cannot forgive himself.
This man may find his place, he may accomplish his duty; however, he has not, may not, and has chosen to give up the satisfaction of the aesthetic. How can this man find meaning or beauty in the ethical when it only promises him the pain of failing the universal?
>those myopic assumptions about what is 'ethical' and not
“Weariness that wants to reach the ultimate with one leap, with one fatal leap, a poor ignorant weariness that does not want to want any more: this created all gods and afterworlds.”
Amazing that these "existentialists" are even considered in the same category as Nietzsche.
OP here. I admit I'm a scrub and have no pretensions of being a philosopher. That being said, toward the end of Either/Or, it seemed as if the path to contentment was to be revealed. So I pressed on and found nothing of true value; I only found a Neither/Nor. Does Nietzsche offer anything greater? If so, in what work?
That's a pretty legit quote, too. I have always viewed gods as crutches
Philology instead of theology. Overman instead of knight of faith. Eternal recurrence instead of 'authenticity'. Will to power instead of the absurd. Dionysus instead of the crucified.
>If so, in what work?
Don't start with 'Zarathustra'. Read whatever secondary sources you find accessible (wikipedia, SEOP, Walter Kaufmann compilations/introductions/translations), 'On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense' is a very short essay, then the 2 classic works: 'Beyond Good and Evil', 'Genealogy of Morals'. Then the other big 3: 'Twilight of the Idols', 'Antichrist', and 'Ecce Homo'. The rest can be read. Or more secondary sources: Schacht, Richardson, Deleuze, Hollingdale. Or his influences: Schopenhauer, LaRochefoucauld, Spinoza, Epicurus, Comte, Hume/Kant, Machiavelli, Athens, Rome..
Important part is not to lose interest. Don't even risk boring parts hoping they'll get better. At least not until you're properly invested. Try any of these things in any order, whatever works and has you reading and enjoying him.
> 'On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense'
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, use this essay as a cornerstone of interpreting Nietzsche. The essay is confused, and he never published it, and in the words of Maudemarie Clark, "he didn't publish it because he saw through it". It's an overrated essay that "can't kno nuffin" idiot English types like Derrida repeat because it satisfies their pointless wankery.
Human, All Too Human is the spiritual successor of that Godawful essay and is actually coherent.
The best place to start with Nietzsche is The Gay Science. Human, All Too Human is fine as well. The Genealogy is not good for an introductory work, it's too polemical and easy to misunderstand. Twilight of the Idols should be read after Zarathustra and the others. Ecce Homo is another save-for-later type work. If you've gotten with the Greeks, then The Birth of Tragedy is decent starting point.
Also Walter Kaufmann gets alot wrong in his readings of Nietzsche, but his translations are acceptable.
>le Nietzsche guy out
Kierkegaard places great emphasis on faith in places where Nietzsche would otherwise refer to the will to power. This is most notable in what it means to be a KOF and what it means to be an Ubermensch, where historical KOF like the Abraham are distinctly unlike any theoretical concept of ubermensch.
Both believe in a persona relationship with an ideal that is not determined by moralisms and sentiment. For Kierkegaard it's the Absolute, for Neitzche it's one's capacity to self-overcome rooted in Being. Neitzche didn't have a problem with God, only the immaturely petty god of Christianity, the god of good and evil. Fear and trembling was describing exactly this, how Abraham went beyond good and evil. All I'm saying is there are more similarities than differences
"Let God slough off his moral skin and he will appear to us in a form beyond good and evil."
I'd say Zarathustra should be read after reading all of Nietzsche's other philosophical works.
Not just because it references concepts that he elaborates on much better in other works, but because Nietzsche's prose requires some getting used to. And there's nowhere, where it's as easy to confuse yourself as with Zarathustra.
Nietzsche was explicitly an atheist and had absolutely no time for a god that espouses any kind of morality.
Of course we can speculate until blue in the face about whether or not Nietzsche would have been cool with some form of distanced deism but what would be the point? At this point such things have absolutely no relevance to Nietzsche's philosophy and are totally alien to any kind of God Kierkegaard endorsed.
>More similarities than distances
Of course, they're both proto-existentialists so that's only to be expected. But their conclusions on what it means to live a complete life are very different.
>Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, use this essay as a cornerstone of interpreting Nietzsche
Thanks for sharing, it's still the most popular snippet work he has and so fine as an introduction to the sentiment or style. Also we don't wish to bias anon against anything initially, esp. not personal grievances, and dntknonuffins aren't limited to the english. Oh wait, you probably meant literary theorists, my god please hide your gall in such a nice thread.
>Human, All Too Human
>The Gay Science
These are fine - recognised as the start of his mature period, inspired by french moralists and the enlightenment. "save-for-later type work" "easy to misunderstand" can be true but also not.
>If you've gotten with the Greeks, then The Birth of Tragedy is decent starting point.
I like this idea.
>Also Walter Kaufmann gets alot wrong in his readings of Nietzsche, but his translations are acceptable.
True but enough correct and basically the starting point for criticism in english.
Let's not forget the hard evidence of him pointing out to Brandes that Kierkegaard was a "problem" to be solved.
Absolutely. In doing so you also respect his wishes of it being the master-work. Handled with the most care.
I'd say that's true of Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of Morals, The Gay Science, The Birth of Tragedy and Human, All Too Human, maybe you could throw Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist in, but do you really need The Untimelies, Daybreak, Ecce Homo?
Honestly a good portion of Nietzsche is just restating his own philosophy in different terms, in his own words that's what The Gay Science is, and he also said Beyond Good and Evil and The Genealogy of Morals were the same book written in different ways. Besides, much of those books were written after Zarathustra.
I think it's smart to have a solid understanding of his philosophical work before Zarathustra, so I'd peg the total on three of his works before reading it, I don't think it'll be a travesty and you'll grasp nothing if you haven't read everything before Zarathustra.
In his journals he wrote "imposing the test of Being on Becoming is the greatest task conceivable". I think this nearly encapsulates not only Nietzche's overran, Kierkegaard's Knight of Faith (resigning to the finite but moving in infinity), but many other philosophers and mystics
>Thanks for sharing, it's still the most popular snippet work he has and so fine as an introduction to the sentiment or style. Also we don't wish to bias anon against anything initially, esp. not personal grievances, and dntknonuffins aren't limited to the english. Oh wait, you probably meant literary theorists, my god please hide your gall in such a nice thread.
Of course, Derrida was French, I'm just speaking from an Anglo perspective.
I don't think that essay is a good introduction to his style, it's written in the same language as the awfully-written Birth of Tragedy. The use of "On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense" is to see what sort of problems he was trying to solve, and his lines of thinking regarding it. It's fine to read but I just want people to treat it's conclusions more skeptically and be cautious with using it as an exegesis of his philosophy as a whole. It's one of his bastard children, not a pariah of his thought.
I meant to say his major philosophical works, sorry.
Zarathustra, as his magnum opus, really is the Nietzsche mission statement. So even if a lot of his books are repeats of other ones it does allow you to view his philosophy in different perspectives, which is important when Nietzsche is a philosopher that's so commonly misunderstood. Of course you don't need to read everything to it, but if you like what you see with the works you open with perhaps it would be better to leave it off for a while to truly get the most out of it.
I do agree Ecce Homo is a save-for-later kind of book. I'd say it's best treated as the director's commentary to his philosophy rather than a work in itself.
This is what I'm saying, as philosophers in a similar theme there's going to be similarities. But ultimately their conclusions are very different by their own descriptions of what it means to live a meaningful life.
OP here. I dipped out. I appreciate all the advice
>If you've gotten with the Greeks, then The Birth of Tragedy is decent starting point
I am a scrub. I have not read the Greeks. I read some of The Republic. It was great but I had to return it. When people say the Greeks, do they mean all of them, or Aristotle and Playdough?
>inspired by french moralists and the enlightenment
Hell yeah. I have a hard on for the enlightenment, and I'm fond of Rousseau
>Nietzsche was explicitly an atheist and had absolutely no time for a god that espouses any kind of morality.
This is important to me. It really rustles my jimmies when people depend on god for morality or satisfaction
>When people say the Greeks, do they mean all of them
More than the Socratics at least. If you're interested, Robin Waterfield's "First Philosophers" is good.
>Hell yeah. I have a hard on for the enlightenment, and I'm fond of Rousseau
>This is important to me. It really rustles my jimmies when people depend on god for morality or satisfaction
Sounds like some of your assumptions here could be challenged when reading him.
Consensus here seems to be getting hold of some Kaufmann translations. He did do 2 big compilations (Basic Writings of; Portable Nietzsche) so you could flip through that, not necessarily in order.