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A secular Pope
on 30 November 2009
Nietzsche's place in the history of philosophy
Nietzsche was the first disciple of Schopenhauer, but where the latter turned into a pessimist, Nietzsche became an optimist (fröhlich) for the same reasons.
Schopenhauer countered I. Kant (who stated that we couldn't know `the thing in itself') by remarking that we experience our own body. His analysis of the way of the world unveiled a mankind driven by a universal destructive impulse for uninhibited power, which he called the `Will'. Nietzsche turned this `negative' message into a positive one: let's quit the age of tragedy and live `fully' by accepting that `expansion of power' is a fundamental instinct of life.
His message to the members of mankind is: Why have morality, when life, nature and history are not moral. Quit this age of moralities, remorse and moral valuations. `Be yourself'. Make your `own new tables of what is good'. Create your own laws.
His first and foremost enemy was religion with its morality of selflessness, self-sacrifice, virtue, pity and charity. This morality makes man an assistant of his neighbor. It is a disadvantage, `good' only for the other. Man is a victim of his virtue.
Other enemies are the Utilitarians and their trade (`a prostitution of the spirit'), I. Kant and his categorical imperative, the French revolutionaries (`we don't need the sirens and their song about equal rights'), Darwinism (`an incomprehensible one-sided doctrine of the struggle for existence'), science (a doctrine), the human herd (`the herd animal with its profound mediocrity') and the poor (`the smell of distress and overcrowding'); also, consciousness (`a disease') and women (his profound misogyny).
The warriors (`war is for the noblest people a pleasure'), Ancient Greece (he only names two people: the anti-democrat Plato and a member of a secret society, Pythagoras) and Evil (`hatred, the mischievous delight in the misfortune of others, the lust to rob and to dominate'), which belongs to the most amazing economy of the preservation of the species.
Philosophy in a bad position
With all this `mediocrity' around him, Nietzsche didn't become a misanthrope. But, he recognized that `we, philosophers are in a bad position nowadays regarding knowledge', because `science keeps growing'.
Nietzsche's message of freedom, against religious and moral oppression is still a must today. But his contempt for the great majority of humanity as well as his ruthless call to follow man's instinct for domination (and war) is unacceptable.
This book is a long series of invective shouts without much argumentation by someone who believes that only he knows the ultimate `truth' about `human' behavior and who admonishes his followers from his pulpit like a secular Pope.
Only for Nietzsche fans.