Beyond Good and Evil

Friedrich Nietzsche

Context
Friedrich Nietzsche was born in 1844 in Rocken, Germany. His father, part of a long lineage of Lutheran ministers, went insane and died when Nietzsche was only four years old. An older brother, Joseph, died six months later and young Nietzsche was left to grow up as the only boy in a household of wome n. Nietzsche was an excellent student and so thoroughly impressed his university professor that he was granted a doctorate and obtained a professorship in philology at the age of 24, before he had even written a dissertation. At this time, he was deeply im pressed by the philosophy of Kant and Schopenhauer, though he would later come to criticize these figures and their theories. In 1870, Nietzsche served as a medical orderly in the Franco -Prussian War, during which he contracted dysentery, diptheria, and possibly syphilis. He continued to suffer from increasing ill health --migraines, indigestion, insomnia, and near blindness--for the rest of his life. While the Germany of Nietzsche's day was marked by an unbridled optimism in the promise of scientif ic progress, the expanse of human knowledge and the prosperity of the German people, Nietzsche characterized his age as "nihilistic." The once monolithic Christian faith no longer dominated European thought as it once had (a fact Nietzsche vehemently expresses in the phrase "God is dead"), and the rise of Darwinian evolutionary theory along with the proliferation of modern sciences had led people to see the world as an increasingly fragmented, chaotic and meaningless jumble. Nietzsche recognized the need to establish a set of potent, positive principles that would give direction to the energy and will of Europe. Prophetically, he predicted that if European nihilism were to run unchecked, the following century would bring wars of a kind this earth had never before experienced. In Nietzsche's first book, The Birth of Tragedy, published in 1872, he draws on the work of composer and long-time friend, Richard Wagner, to expound his views on western art and the role of the artist. Nietzsche's admiration for Wagner cooled during the 1870's, however, due largely to Wagner's adherence to anti-Semitic, nationalist, and Christian values. In response to the reactionary stance of his one-time mentor, whose views were shared by Nietzsche's equally anti -Semitic and nationalistic sister, Nietzsche became an outspoken critic of German nationalism, anti -Semitism, and religious dogmatism. Nietzsche's mature period, when he penned his most perceptive and incendiary texts, began with the publication of Human, All-Too-Human in 1878, and culminated with Thus Spoke Zarathustra, published in four parts between 1883 and 1885. Nietzsche wrote each of the first three books during ten day sessions, while living a hermetic existence that was punctuated by battles with his failing health. T he three parts were originally published as separate volumes, and the fourth part did not reach the general public until 1892, more than seven years after it was first completed. Ironically, the sheer vitality and energy of Zarathustra belies the physical and emotional state of its author--Nietzsche was continually plagued by bouts of extreme misery and debilitating illness. Oddly, as Nietzsche's health continued to decline, he became a more prolific writer, perhaps sensing his inevitable mental collapse. In an outstanding display of stamina and inspiration, he wrote Beyond Good and Evil, On The Genealogy of Morals, The Twilight of the Idols, The Antichrist, Ecce Homo, The Case of Wagner, and Nietzsche Contra Wagner between 1886 and 1888. In January 1889, at the sight of a coachman whipping a horse, Nietzsche collapsed and suffered a nervous breakdown. He never fully recovered from this attack, remaining in a vegetative state for the better part of eleven years until expiring in August of 1900.

As Nietzsche's literary executor, his sister, Elisabeth, used her brother's reputation and work to advance her own proto Nazi views. By distorting Nietzsche's theories and selectively publishing works Elisabeth enlisted Nietzsche in support of her own pro-Aryan quasi-fascist agenda. For the first half of the twentieth century Nietzsche was largely misjudged as a precursor to and proponent of the Nazi platform, despite his often explicit abhorrence of German nationalism and anti Semitic sentiments. Nietzsche has had an undeniably profound influence on the development of twentieth century thought. He has played a role in the birth of almost every modern theoretical movement --his philosophical insights and methods were simply decades ahead of their time. Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault, Thomas Mann, George Bernard Shaw, W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, Jacques Derrida, Sigmund Freud, and Jean-Paul Sartre are a few of the innumerable theorists who are indebted to the intellectual struggles of Nietzsche.

Summary
Beyond Good and Evil is a comprehensive overview of Nietzsche's mature philosophy. The book consists of 296 aphorisms, ranging in length from a few sentences to a few pages. These aphorisms are grouped thematically into nine different chapters and are bookended by a preface and a poem. While each aphorism can stand on its own, there is also something of a linear progression between aphorisms within chapters and from one chapter to another. Nonetheless, each aphorism presents a distinctive point of view, and even the indiv idual chapter summaries omit a great deal. The preface accuses philosophers of dogmatism, and the first chapter explores this claim. Every great philosophy, Nietzsche asserts, is little more than the personal confession. Philosophers build up complex systems of thought to justify their own assumptions and prejudices. If we can dig these out, we can see what these philosophers value most deeply, and so gain insight into their character. Nietzsche contrasts their dogmatism with the "free spirit" that is not caught up in a particular point of view. He hopes the philosophers of the future will be characterized by such an experimental method, willing to try out any hypothesis, and follow any argument all the way to its conclusion. After a discussion of the religious spirit, which he claims is a kind of dogmatism, Nietzsche embarks on a series of epigrams, most of which highlight our bizarre psychological make-up. Next, he looks at the long history of moral systems as a set of different attempts at self - overcoming. He speaks out strongly against the morality of the "herd" that encourages a dull mediocrity in all. He finds such a mediocrity in modern scholarship, which is overly concerned with digging up dry, dull facts. Nietzsche's ideal philosopher creates meaning and values, and does not simply deal wit h empty facts. Nietzsche asserts that there is an "order of rank" according to which the spiritual strength of all people can be measured. Because of this difference between people, it would be absurd to apply one moral code to all people. Nietzsche sugge sts that the strongest people are marked by a cruelty to themselves, according to which they mercilessly expose their every prejudice and assumption in order to dig more deeply into themselves. At bottom, however, everyone has prejudices. To prove this point, Nietzsche launches an eight-page tirade against women. Next, he addresses the question of nationalities and nationalism, drawing on a kind of Lamarckism that sees different nationalities or "races" as inherently having certain characteristics. Among o ther things, Nietzsche attacks antiSemitism, criticizes the English, and advances the concept of the "good European," who rises above nationalist sentiment to find true individuality.

