Beyond Good and Evil

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sally
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Beyond Good and Evil

Post by sally » Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:01 pm

Hello!

Is anyone up for reading and discussing this book? To make a huge understatement, Nietzsche had some pretty interesting ideas, and they're not ideas often expressed in philosophy, at least when I've encountered it. Wouldn't it be interesting to explore his more controversial philosophy?

Your thoughts,

Sally

p.s. I pick Beyond Good and Evil for no good reason except that I'm already reading it. If you think another of Nietzsche's works would be better please make your case below!

mhoraine
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Post by mhoraine » Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:39 pm

Hi Sally

I picked this book up a coupla days ago, and promptly put it back down again.
Didn't even get past the Introduction.

I am willing , however, to be encouraged to delve once more.

M.

miss lewis
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Post by miss lewis » Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:21 pm

Sally,

I have this book at home, been meaning to read it, this is my excuss to do so. I will start tomorrow so you have a little head start so you will have to let me catch up but i would love to do this with you and M.

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Psychonaut
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Post by Psychonaut » Fri Oct 19, 2007 12:36 am

I haven't read the whole thing...
I think you have to take Nietzsche with a pinch of salt.
I'm sure when you get to his snappy little comments about women you won't be impressed :P

miss lewis
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Post by miss lewis » Fri Oct 19, 2007 2:36 am

Yes I know, I do not know a great deal about Nietzsche but I know he is notorious about his opinions of women which I believe if what I have heard is correct that he felt they could not think rationally or intellectually very well.

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Psychonaut
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Post by Psychonaut » Fri Oct 19, 2007 1:46 pm

I think it's best to split his position on women from his other ideas. I think that the notions concerning women are more clearly the product of his neuroses, than the product of his thought.

Non Sum
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Post by Non Sum » Fri Oct 19, 2007 2:29 pm

Hi Miss Lewis,
ML: I believe if what I have heard is correct that he felt they could not think rationally or intellectually very well.

NS: I suspect that was based on his observation that women universally failed to reason the obvious, i.e. how desirable a male companion he'd make.

"Behind all their personal vanity, women still impersonally despise "woman." (#86)

Hi Sally,
It has been decades since I've read BG&E, but I'd enjoy revisiting it with you, and interested/ing others. Fred N. and I were once very close in our shared iconoclasm, but one eventually tires of an empty plate, or, as Fred artfully put it: "It is terrible to die of thirst at sea. Must you salt your truth so heavily that it cannot even any longer--quench thirst?"

But, still he unearths countless gems and insights in his wonderful manic meanders: "Whoever despises himself still esteems the despiser within himself."

It's a great choice, Sally, since Nietzsche has to be the most phun philosophical read of all time, and BG&E is a classic (excepting the dated political stuff).

miss lewis
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Post by miss lewis » Fri Oct 19, 2007 3:34 pm

Thanks Non Sum, I am looking forward to reading his book and sharing all our thoughts on this topic.

sally
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Post by sally » Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:40 pm

hello! Thank you for your enthusiasm!

"I picked this book up a coupla days ago, and promptly put it back down again."- I've found that once I've gotten used to his style, the book is actually very enjoyable to read. Nietzsche's quite funny, and he doesn't waste time getting to the point. He also writes very conversationally, and uses lots of imagery and aphorisms, so I've found it much easier to read than other philosophy books. And it gives me much more to think about, because his ideas are so new to me- he's really putting across a whole new world-perspective that I think we need to assess before moving on to other philosophies that take for granted what he is questioning (i.e. his view that morality itself is superficial and distorting)

“I'm sure when you get to his snappy little comments about women you won't be impressed”

I’ve already got there. Not too impressed, but he seemed to lack certain normal levels of empathy. He wasn’t a woman, and he certainly didn’t understand their nature/ potential very well (maybe he was overly influenced by the limited number of women he had contact with).

I am impressed with a lot of his insights thought, even though I agree that “you have to take Nietzsche with a pinch of salt”.

“I suspect that was based on his observation that women universally failed to reason the obvious, i.e. how desirable a male companion he'd make.”

I’m not sure NS, I remember a comment he made about how he wondered how men could return women’s love- why they didn’t loose respect for anyone who loved someone like THEM.

I'm not sure the best way to go about discussing it.. It could be chapter by chapter, or it could be a general discussion about his wider perspective, or we could pick out particular ideas we find interesting and discuss them as they arise.

Has anyone read any of his other works, who feels able to give some form of summary, in case that might enlighten our understanding of his ideas expressed in BG+E

I have a question already actually, about the title. I presumed the "good and evil" of the title had moral connotations, because these are what Nietzsche wants us to transcend. However, I've just been to France and discovered that the French title is "Au dela-de le bien et le mal", rather than "Au Dela-de le sage et the mauvais". Bien and mal are morally neutral- they just mean good and bad. Sage and mauvais would mean good and evil as in a good/ evil person. Does anyone know what the connotations are for the german title, and why these words were chosen by Neitzsche? And in turn, is the french or english title more accurate?

RachelAnn
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Nietzsche Scholars

Post by RachelAnn » Sat Oct 20, 2007 4:29 pm

Robert Solomon and Kathleen Higgins wrote extensively on Nietzsche - they offer clear explanations and de-fog stereotypes surrounding Nietzsche's philosophy. For example, Higgins reminds us that George Bernard Shaw wrote Man and Superman; it GBS's "ubermensch" was the anti-Semite, not Nietzsche's.
I cannot think of the titles offhand by Solomon and Higgins, sorry.

