Nietzsche, Our Contemporary

Discussion of articles that appear in the magazine.

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Philosophy Now
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Nietzsche, Our Contemporary

Post by Philosophy Now »

Eric Walther introduces the infamous iconoclast.

http://philosophynow.org/issues/93/Niet ... ntemporary
reasonvemotion
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Re: Nietzsche, Our Contemporary

Post by reasonvemotion »

"God is Dead", declared Nietzsche in 1872. If he came back today, he would declare "Hell on Earth"
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Resha Caner
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Re: Nietzsche, Our Contemporary

Post by Resha Caner »

Hmm. Sounds to me like Nietzsche was an atheist whose only solution to "values" was God (the Ubermensch). No wonder he was so depressed.
Scott Leonard
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Re: Nietzsche, Our Contemporary

Post by Scott Leonard »

God is dead in the hearts of many westerners, but very alive in millions of born again Christians in America, AND in the underground church in China, over 100 million former Buddhists and Moslems have committed their life to the one who rose from the dead 2000 years ago and turned the Roman Empire on its ear. The fastest growing evangelical church in the world consists of the believers in Iran. Like the Chinese Christians, they risk their lives because they have discovered the truth that the reports of God's demise are greatly exaggerated!

Apart from the transcendent Creator, your values are as fleeting as the morning mist, and it would be perfectly appropriate for anyone to walk up and shoot you in the head. There is nothing right or wrong about it! It may affect the emotions of other atheists around you, but like the sound made when a snake strikes a mouse, that will quickly pass in the silent march of the survival of the fittest.
spike
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Re: Nietzsche, Our Contemporary

Post by spike »

I saw the movie Rosemary's Baby and saw Rosemary (Mia Farrow) pick up a copy of Time Magazine's (1966) "Is God Dead?"

I think Nietzsche would like MAD magazine. I am surprised MAD never had a cover of Alfred E. Newman, its leader, appear as Nietzsche.
spike
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Re: Nietzsche, Our Contemporary

Post by spike »

Alfred E. Newman, the leader of MAD magazine, has always said What, me worry? Nietzsche used to worry a lot, especially about the human race and where it was headed. He worried so much it made him mad. He should have been more like Newman and taken things easier, recognizing that the world is what it is.

Nietzsche thought that the human spices was headed for some kind of cliff, something like the 'fiscal cliff' the US has just temporarily managed to avoided. Nevertheless, being worried can also be a good thing. Worrying suggests that someone believes in a future and is preparing for the future. Being worried helps some of us prepare contingency plans and prepare for the worst. Thus, I think Alfred E. Newman is more of a nihilist than Nietzsche ever was.
spike
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Re: Nietzsche, Our Contemporary

Post by spike »

So if Nietzsche is our contemporary what would he make of the recent rape and death of a female in India at the hands of five males? This rape reveals a culture that looks upon females as second class and that it's no big deal if they are abused and treated worse than cattle. What would Nietzsche's overman have done to remedy the problem?

I think his overman would have ignored it just like the India government has been doing, until now. What has changed is that a tipping or turning point has been reached where Indian society will no longer tolerate such behavior, of denying half its citizenry human rights and freedoms, which a democracy is known for. How it shows that things are changing is that the legal system in India has reacted very swiftly on the matter of justice and redress instead of drawing out the process for years or just forgetting it. It is the people who have brought this about, not the state or an overman.

Nietzsche believed that, told us by Eric Walther, "Mere man is not a creator of value; his individuality proves to be insufficient to achieve that." Well in this case the overman (superman) or the state didn't create the value of protecting women, Nietzsche's overman failed. Moreover, it was mere humans who decided they had enough. The extraordinary thing that happened is that with time a critical mass developed within the Indian population that itself became the overman or state that would change the rules. This is how democracies develop, through consensus and the shared values of the masses.

Nietzsche was not fond of democracy or women. That is because he didn't understand either of them. However, his overman has proven its unworthiness and history agrees with that. Nietzsche was nervous of the masses and democracy. Nevertheless, the masses have come to be more compassionate and caring than Nietzsche's mythical overman.

It is rare that an overman has created as system of values and morals. It often has been more the masses that have created and implemented the values and morals that guide and connect us, not an overman or superman.
spike
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Re: Nietzsche, Our Contemporary

Post by spike »

Eric Walther ends his essay "Nietzsche, Our Contemporary" with, "Why is modern man so agonized still? I don’t know. But I won’t be totally surprised if Nietzsche turns out to be the first great philosopher of the twenty-first century too."

I think if we still agonize our turning to Nietzsche for help will only compound the problem. We need solutions. He offers only ephemeral ones such as music and art.

Nietzsche, like Ayn Rand, will probably have some influence in this century. Both appeal to an irritating fringe element. Both thinkers have a lot in common. They both want to consolidate power at the top, amongst an aristocratic, elite class. (The presidential candidate Mitt Romney would have served that purpose well as President. Alas, we are lucky. He never made it.) They both detest the masses and their so-called mob rule. Both have cryptically suggested that society should do away with its weaker members and concentrate on the survival of the fittest, thinking that unintentionally was the origin of totalitarianism in the twentieth century. Both seem out of touch with the external world but were excellent internalizers as they pursued and satisfied their own pleasures.

Nietzsche and Rousseau also had something in common. They did not believe in progress and thought civilization was a corrupting influence on humankind, that it destroys any individual initiative. How wrong both have been. Civilization and the expansion of democracy has certainly not killed off entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates but in fact cultivated and encouraged them.