He closes the book with a weak poem about such a noble soul sitting on a mountaintop wishing he had more friends. we must turn our animal instincts for cruelty against the creature in us. pillage. they come to see themselves and all their sickly characteristics as "good. They celebrate themselves as "good. and are oppressed and made to suffer by their masters. and Stendhal. we must walk around it. who has risen so far above the common rabble as to be unrecognizable and totally misunderstood by them. among others. which is only touched upon in this work.Nietzsche's position regarding truth. Nietzsche considers Goethe. and identify the masters as "evil" for enjoying life in all their health and riches. A free spirit looks at the world from many different perspectives. which asserts that there is no s uch thing as an absolute truth. suffering soul. For instance. stronger. The will to power. Similarly. Consequently." Also see slave morality. making my mind and my will stronger. caste. to be "good Europeans. who are rich.Nietzsche's ideal citizen of Europe. but merely different perspectives that one can adopt.Someone who has the flexibility of mind not to be caught up in any one point of view or dogma. if I can resist the temptation to assault others. or it can be refined into a cruelty turned against oneself. Good European {good Europeans. Perspectivism . and that if one says "yes" to one thing in the universe. and with an independent mind. They see life as something bad and wrong. Nietzsche often speaks of "herd morality" as the democratic will to render everyone equal in mediocrity." seeing in themselves everything that is noble.The final chapter presents Nietzsche's conception of "what is noble": a solitary. we are both creature and creator. Slave morality . one must necessarily then be saying "yes" to everything. healthy. Nietzsche calls this self -punishment "self-overcoming. but rather look at the truth from as many perspectives as possible.The fundamental drive motivating all things in the universe. We could think of truth as a sculpture. and torture of primitive barbarians. and cheerful. Terms Will to power . Nietzsche's ideal is the person who has the strength and courage for this universal affirmation. lacking any individual will and living by group instincts. who rises above nationalist sentiments in order to assert a free spirited individuality. I can turn that instinct for cruelty inward upon mysel f.The morality of the aristocratic. we must make ourselves deeper and stronger. Sublimation . Napoleon. unhappy slaves. to approximate the overman. and unhappy. good Eurpoeans} . By contrast. The eternal recurrence concerns a recognition that everything is connected and nothing is permanent. This will to power can find unrefined expression in the rape.The morality of the slave caste. seeing the slaves' lot as contemptible and "bad.The central concept of ##Thus Spoke Zarathustra##. Eternal recurrence . Free spirit . where there is no single "right" perspective to look at it. who are poor." . To properly appreciate the sculpture.The act of repressing one's immediate instincts for power in order to achieve a more refined expression of power. In order t o become more noble. good European. Nietzsche insists that we should not get caught up in dogmatism. they establish a distance between themselves and the poor. He sees them as herd animals. In a painful process of self-examination and inner struggle. looking at it from as many different perspectives as possible. uncovering the prejudices and assumptions that underlie any particular point of view. We are both the animal with its instincts for cruelty and aggression and the overman with his self-made will and set of values. or noble. sick." Self-overcoming . Herd .The name Nietzsche often gives to the common. Master morality . mediocre masses." Also see master morality. which Nietzsche refers to elsewhere as the "instinct for freedom." is the drive for autonomy from and dominance over all other wills. sick.According to Nietzsche. struggling to make oneself deeper.

Because facts and things depend for their meaning on ever-shifting and struggling wills. Such philosophy would see moral concepts such as "good" and "evil" as merely surfaces that have no inherent meaning." Nietzsche's ideal philosophers would also turn their will to power inward. There is some sort of line we can trace. Beyond Good and Evil is Nietzsche's perspectivism in practice: we can read every aphorism as one different perspective from which to look at Nietzsche's philosophy. all drives boil down to a will to power. struggling constantly against themselves to overcome their own prejudices and assumptions.Often also called the "superman. Though we can follow trains of thought and make connections along the way. there is no single. suc h as God and morality. linear argument that runs through the book. Our thoughts can flow and change just as things in the universe flow and change. ha s had opposite meanings at different times. Nietzsche sees the facts and things of traditional philosophy as far from rigid. in which Nietzsche proclaims the overman as the end goal of humanity. but essentially we end up with Nietzsche 's philosophy in 9 big pieces . it expresses the world in terms of facts and things." for instance. In specific. which is the source of our conception of truth and other absolutes. because of its unswerving faith in a science that describes the world as meaningless and under the sway of unchanging laws. unlike thoughts. moving from perspective to perspective. once uttered. there is no such thing as one correct or absolute viewpoint. each approximating the whole. but a word. looking at matters from as many differe nt perspectives as possible. cannot be changed. A world of rigid fact s can be spoken about definitively.Literally. according to Nietzsche. Words. and his hatred and disparagement of almost any position can be traced back to that position's temptation to look at the universe as fixed in one place. And just as a hologram is a three-dimensional image made up of infinitesimal two . two -dimensional picture. are fixed. and subject to all sorts of shifts and changes. He is particularly brilliant in analyzing morality. Nietzsche presents his worldview in a series of two -dimensional aphorisms. Every viewpoint is the expression of some will or other. Nietzsche's unorthodox views on truth can help to explain his unusual style. Because Nietzsche does not see the truth as a simple. Nietzsche's ideal "philosophy of the future" is one that is free enough to shift perspectives and overturn the "truths" and other dogmas of rigid thinking. he cannot represent it accurately with a simple linear sketch. such philosophy would thus move "beyond good and evil. but he is alluded to in the commentary. Rather than try to talk about the "truth. Nihilism ." the overman is nowhere mentioned in Beyond Good and Evil. each approximating a more complex worldview. a drive for freedom and domination over other things. At the very bottom of Nietzsche's philosophy lies the conviction that the universe is in a constant state of change. Nietzsche is skeptical of both language and "truth" because they are liable to adopt a fixed perspective toward things. Because language has this tendency toward fixity. which has led philosophers to think of the world as fixed rather than fluid." we should try to remain as flexible as possible. The term is derived from ## Thus Spoke Zarathustra##. Overall Analysis and Themes An understanding of Nietzsche's work as a whole relies on a solid grasp of his views on truth and language. Nietzsche characterized his age as nihilistic.dimensional fragments. The overman is someone who has so refined his will to power that he has freed himself from all outside influences and created his own values. The underlying force driving all change is will. Nietzsche sees the world as complex and three-dimensional: more like a hologram than a two -dimensional picture. The concept of "good" has had different meanings over time because different wills have come to appropriate the concept.Overman . showing how our concept of "good. a belief in nothing. Meaning and interpretation are merely signs that a will is operating on a concept. and his metaphysics and conception of the will to power.

Plato's influence has largely been propagated according to dogmatic readings. While dogmatism bumbles along in all seriousness. Nineteenth . that is immortal and which animates us. If we can believe in the Form of the Good as an absolute.and 296 smaller fragments. who had a tremendous influence on Christianity. Preface Summary Nietzsche opens with the provocative question: "Supposing truth is a woman --what then?" The dogmatism of most philosophers. our task as human beings is to pursue and approximate the Form of the Good. w e should not be surprised that Nietzsche was inclined to see the entire history of philosophy in the systematic terms in which his contemporaries interpreted it. or gross generalizations based on a narrow set of facts. He cites as examples the "soul s uperstition" which remains even in atheistic philosophy as the "subject and ego superstition" as well as seductions of grammar. Because this was the philosophical mood of his day. and most dangerous of errors so far. . Nietzsche identifies dogmatism in this belief in the "pure spirit" and the Form of the Good. As a result. "with so tense a bow we can now shoot for the most distant goals. is a very clumsy way of trying to win a woman's heart. and unchanging Forms that underlie and animate the less real material objects that we perceive. human society. and this task is essentially what all morality is based upon. Nietzsche suggests. This "magnificent tension" i s valued by the kind of people Nietzsche values: "good Europeans and free. and that t ruth and reality reside in invisible. Nietzsche attempts to find the expression of his thoughts in language that best preserves their fluidity and three-dimensionality. he is in part responsible for philosophy's renunciation of dogmatism. In this way. though many persistently t ry to read him as such. the Form of the Good is the anchor for the rest of the Platonic "system" of philosophy. The reading of Plato that Nietzsche associates with dogmatism interprets Plato as saying that the world of the senses is illusory. belief in the absoluteness and eternality of the pure spirit within us allows for a number of inferences about human nature. Dogmatism has been responsible for ##Plato##'s ideals of pure spirit a nd the Form of the Good which Nietzsche calls "the worst. Similarly. Plato also posits the Form of the Good as being the highest of all Forms. earnest of its purpose." and he also indicts Christianity as "Platonism for 'the people. most durable. As a result.century German philosophy was particularly rife with "system" philosophers--the greatest of which was ##Hegel##--who developed from a few basic principles vast. This Plato." Commentary Nietzsche's association of philosophy with dogmatism was more apt in his day than in ours. and human morality. no dogmatism seems wholly satisfactory and philosophy has yet to conquer the truth. very free spirits. the struggle against this dogmatism has created a tension in the spirit of modern Europe. Plato is far from being a dogmatist in many senses. In particular. or soul. According to the popular reading of Plato. Nietzsche suggests. that which is the ultimate ground for all reality. a means to a goal. These beliefs are dogmatic to Nietzsche because they serve as foundations that do not themselves admit of criticism. At this time. and. but that we have a pure spirit. everything else follows from it. complex systems that were supposed to provide complete and thorough explanations of the human experience. but to his credit. eternal. physical things." He accuses Jesuits and democrats of trying to ease this tension rather than feeling it as a need. suggests that our bodies are only temporary.'" However. Nietzsche suggests that the foundations of all dogmatism are based on childish superstitions or prejudices.

