Nietzsche – understandable?

March 17, 2007 at 11:28 am (general philosophy)

Nietzsche was surely one of the most influential and controversial thinkers of the 19th century, and his name hardly ever fails to arouse intense debate. Unfortunately, due to the unsystematic nature of his thought and the controversy aroused by his ideas, a prejudice has become attached to his name that puts many people off this most entertaining and stimulating of writers.

My aim here is to stir a serious discussion on Nietzsche with the aim of countering some of that prejudice, because I think that Nietzsche should be read for his insights. Nietzsche is sure to shock and annoy his readers, but he definitely won’t bore them. He startles more often with the lucidity of his perceptions than he does with his effrontery.

Take, for example, these simple truths expressed brilliantly by Nietzsche in Human, All Too Human (HH):

One may promise actions but no sentiments.

Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.

Or this statement, also from HH, which is just funny: We are so fond of being out among Nature, for it has no opinions about us.

Then there are statements that are thought-provoking because they’re striking and because we struggle to decide whether they’re true or not:

If she is to become beautiful a woman must not want to be considered pretty.

Profundity of thought belongs to youth, clarity of thought to old age.

The undissolved dissonances in the relation of the character and sentiments of the parents survive in the nature of the child and make up the history of its inner sufferings.

One person sticks to an opinion because he takes pride it having acquired it himself – another sticks to it because he has learnt it with difficulty and is proud of having understood it; both of them, therefore, out of vanity.

~~~

Now, to deal with three common prejudices: Nazism, God is dead, and being difficult to read…

Nazism

Nietzsche loved Wagner’s Tristran und Isolde; Wagner loved Nietzsche’s ideas on the need for a new morality. They became friends.

Hitler also liked Wagner.

That is the extent of the link between Nietzsche and Nazism, except for the commonality of their talk about the Ubermensch. However, on closer examination they used this term in ways so different that they can hardly be equated.

To quote Tom Griffith:

According to Nietzsche, Christian morality is slave morality, a morality created by weak and resentful individuals who encouraged gentleness, kindness, humility, forgiveness because such behaviour gave them some protection against the bold and the strong. Slave morality is essentially a willingness (born of fear) to give up on life in its entirety. By contrast, Nietzsche’s superman (ubermensch) is secure and independent. He feels deeply, but his passions are rationally controlled. Concentrating on this world, not on the rewards of the next, the superman accepts and welcomes life, including the suffering and pain that accompany human existence. His superman creates his own values, a ‘master morality’ that reflects the strength and independence of one who is liberated from all values except those he himself deems valid. The essential thing is the will to power. In its positive sense, this will to power is not simply power over others, but power over oneself, as manifested in the superman’s independence, creativity, and originality.

It is easy to see how talk of master morality and slave morality can be conflated with Hitler’s ideas about the master race and slave races. So it is important to emphasise that this is not the kind of thing Nietzsche is talking about. According to Nietzsche, the superman has not yet appeared, but he mentions individuals who might serve as models: Socrates, Jesus, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Goethe, Julius Caesar, Napoleon. Two teachers, two painters, two writers, two soldier-statesmen. This is hardly the stuff of racist supremacy or totalitarian dictatorship.

God is dead

The most famous assertion that God is dead is not made by Nietzsche himself but by his character, Zarathustra, the ‘madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours.’ Nevertheless, Nietzsche comes very close to saying the same thing:

For all occasions where the Christian awaits the immediate intervention of a God, though in vain (for there is no god), his religion is inventive enough to find subterfuges and reasons for tranquillity. – Miscellaneous Maxims and Opinions

Nietzsche recognised that a pictorial representation of God which was convincing to many people 2000 years ago is unlikely to be convincing to them today, just as the Olympian gods of the ancient Greeks are unlikely to be convincing to many people today. However, he was also aware that even pictorially obsolete gods may represent something real in the world – Dionysus and Apollo just as much as the Judeo-Christian God.

Nietzsche saw an opposition between the two philosophical traditions of the ancient Greeks: “the life-affirming, yes-saying irrationalism of Dionysus and the life-denying, no-saying rationalism of Apollo” (Tom Griffith). In the nineteenth century, which saw the Greek world in its cool rationality, the Apolline element predominated to the detriment of the Dionysian element. In Nietzsche’s view, the tragedy was that Apolline ideology prevailed, moving via Plato to inform “the gloomy self-denials of Christianity.” (TG again).

Nietzsche favoured a ‘new’ morality, which was actually a very old but sidelined morality, as Nietzsche refers to Homer:

Whoever has the power of returning good for good, evil for evil, and really practices requital, and who is, therefore, grateful and revengeful, is called good; whoever is powerless, and unable to requite, is reckoned as bad … the enemy is not looked upon as evil, he can requite. In Homer the Trojan and the Greek are both good. (HH)

In Homer we find only heroes and no villains. In Wagner we find both heroes and villains. And in Christianity we are all villains.

The idea that we define ourselves more by our enemies than by our friends comes up again in Zarathustra:

By our best enemies we do not want to be spared, now by those either whom we love from the very heart. So let me tell you the truth!
My brethren in war! I love you from the very heart. I am, and was ever, your counterpart. And I am also your best enemy. So let me tell you the truth!…
…I spare you not, I love you from my very heart, my brethren in war!

Is Nietzsche difficult to read?

Of course this is a matter of personal opinion, but so is the question of whether chess is a good game. I don’t think that Nietzsche is at all hard to read.

To quote Tom Griffith (sorry to do this so much, but he really puts it much better than I ever could, and he’s much more knowledgeable, of course):

It is difficult to give a systematic account of Nietzsche’s thought, but that is because he is not a systematic thinker. It does not mean the things he says are difficult to understand. And his lack of system can be something of an advantage. It matters much less if you allow your attention to wander while you are reading. You may miss a few things, but you won’t miss a vital step in the argument. What is more, Nietzsche offers so many striking insights that if you miss one on this page, there is certain to be another, equally striking, on the next. This makes him, if anything, the easiest of all philosophers to read.

Many people read Zarathustra and conclude that Nietzsche is unreadable. This is a pity, because Z is Nietzsche’s most unreadable book, and also the least typical of his writing.

~~~

Nietzsche is probably my favourite Western philosopher, and not because I take to heart everything he espouses. I just wanted to go some way toward clarifying what is often unclear in people’s opinions of Nietzsche, so if anyone would like to discuss some controversial statements or themes of his, maybe this is the place…

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106 Comments

  1. hypothesis said,

    I think Nietzsche is at great fault for dumbing down philosophy. He came up with a lot of random assertions, which appealed to a lot of his readers. No wonder then that Nietzsche is a great source of inspiration to may diffrent groups (feminists, lesbians, gays, communists, fascists, artists, loners, renegades, outcasts, victims/victors, crazy people, scientists, animal rights people, etc)

    Nietzsche himself had a big superiority complex, which in turn he passed down to his readers.

    As a philosopher, Nietzsche is pretty lame in presenting his ideas. But as a social commentator he was ahead of his time, perhaps.

    There are claims that some of his philosophy derives from Max Stirner.

    But whichever way, although Nietzsche’s philosophy disliked of what he considered the ‘weakest links’ of society, it is to those people (i.e. the opressed) that his philosophy has the biggest appeal.

  2. 180 proof said,

    soniarott wrote:
    Now, to deal with three common prejudices: Nazism, God is dead, and being difficult to read…

    Nazism

    N. explicitly stated his opposition to “nationalism” socialism” & “antisemitism”; those Nazis who took inspiration from select quotes (invariably taken out of context) and the adulterated editions of his works by his proto-Nazi sister were simply ignoramuses and con men who exploited him as they did other great German thinkers for their own Aryan-centric propaganda. The scholarship is clear and compendious on this point.
    God is dead.

    Nihilism. The shock of recognition that (via “the will to truth”) higher values devalue themselves. The “God is dead” announcement inaugurates an epochal opportunity to exemplify “the meaning of the Earth” in contrast to the meaningless of “another world” (i.e. heaven, afterlife, realm of Platonic Forms, etc) manifest by The Overman via “revaluation of all values” (i.e. cultivation by centuries of breeding by “philosophers of the future”: educators, artists & philosophers).

    The Xtian / Platonic “absolute” no longer serves the function it once had for pre-modern cultures. N. announced the end of one era and the possible advent of a new age. “Being” thaws into becoming. He was the harbinger of A Heraclitean Renaissance …
    Is Nietzsche difficult to read?

    Only if one doesn’t read N. as he recommends in almost every one of his prefaces and in Ecce Homo: with philological finesse, poetic insight & in dialogue with his opponents: Plato, St. Paul, Augustine, Luther, Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Wagner, etc …
    hypothesis wrote:
    I think Nietzsche is at great fault for dumbing down philosophy. He came up with a lot of random assertions, …

    Clearly you haven’t studied his works and have thus dumbed down this thread.
    Nietzsche himself had a big superiority complex, which in turn he passed down to his readers.

    Ad hominem triviality.
    There are claims that some of his philosophy derives from Max Stirner.

    No wonder. You’re trafficking in outmoded gossip. N. was more inspired by Goethe, Schopenhauer & Emerson than any other contemporaries.
    But whichever way, although Nietzsche’s philosophy disliked of what he considered the ‘weakest links’ of society, it is to those people (i.e. the opressed) that his philosophy has the biggest appeal.

    This apparent paradox is easily explained by your apparent fondness for reading “Zarathustra for Dummies” rather than doing the hard work of studying N.’s works and daring to think through his thoughts. No doubt you know this first hand …

  3. hypothesis said,

    What exactly are Nietzsche’s philosophical contributions ? The only clear and important one is his analysis of morality.

    His other noted concepts are the ‘superman’ and ‘eternal recurrence’, which are very insignifact,

    He has a lot of clear signs of pseud-intellectualism, and no wonder 180 proof that you display some of those qualities yourself. The problem is that Nietzsche is probably your favourite philosopher (from looking at your previous post). And no one likes having their heros criticised.

    There’s a section in in ‘Ecce homo’ where he lists out qualities that make him clever and wise etc, a clear sing of a superiority complex. (180 proof, you should be able to spot a superiority complex when you see it).

    The problem here is that most of the perverted Nietzsche adorers like to forget the fact that Nietzsche went mad (mad philosopher ?)

  4. 180 proof said,

    I’ll let your glaring ignorance stand for itself. Haven’t you ever heard: “It’s better to stay silent and look a fool, rather than speak and remove all doubt”?

  5. hypothesis said,

    180 Proof wrote:
    Haven’t you ever heard: “It’s better to stay silent and look a fool, rather than speak and remove all doubt”?

    Don’t worry so much about looking like a fool, is that why you are afraid to put a proper argument for Nietzsche’s case ?
    I’m not really suprised by this response, it’s typical of a 17 year old Nietzsche fanatic (except that you’re probably older than that). Dumb alas, all too dumb.

    I have read Beyond Good and Evil (3 years ago, so pardon my memory), according to Nietzsche it contains pretty much the same thought as TSZ except that it’s written differently. From what I gathered his idea of the ‘superman’ is similarly presented in Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, in the character of Raskolonikiv. (I think Nietzsche avoided reading Dostoyevsky, because he had preconceptions about the christian theme of redemption in this book). It was a shame Nietzche didn’t read him because Dostoyevsky points out rather eloquently, all that is wrong with Raskolnikov’s character (who embodies Nietzsche’s superman).

    As you seem a devout Nietzchean, I would recommend reading Dostoyevsky to you. You probably won’t like the Christian morals in it, but I think it’s worth reading if only to get a psychological analysis of Raskonikov. After reading him perhaps you will have a less biased opinion on Nietzsche.

  6. SCB said,

    hypothesis wrote:
    I think Nietzsche is at great fault for dumbing down philosophy. He came up with a lot of random assertions, which appealed to a lot of his readers. No wonder then that Nietzsche is a great source of inspiration to may diffrent groups (feminists, lesbians, gays, communists, fascists, artists, loners, renegades, outcasts, victims/victors, crazy people, scientists, animal rights people, etc)

    I think that the reason his philosophy is taken as an influence from so many different people is because it is extremely subtle and nuanced. He says many things which are on the surface contradictory (e.g., you could cull quotes from him which are favorable to Jews and ones that are not), but upon closer examination it can be shown that such a reading is a simplification of what he said. People who claim that he was a fascist, for instance, are oversimplifying what it is that he said.
    Nietzsche himself had a big superiority complex, which in turn he passed
    down to his readers.

    He certainly had a feeling that he had a great destiny.
    As a philosopher, Nietzsche is pretty lame in presenting his ideas. But as a social commentator he was ahead of his time, perhaps.

    How was he lame in presenting his ideas? He didn’t do it by setting up a bunch of premises and preceding to illustrate who they lead to a conclusion as most philosophy does–rather, I think, he just, for the most part, made observations, and left the reader to see if he could match them to his own experience.
    But whichever way, although Nietzsche’s philosophy disliked of what he considered the ‘weakest links’ of society, it is to those people (i.e. the opressed) that his philosophy has the biggest appeal.

    Yes, I agree with this, to an extant. It is quite easy for people who are dissatisfied with their own life and their interactions with others to claim that it is a result of their inherent superiority, when it is really themselves who are inferior. (Nietzsche himself addresses this in Zarathustra with the “Zarathustra’s Ape.”) Interestingly enough, what people like this do is the same as what Nietzsche criticized in Christianity: claiming that one’s self is superior in some kind of moral sense in order to compensate for his own shortcomings and resentimant.
    I have read Beyond Good and Evil (3 years ago, so pardon my memory), according to Nietzsche it contains pretty much the same thought as TSZ except that it’s written differently. From what I gathered his idea of the ‘superman’ is similarly presented in Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, in the character of Raskolonikiv. (I think Nietzsche avoided reading Dostoyevsky, because he had preconceptions about the christian theme of redemption in this book). It was a shame Nietzche didn’t read him because Dostoyevsky points out rather eloquently, all that is wrong with Raskolnikov’s character (who embodies Nietzsche’s superman).

    As you seem a devout Nietzchean, I would recommend reading Dostoyevsky to you. You probably won’t like the Christian morals in it, but I think it’s worth reading if only to get a psychological analysis of Raskonikov. After reading him perhaps you will have a less biased opinion on Nietzsche.

    Nietzsche discovered Dostoyevsky only within a couple years before he went insane by happening to stumble upon a French translation of Notes from the Underground in a book store, but he greatly admired him. (Although it is a question of how much of him he was able to read, he propably never read Crime and Punishment.)

    I think that you do bring up a good point though in saying that a lot of what Nietzsche said was not even new. Anyone who has read enough of Plato, for instance, can see that many of the ideas that Plato was battling against (Thrasymachus in book one of the Republic being one example) are quite similar to those of Nietzsche’s.

  7. nagase said,

    hypothesis wrote:
    What exactly are Nietzsche’s philosophical contributions ? The only clear and important one is his analysis of morality.

    That’s a clear understatement of the man’s importance. Nietzsche’s contribution to Ethics is indeed valuable, but is hardly the only thing he ever contributed to philosophy. Amongst other areas of influence we can count:

    – aesthetics: Nietzsche’s ethics are really an aesthetic — he found the separation between art, life and philosophy to be superfluous. This concept of art as life heavily influenced the way we see art today: from the Dada to Fluxus, Nietzsche’s concepts were heavily borrowed by much of 20th century art.

    – epistemology: In the field of epistemology, Nietzsche contributed not only with acute insights about the way our knowledge is given, but also with a methodology he called Genealogy. The French tradition was heavily influenced by those insights and method, as can be seen, for example, in the works of Michel Foucault, who explicitly acknowledge Nietzsche’s influence.

    – metaphysics: Nietzsche’s rescue of Heraclitus, amongst other contributions, was decisive for the “end of metaphysics”, so to speak. In this regard, Heidegger’s ontology of Being has a clear Nietzsche influence.

    Those are only the tip of the iceberg, of course. Nietzsche is a decisive figure for much of the last century philosophy; to discount him as “pseudo-intellectual” is to ignore the enormous impact he had in basically all areas of our knowledge…

    Oh, and by the way… regarding this:
    The problem here is that most of the perverted Nietzsche adorers like to forget the fact that Nietzsche went mad (mad philosopher ?)

    a-) That’s not true at all. I quote Foucault:
    Foucault, Historie de la Folie, “The Anthropological Circle” wrote:

    The madness of Nietzsche, the madness of Van Gogh or Artaud all pertain to their work, not more nor less profoundly, perhaps, but in a very different world.

    And that’s just one quotation; Foucault’s book is filled with references to Nietzsche’s madness. It’s hardly something ignored by Nietzsche’s scholarship. I used Foucault, but I’m sure I could find many other references if I so intended…

    b-) Even if it was true, so what? According to Leonard Sax, the man had brain cancer; hardly something that could be blamed on him. The stereotypical figure of the mad philosopher may be impressive at first sight, however, reality is less a spectacle than we might think…

  8. dunamis said,

    180 Proof wrote:

    No wonder. You’re trafficking in outmoded gossip. N. was more inspired by Goethe, Schopenhauer & Emerson than any other contemporaries.

    “Poetically” so, perhaps, but he also cribbed from contemporary German biological evolutionism rather heavily (as his library, the heavily marked passages, and at times nearly word for word paraphrases show).

    As Gregory Moore writes in his largely favorable: Nietzsche, Biology and Metaphor:

    Aside from the fact that Nietzsche is careful enough to stress that his conception of nature is merely an interpretation with no more epistemic justification than any other, it seems to me that it is virtually indistinguishable from the widespread crypto-Idealism of contemporary German biology. The only difference, perhaps, is that he drops all pretence of a mechanistic explanation…

    …[in his refutation of Darwin] Nietzsche simply reiterates the many errors and misunderstandings perpetuated by his contemporaries. Like them, he dresses up a metaphysical and anthropomorphic view of nature in the language of modern evolutionary biology. The will to power is essentially a Bildungstrieb, and is, as it were, and amalgam of a number of competing non-Darwinian theories. N䧥li’s perfection principle, Roux’s concept of an internal struggle, and Rolph’s principle of insatiability.

