Fantastic essay on Nietzsche:
> The philosopher John Searle once told me that reading Nietzsche was like drinking cognac -- a sip was good, but you didn't want to drink the whole bottle.
> Nietzsche had come to stand for something absolute and pure, like gilded Byzantium or Ahab's whale; he represented what I imagined I might have been. He had become a permanent horizon.
> What was great in Nietzsche was not, I began to see, his holiness, maybe not even his wisdom. It was his courage.
> We go to literary shrines to touch things. We run our fingers along the writing table, we furtively step over the red velvet rope and finger the water jug by the edge of the bed. Yet to feel the pedestal is to call the very idea of the pedestal into question. Which is why there is something comic in all pilgrimages: while Don Quixote holds loftily forth, Sancho Panza steals the ashtray.
> I could not pity Nietzsche. It was a betrayal of everything he had believed. He had railed against pity. Compassion was for the hearth-huddlers, the followers, those who lacked the strength to turn themselves into ''dancing stars.'' The last temptation of the higher man, Nietzsche had taught, was pity; on its far side was a roaring, Dionysian, inhuman laughter.
> But my heart won the war. Maybe it was resignation -- the final acceptance that I was not going to forge myself into a new shape. Maybe it was weariness with a doctrine, with all doctrines, that sounded delirious but that couldn't be used. Whatever it was, I stopped fighting. Yes, part of Nietzsche would always stand far above the tree line, and I would treasure that iciness. But I had to walk on the paths where I could go.
I live as a superman just as Nietzsche did, and I always calculate things in terms of power and self-interest. Realizing the truth of ethical neo-nihilism is the key to intellectual freedom, unless you're a racist who thinks that Denmark doesn't need to be taken over by Africans and Arabs or against feminism infiltrating video games because that is objectively morally wrong.
Because he only reads Nietzsche sporadically, like drinking Cognac. It's something people like to do, since reading some of his pithy aphorisms is like reading motivational posters and makes people feel nice. The downside is that without really reading through a good chunk of Nietzsche's oeuvre you're probably not going to be able to connect the dots together in terms of understanding him.
Genealogy is probably one of the most important ones. In terms of reading his other stuff, what's the problem? You sit down and you read it, and then you turn the page and keep reading.
When I read I like to intuitively understand what the hell I have just read. Nietzsche dances around his points like the madman he was, so it was difficult for me to sieve a clear point out of every few paragraphs/pages.
I'm not saying it was bad, I enjoyed it. But he writes with emotion, and his emotions dance a lot, making it hard to read. Contrast with someone like Russell, who writes without emotion, but its easy to obtain a point from his pages.
Nietzsche is analytic and well reasoned, he just doesn't labour over things in detail because really there is no point. Who the hell remembers every line under every twist and turn in Hegel?
Christian here, I don't see the problem with this concept.
Reminder that Hitchens was a mess of health problems and ticking time bombs due to his lifestyle. He could have died of any number of things. But he died of throat cancer, THROAT cancer. There's too much symbolism in it. A blasphemer dying of throat cancer. It can't be just a coincidence.
It's not even an essay on Nietzsche, he never claimed to be superman, he claimed to be the dynamite that would expose him. The article is only about one fan getting over his literary worship, just the overdone trope of "I liked that when I was an adolescent, now I've grown up, you should too"
He doesn't leave readers completely without resource; the intro to The Dawn contains a fairly solid suggestion for how to read him (namely, like a philologist). But he has reasons for using his peculiar style. Consider two passages from his private notebooks, one from 1882 in which he says "to speak much of oneself is also a way of hiding oneself," and another from 1885-6 in which he says that "it is today necessary to speak temporarily in a coarse manner and to act coarsely. What is fine and concealed is no longer understood, not even by those who are related to us. That of which one does not speak loudly and cry out, is not there."
That's a good question, though I suspect it's in the largest part an unconscious result. What I'd wonder about is what that says about Nietzsche's concerns The passage suggests two issues at hand: one must speak/act coarsely *temporarily* with respect to *something*. The second issue is with the nature of the "fine and concealed" things, whatever they may be. The coarse manner might not present the subject as it really is; it puts a spin on it.
As an example, think of how "will to power" initially sounds--most people are struck with images of physical strength or of the kind of power or willing that we see forceful figures in politics or war display. Eventually, at least in Beyond Good and Evil, the meaning of "will to power" is subtly further defined in such a way as to be so basic a phenomena and to apply to so many cases, that the initial "strongman" association is undermined by Nietzsche himself. This is only noticeable if one pays attention carefully. But until then, somehow the coarse "perspective" on will to power might allow the truer and more philosophical "perspective" of will to power to remain possible.
Perhaps another thing to wonder about is if Nietzsche, in speaking loudly and crying out hides something from us.