Nietzsche examines a number of different philosophers. Nietzsche operates on the maxim that a claim taken as o bviously true is really just based in assumptions so deep that we no longer recognize them as assumptions. Only by walking around it and looking at it from all different angles can we properly appreciate it. but Nietzsche argues that most conscious think ing tends to be informed precisely by instinct. saying "there is only one truth and it must be looked at in this way." 1 . "the most ." Nietzsche believes that every philosophy is. Often. we rarely question the value of truth itself. Nietzsche argues ultimately that all philosophy is grounded on some leap of faith. beginning with the Stoics.Dogmatism. Nietzsche is essentially saying: "check all your assumptions at the door. Philosophy. Instinctively. His position. but only different and equally valid perspectives with which we can look at the truth. where every block has to rest upon another block. from our will to deceive. P hilosophers generally take the foundations of their systems to be very simple and indubitable truths. their instincts and prejudices are usually what inform them. If we see a system as a building. We might think of truth as of a sculpture: by looking at it from only one side." insists that there are not absolute truths. The se philosophers who urged us to live "according to nature" were not trying to re . essentially. Nietzsche's ideal of "free spirits" is of people who do not allow themselves to be tied down to any one perspective. While philosophers claim to base everything in reason and to take nothing on faith. Nietzsche's main objection to Platonism is that it fixes our perspective. they are born from our falsehoods. Nietzsche is often difficult to understand because he argues against anything that parades itself as an absolute truth. For instance. While philosophers generally would like to proclaim their objectivity and disinterestedness. our "truths" are born from our prejudices. which has been called "perspectivism. on the other hand. starting with the opposition of truth and falsehood. The themes outlined in this preface serve to introduce the frame of mind with which the rest of the book must be approached. Nietzsche. to Nietzsche. Nietzsche confronts what he calls the "faith in opposite values. dogmatism.create us in the image of nature (which Nietzsche argues is absurd) but were trying rather to re-create nature in the image they desired. takes these foundations to be childish superstitions and prejudices. It is logically impossible to create a s ystem where every claim in the system is justified by another part of the system. Nietzsche suggests that perhaps the relationship between so-called "opposites" is far more complex. conscious thinking is usually contrasted with instinct. but perhaps falsehood can be a valuable--even indispensable--condition for life." Such an insistence paralyzes our understanding and makes it impossible for us to reason freely. the confession of a philosopher."On the Prejudices of Philosophers" Summary Nietzsche opens by questioning the will to truth that makes us such inquisitive creatures. we don't understand or appreciate the whole sculpture. is taking any claim as an ab solute truth that does not need to be justified. we value truth over falsehood. To elaborate on this point. and our thinking is so influenced by a belief in absolutes that it is often difficult to take Nietzsche at face value. and it gives us more of an insight into that philosopher's character than anything else. Of all the questioning this will excites in us. or faith. we find a bunch of old prejudices called "truths" and a whole system of philosophy built up after the fact to justify these "truths. At bottom. we ultimately must arrive at the foundation blocks upon which all the other blocks rest. I will not accept any objections that are based on any kind of dogmatism." This is the belief that the world can be divided into opposites.

and they come up with reasons why the world should be viewed from their perspective rather than some other. Our "truths." Cause and effect are a part of a larger picture of physics. Nonetheless. Once we abandon a belief in absolute truths and absolute falsehoods. without further assumptions or certainties. Ultimately. falsifies the overall picture. he argues that the will is far more complicated than we make it out to be: the word "I" obscures and fudges together a whole complex of commanding and obeying wills. For instance. and not willing or feeling or something else? Nietzsche is particularly harsh on our conception of "free will." First. they see their moral prejudices and their perspective on things as "truths. philosophy is as much autobiography as anything else: philosophers attempt to justify and to convince others of what it is that drives and motivates them. we need to believe in synthetic a priori judgments and will believe in such a faculty even though we don't actually have it. which see our will as a "cause. This certainty only reflects a lack of reflection on what is meant by "I think." according to Nietzsche. is our cardinal instinct. in claiming truth for that perspective. If one sees a matter from only one perspective. "true" and "false" apply to sentences and propositions. Nietzsche argues that this is a democrat's interpretation of nature: we co uld equally well see it as totally lawless." says Nietzsche. and. Nie tzsche sees the same regularity in nature. we might say. being something expressible only in propositions. Truth. Another prejudice of philosophers is the belief in "immediate certainties. but doesn't interpret this regularity as the proper governance of law so much as the constancy of the domination of stronger wills over weaker ones. according to Nietzsche. Nietzsche argues that it is only "true" that nature operates according to laws if we take a particularly democratic perspective toward the workings of nature." the most famous of which is ##Descartes##' assertion that he cannot possibly doubt that he is t hinking. Truth. but are rather particular interpretations of what we see. one is seeing a distorted and incomplete picture. He argues that ##Kant## never gives anything more than circular reasons for believing that there is a faculty capable of synthetic a priori judgments. governed only by the unfettered assertion of wills. Philosophers are in the business of trying to justify seeing the world in their own particular way. The concept of free will also relies on t he erroneous notions of cause and effect. Kantianism. no point of view can comprehend absolute truth: there are only different perspectives from which one can see a matter. Nietzsche also dissects anti-realism. . that I am thinking. the relationship between truth and falsity becomes richer and more complex. Commentary Nietzsche's understanding of "truth" is subtle and deep. Our interpretation of experience is ultimately based on the perspective we choose. Logically speaking. demands a point of view. are not absolute." Why am I so certain that it is "I" that thinks? That I am the cause of the thinking? Doesn't a thought come to me. it cannot do otherwise. "always creates the world in its own image. a particular perspective. Nietzsche's discussion of wills will be discussed shortly. This "freedom" of the will comes only from identifying this "I" as the source both of the commanding and the obeying. isn't it the thought that thinks? And how can I kno w. and the perspective we choose is largely based on moral assumptions and prejudices: we see the world the way we want to see it. more fundamental even than the instinct of self -preservation.spiritual will to power. According to Nietzsche. Any statement that purports to be true can be seen as expressing a particular point of view. disto rts the bigger picture." As a result. not to things or wills or people." This will to power. and materialistic atomism. according to which nature is governed by laws.

