The Life & Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche



Philosophy Class Essay
Born: 1844. Rocken, Germany
Died: 1900. Weimar, Germany
Major Works: The Gay Science (1882),
Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883-1885),
Beyond Good & Evil (1886),
On the Genealogy of Morals (1887),

MAJOR IDEAS

Self deception is a particularly destructive
characteristic of West Culture. Life is The Will To Power; our
natural desire is to dominate and reshape the world to fit our
own preferences and assert our personal strength to the fullest
degree possible. Struggle, through which individuals achieve a
degree of power commensurate with their abilities, is the basic
fact of human existence. Ideals of human equality perpetuate
mediocrity -- a truth that has been distorted and concealed by
modern value systems. Christian morality, which identifies
goodness with meekness and servility is the prime culprit in
creating a cultural climate that thwarts the drive for excellence
and self realization God is dead; a new era of human creativity
and achievement is at hand.


-- Great Thinkers In The Western World.
By: Ian P. McGreal, 1992

PREFACE

Much information is available on Mr. Friedrich Nietzsche,
including many books that he wrote himself, during his
philosophical career. I took this as a good sign I would find a
fountain of enlightened material produced by the man. I've had
to go through a bit of my own philosophical meditations to put my
own value judgements aside, and truly look for the contributions
Nietzsche gave to philosophy. Much of my understanding came only
after I had a grasp of Neitzsche's history; therefore, I
encourage you to read-up on his history before diving into his
philosophy (see Appendix I). The modern Westerner might
disagree with every aspect of his philosophy, but there are many
things one must unfortunately admit are true (only if you put
your morality aside). So, from here, I will present his
contributions to philosophy, and do my best to delete my own
opinions, other than to say that he was not the chosen topic of
this paper out of any admiration.

THE PHILOSOPHY OF FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

Sometimes philosophy is called "timeless," implying that it's
lessons are of value to any generation. This may be hard to see
in Nietzsche's work; but, we are assured that it was
appropriate thought for his time. However, even Nietzsche's
critics admit that his words hold an undeniable truth, as hard as
it is to accept. Perhaps this is why his work is timeless,
and has survived 150 years in print.

Christianity "God is Dead!" announced Zarathustra (better known
as Zoroaster), in Neitzsche's proudest book, Thus Spoke
Zarathustra (1883-1885). Unlike many philosophers, Nietzsche
never tried to prove or disprove the existence of God, just that
belief in God can create sickness; and to convince that highest
achievements in human life depend on elimination of
God. Whether God existed had no relevance in his goal.
Proclamation of the death of God was a fundamental ingredient in
the revaluation of values Nietzsche advocated.

"Nothing has done more than Christianity to entrench the
morality of mediocrity in human consciousness."

"Christian love extols qualities of weakness; it causes
guilt. Charity is just teaching hatred and revenge directed
toward nobility."

"Belief in God is a tool to bring submission to the
individual of noble character."

-- F. Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

Hero Morality

Nietzsche had an ideal world in mind, with an ideal government
and an ideal God: the "Overman" or "Superman." These Gods were a
product of natural selection, or social Darwinism. He felt, very
strongly, that any kind of moral limitations upon man would only
stand in the way of The Overman. "The Will To Power," his
strongest teaching, meant that The Overman should and would do
anything possible to gain power, control and strength.
If one showed the smallest bit of weakness or morality, he would
be killed by the stronger Overman, and taken over. Thus, the
advancement of The Master Race (Nietzsche's "Master Race" will be
discussed later).

"Not mankind, but superman is the goal. The very last
thing a sensible man would undertake would be to improve mankind:
mankind does not improve, it doesn't even exist - it is an
abstraction."

"... his superman as the individual rising precariously
out of the mire of mass mediocrity, and owing