on 3 September 2005
As long as one is still young, one tries to philosophize. One guesses the delirium which philosophy has produced, one dreams of copying it and of carrying it further. The youth likes itself in the trick of the heights; with a thinker youth loves the tightrope walker; in Nietzsche they loved his poses, his mystic clownery; really a summit fun fair ... " wrote Emile Cioran.
But nowadays with Nietzsche one has his problems. Maximum embarrassingly had been how Nazi-leaders misinterpreted and misused Nietzsche for their race theories, veiled by Richard Wagner's melodramatic style.
If one takes his gossip of the "Superhuman" [Übermensch], nevertheless, as the psychoanalytic classified attempt, to know himself as gotten sick in need of care (fallen ill with Syphilis) between sister and mother, rescueless wedged, and therefore, as a counterbalance, get lost in the daydream to be a new Dionysos or a Greek God (at first mockingly, then in the final stage schizophrenic megalomaniac), - then his efforts seem to be "human, all too-human".
"What does not kill me, will make me stronger ... " he tried to persuade himself euphorically, in fear to have a lack of courage. The treating physicians probably did not tell him (regarding the prudishness of that time) the shocking truth of the irreparable gravity of his illness.
"Philosophy is a kind of revenge versus reality ... " he wrote full energy, high-spirited. One dreams to have a power, which one does not possess in the reality. Nietzsche's writings are a sort of compensation of a frustrated human being, writings like a battle-cry, tattooed deep in the soul, hoping to get managed a departure into success.
The only germ of a flaming up love relationship - namely to Lou Salome (later companion of Rainer Maria Rilke and at the same time famous first female psychoanalyst in the circle of Freud) - this only germ, rich in chances of an erotic self-realization, was trampled down by the heavy envy and jealousy of his frigates-like sister and his mother.
Aged twenty, however, he had used a experimental way, practicing his sort of sexuality, which seemed at first sight easy and more cheap, in the final effect has been full of pain: "There are two things, a genuine man wants: danger and play. Therefore, he wants the woman, as the most dangerous toy ... " he noted in juvenile carelessness. He himself reported to the doctors in Leipzig and Jena, who should treat him against his Syphilis infection, that he had practiced brothel visits 1865 in Cologne and 1866 in Leipzig.
Indeed, he struck already in 1865 in Trieste by the fact that he, weeping, embraced a horse (hit by a coachman) and then broke down. The actually heavy outbreak of the illness is dated by doctors on 1888. Nietzsche's note "The degree and kind of a person's sexuality reaches up into the topmost summit of his spirit ... " oscillates on this background ambiguously of course with a maybe unintentional double-sense. Certain is, that only the final phase of his writing (ecce homo) is to be considered as intellectually clouded.
Yet we have the duty to weigh with necessary care the writings before 1888. But even as a heavy nursing-destitute he still produced some special diamonds of written language: "If you look for a long time into an abyss, the abyss afterwards also looks into you inside ... "; "He who has a goal to live for, is able to endure almost everything ... " or: "There are servile souls, which propel the appreciation for given benefactions so far, that they strangle themselves with the snare of gratitude ... " That means evidently, that he only rather sullenly will have submitted himself under the over-protection, coming from his sister and mother. Nevertheless, no superhuman-power could help him to escape their claws.
On the other hand, maybe just by the distance to an everyday life Nietzsche was able to focus the society in such a cool manner - and to daydream completely undisturbed a total free self-reliant human being. This ideal type is a little bit shaped like Nietzsche himself: The "Superhuman" is a strong-minded and unbound philosopher, but sometimes the cautious and shy philologist Nietzsche is shining through.
On the one we remember the popular Nietzsche-slogan "God is dead", then, on the other hand, we feel, that his origin from a priest's family has not passed - and we even suppose, that the negative posture towards the religion and the minister's family, are finally only the two sides of the one and same coin.
Though - the religious criticism of Nietzsche is not to understand only psychologically as an opposition against his family background (11 forefathers on the paternal side were ministers): To see denominations critically has been the intellectual behaviour of that time. Nature science, Kant, Descartes: they shocked the church authorities of that days.
Nietzsche's mocking remark "Madness of single persons is something rare, but the madness of groups, parties, crowds seems to be the rule ... " qualifies his personal fate (syphilis) nearly not as bad as the ("healthy") foolishness of the masses - especially, if one considers, what the German history planned to bring up ...
And because he wrote (and his power-mad sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche has forgotten to censure and to extinguish that during the posthumous publication of his writings:) "He who thinks a lot, is not suitable for a party man; too soon he thinks through the party throughout ... " - because he wrote this, it is not to be accepted seriously, that he could have live in harmony with a National Socialist party.
Also he brought on paper: "I mistrust all dogmatics and systematic and avoid to contact them. The will to a system is a lack of righteousness." And, elsewhere: "Convictions are more dangerous enemies of the truth than lies." Or (without ever having heard an O-tone of Goebbels or Hitler, Nietzsche formulated timeless brilliantly): "With a very loud voice in the neck one is nearly unable to think fine things."
"The most valuable examinations are found latest, but the most valuable examinations are the methods " - Nietzsche wrote. Indeed: if one did not take Zarathustra's words as instructions for war lords or other dubious idols, but, in the contrary, classifies this work as a brilliant, highly ironical effort to use language creatively, Nietzsche's books would have a fair chance to survive. Maybe his ability to describe psychological subjects will live longer than some of his philosophical disputes. The collection of R.J. Hollingdale (he died 2001) is a very good chance, to proof Nietzsche's message ...