While it is impossible to find a satisfactory expression in language. as a philosopher of the will. and power over one another. all struggling with one another for domination. 1 + 1 = 2 without a doubt. as Nietzsche explains. and so focuses his philosophy more on the will.knowledge. The thoughts of these free spirits are liable to be misinterpreted and dangerously misunderstood by lesser people. the rule is more interesting than the exception. In terms of knowledge." First of all. Essentially. and sometimes justified. Philosophers are at their best when they are questioning themselves and freeing their spirits from their prejudic es. According to Nietzsche. free spirits devoted to knowledge will commit themselves to forgoing their independence and mingling with others. Nietzsche accuses us of misunderstanding "I think" as implying that there is an "I" which is a distinct entity. He calls philosophy the "most spiritual will to power" because it is an attempt on the part of the philosopher to impose his prejudices and assumptions--his "spirit"--on everyone else. we praise or blame an action primarily based on its motives. This change is thus effected by what Nietzsche calls the "will to power. The "truths" of philosophers are expressions of their wills and not simple facts. Why would a mathematician devote his entire life to the pursuit of such truths? What does that say about the mathematician? What does it then say about the truths? What wills are at play. Philosophers most of all should not pos e as defenders of truth or knowledge. and modern. then."The Free Spirit" Summary Nietzsche opens with the suggestion that our knowledge relies on a simplification of the truth that makes it expressible in language and understandable to all. thoughts come to us: we don't create them. The philosopher wants his will to be "truth. but it is in essence a complex of competing wills. Further.The obvious. though this is a difficult and dangerous life to follow. this "I" only appears as a stable thing on the surface. Nietzsche identifies will as the agent of all change in the universe. Nietzsche draws a brief contrast between "pre-moral" societies where the value of an action is found in its consequences. The "truths" of philosophers are just their prejudices. On one's own. To understand what Nietzsche means. A particular perspective taken on the truth is evidence for a particular will claiming dominance. independence. our will to knowledge is built upon." True enough. and thinking. "moral" societies where the value of an action is found in its origin. one faces unknown dangers that no one else will understand. A philosophy of facts and things only reinforces the misconception that the universe is fixed." 2 . objection to lots of talk about relative truths and persp ectives and the like is: "But aren't there some things that are simply true or simply false? That 1 + 1 = 2 doesn't depend on my perspective. we need to understand his conception of the will to power. and no philosopher has even been "proved" right. has upon philosophy. One's successes and failures are entirely one's own and cannot be shared. and p articularly the subject-predicate form. which is an action undertaken by the "I. he also looks beyond our "moral" world . However. what will is dominant in the pursuit of mathematics? These are the questions that interest Nietzsche. and not of facts and things. our will to ignorance. and we only get a part of the picture unless we ask who asserts it and why. which is the source of change in the universe. he suggests. For instance. the significant fact about the universe is that it is always changing. but this truth is a simple fact." To return to the earlier objection. we might be better off substituting for "I think" the less simple sentence: "the will to think became dominant over other wills at such-and-such place and time. Today. All wills struggle for domination. Nietzsche identifies in this an advance over the "pre -moral" valuation since this "moral" worldview places an emphasis on self . One of Nietzsche's pet peeves is the influence that grammar. and is even a refinement of. The "free spirits" among us thrive on isolation and independence. Nietzsche sees people not as "things" or "selves" but as a complex of wills." the strugg le for independence and dominance over other wills. Still.

also explain the workings of the mechanistic. Nietzsche concludes by returning to the nature of free spirits and profound thinkers. as Nietzsche proposes. from which organic life springs. This poi nt is particularly apt for Nietzsche. but only other wills. Truth and knowledge are thus artificial certainties that people can fall back upon." "Free spirits" are so called because they do not allow themselves to be tied down to any of the certainties or "truths" that are based on prejudice. These people often need "masks" to disguise their true nature. They engage in a radical skepticism that drives them to question everything. In order to be independent. Quite to the contrary. Our current morality is based on origins and intentions. he suggests that our outward intentions are a mere surface that covers up a great deal of unconscious motivation. Nietzsche identi fies the new species of philosophers that he sees coming as "attempters. We get a good sense of what this skepticism might entail in Nietzsche's discussion of an "extra -moral" worldview. so that we say a certain action is good or bad depending on the spirit in which it was performed. After a skeptical onslaught in which Nietzsche questions the value of thought.to an "extra. be it other people. However. Because the majority of people remain tied to assumptions and prejudices. Karl Jaspers gives us a clue as to how to read Nietzsche when he says that we should be nowhere satisfied until we have "also found the contradiction. and so will necessarily understand them differently from what they truly are. Thus. we needn't look for additional causes. is ultimately just the relation of our different drives to one another. We need to "overcome" morality. our "truths" are founded on a bedrock of prejudice. truth. or even the spirit of detachment itself or the virtues they admire in themselves. Most people are unable to understand them. he asks. desires. and we tend to simplify and caricature ideas that are above us. he suggests. we can then interpret the world and its "intelligible character" based entirely on the will to power. recognizing that the intentions and motives for actions are just the surface of a far more complex set of drives that need to be uncovered and analyzed.moral" world that recognizes that the true value of an action lies beneath the conscious level in the unintentional drives that motivate it. Will does not affect nerves or dead ma tter. they tend to misunderstand truly deep thoughts." free spirits who will shun dogmatism and embrace the hardships of independence of mind and spirit. they must constantly test themselves and not allow themselves to become attached to anything. but as a primitive form of the organic world. their fatherland. one person's kindness to another might be motivated by an unconscious desire on the first person's part to make herself feel superior to the other. As Nietzsche suggests in the previous ch apter. material world using just our drives as data? If just one agent of causation--will--explains all change. he suggests that we admit nothing as "real" except our drives. and passions. science. Thought. Nietzsche suggests. who forced a reading of Nietzsche that was quite contrary to his intentions. if we can trace all our drives back to a fundamental will to power. (For instance.) . We can only understand things on a level that our intellect is capable of handling. We might interpret the material world not as separate from the organic world. Can we. Commentary Nietzsche's critique of truth and knowledge in this chapter rests larg ely on the claim that anything that is made understandable to the majority of people has necessarily been distorted and simplified. for instance. Nietzsche sees a simplification of the facts in the way this position assumes that our intentions are simple and transparent. morality. the free spirit must appear "masked" to the masses: people cannot understand such freedom of spirit and so interpret it as something else entirely. Nietzsche aims to re -evaluate so many of our assumptions that he is prone to being misinterpreted. and pretty much everything else that has served as a basis for philosophy. whose writings have been so misunderstood and misinterpreted --notably by the Nazis.

