Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Beyond Good and Evil

“What is done out of love always take place beyond good and evil.”

As mentioned previously, I am reading my way through the complete works of Friedrich Nietzsche, who is one of the greatest influences upon my life and thinking. I first starting reading his work at the tender age of 18 and am currently mopping up the remainder of his work, when time allows me to consume his dense and brilliant work.

Unbelievably, ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ only sold 114 copies when it was first published in 1886, it is perhaps one of Nietzsche’s finest efforts, where he pinpoints Christianity’s promotion of slave morality and thus its fostering of herdlike quiescence and the distrust of true, individual greatness. He also attacks the Christian retreat from life by their postponing of happiness and redemption to the afterlife. This abnegation of the self in the service of an abstract ideal suppresses the healthiest and most primal human instinct, the will to power: that lonely quest to master life’s difficulties, that indefatigable struggle that disdains the deadening narcotics of traditional morality and mass conformism that is Christianity. This is the inspiring doctrine of the Ubermensch!

The book itself (what Nietzsche called his old, beloved, evil thoughts) is another fine example of the dizzying range of his writing, its eloquence, its density, its devastating irony, its flashing wit, its kaleidoscopic range delivered like a series of short polemical jabs.

In this fine book, Nietzsche describes the French Revolution as a terrible farce, dismisses as feeble and uncertain anyone who fears an influx of immigrants, mocks the philosopher for his impoverished sorties for “his beloved truths” and defends the most evil of human characteristics as a method for mankind to elevate itself to a higher state. His paragraph on what makes a philosopher, is a moving and virtually perfect description of a thinker: “a man who constantly experiences, see, hears, suspects, hopes and dreams extraordinary things, who is struck by his own thoughts as if they came from the outside.”

“The human soul and its limits…” begins a most withering critique on the slave morality of Christianity, the faith in which he deems “a continuous suicide of reason” as you sacrifice all freedom, all pride, all self-confidence; it is at the same time subjection, self-derision and self-mutilation.

As always Nietzsche gifts us with a raft of dart like aphorisms that cut to the quick:

“He who is a thorough teacher takes things seriously, and even himself, only in relation to his pupils.”

“Under peaceful conditions the militant man attacks himself.”

“The same emotions are in man and woman but in different tempo; on that account man and woman never cease to misunderstand each other.”

“The great epochs in our life are at the points when we gain courage to rebaptise our badness as the best in us.”

In our current climate of a war on a noun and infringement upon our civil liberties and human rights, one comment of Nietzsche’s rings particularly true:

“He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.”

9 comments:

  1. Brilliant.
    Wow Daniel. Thankyou for sharing this.

    "The great epochs in our life are at the points when we gain courage to rebaptise our badness as the best in us.”

    This is my new motto.

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  2. Deep thoughts, indeed. Christians give Christianity a bad name.

    Yeharr

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  3. There's nothing Nietzsche couldn't teach ya
    'Bout the raising of the wrist.

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  4. How true that last quote is Dan. How very true.

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  5. Nietzsche is peachy.

    I get a kick out of the idea of a evil/good Bell Curve.

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  6. That is enough to think about for months. I tried reading Beyond again (third try) but end up spending hours on every sentence. I need a simpler version for my simpler mind.

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