    He had a beautifully expressed synthesis of ideas and forms, was an adroit social critique, and a master of the polemic and the epigram, but some of the ideas he is credited with are perhaps less orginal than at first blush. And one must of course always ask, where the does the “philosophy” end and the “literature” begin. That being said, his nonteleological account of history as power, his critique of epistemology and metaphysics at the level of values, his perspectivalism, his genealogy of concepts through language accretion are all bases from which the Continental Tradition, starting from Heidegger, going on through to Foucault and Derrida established itself (whether some think that that is a good thing or not, is another question). And of course he gets the (dis)credit of helping to proto-theorize the Unconscious in terms of the drives and instincts, modulated by repressive morality, as Freud came to conceptualize it.

  9. markb287 said,

    I think Nietzsche definitely to be the most influential philosopher, and he is definitely understudied in philosophy today — yet is very widely read by many of the great 20th century philosophers of the day.

    It’s very difficult to say that what just one thing (above all) that Nietzsche contributed to philosophy. To name a few, the Will to Power, Overman, Genenealogy of Morality, Revaluation of Values, Eternal Recurrence, Style. If I had to guess, I think his most important one was the Revaluation of Values. It encompasses his own philosophy — he wants people to re-think the way they think philosophy. He definitely achieved this goal. Existentialism, Psychoanalysis, Phenomenology, Postmodernism, and Deconstruction. And all at different aspects. Existentialism is very similar to his ideas about the Overman. Psychoanalysis — his will to power, his concept of morality (master-slave), his repression of social feelings. Postmodernism and the simulacrum (similar to Nietzsche’s ideas in the Twilight of Idols). Deconstruction — his critique of language, meaning, and fixedness.

    But Nietzsche is a controversial figure, and at times can be difficult to agree with. I love Nietzsche and think he’s probably one of the greatest philosophers (he’s definitely one my top-five list). But he is controversial, so I wouldn’t expect that he’s going to be on every-one’s top-five, even top-ten. That said, a suggestion to readers on Nietzsche: Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

  10. heraclitus said,

    Max Stirner did in one book what Nietzsche did in an entire career and went one step further, in my opinion. Also, Max Stirner was much more life affirming, for, according to him, everyone was a creative nothing but just had to realise it, whereas Nietzsche said only few would become an Overman.

    I was a huge fan of Nietzsche until I discovered Max Stirner. ?The Ego and Its Own? is, in my opinion, the most underrated book in Western continental philosophy. I really recommend people to give it a read.

  11. markb287 said,

    Hmm…Max Stirner does have a lot in common with Nietzsche, and did write before Nietzsche. Stirner believed that the person has to be creator and this creator’s creature. This is exactly in line with Nietzsche’s conception of the will: that the will both commands and obeys — that the greatest will to power is oneself. Indeed, Stirner believed that this power was very broad, and his conception of it is almost identical to Nietzsche’s idea.

    But I would say it’s a big stretch to say he did in one book what Nietzsche did his whole life time.

    Nietzsche would have criticized Stirner’s “ego” — this sense of just individuality. Even though Nietzsche saw the will as commander and obeyer, he distinctly makes a difference between the ego and the will, as he says in BGE 19: But now observe what is the strangest thing about willing?about this many-faceted thing for which people have only a single word: insofar as we are in a given case the one ordering and the one obeying both at the same time, and as the one obeying we know the feelings of compulsion, of pushing and pressing, resistance and movement, which are accustomed to start right after the act of will, and insofar as we, by contrast, have the habit of disregarding this duality, thanks to the synthetic idea of “I,” a whole series of mistaken conclusions and, consequently, false evaluations of the will have attached themselves to the act of willing, with the result that the person doing the willing believes in good faith that willing is sufficient for action.

    Nietzsche wants to stray away from this thinking that there is an “I” which is free, independent, that is the soul, separate from the world. What Stirner is giving the impression is that the ego “should” affect the world. Nietzsche’s providing a very fundamental question to this assumption. Now Stirner’s ego is much different than Descartes’ ego. (Stirner even goes on to say that the ego is “nothing.” However, his idea of the nothingness of the ego is much similar to Buddhism. There will be more to say of this nothingness, this creative nothingness.)

    Also, Nietzsche would have saw the contradiction in Stirner’s ideas: Stirner criticizes the idea of ethics, of this “ought to” in society that only controls the individual. Yet he attempts this very same ethics: man “should” be free and do what is in the best interest of the self. This is the exact “should” that Stirner himself criticizes in society!

    Stirner, in part, doesn’t see the importance of social institutions, and though Nietzsche heavily criticized society, he criticized it with hopes of improving it, to reach revaluate our values, to reach a state which is neither master nor slave morality. Stirner seems to be asking for a return to master morality.

    This is why Zarathustra is seen as a religious figure — “he comes from the mountains” in order to help man. Nietzsche wasn’t trying to break society apart with his idea of the overman — he was trying to enrich it. Indeed, all his criticisms of society are meant to improve culture.

    Don’t get me wrong: there is a lot in common with Stirner and Nietzshe. But there were also differences. Stirner is definitely an influential figure, but I still take my hat off for Nietzsche.

  12. bunnysaferat said,

    Heraclitus, I just thought you should know that the real Heraclitus was probably Nietzches most admirable philosopher, and he helped to save him from obscurity.

  13. heraclitus said,

    Heraclitus wrote:

    I was a huge fan of Nietzsche until I discovered Max Stirner. ?The Ego and Its Own? is, in my opinion, the most underrated book in Western continental philosophy. I really recommend people to give it a read.

    I do strongly agree with this, and I think its a fantastic read for those interested in Nietzsche. It is truly a great book, very intriguing; and though Stirner’s style is not, in my opinion, as adroit as Nietzsche’s (although his style is very unique, especially from his time — since most philosophers at that time had that “Kantian” or “Hegelian” way of writing, which is so criticized in today’s conception of philosophy), it is a really good read.

  14. acumensch said,

    hypothesis wrote:
    I think Nietzsche is at great fault for dumbing down philosophy.

    Yeah why does everyone have to be just like Nietzsche? Genetic arguments are dumb!
    hypothesis wrote:
    Nietzsche himself had a big superiority complex, which in turn he passed down to his readers.

    like the Nazis. It’s like everyone who reads him thinks Nietzsche wrote the book just for them. All the Nietzscheans think they’re the center of the universe.
    hypothesis wrote:
    As a philosopher, Nietzsche is pretty lame in presenting his ideas.

    Yeah like, he must be the most semicolon-happy philosopher there ever was.
    hypothesis wrote:
    No wonder then that Nietzsche is a great source of inspiration to may diffrent groups (feminists, lesbians, gays, communists, fascists, artists, loners, renegades, outcasts, victims/victors, crazy people, scientists, animal rights people, etc)

    don’t forget atheists.

    And did you know he wrote The Gay Science just for gay people.

    But wait,

    hypothesis wrote:
    What exactly are Nietzsche’s philosophical
    contributions ?

    Oh, well, I’m not really sure either.

  15. the boss said,

    I don’t see how anybody can look at the face of a newborn baby and then say there is no God.

  16. danielle said,

    there is no god

  17. stephane sednaoui said,

    i detect issues in the minogue family…

  18. danielle said,

    i detect a certain stephane sednaoui infiltrated in the human society

  19. Bunnysarefat said,

    Nietzsche was actually opposed to and even outspoken at times against anti-semitism and hater politicians like Adolf Stoecker.-Who if you dont know was the founder of a predominant german anti-semetic party.

    I keep coming back to this thread hoping someone will actually talk about nietzsches philosophy. Mark, im afraid you are on deaf ears.

  20. acumensch said,

    Well, Kant has his moments. I think he has some good lines in the Prologemena.

    I wonder if Nietzsche’s scholarly work, as in when he worked for the university, was as opaque and colorful as his books?

    Some people aren’t prepared to experience his work. His Zarathustra is “for none and for all.” That is true. You also cannot judge his books unless you have read all of them, he tells us. To be true to N. we cannot say even this much. Well, i cannot. I still have so many books to read.

  21. dunamis said,

    Bunnysarefat wrote:
    Heraclitus, I just thought …he helped to save him from obscurity.

    I suppose you never heard of Hegel.

  22. the boss said,

    Shakespeare, dealt with jealousy, envy, power, desire, seduction, manipulation and other themes. What makes Nietzsche better ?

  23. the boss said,

    Does it not occur to you that I could both understand Nietzsche and still not like him ?

  24. Bunnysarefat said,

    Dunamis wrote:
    I suppose you never heard of Hegel

    Sure I have, and if you mean to compare his attention towards Heraclitus to Nietzsche and H Does it not occur to you that I could both understand Nietzsche and still not like him ?eidegger then you are way off base. We were such buddies when it came to Witt.

  25. acumensch said,

    The boss wrote:
    Shakespeare, dealt with jealousy, envy, power, desire, seduction, manipulation and other themes. What makes Nietzsche better ?

    Well the Bible dealt with jealousy, envy, power, desire, seduction, manipulation. What makes Shakespeare better?
    As if once something has been “dealt with” it’s the last word on the matter.

  26. MC.Pearce said,

    Hypothesis and The boss,

    Are you irritated because Nietzsche wrote lively prose on a large range of topics, and that too many non-academics read it? How terrible of him. It is obvious that philosophical ideas could never be fun to read, or succinct.

  27. Bunnysarefat said,

    Maybe this thread can be saved yet, if Hypothesis,the boss and any other supposed Nietzsche haters could calmy breakdown for us what they see wrong with each of Nietzsches key concepts in his works.

  28. markb287 said,

    The boss wrote:
    Does it not occur to you that I could both understand Nietzsche and still not like him ?

    Well, what are some of the problems you have with Nietzsche? Perhaps we can try to see your points and either try to convince you or be convinced by you. Perhaps we’ll all learn something.

  29. tabin said,

    I think the fundamental problem with Nietszche’s philosophy was his individulaist outlook. Everything was about the individual, as though man existed alone. Generally speaking, the entire ‘existence precedes essence’ perspective is the same in this way. In reality, man lives with others and as such, one cannot consider the meanings of one’s existence without considering his role in a society. Thus, the highest good is in asking not what do I require, but what does society require? This is an absent tenent in the thoughts of Nietszche. Not suprising that his philosophy flowered into what is was as he generally lived a life of lonliness. Perhaps his philosophy was an insight into the thoughts of any man so detached from others in spirit.

  30. erik said,

    I don’t interpret Nietzsche as an individualist at all, well, at least not in the sense that you seem to be using the word here. In fact, I see in him someone who cared very deeply about others, albeit others who for the most part weren’t even born yet, strange as that sounds. Some people may find the idea of having more concern for the non-existent than the existent to be disgusting, but I look at it a bit differently.

    Also, contrary to what I initially thought about him, Nietzsche did in fact have some fairly close friends throughout his life and wasn’t quite the recluse that he’s often made out to be. Even at the very end of his sane life he had people who cared about him a great deal, and not only his family members.

    Furthermore, maybe if the society in which he lived weren’t one of noisy patriotism, sham religiosity, superficiality, etc. then he wouldn’t have felt the need to rebel against it. Same goes for many authentically “spiritual” human beings it seems – Heraclitus and Lao Tzu, for example, seem to have removed themselves from their respective societies in a similar fashion, perhaps even for similar reasons. Remember, Zarathustra does in fact descend from his quiet home in the mountains to spread his “gospel” to the crowd in the marketplace, but this turns out to be an utter disaster and thereafter he changes his approach. Elitist? Yes. Individualist? I don’t think so.

  31. tabin said,

    Erik wrote:
    I don’t interpret Nietzsche as an individualist at all, well, at least not in the sense that you seem to be using the word here. In fact, I see in him someone who cared very deeply about others, albeit others who for the most part weren’t even born yet, strange as that sounds. Some people may find the idea of having more concern for the non-existent than the existent to be disgusting, but I look at it a bit differently.

    Also, contrary to what I initially thought about him, Nietzsche did in fact have some fairly close friends throughout his life and wasn’t quite the recluse that he’s often made out to be. Even at the very end of his sane life he had people who cared about him a great deal, and not only his family members.

    Furthermore, maybe if the society in which he lived weren’t one of noisy patriotism, sham religiosity, superficiality, etc. then he wouldn’t have felt the need to rebel against it. Same goes for many authentically “spiritual” human beings it seems – Heraclitus and Lao Tzu, for example, seem to have removed themselves from their respective societies in a similar fashion, perhaps even for similar reasons. Remember, Zarathustra does in fact descend from his quiet home in the mountains to spread his “gospel” to the crowd in the marketplace, but this turns out to be an utter disaster and thereafter he changes his approach. Elitist? Yes. Individualist? I don’t think so.

    By “individualist” I meant his notion that it is up to the individual to define his own reality. Under this pattern of thinking it follows that the highest good is therefore something relative, something not absolute (as it is after all up to the whims of the individual person). This is necessarily true, unless of course the highest good included the needs of everyone else, in which case there must be laws, there must be absolutes (as a society could not function without them). This is the premise of the ‘essence before existence’ notion contrary to all things Nietszche. His philosophy neglected the prerequisite needs necessary of a society and directed focus instead on the desires of the individual person. Because no person exists outside of a social context, it is therefore irrational to base the highest good around something not in harmony with that which is best for society. It then follows that an individual should live his life in accordance to this and not merely to his own whims. Nietszche would make the ‘Superman’ (himself) his highest good instead.

  32. Adam213 said,

    hypothesis wrote:
    What exactly are Nietzsche’s philosophical contributions ? The only clear and important one is his analysis of morality.

    His other noted concepts are the ‘superman’ and ‘eternal recurrence’, which are very insignifact,

    He has a lot of clear signs of pseud-intellectualism, and no wonder 180 proof that you display some of those qualities yourself. The problem is that Nietzsche is probably your favourite philosopher (from looking at your previous post). And no one likes having their heros criticised.

    There’s a section in in ‘Ecce homo’ where he lists out qualities that make him clever and wise etc, a clear sing of a superiority complex. (180 proof, you should be able to spot a superiority complex when you see it).

    The problem here is that most of the perverted Nietzsche adorers like to forget the fact that Nietzsche went mad (mad philosopher ?)

    I think you are being unfair to Nietzsche, although he didn’t ceaselessly debate on logic and metaphysics and epistemology, he was nonetheless an important and profound thinker. And no, I don’t believe influence alone should be used to gauge the worth of a philosopher.
    His advancement on the idea of perspectivism was truly a masterful move on his part. His criticism of Christianity and his opposition to utilitarianism made him one of the greatest moral philosophers ever. His argument(s) against hedonism in lieu prestige and self-mastery were also quite brilliant.
    Yes, I’ve heard the allegation of his so-called “elitism.” It is ironic that individualist thinkers such as Nietzsche and Rand (not the greatest of thinkers, but she had a few good points) are called elitists, because they support and believe in the individual’s capacity to create.
    On top of that why are you attacking the man himself? His ideas are what should matter, not his personal life or his opinions. Please don’t lower the conversation, discuss his ideas, not some trivial aspects of his personality.
    Finally, don’t poke fun at mental illnesses, or any alignments for that matter. I have not read of what exactly afflicted dear Nietzsche so, but from what I’ve gathered it has sounded like a severe neurological disorder well beyond his control.
    So, I guess what I’m saying is, grow up. You’d think the high and mighty Nietzsche hater would be the more mature than the adolescent “Nietzsche adorer” as you so eloquently put it.
    So in all, the arguments you’ve leveled against him are meaningless, and I don’t understand why you have an inborn bitterness against the man. What on earth did he ever do that was so wrong, besides seek the truth?
    I’m sorry about seeming harsh, but I like discussion to stay at a certain level.

  33. dunamis said,

    Erik wrote:

    Yes. How does this conflict with what I’ve said? I said that he did in fact have a concern which lay beyond his own narrow, individual concerns. This concern was, if not with mankind generally, then at least with European society in the future. I’ll have to go back and read my posts again to see what you may be referring to.

    What it conflicts with is the portrayal of his “concern” as a legitimate concern, a real concern, and not just a confabulation designed to give himself importance. What others have objected to is not just that he is an individualist, but that he fancies that one individually creates valuations. That Nietzsche dreamed up a version of society, a society that was mortally wounded, in deep need for his personal and radical services, is reflective of course not of his concern for others, but his concern for himself, his place in history. (That he posited that such a concern was the metaphysical essence of the universe is just his insistence). That you imagine that caring for unborn others is still caring, and not just fantasizing, I suspect might account for your attraction to such a thinker. But this is at the crux of other’s objectiion to him.
    Well, do you agree with his position or not? Whether it’s benign, or benevolent, or malevolent is irrelevant to the particular observation.

    Not when the “observation” becomes merely a projection, a specialty of Nietzsche’s, projecting upon others and society is own ills, (decadence, hysteria, weakness, etc.), and then projecting himself upon the scene as a “savior”.
    Well, why don’t you tell us what your idea of “quality” is and where it comes from.

    Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as “my idea of ‘quality’,” nor my idea of anything. Language and conception is a communal affair, socially negotiated, expressed and received. Quality is what quality does. The primary mistake Nietzsche makes is essentializing the individual, as if it is the primary unit of the will, and not understanding that power is always in assemblages far more fluid than any person. His reactive desire to reinstate an absurd aristoi, an inner circle of illuminati, is just so much Wagnarian fantasy.
    I would say that the greater danger lies in the position advocated by Tabin, one in which the individual loses himself in the crowd and is therefore more willing to commit atrocities in the name of some “highest good”, be it National Socialism, Communism, or whatever.

    When you philosophize about the Will to Power that necessarily ranks and controls lesser wills, a Will that transvalues everything, it becomes necessary to have a “crowd” (Nietzsche was no democrat). You end up exactly with those kinds of social structures of extreme hierarchy. Your precious Heidegger, who even improves upon Nietzsche according to you, was of course a Nazi sympathizer, I suggest no accident of his own transvaluing philosophy.
    Nietzsche’s philosophy is a reaction to the type of groupthink which characterizes these movements. Nietzsche’s philosophy – and not some perversion of it like the one found in the writings of certain Nazi theorists – will never lead to a mass movement, and is therfore fairly benign.