humility. In doubting the sovereignty of this "I" we doubt the ex istence of the soul. who denies everything good in life and submits himself to isolation. and so lack a focused will to power. This Christian saintliness is best exemplified by the priestly type. we could see it as motivating the whole cycle of life on this planet. and much else besides. a level that is always more prone to error. our freedom. Nietzsche says. 3 . This title may be meant as a contrast to Nietzsche's earlier labeling of philosophy-to-date as dogmatism. but always greeting them with an open mind. and our strength . We find Nietzsche giving an example of this experimentalism with his discussion of the will to power. nor to respond . He believes that all human behavior is dictated by this will. he remains on the level of generalities. The ideas of God as father. This spirit of sacrifice was refined so that we no longer sacrificed others. Rocks and water simply lack the organization and cohesion of a human body. and chastity. It should come as no surprise that this industrious age is turning away from religion. This ascetic ideal has held a great fascination in all places and times. While Nietzsche's "experiment" may rest upon a bold and ingenious exercise of creativity. thought is not an ideally rational and disinterested activity. The power of the saint. Further. Instead. Of course. While Nietzsche suggests that the modern age is atheistic. Religion demands sacrifice. but sacrificed ourselves instead. never discarding them for their unattractiveness. God does not seem to hear us. these "attempters" will be remarkable for their flexibility and their careful evasion of all prejudice. We surrendered our will. If this will to power also governs ou r drive for reproduction and nutrition. religion demands a leisure class that can look down on work. and he suggests that we test this hypothesis experimentally. In questioning the subject-predicate form of grammar. That I think one thing rather than another is merely a sign that one drive is dominant over another inside me. Nietzsche asserts that the new breed of free -spirited philosophers will be "attempters" (or "experimenters. he suggests that the will to power isn't present only in living things. seeing it as a distraction from spiritual matters. lies precisely in the mystery of the value of all this self -denial. so that. Nietzsche suggests that if we can identify one efficient cause that can explain all phenomena. but even there the will to power is operating. pride. it has questioned whether there really is an "I" distinct from its predicates. or rewarder are no longer valid. but can also be found in dead matter. judge. They will constantly be juggling new ideas. Nietzsche falls into the frustrating habit of most philosophers of suggesting that we can work out the details but never bothering to do the detail work himself. this sacrifice was of a loved one or a first born: one was asked to sacrifice one's nearest and dearest. and in primitive religions. Modern philosophy has been a great help to the growth of atheism.debasement appear as the highest form of good. Also. but still religious. but is rather a struggle between different drives within the thinker. albeit one that has evolved beyond theism. Nietzsche is far from careful or precise in what he means by all this. for instance. as the saint then effects a reversal whereby he is able to make his self. The saint exemplifies a new form of power. self -confidence of spirit.Late in the chapter. Nietzsche suspects that the will to power can serve as this one efficient cause."What is Religious" Summary Nietzsche considers the demands that Christianity makes: for renunciation of freedom. a new will to power. but his discussion of the will to power is only mean t to show how his "experimental method" could be carried out: this is not meant to be an instance of it. he thinks it is marked by an ever stronger religious spirit. Someone willingly submitting himself to such torture must know something the rest of us don't k now." depending on the translation). While previous philosophers have built up complex systems meant to justify underlying prejudices. it lacks the rigor and detail that the experimental method of science calls for. we are better off than if we need to rely on many different causes. Nietzsche characterizes us today as being atheistic.

We need something to aim for." They then came to identify themselves --weak. chastity. and worship that instead. If we can see a universe of meaningless events. it comes to value the suffering and the weakness in those it cares for. Those who have no power in this life are convinced that they will have power in another life. will lead to wars unlike any this earth has ever seen. to the force that he hopes will oppose nihilism. To the ruling classes. Because the Christian instinct has grown so powerful in Europe. or we will give up on life entirely. as an exemplar of reason fighting against faith and superstition. Christianity encourages and rewards the sicknesses and weaknesses that Nietzsche thinks we sh ould try to overcome." and sees it as a great danger. As a result. Having sacrificed our God. and so turns his aggression inward. it has developed a Europe that sees this mediocrity as a goal worth pursuing. According to Nietzsche. wishing nothing more than its constant repetition. In science. It effects a total reversal in our moral valuations. However. so that weakness and suffering are considered "good" and health and strength are considered "evil. and worship rocks. To the masses. and c reates a heaven that rewards poverty. Ni etzsche characterizes this lack of positive faith as "nihilism. some higher goal. "the nothing": we have traded G od in for science.Christian "slave revolt of morality. strong.) Nietzsche only alludes briefly. If we delve deep enough into this pessimism and nihilism. This morality was reversed by the Judeo . nor free came to resent the people in positions of power and identified them as "evil. Primarily. This means preserving the majority who are sick and weak of spirit. following one after the other. who finds power in a turning -inward of all aggressive instincts. gravity. developing resentment toward those who oppress him. and happiness. if left unchecked. It is fashionable to see science as the antithesis of religion. an d delight in this. But religion does not only serve others' purposes. sick. Nietzsche lives in an age that has become increasingly atheistic. and humility. Nietzsche suggests we might find the most life affirming spirit of all. it is a means to relate to their subjects and to keep them in line. and poor--as "good. Religion can mean different things for different people. health. the one thing in which we had placed all our hopes and faith. but in which he believes the Christian instinct toward weakness and mediocrity is stronger than ever. Nietzsche characterizes the majority of humanity as "weak" and "sick" because they lack the power to direct their aggressive instincts outward. it seeks to preserve and care for the human species. . but even God. Christianity panders to this majority. Because the majority of us are similarly incapable of outward aggression. Nietzsche does not see science as a force opposed to religion so much as he sees it as religion's latest development." This is the remarkable reversal of the ascetic priest or saint. it teaches them to rest content in their lowly position. it teaches self -discipline and prepares it for future rule. A poor slave cannot find any outlet for his animal instincts. (In another work. To a rising class. Christianity has purposes of its own. asceticism has grown so strong that it has renounced not only strength. but would wis h it repeated into all eternity. Science has become supremely powerful in this age because it preaches that there is no meaning at all: there are just the laws of physics and the interactions of matter. and that their undesirable opposites were bad.to our God. the next logical step was that taken by Christianity: we sacrificed our God. who was previously the only justification for asceticism." While we can admire the "spiritual men" of Europe. Thus." where those who were neither healthy. Nietzsche prophetically hints that the nihilism of his ag e. It persuades us to rest content in our weakness rather than to try to grow strong. Nietzsche concludes that this devaluation of all our noble instincts has bred a Europe of mediocrity and banality. in section 56. however. freedom. Commentary Underlying much of what Nietzsche says here is the important contrast between master mo rality and slave morality. the person that is not only reconciled with all that is. morality was originally a matter of saying that health. Having completely sacrificed ourselves. strength. and the like were good. we are now left with nothing.

