Friedrich Nietzsche

The name Nietzsche is an excuse. It has followed quotations of foolishness for over a century and a half. The name, a one word apology. Friedrich Nietzsche was not a philosopher. He is mistakenly labeled as such by many and that is incorrect.

So what does it mean to be a philosopher? A philosopher is a prophet of thought. A person given an extra dose of perspective. One who has their duty as a thinker thrust upon them, unbidden. A philosopher’s existence is that of their philosophy and that philosophy transcends their own importance.

Nietzsche is famous for being such a budding young Christian theologist that inexplicably turns coat. This single act can explain the artificial life Nietzsche wrote for himself. He loved to see himself as a philosopher and thus created himself as one. In that action, he created himself as his own god, rejecting the god of the Christian faith. Later in his life, he even began signing letters “Dionysus” or “The Crucified.”

Nietzsche so loved his fictional existence as a philosopher that he managed to write 18 books in 19 years (or 16 books in 17 years if you don’t include the works published by his sister after his loss of sanity). I believe that the most telling work of Nietzsche is Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Nietzsche himself considers it the deepest book he wrote.

In the book, the main character Zarathustra exclaims that he is “weary of my wisdom, like a bee that has gathered too much honey; I need hands outstretched to receive it.” Throughout the book, Nietzsche makes it increasingly obvious that Zarathustra walks the same path as he does. As a “philosopher,” Nietzsche would need followers. As a god, he would need disciples. So Zarathustra leaves his mountain of foolish condescension to witness his so-called “wisdom” to those of the valley.

The simple truth is, Nietzsche was an eager little fraud. The famous duty of a philosopher was “to question everything,” a duty Nietzsche responded to by rejecting everything. Many philosophers have done the same thing, Jean Paul Sartre stands out in my mind. But Sartre lived that philosophy. Kierkegaard lived that philosophy; Dostoyevsky, another example. Nietzsche merely created himself as one who could live like an existentialist philosopher.

In his rejection of everything, Nietzsche pays special attention to rejecting morality, even planning his life’s work around it; The Transvaluation of Values. This book planned to follow in the footsteps of The Antichrist. It would proclaim pity, kindness, and the rest of the morals of the Christian faith as weak and poisonous to the human race.

The cause of his loss of sanity is said to be an event taking place in the Piazza Carlo Alberto. It is said that Nietzsche saw a horse being whipped and ran to it, attempting to protect it from the abuse. He then collapsed. So what happened? In a moment of singularity, the real Nietzsche was merciful. He pitied the animal and protected it, in kindness.

This subconscious action shows his charade. His writings are meaningless. His  philosophy, a hoax. Nietzsche wanted so agonizingly to be the existentialist philosopher he created himself to be. And when he realized the Friedrich Nietzsche that Nietzsche (and the rest of the world) knew was a hollow work of fiction, he finally reached an actualization. He met himself for the first time. His actualization led to a rejection of his existentialist costume. For (seemingly) the first time in his life, Nietzsche ceased to be the character he had spent 45 years perfecting. And when he stepped out of that character, he forgot how to be himself. He shed his artificial existence but that existence was all that embodied him.

The Nietzsche from your textbook only existed in Friedrich Nietzsche’s mind. And very simply, he lost that mind. Friedrich Nietzsche is no more than a character in a book; no more real than the Zarathustra he wrote of.

“Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal.”
-Leo Tolstoy

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~ by Kyle on November 18, 2011.

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