    A common myth perpetuated by the intellectualization of Nietzsche, primarily brought forth by the Nazi sympathizer Heidegger. Nietzsche’s conception of society and Will leads to heirarchization and tranvaluation. While he would shudder to be one of the crowd, a mastered crowd is certainly preferrable than a democratic one.
    It will, however, always appeal to certain people for a variety of reasons which have absolutely nothing to do with saving mankind. Nietzsche’s philosophy, as I see it, is intended for a particular community, but not for the entire community. Perhaps this does make it “evil” when judged according to standards which seek things like the highest good for the numerical majority.

    Yes. It did appeal to the non-numerical Heidegger didn’t it.

  34. tobias said,

    I think you are right to some extent Dunamis. (Though the psychologization is unnencessary I believe) But what about the contributions to philosophy he made? his notion of knowledge bound up with power made the question of the nature of power/knowledge perhaps the question of 20th century philosophy. His not alone of course, there was also Marx and to some extent Schopenhauer had it and of course people before him. But nietzsche made the will to power as the hidden essence of the will to truth explicit. For that he sshould receive credit I think.

    As for his writing style, do you think he had a group of Illuminati in mind when he wrote about the overman? I doubt it. Shouldn’t they be seen in the light of the eternal recurrence and amor fati? ‘Men become a child’? I think he had his finger quite nicely on the pulse of the spirit (sorry ) Complexes of power, tyrants of a sheepish society, all the rage in the 20th and early 21st century.

  35. tabin said,

    Erik wrote:
    The problem with this is that you are unfairly projecting an “existentialist” position on to Nietzsche, a position laden with Cartesian assumptions, assumptions which can perhaps be found in the writings of Sartre and other self-styled existentialists who claim Nietzsche as a forerunner, but assumptions which Nietzsche did not share. Do you want me to provide textual support for my position here despite the fact that you, the one who’s made the claims regarding Nietzsche’s supposed belief that we define our own existence ex nihilo, haven’t provided any to support your view? Unlike some existentialists, Nietzsche recognized that we are indeed social creatures [a claim which you dispute], and that we share a common history, culture, language, etc. with others. These factors limit our choices for thought and action, obviously, but don’t eliminate a certain amount of creative possibilities. Read Nietzsche for yourself if you’d like to find out what he thought.

    I dont think you understand my argument. One doesnt need to define himself “ex nihilo” in order to define himself; this isnt a necessary condition of it. I’m not even sure how you could have concluded that this was part of my argument from what I wrote.

    Erik wrote:
    Nietzsche’s “likes” – the “highest good” for a society of his choice if you will – involve the creation of exemplary human beings, as I‘ve already pointed out. This, and not the comfort and security of the numerical majority, is what drives him. If you’d like to see what he thinks an exemplary human being would be like you’ll have to delve into his works; my suggestion of TSZ stands, but in all of his writings you’ll catch glimpses of such a specimen. Perhaps Nietzsche doesn’t even know exactly what the “overman” will be like, but he has a vague notion, I think, and scattered throughout his writings you’ll find hints here and there.

    Basically, he wants to create beyond himself, and draws upon various historical possibilities to do so. This is a key idea in this debate, and one which undermines your views of his “selfishness”. Again, he doesn’t fancy himself a “superman” [all your credibility went out the door in my opinion with this assertion], or anything remotely close to one, but simply uses his philosophy to attack the idols of his day, idols which were a hindrance to the coming of the overman. Now, who is more “selfish” I ask, a person who desires his or her own downfall so that better human beings may arrive, or one who clings to the belief that their petty ego should be pandered to? This is the irony of your position as I see it: Nietzsche’s philosophy is in a way supremely selfless, while the “highest good” of which you speak, and which Nietzsche apparently failed to recognize, is designed to cater to the desires of those who cannot fathom their own “overcoming”, and would probably stop at nothing to prevent such an event from taking place. In short, they cling to their own existence and lack the sublime love that seeks transcendence.

    My point was to show that Nietzsche was a moral relativist and therefore, by consequence of that, could not have believed in moral restrictions or guidelines. To Nietzsche – like Thrasymachus before him – that which is good is defined by the individual’s own personal criteria. The implicit statement here is: that which is good for me, is the only thing that matters. This reasoning is inherently selfish. That Nietzsche would be so kind as to hope others would one day adopt this reasoning is not the point.

    Erik wrote:
    Oh, and one more thing – you seem to place an abstract entity [society] above concrete human beings. What is a society if not a collection of individuals? Shouldn’t the needs and desires of these individuals be the ultimate concern of any “society”? A society of entirely selfless individuals is impossible, I think. Only a sage is capable of such a thing, and as we know they’re few and far between; the best that we can hope for is to channel the selfish desires of human beings in a “positive” direction. There is a good type of selfishness and a bad type in my opinion. The good type involves not allowing our thoughts and feelings to be dictated by others which is hopefully coupled with finding our own calling in life [a calling which coincidentally could involve helping others….imagine that!] while the bad type involves an outrageous exaggeration of our own ego’s worth and a corresponding view that others are mere means to our ends, be they money, power, sex, or whatever. I didn’t quite articulate that in the best way possible, but you probably get the gist of my thoughts on the issue. Nietzsche’s “selfish” ends, if we can even call them that, are much more sublime than what we’re used to seeing or hearing about, and this may be part of the confusion.

    I think you answer your own question. In society not everyone will do what is good. Some men will do whatever they so please: murder, rape, theft – these are some of the things they may reason as perfectly acceptable acts. Without the highest good these things in fact are pefectly acceptable. It is for this reason why society must have the highest good. I think you mirror this sentiment when you say, “the best that we can hope for is to channel the selfish desires of human beings in a positive direction.”

    You should try and read The Republic. It touches on this age old subject in greater depth.

  36. DipleousShuitte said,

    the main thing one has to assess is the fact that nietzsche was aiming to derail the modern perception. You may have fallen into this intricate web.

  37. dunamis said,

    Tobias wrote:
    I think you are right to some extent Dunamis. (Though the psychologization is unnencessary I believe)

    On the contrary, psychologization is necessary when addressing Nietzsche, for he demands it, in fact makes of such, the primary means of criticism. It is to expose Nietzsche to his own measure.

  38. tobias said,

    Yes, but what kind of justification do you have for stating nietzsches allged hysteria? Isn’t it simply ad hominem? A lot of people picked up on his diagnosis. Actually something else he made explicit, society’s continuous dissatisfaction with itself and the idea that somehow this is an end time.

  39. dunamis said,

    Tobias wrote:

    As for his writing style, do you think he had a group of Illuminati in mind when he wrote about the overman? I doubt it.

    He imagines himself, and his cadre of yet-to-be-born “new” philosophers, as a select bunch who are able to feed on thoughts that are “like poison” to the common types, each Lord holding his own “truth” jealously to himself, like the cherished superpower of Marvel Comic book hero. Its so theatrical its ludicrous.
    Shouldn’t they be seen in the light of the eternal recurrence and amor fati?

    The Eternal Return is just the supposed poisonous thought that these “higher types” can endure, a silly threshold initiation rite that puts you into the club. Really though, nothing more than Nietzsche fantasizing that his deeds will last into eternity in some way, some form.
    ‘Men become a child’? I think he had his finger quite nicely on the pulse of the spirit (sorry ) Complexes of power, tyrants of a sheepish society, all the rage in the 20th and early 21st century.

    The rhetoric is so thick. Mao became a child before history and murdered millions. The supposed innocence of a rebirth after a bath in nihilism is oh…how poetic.

  40. ignatius said,

    There definitely is something to first impressions, if one was continuously approached by those with a similar prexsisting profile of them it likely has a shaping effect but then again one might surround themselves with those that view them as they desire to be viewed causing other to view the one the same as the group the one chose. Im sensing a chicken and the egg paradox

    what causes one to become self aware and also go through puberty? I do not see a reason for a ridged boundry at those points

    caveat emptor, this can lead to very wrong conclusions

  41. dunamis said,

    Tobias wrote:
    Yes, but what kind of justification do you have for stating nietzsches allged hysteria?

    I use his description of Wagner, and see that it applies to himself.
    Isn’t it simply ad hominem?

    Have you read Nietzsche? Ad hominem is the nature of how one critiques. One always attacks the man, not his ideas. Ideas are just the expression of the man. That Nietzsche should be immune from this critique is rather humorous.

  42. hypothesis said,

    Adam213 wrote:

    His criticism of Christianity and …

    Christianity is the easiest to knock, go to other internet forums and you will find a good handful of braindead repetitive atheists doing the same thing. And there were other christianity critics before Nietsche’s time, but they just more silent due to the conditions of the time. In Nietzsche’s time perhaps conditions were right for such an atack on christianity

    Adam213 wrote:

    Yes, I’ve heard the allegation of his so-called “elitism.” It is ironic that individualist thinkers such as Nietzsche and Rand (not the greatest of thinkers, but she had a few good points) are called elitists, because they support and believe in the individual’s capacity to create.

    I don’t think Nietzsche was being an elitist by this definition.

    Adam213 wrote:

    because they support and believe in the individual’s capacity to create.

    This is ridiculous. Nietzsche was not the first to support this idea.

    Adam213 wrote:

    Finally, don’t poke fun at mental illnesses, or any alignments for that matter. I have not read of what exactly afflicted dear Nietzsche so, but from what I’ve gathered it has sounded like a severe neurological disorder well beyond his control.
    So, I guess what I’m saying is, grow up. You’d think the high and mighty Nietzsche hater would be the more mature than the adolescent “Nietzsche adorer” as you so eloquently put it.
    So in all, the arguments you’ve leveled against him are meaningless, and I don’t understand why you have an inborn bitterness against the man. What on earth did he ever do that was so wrong, besides seek the truth?
    I’m sorry about seeming harsh, but I like discussion to stay at a certain level.

    Although I might have come across as being a Nietzche hater, I can assure you that I’m not. I do not hate Nietzche the person, but just some of his views, such as his idiotic prejudices on women. (and other views). I also happen to like some of his ideas, although I cannot agree with all of them

  43. erik said,

    Dunamis,

    Okay, let me just begin by pointing out that my main problem with Tabin‘s position was that he felt Nietzsche‘s individualism to be of a “whimsical“ sort, one in which the idea that a human being can create himself or herself in whichever way they desire. This capricious attitude is alien to Nietzsche’s philosophy, and even if you despise everything about the man and his thought, I doubt that you‘d challenge the idea that “become who you are“ is remotely close to “become whatever you want to be”.

    I just wanted to get that out of the way since now it looks as though I’m being forced to defend certain aspects of Nietzsche’s thought which I do have some problems with. Yes, how “caring” of me…
    Dunamis wrote:
    What it conflicts with is the portrayal of his “concern” as a legitimate concern, a real concern, and not just a confabulation designed to give himself importance. What others have objected to is not just that he is an individualist, but that he fancies that one individually creates valuations. That Nietzsche dreamed up a version of society, a society that was mortally wounded, in deep need for his personal and radical services, is reflective of course not of his concern for others, but his concern for himself, his place in history. (That he posited that such a concern was the metaphysical essence of the universe is just his insistence). That you imagine that caring for unborn others is still caring, and not just fantasizing, I suspect might account for your attraction to such a thinker. But this is at the crux of other’s objectiion to him.

    Well, look at the 20th century, its violence and destruction on an unimaginable scale – don’t you think he may have had some legitimate concerns about European society and the direction it was heading? Would it have been better to bury his head in the sand, to pretend that everything was going great? Also, neither you nor I really know what motivated him; is it inconceivable to be motivated by more than one thing? Can one not seek personal fame while at the same time caring about what happens to others? I don’t see these as mutually exclusive, and I think Nietzsche recognized that the desire for glory is the most difficult thing to let go of. I’m not sure if applying some hackneyed psychological formula to the “case of Nietzsche” is anything other than the attempt to simplify a complex human being. We readily accuse Nietzsche of projecting, but somehow fail to acknowledge that we may be doing the same thing.
    Dunamis wrote:
    Not when the “observation” becomes merely a projection, a specialty of Nietzsche’s, projecting upon others and society is own ills, (decadence, hysteria, weakness, etc.), and then projecting himself upon the scene as a “savior”.

    As I took it, the observation in question referred to the idea that in every society there are, in essence, those who lead and those who follow. Do you doubt this? Do you doubt that there has been, or can be, creativity within human societies? If not, then where does this creativity come from? It appears to come from a small percentage of the population, however anathema it may be to suggest such a thing.

    Look at the influence which Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Wittgenstein, and even Nietzsche have had upon western society, even upon those who have never heard of these men – or how about the impact of Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed upon billions of people throughout the ages. Let me ask, why does this idea seem to bother you so much? I don’t know about you, but I’m not such a megalomaniac that I can’t accept the idea that I’m no Jesus, that I’m no Plato, that I’m no Spinoza, that these were in many ways exemplary human beings. I have the requisite humility to acknowledge this fact, do you? Or perhaps it offends your ego?
    Dunamis wrote:
    Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as “my idea of ‘quality’,” nor my idea of anything. Language and conception is a communal affair, socially negotiated, expressed and received. Quality is what quality does. The primary mistake Nietzsche makes is essentializing the individual, as if it is the primary unit of the will, and not understanding that power is always in assemblages far more fluid than any person. His reactive desire to reinstate an absurd aristoi, an inner circle of illuminati, is just so much Wagnarian fantasy.

    Your knowledge of linguistic issues is far superior to mine, obviously, but what I understand of your position I actually agree with, for the most part at least. I don’t think that Nietzsche failed to see this, though. This was another one of my initial points in addressing Tabin, i.e., he implied that Nietzsche was unaware of the tremendous social, historical, and linguistic forces which shape our thought and action. Despite the fact it seems obvious that we are independent actors, I think Nietzsche recognized that we were not. I’ll look for passages in Nietzsche which I’m pretty sure lay out the same position which you‘ve expressed here. Where you differ from him, I think, is that he seemed to feel that the “assemblages of power” are not static phenomena but are rather in constant flux, and individuals can alter the assemblage to a certain extent. Maybe you could fill me in a bit more concerning this issue, as it’s something I’m very much interested in.
    Dunamis wrote:
    When you philosophize about the Will to Power that necessarily ranks and controls lesser wills, a Will that transvalues everything, it becomes necessary to have a “crowd” (Nietzsche was no democrat). You end up exactly with those kinds of social structures of extreme hierarchy. Your precious Heidegger, who even improves upon Nietzsche according to you, was of course a Nazi sympathizer, I suggest no accident of his own transvaluing philosophy.

    Now we’ve come to what is obviously a really contentious issue. I won’t deny that Nietzsche was no democrat, but I don’t think that he was an advocate bloodthirsty tyrants either. The WTP contains some passages which at times read this way for sure, but taking a holistic approach to Nietzsche’s work I’ve always felt that, overall, his intentions are apolitical. Maybe these are my own projections, though. By the way, how do we get out of making these projections? Or should we want to stop making them? How do you escape the circle in which understanding moves?
    Dunamis wrote:
    A common myth perpetuated by the intellectualization of Nietzsche, primarily brought forth by the Nazi sympathizer Heidegger. Nietzsche’s conception of society and Will leads to heirarchization and tranvaluation. While he would shudder to be one of the crowd, a mastered crowd is certainly preferrable than a democratic one.

    The “master” crowd is a far cry from the Nazi belief in a biologically superior race, an idea which neither Nietzsche nor Heidegger ever believed in. Nietzsche’s “overmen”, in my opinion, were primarily artistic in nature, people who were able to sublimate the Will into creative acts, that were not necessarily political. Nietzsche loathed nationalism, organized religion, the idea of social classes based upon economic considerations, and other things which provide the foundation for mass movements.

    Heidegger is a different issue. He was a nationalist [actually, he was more of a provincialist], but not an imperialist. His philosophy is paradoxically about as far removed from Nazism – with its belief in a “master” race – can be. This, however, is another issue, and one that I’ll gladly take up with you elsewhere. For the sake of brevity, let me just say that Heidegger actually agreed with many aspects of your interpretation of Nietzsche. He felt that Nietzsche’s idea of the commanding Will represented the culmination of western nihilism and not its overcoming. He joined the Nazi party because, like Nietzsche, he felt that the West was in a time of crisis, that of technological nihilism, in which all things were being reduced to raw materials to be exploited by the human Will.

    What he sought through his questioning of Being was a way to “let beings be”, which would only happen if and when man was released from his drive to dominate and exploit by recognizing himself as needed and used by Being. Man would move into dasein and the era of Enframing would give way to Ereignis, a.k.a. the event of the appropriation of man by Being. This could be done if the movement were an ontological rather than a biological one. Philosophy and poetic thought, not science and technology, were the keys to Germany’s “authentic” future for him. This is nowhere close to the aggressive nationalism of Nazi hacks. Doubtless you’ll rail against this as the rantings of a self-absorbed man who failed to recognize that life in the modern world is perfectly fine and so concocted an absurd myth in which he played an important role as the savior of humanity. Go ahead and laugh at him, most Nazis undoubtedly did.

  44. turnstile said,

    Dunamis,

    I must admit that I am unaware of having claimed that I am a philosopher, or even a Nietzscheian for that matter. This may be due to a poor memory on my part—perhaps you wouldn’t mind pointing out where I made such claims?

    Dunamis, it seems that the very moment the subject of Nietzsche is approached you loose hold of it, and then simply collapse into “blah blah blah”: which at bottom might very well likely harbor more venomous thoughts?

    I have willingly addressed your textual presentation and further supplied my own in rebuttal—this is commonly done where one wishes to obtain true understanding and has self control. Your response amounted to nothing more than a mere attack on me (is this your way of saying you stand corrected?).

    Perhaps you are capable of something more substantial than unfounded claims? Such as, supplying textual support for one’s claims is usually a requirement in discussions like these. If not, than I simply wish you a good day

  45. Adam213 said,

    hypothesis wrote:
    Christianity is the easiest to knock, go to other internet forums and you will find a good handful of braindead repetitive atheists doing the same thing. And there were other christianity critics before Nietsche’s time, but they just more silent due to the conditions of the time. In Nietzsche’s time perhaps conditions were right for such an atack on christianity

    As I will continue to say, Nietzsche was not one to openly go out and say “I am an atheist, agnostic, Christian, etc.” I know, I know, in one of his works he did more or less state that he was an atheist. The actual terms were somewhat trivial to him.

    hypothesis wrote:
    This is ridiculous. Nietzsche was not the first to support this idea.