. Nietzsche suggests why we fail to recognize the darker motives behind many of our thoughts and actions: "'I have done that." our strongest drive.' says my pride. For instance. We are made up of conflicting drives. Our pride does not permit us to see ourselves as we really are." at the climax of ## Thus Spoke Zarathustra##. and our reason is far from being able to take an unbiased perspective toward these drives. This inner struggle is a difficult one that only the strongest are adequately equipped to cope with. etc. Deleuze's is just one interpretation of the eternal recurrence. and will work all kinds of self -deception to hide us from ourselves. he says: "In front of ourselves we all pose as simpler than we are: thus we take a rest from our fellow men. However. or of several other. If our drives can find nothing in the world to struggle against. called the "eternal recurrence. for instance. this summary and commentary will trace several themes that run throughout. says more about ourselves than about those we dislike: "The vanity of others offends our taste only when it offends our vanity" (176). if we can acknowledge that nothing is fixed. a careful observer can catch hints of what lies beneath by the way we unconsciously betray ourselves: "Even when the mouth lies. and considers this the culmination of all his philosophy. a thought Nietzsche . He challenges our habit of seeing our motivations and drives as transparent and easily understood. In a particularly brilliant epigram. morality. we will celebrate the "being of becoming. nobody seems to agree on what the eternal recurrence is or what it means. we will see the universe as being in a perpetual process of becoming. affects" (117). Our inner life is more like a battlefield than an open book. who discusses the eternal recurre nce as the "being of becoming. morality. Plato's Forms.or two-line epigrams on a wide range of topics." We seem to assume that we understand ourselves perfectly well. but Nietzsche suggests that in fact we are far more complicated than we think. and yet celebrate this inconstancy. and to accept it for what it is without any belief in or hope for anything beyond this life. Nietzsche writes. in section 100. are all just expressions of different drives. One of the better formulations comes from Gilles Deleuze. Our dislike for others. In section 158. Nietzsche's metaphysics rests on the assertion that the fundamental nature of the universe is change.we will have found affirmation precisely in the emptiness of the nihilism that threatens us. Eventually--memory yields" (68). Walter Kaufmann provides a less adv enturous account when he suggests that the eternal recurrence simply means the recurrence of the same events over and over without change. There is no will that is purely our own: "The will to overco me an affect is ultimately only the will of another. thoughts. Nietzsche introduces this idea.' says my memory. and remains inexorable. Our reason." and will have freed ourselves from all dogmatism and faith. 4 . If we focus on what is changing rather than what is remaining the same. he asserts that both our reason and our conscience bow toward "the tyrant in us. Rather than try to touch on each epigram individually. In spite of many differences in interpretations. Nietzsche focuses largely on psychological observations. they turn inward and struggle against themselves. and not constancy. the way it looks still tells the truth" (166). nothing is true. there seems to be a consensus that this culmination of Nietzsche's philosophy rests in the ability to say "yes" to all of life. Unfortunately."Epigrams and Interludes" Summary This chapter is made up of 122 short one. 'I cannot have done that. and identify a few epigrams as particularly illustrative. or the laws of science. All philosophy and religion looks for some kind of permanence in which to ground things. "The familiarity of those who are superior embitters because it may not be returned" (182). the good and the bad. However. be it God." If we recall. "Under peaceful conditions a warlike man sets upon himself" (76). Nietzsche's observations dig up a number of facts we try t o keep hidden.

This view of psychology then informs much of Nietzsche's criticism. but comes to represent the competing drives within us and their drive to remake our view of the world in the image they desire. he suggests we might find the origin of a great deal of our morality in the fact that "our vanity desires that what we do best should be considered what is hardest for us. sexuality. Christianity. Given that Beyond Good and Evil presents a far more cohesive philosophy than those earlier works. not arranged in any particular order. The Dawn. and developed his conception of the overman and the eternal recurrence. If Beyond Good and Evil is to present Nietzsche's thought in its completeness. He battles against the conception of the human mind and will as being unified and transparent. When Nietzsche was writing." Morality does not exist in itself. including remarks on the nature and value of knowledge. which were introduced in ##Thus Spoke Zarathustra##. and teaching and learning. and does not represent the whole complex of drives that make us up.deception is a concept that is only possible when the "self" can be divided into deceiver and deceived. The other chapters play upon themes that took shape with the advent of Nietzsche's mature philosophy. Nietzsche often refers to our vanity or our pride convincing us that our motives or feelings are different than they are.expresses in one of his more famous epigrams: "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. This chapter does largely that. it would be static: such dynamic processes as thought and conscience could not exist. Self . That we even have an inner life suggests that there are multiple drives competing within us for dominance. however. but is instead just a way of looking at the world that is d irected by our inner drives: "There are no moral phenomena at all. Nietzsche sees morality as born out of our inner struggle. And when you look long into an abyss. nationalism. the idea of the unconscious had not been introduced. These observations served as the raw data from which Nietzsche built his mature philosophy. but aphorisms organized into chapters. All-Too-Human. Much of what Nietzsche says here is more comprehensible and agreeable to us in the post-Freudian world. If we see our mind as a battlefield of competing drives. If it were. The subject matter of this chapter is also more akin to these earlier books. the psychology of women (not Nietzsche's strong point). From these observations he inferred the will to power as the underlying drive that motivates all things. it must also present the psychological and other observations upon which his more organized thoughts were built. and developing the major conclusions of Nietzsche's mature period. but only a moral interpretation of phenomena" (108). Starting with Zarathustra. Nietzsche's view of psychology has been touched upon earlier. They were laden with disconnected series of witty and insightful psychological and other observations. In section 143. they lack the shape and direction of the thoughts developed in the other chapters. For instance. we might ask what purpose these "interludes" serve. Because these observations are the basis for. In p articular. morality is no longer seen as a simple and rational matter. What we think of ourselves is always biased by the perspective of whatever drive is dominant at a particular time. Human. in Beyond Good and Evil we get not a disconnected series of aphorisms. and the prevailing theme in Western philosophy of mind was a Cartesian rationalism that saw the mind as an open book. and not the result of. and The Gay Science are all collections of aphorisms and epigrams on various themes. Nietzsche's thought took on a more cohesive and directed shape. we can no longer assume that we can take an unbiased look at ourselves. Nietzsche's mature philosophy. the abyss also looks into you" (146). the one t hing that could be known . building upon themes. The epigrams in this chapter also cover a number of other topics. Commentary This section is a return to the style of some of Nietzsche's earlier writings.

the teacher makes the child see the world according to the teacher's perspective. any aggressive members of that community come to be seen as a threat. and spirituality has occurred through constant and harsh discipline. We have come to see everything healthy. We could see Nietzsche in some ways as a precursor to Freud. we are all inventors. This morality of the "herd" then proclaims itself as the only true morality (other moralities are "immoral") and as the savior of the herd. and in searching for a "rational foundation" for morality. Nietzsche also uses examples of charity and education as means of possession. Unable to see outside the perspective of their own morality. Nietzsche suggests. He calls for a species of "new philosophers" to arise and lead the way out of this longing for peace and mediocrity. dangerous. we don't see the detail of every branch and leaf. 5 . For instance. while another feels this possession is only worthwhile if the woman is willing to give up everything for him. in educating. but also in what they take to be possession of what they pursue. the law. Commentary . but only glance at the rough shape of the whole. There have always been more people obeying than commanding. and from that construct all the smaller details in our head. Freud acknowledged a great debt to Nietzsche. Nietzsche worries democratic sentiments may tame us and render us all equal in medioc rity with no way out.with certainty. but Nietzsche despises moralizers precisely because they generalize on matters that depend greatly on the individual. Anything great that we have achieved or become has been the result of a strict obedience in one particular direction over a long period of time. People differ not only in what they think is worth pursuing. For instance. those who command are almost ashamed of it. and liars: our so called "knowledge" is our own make-believe." which con sidered the rich. violent. mediocre mass. and sensual to be evil. This morality of the "herd" claims in the name of "happiness" that we sho uld avoid our darker instincts. the teacher thus comes to possess another soul. and passionate about ourselves as pathological. and dare only do so if they do it in the name of God. This second kind of possession is made the more valuable the more deeply the woman knows the man. or the people. but simply because the majority is suited to submissiveness we should not conclude that this is a general principle that all should obey. artists. One man may feel he "possesses" a woman if he can have sex with her."Natural History of Morals" Summary Morality is as old as humanity. In this sense. while considering the poor holy. thinking. all they really do is try to ju stify their own morality. when we see a tree. Moral philosophers today lack this historical perspective. Nietzsche asserts that we actually register far less than we think we do. so the man must be able to make himself known to her as best he can. and indeed. and there have been many different kinds of morality across the millennia. In a community that is safe from external threats. Nietzsche suggests that our moral valuations are based largely on fear. we really take in only a few words and then fit those words into what we already think we know. Great art. This may be true for some. they are unable to see the concept of morality itself as problematic and needing to be questioned and justified. preferring the safety of a tamed. Thus. our morality condemns all that is lively. Similarly when we read a book. Nowadays. Only through a kind of enslavement and hardship can we refine ourselves. Nietzsche bemoans the "slave revolt in morality.