Will Nietzsche have any relevance in the twenty-first century? I don't think much, though he will still be a curiosity piece and some intellectuals will continue to dabble in his thoughts. But he doesn't have much to offer the future. If he was alive today he would probably make a decent living as a motivational speaker, like Ayn Rand might, telling us that we should strive to be the best that we can be, raising false hopes in us. But the philosophy of the this century will chiefly revolve around the environment and sustainability, something Nietzsche showed no interest in. That requires a reform that Nietzsche could not envision. To achieve sustainability you have to involve the masses and cultivate the governance that addresses their needs and aspirations, not some dangerous, overrated overman like Nietzsche would have preferred.

Nevertheless, one can't dismiss Nietzsche completely. Freud praised Nietzsche for promoting self-knowledge. Ironically that self-knowledge has led to the democracy Nietzsche detested. Freud continued on that road of self-knowledge. To quote a Freud biographer whose identity I don't have, "If you are going to ask people to govern themselves then it's important that they know themselves. It is not only leaders who in a democracy need Freudian [also read Nietzschean] awareness of the dark side of the psyche. All men and women should comprehend their proclivities for destruction and self-idealization in order to make the best informed choices".

Without Nietzsche we might not be as proficient in our self-knowledge or have our democracy.
Impenitent
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Re: Nietzsche, Our Contemporary

Post by Impenitent »

thus spake the herd...

-Imp
lancek4
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Re: Nietzsche, Our Contemporary

Post by lancek4 »

Sorry Mr Waltherd, your analysis is completely based on a segmentary reading of N. It is commentary of the herdsmen. It is because you do not comprehend N as a totality of his works that you pull 'anecdotal' meaning from occasional parenthetical events, such as you find or have attemptted to find in our modern day.

You make no jesture to your implication of ethics and that is because you see them intact and absolutely operational, thus given in the platform upon which you have written: the ethical platform.

Perhaps you might reconsider what philosophy really is., what N was really saying - that is unless it is really all about selling and noteriety. In that case, I would think what is is saying really means very little.
lancek4
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Re: Nietzsche, Our Contemporary

Post by lancek4 »

Spike, i think while your conclusions reflect what is correct as to N, your reasoning or postulates are incorrect. You represent the voice of the herd, and indeed this is why you are correct, and why N was correct in his postulates and reasoning but was incorrect in his conclusions.
The reason you are correct, that there is no ubermenche or that it failed, is because N position is sound but that he was so convinced that 1) a route to salvation can be communicated and achieved. And 2) that his position is so sensible that everyone would eventually know it as common sense. Of course he was wrong but this is because (ironically) that those postulates must be true if he has any position at all. And this is because he could not fathom that.people are inherently dense and do not wish anything but heir own immediate gratification: cattle chewing the cud. So to speak. He struggled with the fact that people are small.minded and basically retarded when it comes to thinking about anything larger than themselves. He felt that if he is to be vindicated then people must have some sort of innate.intelliggence. Well of course we see that this is mostly false. They only hope they are intelligent and pad and reinforce the force or truth of their hope through preemptive defensive attitudinal.posturing: resentment. {See antichrist} Their hope lay in their willed ignorance. For without their oppressiive small.mind they would need no.hope: they would be ubermenche
Last edited by lancek4 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
lancek4
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Re: Nietzsche, Our Contemporary

Post by lancek4 »

Impenitent wrote:thus spake the herd...

-Imp
indeed.
Piltdownbrain
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Re: Nietzsche, Our Contemporary

Post by Piltdownbrain »

The Enlightenment progressed to the transitional view of nihilism in the 19th century and then advanced to its logical conclusion with existentialism. Nihilism these days is almost reactionary, Nietzsche was too moralistic to ever be a nihilist, he was citing the condition of nihilism which had replaced faith in god, and was offering the salvation of the ubermensch consciousness as a satisfactory substitute for humanity. The herd were the valueless amoral nihilists.
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Bernard
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Re: Nietzsche, Our Contemporary

Post by Bernard »

Its nonsense to say that N's ideas sent him mad or depressed. N's collapse was due to a benign tumour that grew behind his eye from his youth on... that is the best conclusion so far from all the evidence - the only conclusion with any reasonable evidence to back it up. He didn't work when he was ill but sought to treat his unknown condition which he was very successful at given his means and judging by the copious and cheerful output he was still able to manage in his forties despite his struggles. There is a great difference between a man who is generally depressed and one like Nietzsche; he was a mountain climber who had to take descents from time to time. He was not caught in the groove.

Cursory readers of N see him as a social commentator or reformer. He had too much disinterest for that. But it wasn't a misanthropic disinterest. Far from it! Ns effect on the modern age was the effect of will, not philosophy. This still needs a few centuries more to be understood and lived

N couldn't suffer the pathetic image of Jesus that certain Christians dish out from morn to eve. His antichrist was the sword between those who fought to understand the legacy that Jesus left behind and those institutionalized types who have used his name for power, prestige and profit over two millennia. They are weakening gradually against his will and the will to power of many others - power over false ideals!
HughKnows
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Re: Nietzsche, Our Contemporary

Post by HughKnows »

Are you sure it was a benign tumor? I definitely remember reading that it was untreated syphilis that made Nietzsche mad. In any case, I'm sure you are right that his breakdown had a medical cause, not a philosophical one!
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