Nietzsche genealogy essay 1

Nietzsche predicts that the death of God will bring with it the rejection of the belief in a universal moral law, which in turn will cause existential nihilism — a philosophy he detested. While Nietzsche didn’t think highly of “slave morality,” as we just discussed, he did think it was good for the psyche, and that religion played an important role in creating meaning — a center of gravity — in the world. Nietzsche predicted that once a universal basis of morality eroded away, “there will be wars the like of which have never been seen on earth before” — a prediction which came true not long after he died in 1900.

On another level, the doctrine of the eternal recurrence involves Nietzsche’s distinctive metaphysical notions. Nietzsche contends that there is no such thing as being: everything is always changing, always in a state of becoming. Because nothing is fixed, there are no “things” that we can distinguish and set apart from other “things.” All of reality is intertwined, such that we cannot pass judgment on one aspect of reality without passing judgment on all of reality. In other words, we cannot feel regret for one aspect of our lives and joy for another because these two aspects of our lives cannot properly be distinguished from one another. In recognizing that all of life is one indistinguishable swirl of becoming, we are faced with the simple choice of saying yes to all life or no to all life. Naturally, Nietzsche contends that the yes -saying attitude is preferable.

Among the most famous ideas associated with existentialism is that of 'absurdity'. Human existence might be described as 'absurd' in one of the following senses. First, many existentialists argued that nature as a whole has no design, no reason for existing. Although the natural world can apparently be understood by physical science or metaphysics, this might be better thought of as 'description' than either understanding or explanation. Thus, the achievements of the natural sciences also empty nature of value and meaning. Unlike a created cosmos, for example, we cannot expect the scientifically described cosmos to answer our questions concerning value or meaning. Moreover, such description comes at the cost of a profound falsification of nature: namely, the positing of ideal entities such as 'laws of nature', or the conflation of all reality under a single model of being. Human beings can and should become profoundly aware of this lack of reason and the impossibility of an immanent understanding of it. Camus, for example, argues that the basic scene of human existence is its confrontation with this mute irrationality.  A second meaning of the absurd is this: my freedom will not only be undetermined by knowledge or reason, but from the point of view of the latter my freedom will even appear absurd. Absurdity is thus closely related to the theme of 'being on its own', which we discussed above under the heading of anxiety. Even if I choose to follow a law that I have given myself, my choice of law will appear absurd, and likewise will my continuously reaffirmed choice to follow it. Third, human existence as action is doomed to always destroy itself. A free action, once done, is no longer free; it has become an aspect of the world, a thing . The absurdity of human existence then seems to lie in the fact that in becoming myself (a free existence) I must be what I am not (a thing).  If I do not face up to this absurdity, and choose to be or pretend to be thing-like, I exist inauthentically (the terms in this formulation are Sartre's).

In 1873, Nietzsche began to accumulate notes that would be posthumously published as Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks . Between 1873 and 1876, he published four separate long essays: " David Strauss : the Confessor and the Writer", "On the Use and Abuse of History for Life", "Schopenhauer as Educator" and "Richard Wagner in Bayreuth". These four later appeared in a collected edition under the title Untimely Meditations . The essays shared the orientation of a cultural critique, challenging the developing German culture along lines suggested by Schopenhauer and Wagner. During this time, in the circle of the Wagners, Nietzsche met Malwida von Meysenbug and Hans von Bülow , and also began a friendship with Paul Rée , who in 1876 influenced him into dismissing the pessimism in his early writings. However, he was deeply disappointed by the Bayreuth Festival of 1876, where the banality of the shows and baseness of the public repelled him. He was also alienated by Wagner's championing of "German culture", which Nietzsche felt a contradiction in terms, as well as by Wagner's celebration of his fame among the German public. All this contributed to Nietzsche's subsequent decision to distance himself from Wagner.

Nietzsche genealogy essay 1

nietzsche genealogy essay 1

In 1873, Nietzsche began to accumulate notes that would be posthumously published as Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks . Between 1873 and 1876, he published four separate long essays: " David Strauss : the Confessor and the Writer", "On the Use and Abuse of History for Life", "Schopenhauer as Educator" and "Richard Wagner in Bayreuth". These four later appeared in a collected edition under the title Untimely Meditations . The essays shared the orientation of a cultural critique, challenging the developing German culture along lines suggested by Schopenhauer and Wagner. During this time, in the circle of the Wagners, Nietzsche met Malwida von Meysenbug and Hans von Bülow , and also began a friendship with Paul Rée , who in 1876 influenced him into dismissing the pessimism in his early writings. However, he was deeply disappointed by the Bayreuth Festival of 1876, where the banality of the shows and baseness of the public repelled him. He was also alienated by Wagner's championing of "German culture", which Nietzsche felt a contradiction in terms, as well as by Wagner's celebration of his fame among the German public. All this contributed to Nietzsche's subsequent decision to distance himself from Wagner.

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