Now I will feel my neighbor is in my debt and will have a greater. Nietzsche sees all drives as resting ultimately on the will to power. we channel it and redirect it in order to give it a refined. democracy. one will be a sla ve. I will have sublimated my will to power. Nietzsche does not pretend to be speaking to everybody. if I resist the urge to beat up my neighbor. Democracy is just one more attempt to force us all to be equal. A sublimated will to power is a result of a struggle that demands that we make life as difficult as possible. exist in la rge part precisely to keep these freer. more subtle. and it will not take a side. After all. more dangerous spirits in line. a refined will to power. the obedience of artists teaches th em to sublimate their will to power so that their feeling of power reaches a climax in the act of creation. it will rest content in having highlighted just one way in which Nietzsche's bold worldview is mightily at odds with everything we presently take for granted. the modern European has no will. Thus. I get a simple and immediate gratification. wants to speak for everyone. In order for him to reveal himself deeply to the woman.As we have discussed earlier. what greater feeling of power is there than to know that one is the source of something truly beautiful? We also see the concept of sublimation present in Nietzsche's discussion of possession. but if one is unable to obey. morality. and more sublime feeling of power than if I had just beaten him up. and other "taming" forces. We have now found a formula for what Nietzsche considers to be good: sublimated will to power. encourages self -knowledge. If one is unable to command. and instead give him a gift. most of us have been brought up to think of democracy as a great thing. Our consumer. While it is easy for an atheist reader of Nietzsche to nod passively at his criticisms of Christianity. What worries Nietzsche is that the minority that is potentially great has been seduced by the preaching of the herd and has attempted to follow the same rules as everyone else.driven society is fully geared toward making life as easy as possible for everyone. one will be a mindless barbarian. His example of the man who "possesses" a woman by having sex with her has only the basic non -sublimated animal instincts of lust. While Nietzsche admires the "healthy" power of the violent barbarian. True artists submit themselves to all kinds of rigorous laws in order to discipline themselves and their art. he admires this power only as an alternative to the impotency of the modern European. and higher expression. and not some false conception of him. This commentary will not attempt a synthesis of Nietzsche and the democratic spirit. which is now the only ethic. if she knows him deeply. The man who wants the woman to give up everything for him wants a more refined feeling of power over the woman. the liberal democracies of today would seem far worse to Nietzsche than his own Germany. among other things. In urging us to sublimate our will to power. The slave is powerless. Nietzsche clarifies the importance of sublimation in his suggestion that refinements in art. Everyone should love his or her neighbor. longer. and spirituality depend upon a kind of obedience. Nietzsche calls this "herd" morality because it speaks to our herd instinc ts. Nietzsche claims. but for those who can create. These rules. The Christ ian ethic. Obedience and sublimation go hand in hand. This man also recognizes that he can only be certain that the woman is giving up everything for him. it might raise a few eyebrows when he vilifies democracy. everyone should act with the happiness of the greatest number in mind. thinking. If anything. . My b eating up my neighbor and my giving my neighbor a gift are both expressions of my will to power. Some of us were simply born to be mindless slaves. It assumes that we are all the same and should all follow the same rules. However. or me diocrity. according to Nietzsche. Most of us lack the talent and the discipline for truly great art. he must first know himself deeply. Beating up my neighbor is about as unsubtle an expression of power as there is. a nd those people are not his concern. But how is it that two totally opposite deeds can ultimately boil down to the same will? Nietzsche suggests that we learn to sublimate our will to power. they are both ways in which I can gain a feeling of power over my neighbor. and the barbarian lacks sublimation.lasting. If we contrast what Nietzsche considers worth pursuing with other moralities. we can understand why he so bitterly despises utilitarianism. instead.

As a result. he is often unclear as to what precisely a "real" philosopher might be like and how precisely the common university philosopher differs from this ideal. Nietzsche suggests. thinking is a light and easy process. By means of contrast. a philosopher would rebel against the democratic spirit of the time. they lack self -knowledge and strong passions. For these philosophers. Such a creative act is the sign of a strong and sublimated will to power. A philosopher must not just describe the world. The great success of science and scholarship has generally encouraged philosophy to lower itself to the level of lab oring on behalf of science. Nietzsche characterizes true genius as "one who either begets or gives birth. what is an uninterpreted fact?) is a sign that some will is taking possession of that fact. A removal of oneself from one's work and a craving for generalities can be beneficial in that it helps us make sense of what we already know and thereby helps us to come to terms with and overcome our past. it is a means that can be used by philosophers and artists to create something new. and discovering. While scholars and philosophical laborers seek to clear up the past. which he associates with mediocrity. Commentary Nietzsche spends most of this chapter blasting modern scholarship or exalting his vision of what a philosopher should be in vague but vigorous language. but must also give meaning to the world. Philosophers. The first kind of skepticism. Socrates. as opposed to "philosophical laborers. Nietzsche discusses a different kind of skepticism that he associates with Frederick the Great's influence. Such grea t minds need to be bred and cultivated. The most notable characteristic of a Nietzschean philosopher is that such a philosopher must be a creator and a legislator. concerning itself with the theory of knowledge. However."We Scholars" Summary The main contrast of this chapter is between real philosophers as Nietzsche conceives of them and "philosophical laborers" and scholars. philosophers look to the future and say " thus it shall be." These scholars are not self . and are always struggling against the spirit of the present. A real philosopher must be able to rise above all this science. This kind of skepticism is strongwilled and intrepid. and they thrive on a mediocrity that seeks to eliminate everything that is unusual or irregular. they are necessarily out of place in the here and now. for instance. . rebelled against the aristocratic spirit of his day. Today. showing the nobles by means of his irony that they were just as stupid and weak as he or anybody else. Most of us find careful thinking difficult." Because they speak for tomorrow. According to Nietzsche. and therefore serious.sufficient or creative. seeking solitude and difference. don't have the strength of will to be philosophers." are legislators and creators. Nietzsche is critical o f the objective spirit of modern scholars. never resting content with easy answers but always questioning. on the contrary. Rather.6 . As we saw earlier. Nietzsche dislikes the spirit of objectivity that reigns in scientific research because there is a total absence of will. there is no such thing as an objective standpoint: an interpretation of any fact (and Nietzsche might ask. Nietzsche also discusses two kinds of skepticism that he associates with these two different types. but this becomes increasingly difficult as our body of knowledge grows increasingly larger. is plagued by doubts that i nhibit all kinds of action. By reassuring themselves with doubts. these skeptics pursue science and objectivity. seeking." and mockingly associates scholars with old maids: neither is "conversant with the two most valuable functions of man. we should not see this objective spirit as an end in itself. Most of us.

