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Transcript of Fredrich Nietzche
He was a Philosopher who criticized German
Society, specifically discussing truth, democracy, nihilism, and the emerging views of the time period.
He was raised as a Christian but
abandoned Christianity during
his university years. What do you think the phrase "God is Dead" means? Nietzche and Darwinism Darwin and Nihilism Nietzsche wrote many works, including:
Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of Morals, and Thus Spake Zarathustra.
Nietzche is a philosopher whose works were shrouded in controversy, as he critiqued nearly every aspect of the newly emerging ideals in society.
Because of this, his works are often misinterpreted. Fact:
THE PHRASE “GOD IS DEAD” IS ALMOST ALWAYS MISINTERPRETED! During Nietzsche's time period, Darwinism was
coming to light
Dawinism: a theory of organic evolution claiming
that new species arise and are perpetuated by
natural selection; "survival of the fittest";
rejects the notion that we were created by God.
Nietzche believed this view destroyed the foundation for human dignity. Since man was no longer a product of God, but of a pointless, meaningless nature, humans were considered to be in a pointless existence.
This idea of our existence being pointless inspired a view called NIHILISM. Nihilism is a view that says life is pointless/meaningless.
Nietzche thought we had to create our own meaning so we wouldn’t descend into nihilism. (Will to Power) "Where has God gone? I shall tell you. We have killed him- you and I. We are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? "God is Dead"
Nietzches phrase "God is Dead" was his most famous critique of Western society, and his most often misinterpreted message.
As theories like Darwinism began to arise in his time, Nietzche thought we were killing the things that made mans life meaningful.
Saying God is Dead was a statement that meant man had killed the idea of God through the shifting values and ideals of the time.
It was not meant to be the poster quote of atheism. But wait, it gets positive! Nietzche thought that in the face of this meaningless life, man had to make his own purpose and values using the will for self conquest.
The man who does this is a “superman.”
Through overcoming and self discipline a man can reach self realization which is the important thing.
This is called the "Will to Power."
Because of this view, Nietzche hated institutions that caused man
to not be an independent thinker. (ie. modern democracy, equality, Christianity)
This view was often misinterpreted as well. Equality, Democracy, and Truth Nietzche thought the notion of an equal society/equal rights showed mass weakness. He thought their were naturally superior and inferior people, and inequality was a necessary part of life. Man should use his will to power to become the better, superior person. Society's shifts towards favoring equality were killing this necessary facet of human existence, degenerating human excellence.
Democracies assimilation of the European people also stifled mans potential, forcing him to adapt into a "slave" to society as opposed to a free thinking individual who exercised his will to power. In democracy, only the "superman" would thrive.
Nietzche also thought there were no true "truths", as all discoveries and philosophers based their truths off of someone else's facts. Truth was objective and could not be derived. This again influenced the idea that man should be independent and determine truth for himself. QUESTIONS 1.What is Nietzche saying when he says “God is dead?”
2.How does nihilism relate to Nietzches view?
3.Nietzche describes philosophical truths as having a “preconceived-dogma, a notion, an “institution… at the bottom of it.” How does this relate to his views of truth and ones self independence?
4.Do you agree with Nietzche calling democratic society “mutual assimilation”?
5.Nietzche states that Democracy “will amount to the creation of a type prepared in the subtlest sense for slavery- the individual (strongman) will turn out to be sir ger and richer…” How does this reflect the happenings of the Industrial revolution?
6.Do you think Nietzche hated Christianity because of Darwinism? Or was he mad at Darwinism for killing Christian ideals?
7.How do Nietzches views about equality relate to the movement for equality? (ie. Equality rights, freedom from slavery) How would he feel about people fighting for equal rights?
8.How do Nietzches views of democracy and equality relate to todays society? Does democracy/equality promote weakness with the exception of the superman? Do we still have inequality in our society, and if so, is it a bad thing?