    Again, why does this matter. Is this some kind of cruel joke, to just rain down logical fallacies (well, not even logical fallacies, even fallacies seem to have more relevance to an argument).
    Nietzsche’s defense of the individual and his right to create as he pleased was unique because it wasn’t merely a defense of liberty, but also a defense of creativity and experimentation.
    Nietzsche’s attack on Christanity was creative, and it was not rooted in metaphysics or the so-called “Spaghetti monster” argument, or any of its many off-shoots that have become popular with trendy left-wing know-it-all college students whose minor happens to be in philosophy.

    hypothesis wrote:
    Although I might have come across as being a Nietzche hater, I can assure you that I’m not. I do not hate Nietzche the person, but just some of his views, such as his idiotic prejudices on women. (and other views). I also happen to like some of his ideas, although I cannot agree with all of them.

    I think we’ve established that your opinion of the man, good or bad, has nothing to do with the discussion, drop it.

  46. dunamis said,

    Erik wrote:
    Well, look at the 20th century, its violence and destruction on an unimaginable scale – don’t you think he may have had some legitimate concerns about European society and the direction it was heading?

    Having physician Nietzsche diagnose society is like having Dr. Megele diagnose a headache.
    Look at the influence which Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Wittgenstein, and even Nietzsche have had upon western society, even upon those who have never heard of these men – or how about the impact of Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed upon billions of people throughout the ages. Let me ask, why does this idea seem to bother you so much?

    When very uninteresting people take up Nietzsche in order to legitimate their “opinions” I find that one of the most banal things in the world. At least Nietzsche was brilliant in his misguidedness. He misunderstood the nature of power, was not able to make his critique of power radical enough, primarily because he wanted to preserve an aristoi conception to which he supposedly belonged. I’m not saying he is worthless. I’m saying he simply was wrong in the areas that he often is given the most acclaim.
    I don’t know about you, but I’m not such a megalomaniac that I can’t accept the idea that I’m no Jesus, that I’m no Plato, that I’m no Spinoza, that these were in many ways exemplary human beings. I have the requisite humility to acknowledge this fact, do you? Or perhaps it offends your ego?

    What “offends” my “ego” is the uncritical acceptance of Nietzsche, and the painting of a flawed man as noble.
    Your knowledge of linguistic issues is far superior to mine, obviously, but what I understand of your position I actually agree with, for the most part at least. I don’t think that Nietzsche failed to see this, though.

    What he failed to do was to make his critique radical enough. He has to preserve the Romantic essentialization of man in order to satiate his inner need for importance.
    This was another one of my initial points in addressing Tabin, i.e.,

    I’m really not interested in Tabin’s point. I’m interested your overstatements and couching of Nietzsche.
    Where you differ from him, I think, is that he seemed to feel that the “assemblages of power” are not static phenomena but are rather in constant flux, and individuals can alter the assemblage to a certain extent. Maybe you could fill me in a bit more concerning this issue, as it’s something I’m very much interested in.

    Nietzsche prioritized the individual, making it the locus of all power, ignoring the polyvalence of human combination, gradation of which are not made of a simple binary of Master/Slave. He projected his agression down to the microscopic level, imagining that the entire universe shared his own pathos. He ignores the complexity of power in favor of the savor of the feeling of power. Honestly, Spinoza articulated much more richly much of what Nietzsche got drunk over, without all the trumpets blaring.
    Now we’ve come to what is obviously a really contentious issue. I won’t deny that Nietzsche was no democrat, but I don’t think that he was an advocate bloodthirsty tyrants either.

    He saw everything in the world (including how our bodies were biologically organized), as a matter of proper rank and heirarchy. The only great tragedy was the the “weak” (those tricky ones) assembled themselves to take control of the “strong,” reversing the natural order. He was about setting it right. What he couldn’t understand, or really swallow, was the any assemblage of power is natural. “Bloodthristy’ is a silly word.
    The WTP contains some passages which at times read this way for sure, but taking a holistic approach to Nietzsche’s work I’ve always felt that, overall, his intentions are apolitical. Maybe these are my own projections, though. By the way, how do we get out of making these projections? Or should we want to stop making them? How do you escape the circle in which understanding moves?

    “Holistic” means “ignoring the core of his hierarchial elitism, both in terms of race, class and gender, and in terms of ‘greatness’, and beautifying what he intended to offend and threaten with. When he transvalued, he meant it literally. When you combine transvaluation with a lack of compassion and a natural theory of the domination of the weak, you end up with things like Hilter.
    The “master” crowd is a far cry from the Nazi belief in a biologically superior race, an idea which neither Nietzsche nor Heidegger ever believed in.

    Truths that have to be falsified and simplified for the benifit of the masses is a common theme in Nietzsche. You mistake Nazi ideology for the Will to Power of the Nazi’s.
    Nietzsche’s “overmen”, in my opinion, were primarily artistic in nature, people who were able to sublimate the Will into creative acts, that were not necessarily political. Nietzsche loathed nationalism, organized religion, the idea of social classes based upon economic considerations, and other things which provide the foundation for mass movements.

    Yes. Because you want to beatify what he meant to be a threat. You want to make cuddly, the sweet man who can only love those that aren’t yet born.
    Heidegger is a different issue. He was a nationalist [actually, he was more of a provincialist], but not an imperialist.

    Dividing up his position from its consequences is to try mitigate the tendency. That he too believed in transvaluation certainly facilitated his Nazi sympathizing. People want to explain away in great detail, so much detail that you loose focus, the odd result of how one’s philosophy causes one to act in historic consequences. The point is, it is no coincidence.
    What he sought through his questioning of Being was a way to “let beings be”, which would only happen if and when man was released from his drive to dominate and exploit by recognizing himself as needed and used by Being.

    Blah, blah, blah…he was a Nazi sympathizer (oh, those Nazi thugs that don’t have it in their brains to think that great things I am thinking), who worked against his Jewish colleagues at a perilous time in history. This was not an accident of his person, leaving his “philosophy” clean. (Please, no more “Being” quotes while Jews were to be put into gas chambers).

  47. dunamis said,

    turnstile wrote:
    Dunamis,

    I must admit that I am unaware of having claimed that I am a philosopher, or even a Nietzscheian for that matter. This may be due to a poor memory on my part•perhaps you wouldn’t mind pointing out where I made such claims?

    Dunamis, it seems that the very moment the subject of Nietzsche is approached you loose hold of it, and then simply collapse into “blah blah blah”: which at bottom might very well likely harbor more venomous thoughts?

    I have willingly addressed your textual presentation and further supplied my own in rebuttal•this is commonly done where one wishes to obtain true understanding and has self control. Your response amounted to nothing more than a mere attack on me (is this your way of saying you stand corrected?).

    Perhaps you are capable of something more substantial than unfounded claims? Such as, supplying textual support for one’s claims is usually a requirement in discussions like these. If not, than I simply wish you a good day.

    There is not a single substantial, or even interesting point in this post.

  48. dunamis said,

    Heidegger’s accidental empathies:
    On August 21, 1933 Heidegger established the Führer -principle at Freiburg. This meant that the rector would not be elected by the faculty as had been the custom, but would henceforth be appointed by the Nazi Minister of Education. In that capacity, the Führer -rector would have absolute authority over the life of the university. On October 1, 1933 his goal was realized when he was officially appointed Führer of Freiburg University. For Heidegger this was a milestone on the way to fulfilling his ultimate ambition, which was to become the leading philosopher of the Nazi regime. He envisioned a relationship in which he would become the philosopher-consul to Hitler.

    On September 4, 1933, in declining an appointment to the University of Munich, he wrote, “When I put personal reasons aside for the moment, I know I ought to decide to work at the task that lets me best serve the work of Adolf Hitler.”[5]

    On November 3, 1933, in his role as Führer -rector, Heidegger issued a decree applying the Nazi laws on racial cleansing to the student body of the university. The substance of the decree awarded economic aid to students belonging to the SS, the SA and other military groups. “Jewish or Marxist students” or anyone considered non-Aryan according to Nazi law would be denied financial aid.[6]

    On December 13, 1933, Heidegger solicited financial support from German academics for a book of pro-Hitler speeches that was to be distributed around the world. He added on the bottom of the letter that “Needless to say, non-Aryans shall not appear on the signature page.”[7]

    On December 22, 1933, Heidegger wrote to the Baden minister of education urging that in choosing among applicants for a professorship one should question “which of the candidates … offers the greatest assurance of carrying out the National Socialist will for education.”[8]

    The documentary evidence also shows that while Heidegger was publicly extolling the Nazi cause, he was privately working to destroy the careers of students and colleagues who were either Jewish or whose politics was suspect. Among the damning evidence that has been revealed:

    Hermann Staudinger, a chemistry professor at Freiburg who would go on to win the Nobel prize in 1953, was secretly denounced by Heidegger as a former pacifist during World War I. This information was conveyed to the local minister of education on February 10, 1934. Staudinger was faced with the loss of his job and his pension. Some weeks later Heidegger interceded with the minister to recommend a milder punishment. The motivation for this action had nothing to do with pangs of conscience or compassion, but was simply an expedient response to what Heidegger feared would be adverse international publicity to the dismissal of a well-known scholar. He wrote the minister, “I hardly need to remark that as regards the issue nothing of course can change. It’s simply a question of avoiding as much as possible, any new strain on foreign policy.”[9] The ministry forced Staudinger to submit his resignation and then kept him in suspense for six months before tearing it up and reinstating him.

    The case of Eduard Baumgarten provides another example of the crass opportunism and vindictiveness exhibited by Heidegger. Baumgarten was a student of American philosophy who had lectured at the University of Wisconsin in the 1920s. He returned to Germany to study under Heidegger and the two men struck up a close friendship. In 1931, however, a personal falling out ensued after Heidegger opposed Baumgarten’s work in American pragmatism. Baumgarten left Freiburg to teach American philosophy at the University of Gottingen. On December 16, 1933, Heidegger, once more in his role as stool pigeon, wrote a letter to the head of the Nazi professors at Gottingen that read, “By family background and intellectual orientation Dr. Baumgarten comes from the Heidelberg circle of liberal democratic intellectuals around Max Weber. During his stay here [at Freiburg] he was anything but a National Socialist. I am surprised to hear that he is lecturing at Gottingen: I cannot imagine on the basis of what scientific works he got the license to teach. After failing with me, he frequented, very actively, the Jew Frankel, who used to teach at Gottingen and just recently was fired from here [under Nazi racial laws].”[10]

    Dr. Vogel, the recipient of this letter, thought that it was “charged with hatred” and refused to use it. His successor, however, sent it to the minister of education in Berlin who suspended Baumgarten and recommended that he leave the country. Fortunately for Baumgarten he was able to get a copy of the Heidegger letter through the intercession of a sympathetic secretary. It is only due to this circumstance that this piece of documentary evidence still exists. It is impossible to guess how many other poisoned letters were penned by Heidegger in this period. Baumgarten was fortunate enough to win back his job after appealing to the Nazi authorities. These facts were brought to light during de-Nazification hearings in 1946.

  49. Adam231 said,

    Nietszche was not a Nazi, end of story. His ideas, much like Christ’s (remember the Crusades, the inquisition, and the Witch Hunts?) were perverted by people who took bits and pieces of his philosophy and used them for their own purposes.
    Even if Nietszche was a Nazi, I still would have no problem reading him. It’s his work that matters, not him as a person. This discussion will go nowhere if one side if making lunatic assumptions about German philosopher’s supposed Nazi sympathies and angry millitant feminists leveling accusations of chauvinism against men who lived in a time when chauvinism was accepted and encouraged.
    If you don’t keep an open mind to things, I don’t see how you become any better than a Nazi/Bigot/Chauvinist/Whatever Other Ad Hominem label you want to put on someone.

  50. hypothesis said,

    Adam213 wrote:

    Nietzsche’s defense of the individual and his right to create as he pleased was unique because it wasn’t merely a defense of liberty, but also a defense of creativity and experimentation.

    I find it hard that you don’t know this, but then again I’m not suprised. This sounds like pure bullshit when you say that Nietzsche’s was the first to defend the individual’s right to create and experiment. Hell, even the Popes’ allowed this kind of freedom in their artists (e.g Caravaggio). If no one had defended the artists right prior to Nietzche’s time we would had no works of art up to that time.

    Adam213 wrote:

    Again, why does this matter. Is this some kind of cruel joke, to just rain down logical fallacies (well, not even logical fallacies, even fallacies seem to have more relevance to an argument).

    It was fun arguing with you but I give up. Accusing me of fallacies wont make your argument better, only make you look like a stereotypical troll who at best has misunderstood Nietzsche (there are a lot of them around these days).

    But then again you are a Nietzschean who himself was the king of ad hominems (see his comments on Hume), and I don’t expect better.

  51. erik said,

    Dunamis wrote:
    Having physician Nietzsche diagnose society is like having Dr. Megele diagnose a headache.

    Funny. Was Nietzsche really such a bad physician though? He seemed to foresee the consequences of the “death of God” better than most others of his time, going so far as to predict a tremendous amount of violence and chaos that was in store for the 20th century. These calamities woulkd be due, he felt, to the clash of alternative moralities which would spring up in attempts to address the profound loss of meaning and purpose in human existence. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the 19th century generally one in which a feeling of extreme optimism for man’s future held sway amongst most educated people?
    Dunamis wrote:
    When very uninteresting people take up Nietzsche in order to legitimate their “opinions” I find that one of the most banal things in the world.

    Yes, I agree. But there’ve also been many “interesting” people who’ve found many things of importance in the writings of Nietzsche. Another banality includes passing off these people as the pathetic, idiotic, blind, [insert any other derogatory term you choose] worshippers of a “flawed” man.
    Dunamis wrote:
    What “offends” my “ego” is the uncritical acceptance of Nietzsche, and the painting of a flawed man as noble.

    Whose “uncritical acceptance” are you referring to? Defending Nietzsche against false accusations, especially when the person making these accusations acknowledges that they haven’t really taken the time to understand him, does not mean that one uncritically accepts everything that Nietzsche ever wrote.

    As for your “ego”, well, it’s obviously of massive proportions. Oddly enough, I think you may be more of a “Nietzschean” than you think. Just look at you – you seem to get really worked up when someone expresses an “opinion” that differs from yours. Well, I guess I shouldn‘t exactly say that you hold an “opinion“, since you obviously know the Truth about almost everything. The way you express your thoughts at times makes you come across as an extremely ill-tempered know-it-all. There‘s nothing “noble“ about this, but I’m pretty sure this doesn’t bother you since a person of your stature doesn’t believe in such juvenile concepts as loftiness of soul, magnanimity, kindness, humility, etc. Instead of these childish traits, you exhibit the far more respected ones such as sarcasm, cynicism, mordancy, and just an overall mean-spiritedness. Doubtless you’ll respond to this with more of the same, more blah, blah, blah. Oh, but you don’t have a huge “ego”, do you? No, only Nietzsche and his admirers have that, tsk tsk.

    Oh, and part of Nietzsche’s “nobility” in my opinion lies in the fact that while he is indeed extremely flawed, he recognizes these flaws and tries to overcome them. This is “noble”, but what would a man who apparently has no flaws, a man like you, Dunamis, know about these things? I can see how this aspect of Nietzsche’s philosophy wouldn’t appeal to someone who doesn’t feel the need to transcend anything, who is perfection personified just as he is.

    Wow, I never knew that sarcasm could be this fun and easy. Thanks for turning me on to it, Dunamis.
    Dunamis wrote:
    Nietzsche prioritized the individual, making it the locus of all power, ignoring the polyvalence of human combination, gradation of which are not made of a simple binary of Master/Slave. He projected his agression down to the microscopic level, imagining that the entire universe shared his own pathos. He ignores the complexity of power in favor of the savor of the feeling of power. Honestly, Spinoza articulated much more richly much of what Nietzsche got drunk over, without all the trumpets blaring.

    Good stuff from you here. There’s no doubting your prowess as a thinker.
    Dunamis wrote:
    He saw everything in the world (including how our bodies were biologically organized), as a matter of proper rank and heirarchy. The only great tragedy was the the “weak” (those tricky ones) assembled themselves to take control of the “strong,” reversing the natural order. He was about setting it right. What he couldn’t understand, or really swallow, was the any assemblage of power is natural. “Bloodthristy’ is a silly word.

    More good stuff. Thank you.
    Dunamis wrote:
    “Holistic” means “ignoring the core of his hierarchial elitism, both in terms of race, class and gender, and in terms of ‘greatness’, and beautifying what he intended to offend and threaten with. When he transvalued, he meant it literally. When you combine transvaluation with a lack of compassion and a natural theory of the domination of the weak, you end up with things like Hilter.

    Yes, I’m undoubtedly the type of romantic that Nietzsche launched scathing attacks upon in what I feel are his worst moments. I would be a “symptom of decadence” in his estimation for sure, as are philosophers like Rousseau and J.S. Mill whom I actually like quite a bit. In his better moments, thoguh, I think that he did have compassion for “mankind”. Not the type and magnitude of compassion that you exhibit, of course, but that would be asking too much from a man who was “flawed” like Nietzsche was.
    Dunamis wrote:
    Truths that have to be falsified and simplified for the benifit of the masses is a common theme in Nietzsche. You mistake Nazi ideology for the Will to Power of the Nazi’s.

    I don’t like this aspect of Nietzsche at all, and I won’t deny that it’s exhibited by him all too often. I’m much more egalitarian in my outlook in many ways than he ever was. For example, instead of adhering to the belief that the “masters” should command and appropriate the “slaves” for their own selfish gain, I would prefer that we were all “masters”. I’m a hopeless romantic, though, undoubtedly detached from the “hard facts” of life. I never claimed to be a Nietzschean here, just someone who found the man to be inspiring for those who seek a little room for “freedom” from existing power structures. This is the positive side to Nietzsche as I see it, a view which you obviously don’t share. The whole idea of “Grand Politics” is of little or no interest to me. And yes, I think you can like certain aspects of a philosopher’s thought without liking it all.
    Nietzsche wrote:
    Yes. Because you want to beatify what he meant to be a threat. You want to make cuddly, the sweet man who can only love those that aren’t yet born.