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GabrielDain
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Re: Nietzsche Scholars

Post by GabrielDain » Sat Oct 20, 2007 6:21 pm

RachelAnn wrote:GBS's "ubermensch" was the anti-Semite, not Nietzsche's.
I thought part of the Nazi philosophy was based on a misinterpretation (if such a thing exists) of Nietzsche's ubermensch. Are we talking about different things, or are there conflicting theories about this?

RachelAnn
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Misunderstood

Post by RachelAnn » Sat Oct 20, 2007 7:29 pm

I thought part of the Nazi philosophy was based on a misinterpretation (if such a thing exists) of Nietzsche's ubermensch. Are we talking about different things, or are there conflicting theories about this?
You are correct: the Nazis misunderstood it in the manner of GBS.
Philosopher Kurt Huber at the Univ. of Munich tried to dispel Nazi interpretations of Nietzsche; also, he snuck in the works of Spinoza to his lectures. The Nazis found out about Huber's 'subversive' activities and eventually cut off Huber's head.

Non Sum
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Post by Non Sum » Sun Oct 21, 2007 2:23 am

Sally: I have a question already actually, about the title. I presumed the "good and evil" of the title had moral connotations,

NS: My copy discusses the title in the intro: 'good & evil' are certainly to be taken in their moral sense, with 'beyond' (GR: jenseits) open to several prepositional positions.

"One meaning is "on the other side of good and evil," indicating that good and evil together are on the same side of morality and that there exists another side. Another meaning of jenseits is "aside from," i.e., paying no attention to good and evil. When Nietzsche says that "What is done out of love always happens beyong good and evil," he places the full meaning of "beyond" at our disposal--the "beyond" here is an "above" and an "aside from" and a "without reference to." (Marianne Cowan)

Sally: I’m not sure NS, I remember a comment he made about how he wondered how men could return women’s love- why they didn’t loose respect for anyone who loved someone like THEM.

NS: Yes, that too. You'll find that Fred is full of suggestive and playful contradictions, to almost Biblical proportions. What he loves most to do is raise questions from any, or all, sides. He often will end an "article" with an elipsis (...) or a dash, as if to say "now You run with it!" He once wrote that everything he ever wrote came to life for him Only after the final dash--everything before it was "merely scenery." He loves to shift the scenery.

I've read about everything Fred published, and a few books about him, but it has been years since. So, it's fun to see how much he's changed over time. He is not made to be "summarized," but rather savored like some good weed--just let the thoughts run and flow as he kicks over the stones. He didn't write for scholastic philosophers, as his colorful style should make clear, he wrote for the people; most especially for "free spirits." He wrote:

"To you alone, you bold seekers, tempters, experimenters, and to all who ever went out on the terrible sea with cunning sails--
To you alone, you who are riddle-drunk and twilight-happy, whose souls are lured by flutes to any reacherous chasm--
To you who do not like to grope for a clue with cowardly hands and who prefer not to deduce where you can intuit--
To you alone I shall tell the riddle that I saw ..."
('Thus Spoke Zarathustra')

sally
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Post by sally » Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:57 am

He is not made to be "summarized," but rather savored like some good weed--just let the thoughts run and flow as he kicks over the stones.
Yeah, I see your point here actually. When I'm reading I try to summarise some of his key points in note form so I don't forget... I find myself copying out word-for-word most of the book!
he wrote for the people; most especially for "free spirits.
Doesn't he make quite a large distinction between "the people" (/the herd) and "free spirits"? I think he's only writing for the free spirits. His figurative, sometimes unspecific, communication suggests that he's really writing for a type of mind already prepared for and prone to believing his ideas. I say that because some things he writes aren't clear in meaning if we just look at individual words. However, I know that with many of the unclear terms he uses, it would be automatically clear what meaning he intended if we already understand the larger picture he's illuminating for us.

One of the key things that's interested me so far is how much he seems to be at complete opposites to the Buddhist outlook on life. Buddhism= reduce desires so that we can slip off the wheel of suffering and life. Nietzsche= ... Well I'm not entirely clear on it yet, but he's more for grasping at life and really LIVING it, making it meaningful and worthwhile even if that means we have to suffer. Working away from that eventual aim of Buddhism where we are all content (Nietzsche describes this as a state of meaninglessness) and so no longer need life. It's almost like they both see the meaninglessness in universal contentment, but tackle it in opposite ways: buddhists slip out of the meaningless life, "free spirits" make life meaningful -they think the aspects that must arise from this challenge, which most would see as negative (suffering, struggle etc) are compensated for, or even part of, the greatness in life. Priorities: "free spirits" love life, Buddhists hate suffering... sort of?

Subjectivity9
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BG+E

Post by Subjectivity9 » Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:06 pm

Hi Sally,

I am no expert on Nietzsche, by any stretch of the imagination. But when he says, “free spirit,” I have to wonder if he isn’t speaking more about the “outsider” rather than the “party animal,” some of us are more inclined to plug in there.

I believe where the Buddha and Nietzsche could walk arm and arm, would be in their similar inclination to reaching or to go beyond habitual mind. We ourselves dwell within habitual mind to a good extent, far more than most of us realize or would like to believe.

Some have said that these habitual thoughts, we love so dearly, often cloud our minds rather than facilitate the clarity necessary in order to look directly at what is. Wisdom/What is; Same/same.

My 2 cents,

: < ) S9

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