Comments on Nietzsche

Reference: Friedrich Nietzsche

June 5, 2011
From Wikipedia: Friedrich Nietzsche

(quotes from Wikipedia are in italics) 

Nietzsche’s works remain controversial, and there is widespread disagreement about their interpretation and significance. Part of the difficulty in interpreting Nietzsche arises from the uniquely provocative style of his philosophical writing. Nietzsche frequently delivered trenchant critiques of Christianity in the most offensive and blasphemous terms possible given the context of 19th century Europe. These aspects of Nietzsche’s style run counter to traditional values in philosophical writing, and they alienated him from the academic establishment both in his time and, to a lesser extent, today.

When looking at knowledge some people react to the writing style.  Usually, one is influenced by the writing style to the degree one is looking through a filter that reacts to that style.  It is possible to look at knowledge without being influenced by the writing style, and simply recognize knowledge for what it is.  Please see Looking at Knowledge.


A few of the themes that Nietzsche scholars have devoted the most attention to include Nietzsche’s views on morality, his view that “God is dead” (and along with it any sort of God’s-eye view on the world thus leading to perspectivism), his notions of the will to power and Übermensch, and his suggestion of eternal return.

Morality may be defined as a cultural filter deemed necessary for the proper functioning of that culture. It codifies what is right and wrong from the viewpoint of that culture. It is not an absolute code even when presented that way in some cultures. A culture may be improved by improving its sense of morality.

It seems that Nietzsche was trying to do just that. He declared “God is dead” simply to de-emphasize the use of God to present morality as absolute. It was Nietzsche’s way of saying that the conventional Christian God is no longer a viable source of any absolute moral principles.

Nietzsche’s notion of the will to power seems to emphasize that man does not have to be subservient to some arbitrary will of God. His notion of Übermensch seems to emphasize that man can be fully responsible without requiring “God” as a prop.  In my view Nietzsche is right on both counts.

Nietzsche’s suggestion of eternal return is a concept inherent in Hinduism that the universe has been recurring, and will continue to recur, in a self-similar form an infinite number of times across infinite time and/or infinite space. What it really means is that the universe is a perception of “unknowable” through a viewpoint. The universe is there as long as a viewpoint is there.


June 12, 2011
From Wikipedia: 
Friedrich Nietzsche on Morality 

Nietzsche rejected the established laws and institutions of his time as they encouraged pretension of virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., when one did not really possess them. His motto became, “Be, what you are.” He believed that one should follow one’s own “inner law,” and let morality shape itself. One’s uniquenessness should not be suppressed because of some arbitrary sense of morality.

In Nietzsche’s view, the sense of good and evil impressed by Jewish and Christian traditions was born out of a feeling of inferiority. It was designed to make one not feel inferior, but it did not resolve the individual situation. Nietzsche then tried to present a new, more naturalistic source of value in the vital impulses of life itself.


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