    Again, it’s the romantic in me. I maintain that in his more sublime moments Nietzsche was a romantic of sorts, despite his protestations of the opposite. I fail to see how someone could read TSZ , for example, and not arrive at a similar conclusion. This “immoralist” had more heart than most of us, including those self-righteous moralizers who practically go into convulsions at the mere mention of the man’s name.
    Dunamis wrote:
    Dividing up his position from its consequences is to try mitigate the tendency. That he too believed in transvaluation certainly facilitated his Nazi sympathizing. People want to explain away in great detail, so much detail that you loose focus, the odd result of how one’s philosophy causes one to act in historic consequences. The point is, it is no coincidence.

    Heidegger believed in a “transvaluation” of values? Really? Please provide me with evidence of this, since I was under the impression, an apparently mistaken one, that there was nothing he abhorred more than “value-thinking”, which he saw as a symptom of modern nihilism. Oh, but wait, I forgot about your omniscience for a moment. Please excuse this outrageous request which was precipitated by a temporary lapse of judgment on my part. If you say that Heidegger believed in a “transvaluation”, then I’m certain that he did.

    Dunamis wrote:
    Blah, blah, blah…he was a Nazi sympathizer (oh, those Nazi thugs that don’t have it in their brains to think that great things I am thinking), who worked against his Jewish colleagues at a perilous time in history. This was not an accident of his person, leaving his “philosophy” clean. (Please, no more “Being” quotes while Jews were to be put into gas chambers).

    Yes, a great man like you, a man who exhibits such a noble disposition, a man who acknowledges his own shortcomings while simultaneously lifting up and providing inspiration to others, would never succumb to such an evil. Blah, blah, blah..

    Regarding the post in which you attempt to associate Heidegger’s thought with Nazism, I found it rather interesting that the dates of the opportunistic behavior exhibited by Heidegger end less than a year after he joined the party. What could’ve been the cause of this? Why don’t you provide us with more evidence of his support for the regime, evidence which dates after 1934? Didn’t the Nazi Party hold out until 1945? What could he have been doing all of those years when he wasn’t actively engaged in propagating Nazi rhetoric? On second thought, don’t bother with any of that, I’m sure another display of righteous indignation will do the trick.

    Anyhow, as of now I’m exiting this absurd debacle, a debacle in which you set the tone. You can go ahead and get the last words in, thereby satisfying your own voracious Will to Power. I acquiesce in the presence of your profound wisdom. Go for blood, Dunamis, like a good moral hypocrite always does. Blah, blah, blah, blah……………

  52. turnstile said,

    Erik,

    It is clear that in regards to the philosophy of F. Nietzsche Dunamis has no control over his over-flowing ignorance; and when asked to make good his claims with textual support, he simply responds with more gibberish (but there have been a lot of claims concerning philosophy that find no other motivation than a need for mere expression; knowledge or ignorance is irrelevant when one has this itching need for: expression for the sake of expression).

    However, let’s us brush such creatures aside, and perhaps a discussion on Nietzsche (or a related topic) that could hope to be fruitful can still be had.

    Dunamis’ claimed, “Truths that have to be falsified and simplified for the benifit of the masses is a common theme in Nietzsche.” We have two claims here: (1) truths have to be falsified for the masses, and (2) truths have to be simplified for the masses. Let me quickly address the latter claim, simply because it is untrue.

    “ “All truth is simple.”— Is that not doubly a lie? — “
    -Nietzsche, ‘Twilight of the Idols’

    As for the former claim, it is in need of serious qualification. It is not just the masses that need falsification, but everyone that needs falsification.

    “The falseness of a judgment is for us not necessarily an objection to a judgment; in this respect our new language may sound strangest. The question is to what extent it is life-promoting, life-serving, species-preserving, perhaps even species-cultivating, and we are fundamentally inclined to claim that the falsest judgments (which include the synthetic judgments a priori) are the most indispensable for us, that without accepting the fictions of logic, without measuring reality against the purely invented world of the unconditional and self-identical, without a constant falsification of the world by means of numbers, man could not live—that renouncing false judgments would mean renouncing life and a denial of life. To recognize untruth as a condition of life: that certainly means resisting accustomed value feelings in a dangerous way; and a philosophy that risks this would by that token alone place itself beyond good and evil.”
    -Nietzsche, BG&E

    This is one of the moments where Nietzsche’s thinking is dangerous, for obvious reasons (but judgments based on truth and falsity have their own problems, that is, if they don’t ultimately collapse into valuation of health and sickness).

    However, given this, you seem to imply that you resist this aspect of Nietzsche’s (e)valuation of a judgment, and this is what has peaked my curiosity, and why I am attempting to posit a Nietzscheian question: what in us wants truth? This is a question that I have, in all seriousness, not been able to fully grasp.

    Of course there is the naive evolutionary answer: the truth keeps us from getting fooled and consequently eaten by predators—but this is already countered in Nietzsche’s above comments: we may every well be doing away with notions that are indispensable for life if we insist too strongly on the truth and nothing but the truth.

    And so, in addition to the previous question, “What in us really wants truth?”, I want to propose another question for consideration: “Is the goal, the truth, and nothing but the truth inevitably nihilistic?” Especially if we are faced with the possibility that the truth of all truths is that nothing has intrinsic value—perhaps falsification on some level is inherently unavoidable from any and all human perspectives.

    Your response, and likewise for others, will be greatly appreciated.

  53. tabin said,

    Erik wrote:
    This was another one of my initial points in addressing Tabin, i.e., he implied that Nietzsche was unaware of the tremendous social, historical, and linguistic forces which shape our thought and action. Despite the fact it seems obvious that we are independent actors, I think Nietzsche recognized that we were not.

    This point is irrelevant.

  54. dunamis said,

    Erik wrote:
    Funny. Was Nietzsche really such a bad physician though?

    Saying something was “wrong” was immensely common at the time. It was a Zeitgeist since the French Revolution. That the two World Wars happened made people look back in time and find prophets.
    He seemed to foresee the consequences of the “death of God” better than most others of his time, going so far as to predict a tremendous amount of violence and chaos that was in store for the 20th century. These calamities woulkd be due, he felt, to the clash of alternative moralities which would spring up in attempts to address the profound loss of meaning and purpose in human existence. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the 19th century generally one in which a feeling of extreme optimism for man’s future held sway amongst most educated people?

    Nostradamus was brilliant too (not). Not right at all. The Optimism of the 19th century is retroactive reading of our technological ideology of “progress”, which we now embrace. We look back and find those that spouted optimism, and imagine that it was universal. The Eiffel Tower was a horrible monstrosity of twisted metal (to most), now it is an elegant sculpture rising upwards. Nietzsche was simply voicing the reactive fears towards the Industrial Age that were in fact far more common than the optimism. The loss of “morals” (the great aristoi conceptions of man), was a prevalent fear among the “educated”. That our doctor of course diagnosed democracy as the most terrible mob-rule loss of high aims, shows just how poor a doctor he was. The violences of the 20th century West actually were relieved (and defeated) by the democracies (you know, the weak assembled together). In point of fact, he was dead wrong about democracies (unlike Spinoza, who held similar philosophical positions, but rather was one the Modern first democratic theorists). I don’t know if you can say that Nietzsche was a great social physician when he was completely wrong about the primary salve of democracy as a social form.
    Yes, I agree. But there’ve also been many “interesting” people who’ve found many things of importance in the writings of Nietzsche. Another banality includes passing off these people as the pathetic, idiotic, blind, [insert any other derogatory term you choose] worshippers of a “flawed” man.

    I have used none of those terms. I only note that the followers of Nietzsche too often suffer from the same flaws that Nietzsche did, but seldom with his brilliance.

    Whose “uncritical acceptance” are you referring to? Defending Nietzsche against false accusations, especially when the person making these accusations acknowledges that they haven’t really taken the time to understand him, does not mean that one uncritically accepts everything that Nietzsche ever wrote.

    I can’t keep track of which Nietzschite I am speaking with. But in particular what drew my attention to this tread was the, to me silly, portrait of Nietzsche as a caring man, who simply cared for those not yet born (and not really those alive). Such a reading of “caring” and its intended hagiographic tendency is really at the core of the pro-Nietzsche readings I have found here. I tried to point out the “caring” about those in the future is rather a convenient “caring”.
    As for your “ego”, well, it’s obviously of massive proportions. Oddly enough, I think you may be more of a “Nietzschean” than you think.

    I am extremely Nietzschean. And thereby realize its limits.
    Oh, and part of Nietzsche’s “nobility” in my opinion lies in the fact that while he is indeed extremely flawed, he recognizes these flaws and tries to overcome them.

    Unfortunately this assumes that he recognized all his flaws, or even most of them. One can say the same of Hilter (he took thought he recognized his flaws and tried to overcome them), or any historic man. Nietzsche regularly projected his flaws onto those he accused of trading in what objected to. He exhibits all that he distains, but then designs a metaphysics to legitimate those exhibitions.

    But my problem with Nietzsche, other than that with his followers, is on the level of power itself. He did not fully enough understand the difference between active and reactive forces. To be sure he was a wonderful social critic, but his theoretical aims were, in my opinion, were skewed by his reactive social aims.
    This is “noble”, but what would a man who apparently has no flaws, a man like you, Dunamis, know about these things?

    Yes. Where you get this idea I have no idea. I guess you are not used to people who have read Nietzsche, questioning your version of Nietzsche.
    Wow, I never knew that sarcasm could be this fun and easy. Thanks for turning me on to it, Dunamis.

    I always find it hilarious when defenders of one of the most sarcastic, ad hom writers of philosophy recoil at the use of such means when directed to their master.
    Yes, I’m undoubtedly the type of romantic that Nietzsche launched scathing attacks upon in what I feel are his worst moments.

    The problem isn’t that he lauched such an attack, but that he did so as a Romantic.
    I would be a “symptom of decadence” in his estimation for sure, as are philosophers like Rousseau and J.S. Mill whom I actually like quite a bit. In his better moments, thoguh, I think that he did have compassion for “mankind”. Not the type and magnitude of compassion that you exhibit, of course, but that would be asking too much from a man who was “flawed” like Nietzsche was.

    I think the “better moments” version of Nietzsche is not Nietzsche at all, and I would think that Nietzsche would shrink to the versions of him that have often survived. He meant to be like poison to the people. He did not want his poison to be diluted by his “better moments”. His “compassion” for mankind was a convenient compassion, one projected onto the future.
    I don’t like this aspect of Nietzsche at all, and I won’t deny that it’s exhibited by him all too often. I’m much more egalitarian in my outlook in many ways than he ever was. For example, instead of adhering to the belief that the “masters” should command and appropriate the “slaves” for their own selfish gain, I would prefer that we were all “masters”. I’m a hopeless romantic, though, undoubtedly detached from the “hard facts” of life. I never claimed to be a Nietzschean here, just someone who found the man to be inspiring for those who seek a little room for “freedom” from existing power structures. This is the positive side to Nietzsche as I see it, a view which you obviously don’t share. The whole idea of “Grand Politics” is of little or no interest to me. And yes, I think you can like certain aspects of a philosopher’s thought without liking it all.

    Yes, as long as you acknowledge that what you stand for is antithetical to what Nietzsche thought. His command/serve hierarchy is the architectural essence of the Universe. It pervades his every conception of the Will to Power.
    Heidegger believed in a “transvaluation” of values? Really? Please provide me with evidence of this, since I was under the impression, an apparently mistaken one, that there was nothing he abhorred more than “value-thinking”, which he saw as a symptom of modern nihilism.

    What in the world do you think transvaluation is?

    Regarding the post in which you attempt to associate Heidegger’s thought with Nazism, I found it rather interesting that the dates of the opportunistic behavior exhibited by Heidegger

    Given your already admitted tendency to Romanticize your thinkers I know now that it would fruitless to discuss them with you. Surely Heidegger’s Nazi affinities, and his anti-semitism, will either be reduced to “flaws a flawed man sought to overcome” or “swept under the rug stuff” that you beknightedly ignore because, golly gee, “I just a Romantic at heart”. When these are the answers that are provide one realizes that you are just making up pretty pictures, and have every right to do so. Forgive me if I don’t seek to cash your blank checks.

  55. dunamis said,

    Turnstile

    As a brushed-aside-creature I shant be answering your question, but your long-winded way of saying things which end up saying nothing is certainly an admirable quality. No doubt hard-earned. I have no idea what in the world your post meant, other than an opportunity to post some Nietzsche text, and act like your “point” (whatever that was, besides your closing fear of nihilism) was textually based. Read “On Truth and Lie in the Extra-Moral Sense,” then read BGE (again, because you didn’t’ get it the first time), mix in some Will to Power, and come to understand the role of Falsity in the excercise of power through the act of interpretation, through the domination of other wills.

  56. hypothesis said,

    Posted Nov 3, 2006 – 10:02 AM:
    turnstile, you are a good debater

    turnstile wrote:

    “The falseness of a judgment is for us not necessarily an objection to a judgment; in this respect our new language may sound strangest. The question is to what extent it is life-promoting, life-serving, species-preserving, perhaps even species-cultivating, and we are fundamentally inclined to claim that the falsest judgments (which include the synthetic judgments a priori) are the most indispensable for us, that without accepting the fictions of logic, without measuring reality against the purely invented world of the unconditional and self-identical, without a constant falsification of the world by means of numbers, man could not live. “that renouncing false judgments would mean renouncing life and a denial of life. To recognize untruth as a condition of life: that certainly means resisting accustomed value feelings in a dangerous way; and a philosophy that risks this would by that token alone place itself beyond good and evil.”
    -Nietzsche, BG&E

    I think this means that Nietzsche sees truth/falsehood as a means to an end, and not an end in itself. If life preservation, life promotion etc is arrived at from falsehood then Nietzche has no objection to it. This is not to say that Nietzsche disegards truth. I think Nietzsche feared that the truth would perhaps lead to the opposite of life-promoting, life- serving, species perserving etc, i.e. Nihilism.

    turnstile wrote:

    “Is the goal, the truth, and nothing but the truth inevitably nihilistic?”

    I think N’s answer would be yes, it is inevitably nihilistic. That’s why he thought falsehood would be an escape from this.

    But my answer, is that truth has no goal, it’s only our judgement of the truth which gives it a value be it nihilistic or positive. Of course truth in itself is neither of these things. But Nietzsche failed to recongise this.

  57. Adam213 said,

    hypothesis wrote:
    I find it hard that you don’t know this, but then again I’m not suprised. This sounds like pure bullshit when you say that Nietzsche’s was the first to defend the individual’s right to create and experiment. Hell, even the Popes’ allowed this kind of freedom in their artists (e.g Caravaggio). If no one had defended the artists right prior to Nietzche’s time we would had no works of art up to that time.

    What I became upset with is your belief that whoever thought of an idea first has sole claim to that broad concept. Do you have any idea how limited freedom was for the average person living in meideval times? In fact, even in our times we are limited by the narrow-mindedness of the people around us, and at times, our own government.
    Have you ever read Thus Spake Zarathustra? Atlas Shrugged? On Liberty? The Constitution? Aeropagitica? All of them deal with man’s right to freedom, just in different ways and in varying degrees. Nietszche’s support of freedom is on a much more personal level than J.S Mill’s or our founding fathers.
    Nietszche’s hatred for Biscmarck was well-known, he loathed dictators as much as any freedom-loving man. Any elementary textbook on philosophy will say in bold letters it was his sister who sold his works to her proto-Nazi husband, and that is how his books became Bibles for anti-semites.
    hypothesis wrote:

    But then again you are a Nietzschean who himself was the king of ad hominems (see his comments on Hume), and I don’t expect better.

    Again, his neurological disease was degenrative and I really don’t think it should be made fun of. Hume probably angered him in the same way we are angrying each other at this very moment. On top of that, Hume’s support of utilitarianism was bound to earn Nietszche’s disdain.
    Utilitarianism was such a prominent doctrine in France and England, and to a much lesser degree Germany. Someone who had the guts to stand up to hedonism/utilitarianism and make a good argument against it, should deserve a place in the history books.
    And no, I am not a Nietzschean. I revel in Nietzsche’s symbolic imagery in Thus Spake Zarathustra and some of his theories that inspire man to accomplish great things, but I demand a system of epistemology and metaphysics, which Nietzsche lacked. Even though I am not a Nietzschean, I can not see a great man’s philosophy attacked on such faulty grounds.

  58. turnstile said,

    Dunamis,

    I guess you are not used to people who have read Nietzsche, questioning your version of Nietzsche. However, I would like to add that in my case, I claim no special knowledge of the philosophy of F. Nietzsche; I am simply a person that has read his writings but has not been able to arrive at a complete understanding. And so, here I find myself in the lucky predicament to have before me one that implies that he does have special knowledge of Nietzsche.

    You have admonished me for having a differing opinion and insisting on textual support; and now you admonish me for admitting that there are subjects that I am not privy to. You must not loose patience with me Dunamis; for I am one of those ignorant creatures that neither knows what he does (if we are to believe Jesus), nor is capable of good or evil (if we are to believe Socrates). I assure you that it is not me that is resisting you, but it is Nietzsche’s own words, therefore the blame should not be placed with me, but perhaps with Nietzsche himself.

    Be that as it may, in spite of all your worthy attempts to breech my ignorance concerning the subject, ‘Opinions and Maxims of Dunamis’ (which I call my Great Wall), I still do not know what you are trying to cook up. You tell me, “Read “On Truth and Lie in the Extra-Moral Sense,” then read BGE (again, because you didn’t’ get it the first time), mix in some Will to Power, and come to understand the role of Falsity in the exercise of power through the act of interpretation, through the domination of other wills.” I do not understand what you mean to point out to me. Please bear with me.

    Consider this. Let’s say that I had asked, “What in us really desires a good meatloaf?” Then you say, in response: “Take three parts rat spittle, three frog legs, a dash of dragon sprout, and then when the moon is full mix them all together (if you mix when the moon is waxing it is too sweet, and if you mix when the moon is waning it is too salty) and you will get a good ole fashioned Witch Stew.”

    Or perhaps you mean to say that Witch Stew is a type of meatloaf? Perhaps what you mean is that truth is a concept that is understood through an interpretation, that is, truth itself is an interpretation? And this interpretation creates a morality because interpretation is inherently a way of (e)valuating the world; i.e. a will to power over the world. As a consequence, this interpretation has what it calls the highest good, and therefore, anything that acts as a means towards this good is called “truth seeking” and the good itself is called “the truth.” Much like when Socrates said: “Then what gives the objects of knowledge their truth and the knower’s mind the power of knowing is the form of the good. It is the cause of knowledge and truth, and you will be right to think of it as being itself known, and yet as being something other than, and even more splendid than, knowledge and truth, splendid as they are.”

    Yes I think I see now. Dunamis does not tell, he shows; Dunamis does not lecture, he performs! Dunamis, if I am correct, you have shown us what you mean by setting yourself (you opinions and maxims) as the highest good, and by your arguing (berating, in my case) you are expressing your will to power; and further, anything that acts as means to revealing Dunamis is “truth seeking” and Dunamis himself is the truth. The moral of the moral of your performance (even language here won’t get over its awkwardness) was that to seek the truth is to seek yourself. This truly is a great piece of wisdom that you have performed!

    However Dunamis, I cannot help but still ask: if we desire the truth, and we realize that this is just a mere interpretation (because we have been convinced that interpretations are just that, and are not truth), then it is only a matter of time before this interpretation is dispelled. To be replaced by another interpretation? But the truth (whatever that might be, but let’s say we’re convinced that the truth is not interpretation) eats through that. Another interpretation? And again the truth eats through that. The truth (if considered separate from our interpretation, i.e. the creation of the good) seems to be an acid that will continue to keep eating through interpretation after interpretation; and what if we are faced with the possibility that Man is interpretation all the way down? Perhaps this acidic truth (separated from the good, interpretation) will eat Man whole, leaving nothing left?

    That is my question, and one, even after your performance, still remains: what in us seeks this acidic truth? What is it?

    Dunamis, I would be grateful for a reply; here I am not so much concerned with Nietzsche as with the subject of truth itself (however, it was a subject Nietzsche did tackle).

  59. dunamis said,

    Wow. Talk about a performance!!! 860 words without saying anything! Bravissima!!!

    I have no idea what you keep going on about. There is no “truth”. Truth is what works, end of story.

    I look forward to the staging of your opinion (if one can call it that). Try to break 1000 words!

  60. ibrahim said,

    Dunamis wrote:
    Wow. Talk about a performance!!! 860 words without saying anything! Bravissima!!!
    I have no idea what you keep going on about. There is no “truth”. Truth is what works, end of story.
    I look forward to the staging of your opinion (if one can call it that). Try to break 1000 words!

    Your pertinacious hubris is appalling. I suggest you learn to respect your fellow forum members before you post. Turnstile, unlike you, actually has something to say.

  61. dunamis said,

    Ibrahim wrote:

    Your pertinacious hubris is appalling. I suggest you learn to respect your fellow forum members before you post. Turnstile, unlike you, is here to benefit himself and others.

    Wow. “pertinacious hubris” in a Nietzsche thread. I suppose the godlike you will take my “hubris” down. You write such polyslabs following my post, which is indestiguishable from Turnstile’s:
    Dunamis does not tell, he shows; Dunamis does not lecture, he performs!

    The only thing was, my post was mercifully short, unlike the verbose performer who took over 800 words to say the same (and less). I still have no idea that Turnstile is going on about, other than the slathering of rhetoric upon empty musings. Respect is as respect does. I still have not found a coherent thought in any of Turnstile’s posting in this thread.

  62. Adam213 said,

    It seems this thread has morphed into a flame fest. Dear Nietzsche would be so proud that his name is stilling evoking so much passion even to this day. My, this is quite ironic, those who dislike him are actually proving a large part of his philosophy: his belief in immortality through one’s deeds in life.
    You know why his ideas were so attractive? Because he was among the first people to say “yes” to life. He was among the first people to celebrate life, even though he himself had been physically ill for most of his life. His thoughts are inspiring, even today, and yes in the wrong hands I guess it might become arrogance.
    It just seems to me that people who fear arrogance probably have some kind of insecurities themselves. I fear ignorance much more than I do arrogance. Haughtiness is simply a way of behaving, ignorance is infectious and all-consuming.

  63. dunamis said,

    Adam213 wrote:
    My, this is quite ironic, those who dislike him are actually proving a large part of his philosophy: his belief in immortality through one’s deeds in life.

    If this is directed towards me, I don’t dislike Nietzsche at all. I like his writings alot. It is for this reason he should be critiqued. His clams deserve to be addressed. On two levels I believe that they fail, a). because when he levels a criticism at others (decadence, hysteria, reactive forces) he is often describing himself, b). because his grasp of the nature of power, that is the difference between active and reactive powers, was not radical enough, largely due to his reactive desire to essentialize (a) man as the locus of power. His conception of power as domination simply is not fluid, nor dynamic enough. None of this can be taken for my “dislike” of him.

  64. Adam213 said,

    Dunamis wrote:

    If this is directed towards me, I don’t dislike Nietzsche at all. I like his writings alot. It is for this reason he should be critiqued. His clams deserve to be addressed.

    Oh, it wasn’t directed at you, not at all. It was directed at Madame Hypothesis, who ran threw out her bitter feminist critique of Nietszche, then tried to stand on higher ground than me, after she had already used up her arsenal of hair-brained insults.
    I respect your passion and analytical abillity. It’s becoming increasingly rare that these two things go hand and hand.
    Dunamis wrote:

    a). because when he levels a criticism at others (decadence, hysteria, reactive forces) he is often describing himself, b). because his grasp of the nature of power, that is the difference between active and reactive powers, was not radical enough, largely due to his reactive desire to essentialize

    I don’t see how that is problematic. Hatred is often times just a form of self-loathing that is displaced on other people or things. I think that his critique of his own behavior and “soul” as some might call it, shows he really was an enlightened person. He wasn’t afraid of his darker nature and he was not afraid of his own inherent imperfections as a human being.

  65. ibrahim said,

    Instead of simply disregarding turnstile’s post, then why not simply ask him for a clarification of his response. What he is saying may not make sense to you, but that is no reason at all to dismiss it. Your reaction, however, shows a great deal of resentment toward something; that of which I am not entirely certain. You stated that you are not a Nietzsche hater, so are you just angry at tunstile’s thorough responses? If so, then has some one has coerced you into reading them? It is much wiser to not reply to a post if you don’t understand it than dismiss it as malarkey. The last thing Nietzsche ever wanted was for people to take his ideas at face value- In fact, he was terrified of it. What I am saying is: you are doing yourself a disservice by not reading and contemplating what turnstile or anyone else for that matter writes; especially if it is someone who has taken the time to write a rigorous response.

  66. tobias said,

    But Dunamis I do not get it. Did you not advocate that philosophy was a game of rhetorical skill, that one’s interpretation of what is real will win out if it proves to be a useful interpretation?

    Where was that thread where you rather nicely compared Wittgenstein Cicero and some others…. don’t remember the name. If philosophy is about creating a vocabulary in which man finds itself to be at home, how far are you really detached from Nietzsche?

    A second question is that when you feel allowed to play the man and not the ball, as we say in Dutch, in how far are you yourself susceptible to such attack? What I mean is that the qualities you ascribe to Nietzsche, because of his attack on Wagner, might be ascribed to you in your attack on Nietzsche? You also go into it with all guns blazing and leave no survivors.

    All in all I find your stance in the thread a bit puzzling. (also seeing that ordinarily qua philosophical position you have quite some in common with 180 Proof, but on this very topic you seem diametrically opposed).

  67. Bunnysarefat said,

    I havent read the past couple of pages, so bare with me if someone has mentioned any of this.

    I think I get the point that some people are confusing Nietzshes metaphysical concepts as political.

    Does anyone want to talk about the eternal reacurrence of the same or thee will to power?

  68. dunamis said,

    Ibrahim wrote:

    Instead of simply disregarding turnstile’s post, then why not simply ask him for a clarification of his response.

    His post was one long harang. I’m not sure what kind of clarification I needed.
    What he is saying may not make sense to you, but that is no reason at all to dismiss it.

    If you review the series of his posts, his responses to my answers were incoherent. There is a kind of law of diminishing returns.
    Your reaction, however, shows a great deal of resentment toward something; that of which I am not entirely certain.

    Forgive me if I don’t explain your confused interpretation of my responses. I have no resentment to turnstile. His points have struck me as incoherent, an incoherence that is easily coupled with polemic. You of course might find his points interesting, (I don’t) so perhaps engage them, instead of lecturing others.

  69. dunamis said,

    Tobias wrote:
    But Dunamis I do not get it. Did you not advocate that philosophy was a game of rhetorical skill, that one’s interpretation of what is real will win out if it proves to be a useful interpretation?

    Sure. Bring on the rhetoric. And I will rhetorically reply.
    Where was that thread where you rather nicely compared Wittgenstein Cicero and some others…. don’t remember the name. If philosophy is about creating a vocabulary in which man finds itself to be at home, how far are you really detached from Nietzsche?

    I am not detached from Nietzsche. As I have repeated often, Nietzsche simply was not radical enough, not powerful enough, mostly due to a need to reactive and romantic preserve an aristoi conception of power.
    A second question is that when you feel allowed to play the man and not the ball, as we say in Dutch, in how far are you yourself susceptible to such attack? What I mean is that the qualities you ascribe to Nietzsche, because of his attack on Wagner, might be ascribed to you in your attack on Nietzsche? You also go into it with all guns blazing and leave no survivors.

    Sure. I see no problem with that. A standard that is presented by a thinker as a measure of others, is a standard by which a thinker is often best measured. If you find my description of Nietzsche to be duplicitous, please bring the charge.
    All in all I find your stance in the thread a bit puzzling. (also seeing that ordinarily qua philosophical position you have quite some in common with 180 Proof, but on this very topic you seem diametrically opposed).

    I have no idea what 180 is thinking. We share some base philosophical assumptions but often find ourselves opposed in discussion, (as was the case in the Spinoza-pantheism thread). For me, in many ways Nietzsche simply said poorly and reactively what Spinoza said better. Much of Nietzsche’s complaint against German Idealism is moot considering the radical position Spinoza took before the rise of G. Idealism.

  70. dunamis said,

    Bunnysarefat wrote:

    I think I get the point that some people are confusing Nietzshes metaphysical concepts as political.

    Does anyone want to talk about the eternal reacurrence of the same or thee will to power?

    Instead of people trying to “save” a thread (as turnstile wants to do) or “direct” a thread, why not just start a thread, framing the issue that is of interest, and letting people comment on your opinion.

  71. dunamis said,

    Adam213 wrote:

    I don’t see how that is problematic. Hatred is often times just a form of self-loathing that is displaced on other people or things. I think that his critique of his own behavior and “soul” as some might call it, shows he really was an enlightened person. He wasn’t afraid of his darker nature and he was not afraid of his own inherent imperfections as a human being.

    Its not really “problematic,” but rather less-than-effective, less-than-powerful. It is on the level of power, which the level at which Nietzsche stakes his claim, that Nietzsche needs to be critiqued. Was Nietzsche as theoretically powerful as he could have been? (And for me, whether 21st century teenagers memorize his quotations is not the measure). Sure it is great that he wasn’t afraid of his darker nature, but his toying with it under the guise of “power” (as a natural form), is for me less than powerful. In a rather simple sense, he was a bit too self-absorbed and self-gazing to really get power right.

    p.s. Thanks for the good words.

  72. turnstile said,

    Dunamis,

    I apologize if my style of expression offends you; I shall make a more consciousness effort towards brevity, if that will please you.

    You say that there is no “truth”, and truth is only what works. However, I am not quite sure what you exactly mean. Suppose there was a tyrannical man, and in order to gain political power he summarily arrested, imprisoned, tortured, maimed, and killed thousands of people. And further suppose that this tyrannical man not only succeeded in gaining power, and maintaining it, but even multiplied it by summarily arresting, imprisoning, torturing, maiming, and killing thousand upon thousands, even millions, of people. Now if we were to speak with this tyrannical man, and ask thus: “Well good sir, Dunamis claims that truth is whatever works; what do you make of such a statement?” How are we to conceive the tyrannical man’s answer? I suspect he would answer so: “Dunamis is correct, that is, I wanted political power and the truth be told, that if one wants political power they should arrest, imprison, torture, maim, and kill any and all that can make a challenge of that power.”

    Well you see Dunamis, it seems that your claim that “truth is whatever works” puts truth on the side of the most barbaric of tyrannies. Why, under your concept of truth, we could say that the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Buchenwald are a form of truth; they certainly did work very efficiently towards their designed goal.

    The need to enslave the African can be said to be a truth that works; it worked for the ruling plantation owners. Perhaps you might object that it didn’t work because it has collapsed; but this would only allow for the claim that it is not true now, but it was true at one time—and it could be true again?

    It seems Dunamis that you argue for a concept of truth that allows for a whole host of atrocities. I am reminded of one of those ‘Dunamis’ maxims and opinions’: “Please, no more “Being” quotes while Jews were to be put into gas chambers.” It might be fitting to now say: “Please, no more “truth is what works” while millions of people are being exterminated.” I can only wonder what you mean when you say that Nietzsche didn’t go far enough–is it that humans haven’t shown enough barbarism?

  73. hypothesis said,

    Adam213 wrote:
    Oh, it wasn’t directed at you, not at all. It was directed at Madame Hypothesis, who ran threw out her bitter feminist critique of Nietszche, then tried to stand on higher ground than me, after she had already used up her arsenal of hair-brained insults.

    You entered this debate by accusing me of ad-hominems on N. You I’m afraid are a hypocrite, as you find no problem in using ad-hominems yourself. I do not have a problem with hypocritic idiots usually. So I’m just going to forgive you.

    I’m also going to give you a chance to redeem yourself by answering two of my points regarding the truth/falsity of Nietzche’s doctrine

  74. turnstile said,

    Hypothesis,

    I can assure you Hypothesis that it is not me that chooses to merely debate; that is something of Dunamis’ doing (I can only try to calm him down and attempt to engage him in a reasonable discussion, which he seems adverse to as of now–he seems more bent on admonishing me for putting to use the English language).

    Well perhaps here we can begin to get to the bottom of things. It is my position to not advocate or resist Nietzsche until I can say what it is for sure that I am advocating or resisting (certainly I may resist some interpretations if I think they are contrary to what I have read or understand). So perhaps if we begin to make clear what it is that’s being resisted, why, and what that means then more than likely all of us will walk away with more than fond memories of a yelling match. I can only think that it would be in the benefit of all of us to figure out what, where, and how we do or should take our stands.

    Let us not specifically focus on what Nietzsche said or didn’t say—but if it proves interesting then certainly we should invoke such insights, and from other thinkers as well of course—, and instead let us examine the topic at hand ourselves.

    You say:

    “But my answer, is that truth has no goal, it’s only our judgment of the truth which gives it a value be it nihilistic or positive. Of course truth in itself is neither of these things.”

    But what if truth itself is no goal? Of course I am begging the question here with my question, and that is: what is truth? So if I understand you correctly, then before we can even answer what in us wants truth and is truth, and nothing but the truth nihilistic will be dependent on what truth is, or at any rate what we consider it to be—and I couldn’t agree more here, and it does appear if we will need more digging.. At least this is how I read your motivation for saying that “truth has no goals”; because you have a notion of truth that you consider, at least, to be neutral.

    So now, what is truth? I honestly do not have a satisfactory answer to what truth is; I mean I could say this and that person said this and that, but I always find my understanding of these positions to be too far off the mark to invoke. For now I can only take a reactive position to your statements.

    I look forward to your answer because I now think that we may actually be able to get somewhere with this thread—or at least our varying and differing positions will be more revealed once we say what we take truth to be (Hegel once remarked that you can know the essence of a people by knowing what kind of gods they worship).

  75. dunamis said,

    turnstile wrote:
    Dunamis,

    I apologize if my style of expression offends you; I shall make a more consciousness effort towards brevity, if that will please you.

    You say that there is no “truth”, and truth is only what works. However, I am not quite sure what you exactly mean. Suppose there was a tyrannical man, and in order to gain political power he summarily arrested, imprisoned, tortured, maimed, and killed thousands of people. And further suppose that this tyrannical man not only succeeded in gaining power, and maintaining it, but even multiplied it by summarily arresting, imprisoning, torturing, maiming, and killing thousand upon thousands, even millions, of people. Now if we were to speak with this tyrannical man, and ask thus: “Well good sir, Dunamis claims that truth is whatever works; what do you make of such a statement?” How are we to conceive the tyrannical man’s answer? I suspect he would answer so: “Dunamis is correct, that is, I wanted political power and the truth be told, that if one wants political power they should arrest, imprison, torture, maim, and kill any and all that can make a challenge of that power.”

    Well you see Dunamis, it seems that your claim that “truth is whatever works” puts truth on the side of the most barbaric of tyrannies. Why, under your concept of truth, we could say that the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Buchenwald are a form of truth; they certainly did work very efficiently towards their designed goal.

    The need to enslave the African can be said to be a truth that works; it worked for the ruling plantation owners. Perhaps you might object that it didn’t work because it has collapsed; but this would only allow for the claim that it is not true now, but it was true at one time•and it could be true again?

    It seems Dunamis that you argue for a concept of truth that allows for a whole host of atrocities. I am reminded of one of those ‘Dunamis’ maxims and opinions’: “Please, no more “Being” quotes while Jews were to be put into gas chambers.” It might be fitting to now say: “Please, no more “truth is what works” while millions of people are being exterminated.” I can only wonder what you mean when you say that Nietzsche didn’t go far enough–is it that humans haven’t shown enough barbarism?

    Honestly, I have no idea what you are saying. Murdering millions is neither True or False. And Truth “allows” for nothing. Truth is only what works. One cannot say to a tyrannt or a saint “Hey! That action is not allowed, because that is not True!” This is a bizarre use of the word “true”, unless the action was the breaking of the rules of a language game already established. Strictly speaking true and false belong to sentences, not to general actions.

  76. turnstile said,

    Dunamis,

    The confusion is mutual then. You said, “truth is what works, end of story.” So I had to figure out what does he mean by “works”, and I took this to indicate that any means which serves its ends is something that can be seen as something that “works.” And seeing that you were someone who indicated to be profoundly influenced by Nietzsche it brought to my mind this passage:

    “…there is no little interest in establishing the point that often in those words and roots which designate “good” there still shines through the main nuance of what made the nobility feel they were men of higher rank. It’s true that in most cases they perhaps named themselves simply after their superiority in power (as “the powerful,” “the masters,” “those in command”) or after the most visible sign of their superiority, for example, as “the rich” or “the owners” (that is the meaning of arya, and the corresponding words in Iranian and Slavic). But they also named themselves after a typical characteristic, and that is the case which is our concern here. For instance, they called themselves “the truthful”—above all the Greek nobility, whose mouthpiece is the Megarian poet Theogonis. The word developed for this characteristic—esthlos [fine, noble]—indicates, according to its root meaning, a man who is, who possess reality, who really exists.”
    -Nietzsche

    However, it does not seem that you are this daring; and now there apparently may be more to your story—hence my confusion; I naively took what you said to be the end of the story.

    Well then, maybe we are getting somewhere now, for it seems you have a specific notion of truth, albeit it appears to be along the lines of bland logical positivism (or some variation—Oh, I suspect I will hear a lot of talk now about Mr. Wittgehstein; well, so be it).

    Let me sally out another attempt.

    You now claim: (1) Truth is whatever works, and (2) truth and falsity are only applicable to sentences.

    Moral proposition (in sentence form): “One should use any means necessary to achieve and maintain power.”

    Under your notion of truth, this is a true moral proposition; that is, it meets the criteria of (1) because there are instances of when it dos work (and if it doesn’t, well then perhaps the tyrant didn’t use all means necessary properly), and it meets criteria (2) because it is now in the form of a sentence.

  77. tabin said,

    How old are you turnstile?

  78. dunamis said,

    turnstile wrote:
    You said, “truth is what works, end of story.” So I had to figure out what does he mean by “works”, and I took this to indicate that any means which serves its ends is something that can be seen as something that “works.”

    True is what works in language games. Language games are historically contingent. True are sentences that pay their way. Your “moral proposition” is as true as it works in historically contingent language games. End of the story…again.

  79. Bunnysarefat said,

    What was Nietzsches conception truth and knowledge? Well he started out with a form of platonism, then he switched to a form of positivism, then when he matured ofcourse he formed something of his own. But ofcourse some quasi-historical view of Nietzsche will never do his philosophy, especially his mature philosophy any justice. You cant pick out things such as–his epistemology, his ethical, his political–his philosophy is devised much differently and shares a sort of oneness that is important to grasping his major concepts.

    I understand what you are saying dunamis, but, unless anyone is actually going to get into his works and mainstay concepts, these half-assed personal takes on Nietzsche arent going to prove anything.

  80. dunamis said,

    Bunnysarefat wrote:

    I understand what you are saying dunamis, but, unless anyone is actually going to get into his works and mainstay concepts, these half-assed personal takes on Nietzsche arent going to prove anything.

    I suppose that I should leave it to you to make full-assed personal attacks. (Again ad hom–to the man–is the nature of Nietzschean critique). Nietzsche simply projected on the Universe, by metaphor, a fundamental principle of mastery and service, which he called Will to Power, a primordial mythologizing by which his arguments function. I have no reason to accept such a metaphor as a basis, and in fact find it deficent as an explanation, designed to underwrite aristoi values he is attached to, reactively. As to my higher order problems with Nietzsche, I have already made those plain.

  81. Adam213 said,

    Dunamis wrote:

    Its not really “problematic,” but rather less-than-effective, less-than-powerful. It is on the level of power, which the level at which Nietzsche stakes his claim, that Nietzsche needs to be critiqued. Was Nietzsche as theoretically powerful as he could have been? (And for me, whether 21st century teenagers memorize his quotations is not the measure). Sure it is great that he wasn’t afraid of his darker nature, but his toying with it under the guise of “power” (as a natural form), is for me less than powerful. In a rather simple sense, he was a bit too self-absorbed and self-gazing to really get power right.

    But his whole premise was self-mastery, the kind of power he was talking about most of the time was exclusively within our own minds and bodies. “The Will to power” was corrupted by the Nazis to mean dominance, when in fact it was just another way of phrasing Nietzsche’s own kind of self-actualization through creativity and through becoming the very best one can become. And again, don’t attack the man, attack his ideas. Even if they found he had a hand in some kind of terrible crime, it would not have any relevance to what he wrote and how he influenced modern thought.

    Dunamis wrote:

    p.s. Thanks for the good words.

    You’re welcome.

  82. dunamis said,

    Adam213 wrote:

    But his whole premise was self-mastery, the kind of power he was talking about most of the time was exclusively within our own minds and bodies.

    Yes. An ineffective, non-optimum premise. As long as one is thinking in term solely of mastery, one is thinking in terms of reaction. Whether one is imagining the domination of others, or oneself (contained drives, etc.) it is not an optimum metaphor. Nietzsche saw biology in terms of exploitation, an organism that exploits its environment. All was in the name of preserving/justifying his aristoi values.

  83. Adam213 said,

    hypothesis wrote:
    I’m also going to give you a chance to redeem yourself by answering two of my points regarding the truth/falsity of Nietzche’s doctrine.

    I am honored, but whether the possibility of “redemption” is available or not, I would still love to counter any points you make.

    hypothesis wrote:
    I think this means that Nietzsche sees truth/falsehood as a means to an end, and not an end in itself. If life preservation, life promotion etc is arrived at from falsehood then Nietzche has no objection to it. This is not to say that Nietzsche disegards truth. I think Nietzsche feared that the truth would perhaps lead to the opposite of life-promoting, life- serving, species perserving etc, i.e. Nihilism.

    Why should truth be looked at as an end in itself? What utility does constant truth have, how does it serve a person’s self-interest. Why is it always right to be truthful? And you can not deny that there are times when lying serves the advancement of both goodness and truthfulness than the truth does. In other words, religion can be considered a falsehood, depending on your perspective. However, it has served as the backbone of morality for centuries and we owe a lot of our societal stability to the firmness that religion has provided us with.
    Nietzsche was not opposed to religion; he was a realist and knew that the foundation was becoming shaky. He lamented the death of God, as much as he reveled in it. It was a sign of a new age, one of uncertainty.

    turnstile wrote:

    “Is the goal, the truth, and nothing but the truth inevitably nihilistic?”

    Do you just like to throw out multi-syllable words for the sake of doing it? Or does bombast have some kind of gratifying quality that I’m not aware of? Nietzsche is associated with nihilism because he was the first to point out the potential dangers it posed. Radical skepticism of the Peronian school was taking root in much of Europe; the roots of various anarchist movements had also been sown.
    Nietzsche offered us truths, maybe not universal truths, but he offered us truth that can be found in ourselves. His attitude toward values and ethics is justifiable, because it was based upon his argument against ignorance and intolerance (don’t bring in the feminist argument, it makes me eyes bleed).

    hypothesis wrote:

    I think N’s answer would be yes, it is inevitably nihilistic. That’s why he thought falsehood would be an escape from this.

    But my answer, is that truth has no goal, it’s only our judgement of the truth which gives it a value be it nihilistic or positive. Of course truth in itself is neither of these things. But Nietzsche failed to recongise this.

    This is such an absolute perversion of the man’s work, it almost leaves me speechless. Nietzsche was a perspectivist, he believed everything was relative, in the same vein that Hegel was a historicist.
    What on earth do you mean by truth? You mean values that we should always cherish and follow?
    Falsehood and truth can serve the good equally well. We have all been in situations when lying has served our self-interest and the self-interest of others, because the truth is so glorified, the utility that lying has. Truth and falsehoods are merely tools to help sustain and improve upon his will. Truth is not a societal issue, or a cosmic issue, it is a personal issue.

    Nietzsche from Will to Power wrote:

    For some time now our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end.

    Nietzsche wanted man to formulate his own system of morality, much like Kant and his concept of man being his own autonomous moral legislator. However, unlike Kant, Nietzsche recognized that the very base on which morality is seated is feeble. He was really and truly afraid of the power the nihilism had, and he proposed that we migrate toward individualism.
    Oddly enough, the individualism that Nietzsche spoke of is exactly what most “modern nations” are modeled after today. His death of God was rather prophetic, even if it was just a metaphor.

  84. turnstile said,

    Tabin,

    As far as I know my posts are open to the public, or at least you have access to them: is there some claim or argument you would like to address? At first I thought, when I read you above response, that this has no relevance; and then I continued to think: well, maybe this Tabin is much like Dunamis: when it comes to discussing Nietzsche, and one presents text in rebuttal and demands text for support, they simply collapse into nonsense.

    But then a different thought came to me: wait, it may be the case that this Tabin has made a great discovery! Yes, maybe this Tabin has discovered that arguments can be judged by the age of the arguer; that is, specific ages as origin necessarily invalidate an argument, and that there are specific ages as origin where argumentation is by necessity sound and reasonable. This truly would be a great discovery.

    Now Tabin, do not hesitate, but share your discovery with us! And immediately after you present and argue your case I suggest that we all reveal our current age, therefore, allowing us to become privy to who is correct and who is incorrect.

    I eagerly and sleeplessly await for your response!!!

  85. Adam213 said,

    turnstile wrote:
    Tabin,
    Now Tabin, do not hesitate, but share your discovery with us! And immediately after you present and argue your case I suggest that we all reveal our current age, therefore, allowing us to become privy to who is correct and who is incorrect.

    I eagerly and sleeplessly await for your response!!!

    Your flowery language is absolutely delightful, so wouldn’t you care to enlighten us with your knowledge. Two posts up you will find my arguments against you and hypothesis. Wouldn’t you like to talk about those instead of going into your little sarcastic rants full of “big words.”
    It’s not even that funny, Tabin was just some curious twit who stumbled on the thread and wondered how anyone over the age of nine could just look into a dictionary, pull out a few random words (especially the long ones, those are cool, especially when you write in crayon), and attempt to form coherent sentences with them.
    Who else but two year old would go on a tangent over one off-topic remark made by newbie? Instead of flaming, continue the discussion on Nietzsche’s opinion of “the truth.” Or, surrender, either one is fine by me.

  86. turnstile said,

    Dunamis,

    First you said that “truth is what works, end of story” and now you wish the story to continue by introducing language games—it seems to be you that wants to produce sequels to your claims.

    Now the claim is that truth is what works in language games. So let me rephrase my earlier presentation.

    Language game: realpolitik.

    Moral proposition (in sentence form): “One should use any means necessary to achieve and maintain power.”

    Historical situation: Adolph Hitler’s rise to power (or if you prefer I could use Stalin’s situation if you want to argue for Hitler’s defeat).

    This moral proposition “works” in the historically contingent language game (and you prefer I can give contemporary examples of it as well).

    What I find confusing is that you were certainly boisterous enough about your high and mighty moral talk in regards to Heidegger. It occurred to me at the time: Yes, here is man that will finally present something that will do away with these barbarisms. But then you simply turn around and present a notion that not only allows for such barbarisms, but even allows for them to flourish!

    You see Dunamis, what became evident to me when you failed to substantiate any of your claims with Nietzsche is that you are nothing more than a verbal bully. A boisterous man with nothing more to offer than loudly presented opinions that hope to offer nothing more than your own egotistical gratification for dominance. And when you come across those who might differ, your first instinct is to flail about.

    Dunamis, perhaps it is you who should be full of shame: you simply invoked the murdering of millions of Jews in death camps for no other purpose than to satiate your own inadequacies; by attempting to bully others into submitting to your own empty will.

    If you wish to engage me in a discussion regarding F. Nietzsche than I would be more than happy to participate, however, for it to be more than you flailing about you will need to substantiate your claims—I on the other hand have shown a willingness to substantiate my claims in regards to Nietzsche. I do not find such requirements unreasonable. The question is: can you live up to such requirements? If not, what do you think we should make of your posturing?

  87. turnstile said,

    Adam213,

    I have absolutely no problem with addressing whatever it is you might be saying. I assume that you have this response of yours in mind:

    “Do you just like to throw out multi-syllable words for the sake of doing it? Or does bombast have some kind of gratifying quality that I’m not aware of? Nietzsche is associated with nihilism because he was the first to point out the potential dangers it posed. Radical skepticism of the Peronian school was taking root in much of Europe; the roots of various anarchist movements had also been sown.
    Nietzsche offered us truths, maybe not universal truths, but he offered us truth that can be found in ourselves. His attitude toward values and ethics is justifiable, because it was based upon his argument against ignorance and intolerance (don’t bring in the feminist argument, it makes me eyes bleed).”

    However I cannot understand what it is that you are exactly opposing in what I have claimed (and the point regarding the “feminist argument” simply leaves me baffled). Perhaps you could rephrase your discontents so that I may be able to formulate a proper reply.

  88. dunamis said,

    turnstile wrote:
    First you said that “truth is what works, end of story” and not you wish the story to continue, by now introducing language games•it seems to be you that wants to produce sequels to your claims.

    Forgive me, I thought you were familiar with the pragmatic take on truth. It has been my downfall to assume you understand more than you do.
    Now the claim is that truth is what works in language games. So let me rephrase my earlier presentation.

    Language game: realpolitik.

    realpolitik is not a language game, but composed of them.
    Moral proposition (in sentence form): “One should use any means necessary to achieve and maintain power.”

    Historical situation: Adolph Hitler’s rise to power (or if you prefer I could use Stalin’s situation if you want to argue for Hitler’s defeat).

    This moral proposition “works” in the historically contingent language game (and you prefer I can give contemporary examples of it as well).

    I have no idea what any of this has to do with “truth”.
    What I find confusing is that you were certainly boisterous enough about your high and mighty moral talk in regards to Heidegger. It occurred to me at the time: Yes, here is man that will finally present something that will do away with these barbarisms. But then you simply turn around and present a notion that not only allows for such barbarisms, but even allows for them to flourish!

    My problem with Heidegger is not his barbarism, nor is it the case with Nietzsche. The problem is with those that want to hide this immanence of barbarism in their description. It is not “barbarism=evil”.
    You see Dunamis, what became evident to me when you failed to substantiate any of your claims with Nietzsche is that you are nothing more than a verbal bully. A boisterous man with nothing more to offer than loudly presented opinions that hope to offer nothing more than your own egotistical gratification for dominance. And when you come across those who might differ, your first instinct is to flail about.

    Again, hoping that you have a point, I ever read on. And again, as I read your verbosity oozing out of every sentence, I still have no idea what you mean–other than “I protest!!!!”
    Dunamis, perhaps it is you who should be full of shame: you simply invoked the murdering of millions of Jews in death camps for no other purpose than to satiate your own inadequacies; by attempting to bully others into submitting to your own empty will.

    Again, let’s hear the chorus of your quaint opera: “I protest!!! I protest!!! I protest!!!”. I have no idea what you are saying, or even attempting to say. You are a polemicist without purpose or even acumen (it seems).
    If you wish to engage me in a discussion regarding F. Nietzsche than I would be more than happy to participate, however, for it to be more than you flailing about you will need to substantiate your claims•I on the other hand have shown a willingness substantiate my claims in regards to Nietzsche. I do not find such requirements unreasonable. The question is: can you live up to such requirements? If not, what do you think we should make of your posturing?

    The idea of having a discussion with someone who has no idea what she/he is saying, but rather goes on and on and on is not very appetizing. I still have no idea what your “claim” regarding Nietzsche is. None. Zero. I have read over 2000 words of yours on Nietzsche and zip, there is no point. Just endless verbage. Can you express yourself in ten words or less?

  89. dunamis said,

    Adam,

    If you have even a clue about what turnstile is arguing for regarding Nietzsche, could you please restate it for me, because she/he doesn’t seem to have even the most elementary skills of clear expression.

  90. tabin said,

    turnstile wrote:
    Tabin,

    As far as I know my posts are open to the public, or at least you have access to them: is there some claim or argument you would like to address? At first I thought, when I read you above response, that this has no relevance; and then I continued to think: well, maybe this Tabin is much like Dunamis: when it comes to discussing Nietzsche, and one presents text in rebuttal and demands text for support, they simply collapse into nonsense.

    But then a different thought came to me: wait, it may be the case that this Tabin has made a great discovery! Yes, maybe this Tabin has discovered that arguments can be judged by the age of the arguer; that is, specific ages as origin necessarily invalidate an argument, and that there are specific ages as origin where argumentation is by necessity sound and reasonable. This truly would be a great discovery.

    Now Tabin, do not hesitate, but share your discovery with us! And immediately after you present and argue your case I suggest that we all reveal our current age, therefore, allowing us to become privy to who is correct and who is incorrect.

    I eagerly and sleeplessly await for your response!!!

    Um, I’m 21. You ask good questions but they’re hard to get to underneath all that music. I would guess you’re around my age. People seem to take themselves very serioulsy in this thread I notice.

  91. turnstile said,

    Dunamis,

    If realpolitik is not a language game then could you please enlighten me as to what exactly a language game is?

    Perhaps Heidegger didn’t see any barbarism in NAZIism, he only saw “what works”?

    But let us leave this aside, since it seems to only be confusing you. Let us instead have a discussion on Nietzsche then Dunamis. You claim, if I am not mistaken, that Nietzsche was a romantic. So that I do not misunderstand you, could you say how Nietzsche understood romanticism; because what I contend is that Nietzsche is not a romantic, at least not as far as he understood it. And more so, as far as Nietzsche understood romanticism, he puts himself in complete resistance to it. Please elaborate your position in order to assist me in saying something of substance.

  92. turnstile said,

    Tabin,

    I cannot say, but certainly you might be correct in your assessment about seriousness—and certainly this can be problematic in having a fruitful discussion. If you are asking me whether I take myself seriously then I would have to answer negatively; I am simply too much of a buffoon to take myself seriously—however, that does not entail that I do not take the subject matter seriously (barring of course if that subject happens to be me).

    There are those that put up a boisterous front and simply cannot hear others over their own voices. I am in no way reluctant to engage in discussion (which I had initially attempted with Dunamis if you will see), that would be the only thing worth spending time here. That is, one should make a distinction between my dicussion with Dunamis and my discussions in general.

    I would be more than happy to engage in a discussion that goes beyond achieving mere debating points: what would you like to discuss? Or is there some point that you have previously made that you want me to (re)address? And if so, simply direct me to where it is and I shall look into it. I cannot say with any confidence that my response will be satisfactory, but I can promise you that I will respond to the best of my abilities and knowledge. I assure you that I am speaking here with all sincerity; for I am of the opinion that if I can learn something new then it is I that am the true wunner–in that I come out a little bit more wiser than what I went in as.

  93. dunamis said,

    turnstile wrote:
    Dunamis,

    If realpolitik is not a language game then could you please enlighten me as to what exactly a language game is?

    Perhaps Heidegger didn’t see any barbarism in NAZIism, he only saw “what works”?

    But let us leave this aside, since it seems to only be confusing you. Let us instead have a discussion on Nietzsche then Dunamis. You claim, if I am not mistaken, that Nietzsche was a romantic. So that I do not misunderstand you, could you say how Nietzsche understood romanticism; because what I contend is that Nietzsche is not a romantic, at least not as far as he understood it. And more so, as far as Nietzsche understood romanticism, he puts himself in complete resistance to it. Please elaborate your position in order to assist me in saying something of substance.

    I will not play your tired Socratic and oh-so-pedantic game. Either state your “claim” regarding Nietzsche, whatever that may be, and show that you can do it succintly, and if interesting enough a claim, I will respond. I have as of yet, not seen a single “claim” of yours, just endless word-spinning. I am not concerned with how Nietzsche conceived of Romanticism , but how he romantically expressed himself, through the excess of his “soul,” a distinct anti-Enlightenment position of his time. If your “claim” is: Nietzsche was not a Romantic because he said so, (and this would be the first that I have heard of such a thing from you), then we have a nice semantic game, and not one worth playing. I’m hoping you have something more to say than this.

    p.s. If anyone else has even a clue about what this remarkable “claim” of hers/his is, please jump in and make in clear, for I am sure that another empty essay of great verbage is coming on.

  94. Adam213 said,

    Dunamis wrote:
    Adam,

    If you have even a clue about what turnstile is arguing for regarding Nietzsche, could you please restate it for me, because she/he doesn’t seem to have even the most elementary skills of clear expression.

    To be perfectly honest, I think he’s just messing around with us, and we’ve fallen into his trap. Not even Hegel managed to say so little with so many empty words and phrases. I think it would be best if Turnstile made clearly stated his arguments, so we knew what he was trying to prove.
    Here, I’ll state my objectives:
    I want to prove Nietzsche was a respectable philosopher, even though he did not deal with epistemology or metaphyiscs.
    I want to clarify his ideas such as will to power, the superman, etc.
    I want to eliminate false assumptions regarding his life and work.

    Really, I think he’s just playing devil’s advocate and having fun with us.
    turnstile wrote:
    Adam213,

    However I cannot understand what it is that you are exactly opposing in what I have claimed (and the point regarding the “feminist argument” simply leaves me baffled). Perhaps you could rephrase your discontents so that I may be able to formulate a proper reply.

    Your remark about the “truth” and nothing but the truth to be nihilistic
    seemed wrong to me. What on earth do outlooks on the truth or multiple truths have to do with nihilism? Yes, nihilism belives there is no one truth, but then again nihilism doesn’t even support a paradise here on earth, it’s more just a word than a serious school of thought.
    The feminist remark was directed a hypothesis, who has mentioned that Nietzsche, being a product of his culture and times, might have had some prejudice against women.

  95. dunamis said,

    Adam213 wrote:

    To be perfectly honest, I think he’s just messing around with us, and we’ve fallen into his trap.

    I don’t even think it is that complex or “tricky”. I think this is just a person who like to hear themselves speak (orate), and likes to argue for the sake of it. We just get in the way of the echo.

  96. Bunnysarefat said,

    Dunamis wrote:
    I suppose that I should leave it to you to make full-assed personal attacks. (Again ad hom–to the man–is the nature of Nietzschean critique). Nietzsche simply projected on the Universe, by metaphor, a fundamental principle of mastery and service, which he called Will to Power, a primordial mythologizing by which his arguments function. I have no reason to accept such a metaphor as a basis, and in fact find it deficent as an explanation, designed to underwrite aristoi values he is attached to, reactively. As to my higher order problems with Nietzsche, I have already made those plain.

    I actually wasnt talking about you, I thought you atleast were fairly well read on the subject, but you had to be presumptious and attack me when I was complimenting you saying that I understood the point you were making. But, after your horrible take on will to power I see now that that was way to soon. It wasnt even that it was wrong, but it didnt even say anything on the subject of will to power to be judged. You just stated a bunch of your prejudiced remarks without even addressing anything. Ad hom, I think you need to take a look at yourself. If you want to actually address anything Nietzsche, then I will be happy to do the dance with you, but you just state half-assed generalized opinions that dont even address anything relevant, and pass it off as a critique. Try again, because Im not taking your bullshit as an actual argument.

  97. turnstile said,

    Dunamis,

    I simply asked you to clarify what you meant by Nietzsche being too romantic; and even this seems to have irritated you. How could I possibly engage you if I do not know exactly what you mean by such a claim—for all I know you may very well be correct; but I do, to be honest, harbor some doubts.

    If we are to accept your notion of romanticism, that is, expression through “excess of soul” then what you mean is the exact opposite of what Nietzsche meant. Since you do not wish to clarify yourself, I cannot, as of yet, make any sense out of what you mean by an excess of soul is anti-Enlightenment.

    However, to attempt to curb further angering you I shall be your humble servant and present how I understand what Nietzsche meant romanticism to be.

    I will interpret the opening section of ‘The Gay Science’, Book V, section 370: What is romanticism?

    Nietzsche opens up the section by saying that he misunderstood two great modern phenomena—the most modern philosophy and the most modern art—because he interpreted them as the rebirth of the tragic insight of the Greeks.

    “It may be recalled, at least among my friends, that initially I approached the modern world with a few crude errors and over-estimations and, in my case, with hope, I understood—on the basis of who knows what personal experiences?—the philosophic pessimism of the nineteenth century as if it were a symptom of a higher force of thought… thus tragic insight struck me as the distinctive luxury of our culture, its most precious, noblest and most dangerous squandering; but still, in view of its over-richness, as its permitted luxury. Similarly, I explained German music to myself as the expression of a Dionysian might of the German soul…”
    -Nietzsche

    The two representatives of these two great modern phenomena were Schopenhauer and Wagner. He attributed to them something that was not due to them, a fundamental break with the tradition via a return to its origins.

    “You see that what I misjudged both in philosophic pessimism and in German music was what constitutes its actual character—its romanticism.”
    -Nietzsche.

    In Nietzsche’s later language, he took them to be anti-Platonic, whereas they were in fact the final outbreaks of Platonism. The pivotal term is romanticism, and Nietzsche’s failure to understand the romanticism of Schopenhauer and Wagner leads him to pose the question: what is romanticism? This is what he says, following the positing of the question:

    “Every art, every philosophy can be considered a cure and aid in the service of growing, struggling life: they always presuppose suffering and sufferers.”
    -Nietzsche.

    Nietzsche begins with the widest possible scope: “Every art, every philosophy.” And further, he is categorical, not to say dogmatic, in stating what is true of all art and philosophy: it may be viewed as in the service of growing, struggling life; it presupposes two kinds of sufferers. Those that suffer from the “over-fullness of life” desire an intensification of life in a Dionysian or tragic art. Those who suffer from the impoverishment of life desire release from life; and it is their art, Dunamis, that is romantic in Nietzsche’s sense; and it expresses itself in a desire for rest and redemption or in a desire for intoxication and anesthesia. Now read the following closely Dunamis, so I do not further confuse you.

    “But there are two types of sufferers: first, those who suffer from a superabundance of life—they want a Dionysian art as well as a tragic outlook and insight into life; then, those who suffer from an impoverishment of life seek quiet, stillness, calm seas, redemption from themselves through art and insight, or else intoxication, paroxysm, numbness, madness. All romanticism in art and in knowledge fits the dual needs of the latter type, as did (and do) Schopenhauer and Richard Wagner, to name the most famous and prominent romantics that I misunderstood at the time…”
    -Nietzsche

    For the most part, romanticism or suffering from the impoverishment of life requires mildness, a God who saves by deliverance from life, or in a logic that calms by making existence explicable. So you see Dunamis, romanticism for Nietzsche is art and philosophy that suffers from an impoverishment of life, that seeks to redeem life; not an excess of soul as you claim (whatever you meant by that).

    I hope you find this more to your liking.

  98. turnstile said,

    Adam,

    I didn’t have any take on truth, I simply posed a question for inquiry: is the insistence of truth, and nothing but the truth nihilistic? Also, just prior to that, I had asked: what in us wants truth? My question is very reminiscent of what Nietzsche opens up with in BG&E:

    “What in us really wants “truth”?— Indeed we came to a long halt at the question about the cause of this will—until we finally came to a complete stop before a still more basic question. We asked about the value of this will. Suppose we want truth: why not rather untruth? And uncertainty? Even ignorance?— The problem of the value of truth came before us—or was it we who came before the problem?”

    We keep assuming here that we know what truth is. I am asking: who is seeking truth? What does the one who seeks truth want? What is his type, his will to power?

    “Truth was posited as being, as God, as the highest court of appeal.. The will to truth requires a critique—let us define our own task—the value of truth must for once be experimentally called into question.”
    -Nietzsche, (GM III 24).

    I am afraid that I do not fully understand what exactly Nietzsche’s task, or results, amount to. So I do not know, “What on earth do outlooks on the truth or multiple truths have to do with nihilism?” Again, I simply asked, is the insistence on the truth and nothing but the truth nihilistic? Consider what Socrates says, which I presented to Dunamis (but he said it only confused him):

    “Then what gives the objects of knowledge their truth and the knower’s mind the power of knowing is the form of the good. It is the cause of knowledge and truth, and you will be right to think of it as being itself known, and yet as being something other than, and even more splendid than, knowledge and truth, splendid as they are.”

    If we accept the notion that the good, whatever it might be, defines what truth even is (that is, it is the groundwork for the concept of truth), then we have a problem if truth is equated with the good itself, because if that becomes the case, then I ask: can the truth account for its own foundations?

    Why did I ask such a question? Simply: I do not know the answer. Also, it seems that people do not accept truth to be just mere interpretation, that is, the concept of truth is taken to describe a “truthful” world. Even in science the truth of phenomena forms a “world” distinct from that of phenomena itself.

    However, I must admit that my ignorance is getting the better of me here, as I am still confused on what exactly you are opposing; am I to take that you are opposing the question itself?

    Please demonstrate a proper stringing together of words in clarifying yourself. Or are you asking me to lecture you on a particular subject? I fear that I am more than likely to be found wanting in ability and knowledge if put to such a task.

  99. dunamis said,

    turnstile wrote:
    Dunamis,I simply asked you to clarify what you meant by Nietzsche being too romantic; and even this seems to have irritated you.

    What irritates me is that you have in your posts insinuated that you have a “claim” regarding Nietzsche, but apparently have none. First it had something nonsensically to do with “the truth,” which you showed absolutely no ability to express with any coherence. I have no bloody idea what you were going on about regarding “the truth” after several long posts. Now you have turned to Romanticism, a new topic. Your “claim” is non-existent, and mutable I suppose. Your “claim” is simply an eternal “com-plaint”.
    How could I possibly engage you if I do not know exactly what you mean by such a claim•for all I know you may very well be correct; but I do, to be honest, harbor some doubts.

    I am perfectly happy with you not “engaging” me. I do not find your “engagment” interesting.
    If we are to accept your notion of romanticism, that is, expression through “excess of soul” then what you mean is the exact opposite of what Nietzsche meant. Since you do not wish to clarify yourself, I cannot, as of yet, make any sense out of what you mean by an excess of soul is anti-Enlightenment.

    I do not wish to play this semantic game with you. If you were a more interesting, a more concise a thinker it might make a good discussion; but one has to make judgments about the motives of a “player”. You have only the interest in whining verbosely, and I sense that no answer will satisfy you. You are the type that likes to protest! Digging up texts, forming arguments will simply give you the opportunity to polemicize endlessly in lengthy verbage, something you will do regardless of a point, as you have shown. In short, if you look at Nietzsche’s descriptions of anything he opposes, be that nihilism, hysteria, decadence, romanticism, etc, you will find a description easily applied to himself. The Case for Wagner is essentially a self-description and a ressentiment. That you buy his self-diagnosis and his diagnosis of others, this will simply be a case of judgment.
    However, to attempt to curb further angering you I shall be your humble servant and present how I understand what Nietzsche meant romanticism to be.

    More whining. You simply are not interesting enough a person to discuss this with, filled with bad faith, incapable of making a clear point. Thanks for all the Nietzsche quotes, but its not worth the effort, nor the time to endure your endless, self-styled harang, for no point at all. (If another person would like to take up her/his point and argue it with me, I’ll be glad to discuss it).

  100. turnstile said,

    Dunamis,

    It has become clear that you have sufficiently established yourself as nothing more than a blabber. Twice now I have provided textual support from the writings of Nietzsche that show you to have been incorrect; and yet you continue to respond with empty claims, or worse: now appealing to others for help in preventing your defeat. But how can anyone help you when you mistakenly make me the opponent, when in fact your real opponent is your own unwitting ignorance? Perhaps your new found crony Adam will come to your aide, but even he seems to have jumped from your ship, seeing that he remains silent in your defense. And I again reiterate that it is not me that is contradicting you, but the words of F. Nietzsche.

    In response to my current provision of text (in addition to an explanation) you simply do nothing more than flail around offering nothing more than your mere opinion (and yet you claim that I offer nothing substantial). I suggest from now on that your claims be kept under police supervision and constantly viewed as suspect; and others can refer to this exchange as justification for their suspicions—I have serious doubts that you have been able to contain your blabbing to only the subject of F. Nietzsche (you have offered a whole host of over simplifications and falsehoods on this subject).

  101. dunamis said,

    turnstile wrote:
    Dunamis,

    It has become clear that you have sufficiently established yourself as nothing more than a blabber. Twice now I have provided textual support from the writings of Nietzsche that show you to have been incorrect;

    It is clear to me that you cannot follow a line of argument. Quotes from Nietzsche do not “show” that my position on Nietzsche is incorrect. They show that you, uncritically, take Nietzsche’s self-diagnosis as a rule. That Nietzsche states that he is not a romantic (a hysteric, a metaphysician, a nihilist, etc.) is meaningless. Enjoy your repeated grandstandings, surely your style is well suited for oration in the mirror. Stand up straight satyr.

  102. WoodenPupa said,

    “There’s a section in in ‘Ecce homo’ where he lists out qualities that make him clever and wise etc, a clear sing of a superiority complex.”

    There is no single section that does this. There is a chapter called “Why I am So Clever” and another called “Why I am So Wise”. I think your familiarity of the book at best came by quickly flipping through pages at a bookstore, and more likely by reading academic conveyor- belt criticism of Nietzsche.

    “The problem here is that most of the perverted Nietzsche adorers like to forget the fact that Nietzsche went mad (mad philosopher ?)”

    As far as a superiority complex, Nietzsche wrote Ecco Homo just prior to his mental collapse, which, by the way, was caused by syphilis. The latter frequently causes megalomania-like symptoms in manifestations like the one N. had. Even if you insist on a literal interpretation of various over-the-top statements.in Ecce Homo, its powerful insights should more than compensate. The book is an unbelievablely acute exercise in self-analysis, but of course this is hard to realize if you don’t actually read the book.

  103. stream of conscious said,

    hypothesis wrote:
    From what I gathered his idea of the ‘superman’ is similarly presented in Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, in the character of Raskolonikiv. (I think Nietzsche avoided reading Dostoyevsky, because he had preconceptions about the christian theme of redemption in this book).

    Avoided reading him? Certainly not. He did in fact read Dostoyevsky – in French. He refers to “The Idiot” in the “Antichrist” and in “Ecce Homo” he wrote about the first time he saw a Dostoyevsky translation in a store and how the work affected him.

  104. the boss said,

    Yep, he read some works by Dostoyevsky but not Crime and Punishment which is more relevant to his philosophy. However I’m not sure about the historical accuracy of this and I might be proven wrong. I would like to know a source proving whether he read Crime and Punishment or not.

  105. stream of conscious said,

    selversion2 wrote:
    i agree with what you say here that he dumbs down philosophy. he realy isnt a great philosopher. His quotes i have read are just play with words. Merely expressive language. No mind opening ideas.

    You’re just reading quotes? Well no wonder. Read the actual works and you’ll find quite a few mind opening ideas, don’t worry. Don’t be so rash to judge him or any other philosopher for that matter. You only cheat yourself that way and sound silly in the process.

  106. ibrahim said,

    Stream of Conscious wrote:
    You’re just reading quotes? Well no wonder. Read the actual works and you’ll find quite a few mind opening ideas, don’t worry. Don’t be so rash to judge him or any other philosopher for that matter. You only cheat yourself that way and sound silly in the process.

    A man who influenced Heidegger, Carl Jaspers, Albert Camus, Michael Foucault, ,Gilles Delueze, Jacques Derrida, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and countless others, who is claimed by existentialist, phenomenologist, romantics, post-modernists, humanists, anti-humanist, conservative and liberal thinkers alike, even some theologians! surely could not believe that his writing was “just play with words. Merely expressive language. No mind opening ideas.” There is virtually no school in modern contenantal philosophy which has not been touched by Nietzsche’s ideas.

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