while self effacement can be a virtue in some people. He is a "man of tomorrow and the day after tomorrow" because he creates new values that will influence the future. and second. All acts of creation are acts of interpretation. For instance. Some people simply have stronger and more refined spirits than others. Nietzsche suggests that a philosopher should be a creator of values. This concept might become clearer if we understand it in terms of a sublimated will to power. The earlier example was of suppressing the instinct to beat up one's neighbor. and persuading others to share that interpretation. Thus. Nietzsche's complaint is precisely that Kant does not create a new system of values. The only clear example he uses is Socrates. and to gain instead a more sublime feeling of power by putting that nei ghbor in one's debt. In creating a work of art. who is undeniably responsible for one of the most influential systems of ethics in the modern world. Nietzsche is quite explicit elsewhere in criticizing moral philosophers for doing very little more than coming up with reasons to justify what they already believe. This second criticism is more apt than the first: Nietzsche admires ##Napoleon##. then. he suggests that all great moral philosophers have created a value system of sorts.'" . Specifically. the self -effacement of a born leader who doesn't feel worthy of taking charge would be the waste of a virtue. but he does not consider Napoleon to be a philosopher. The creative instinct is an example of an even more deeply sublimated will to power. and all acts of interpretation express a will to power. Walter Kaufmann criticizes the simplicity with which Nietzsche presents his position. who urged his fellow Athenians toward self -knowledge and a more rational way of thinking that relied on careful definitions as well as a recognition of one's own ignorance. one is interpreting the world in a certain way. a man who set up a new code of laws. The difference. Nietzsche is often critical of ##Kant##. A great deal of Nietzsche's writings deal with morality and the way that morality has shaped our history. Philosophers who create their own morality will thus create a new world order. but rather comes up with reasons for justifying a morality t hat is already accepted and which he already holds. The idea of divine justice was invented so that people could falsely claim that we are all equal on a fundamental level. As soon as we try to imagine what these philosophers might look like we recognize the vagueness of Nietzsche's formulation.To say that a philosopher must "give meaning to the world" hardly gets us beyond the vagueness Nietzsche himself presents us with. 7 . First. and this hatred is most commonly expressed in moralizing against and condemning the higher spirits. Different moralities impose dif ferent kinds of order on the world. As we discussed in the previous commentary. but one is also expressing one's power over the world by submitting it to one's own point of view. between Kant and a philosopher more after Nietzsche's heart is that Nietzsche's ideal philosopher is free from the morality of his own day. we are left pretty much in the dark. by making them see the world in a certain way. But beyond this one example and the vague notion that a philosopher must be creative and not caught up in present-day morality. The first criticism is a little weaker. "it is immoral to say: 'what is right for one is fair for the other. sublimation consists of suppressing one 's immediate instincts for domination in order to achieve a more sublime and satisfying feeling of power. Those of lower rank hate those who are exceptional. In that sense. for example."Our Virtues" Summary One of the driving concepts in this chapter is that there is an "order of rank" that exists between people and between moralities. one is not only exerting power over others. No moral philosopher seems to consider that perhaps no moral laws are universally applicable. he suggests that a legislator of values who does not also do the analysis and scholarly work of the "philosophical laborer" is not a philosopher. and answering it might give us a clearer sense of what Nietzsche means.

Pity for suffering is essentially pity for the creature in us that is being remade into somethi ng greater. Nietzsche feels pity only for the creator in us that is being stifled by modern society. but celebrated. to doubt all assumptions. For instance. To rest content with them as the ultimate basis of any system displays an unwillingness to dig deeper. While we normally associate "truth" with "knowledge. Commentary Considering Nietzsche's cavalier attitude toward the truth. Nietz sche suggests that humans are unique in being both creature and creator: we necessarily make ourselves suffer in our creative efforts to make ourselves greater." The rant goes on for several pages: Nietzsche argues that women are pretty and superficial and are at their best when using their charms to make men take care of them. Because misery loves company. Among the virtues of Nietzsche's ideal philosophers of the future. If we recall the earlier analogy of reality as a statue.my truths. in Nietzsche's understanding of the phrase." We like to think that we've killed our animal instincts for cruelty when in fact we've rendered them divine by turning them against ourselves. is merely one way of covering up self -contempt. Nietzsche goes so far as to suggest that all of higher culture is derived from the "spiritualization of cruelty. For instance. we all have a set of unshakeable convictions that make up the core of our being. however. as you prefer) is paramount. looking at it from all sorts of angles.Pity. but we learn to our dismay that we are descended from apes and are not essentially different from them. it might seem odd that this chapter essentially lauds the pursuit of knowledge as the highest goal for Nietzsche's philosophers of the future. For these reasons. on the other hand." As if to prove that this core does indeed consist of stupidity. When Nietzsche talks about "truth" he almost always uses a tone of derision. Even in the freest of free spirits. we would like to believe that we are naturally higher beings. To say that Nietzsche claims that women should be locked up in the kitchen is only half right: while he suggests that men should treat women as possessions. a self-condemning person will feel pity for others in order to suffer with them. he also argues that women lack the subtlety and intelligence to make good cooks. Ple asure and pain. like pity. involves free inquiry into the way things are. we uncover truths we would have been happier not knowing. so that one is unable to see a matter from any different point of view. To believe in "truth" is to allow one's perspective to become locked." which he opens with the disclaimer: "these are after all only -. that say "this is I. this digging for truth will hit bedrock. we might consider the pursuit of knowledge to be an inquisitive stroll around the statue. Pain and pleasure are mere sensations that point to deeper drives working within us." it is crucial to our understandi ng of Nietzsche to recognize that he does almost the opposite. Nietzsche shares some of his unshakeable convictions about "woman as such. and to ponder what motivates our will to adopt this or that way of looking at the world and then proclaim it to be the only way. He mocks the feminist movement for trying to make women more like men. and any philosophy that stops with those impulses --such as utilitarianism--is shallow. and go against our natural inclination for superficiality and shallowness. suffering is not something to be avoided (if that were possible). Knowledge. Nietzsche claims that this pursuit of knowledge is a sublime . The pursuit of knowledge. and a "truth" as a fixed point of view. at bottom. Nietzsche condemns the shallowness of the utilitarian emphasis on pain and pleasure. are mere surfaces for our deeper drives." These expressions of what is fundamentally settled in us show "the great stupidity we are. this will to go deeper than all superficialities (call it honesty or cruelty. The search for knowledge is one of the highest forms of cruelty. The knowledge that scholars try to look at with disinterest is precisely what interests Nietzsche. Fundamentally. is to see all "truths" as fixed perspectives.

and while his criticisms are often viciously accurate. As a result. In the end. these generalizing titles obscure the mo re complex and subtle fact that. First of all. While his attitude toward the Jews is far more complex and admiring than anti-Semitic interpreters believe. Nietzsche opens his rant with a disclaimer that these are his "truths . Nietzsche calls it honesty --the ability to look oneself in the eye and challenge every last assumption. A great deal of this chapter deals with Nietzsche's discussion of different races. for example. and now he is finding what there is in himself to laugh about." with as much clarity as possible. Nietzsche's confession of his prejudice against women can also help us to highlight a more general weakness in his writing: he has a tendency to see people according to types. Nietzsche suggests that even "good Europeans" descend into such stupidity for brief moments. while Nietzsche lauds the ability to remain free -spirited and see matters from all sorts of different points of view. it will also prove the source for a very few. are made up of a great mixture of bloods: there is no such thing as "pure" German." Nietzsche finds modern Europe most strongly characterized by the democratic movement that will mix the races of Europe together. He generalizes about race a great deal. In a sense. creating increasingly less national distinctiveness. the German spirit is complex and mysterious. while i ts instinct to rest content with simple "truths" writhes and screams. however. Nietzsche asserts that we cannot eliminate the creature in us . and this criticism could also be extended to Nietzsche's remarks about Christianity and democracy. Nietzsche tends to caricature his opponents. one of the virtues o f digging deeply into oneself is to uncover one's own prejudices. and he has greater courage than most of us in being able to admit to his prejudices and even to laugh at them. Nietzsche's "truths" seem largely to be about women. and suggest that stopping with "Christian" or "democrat" is like stopping with "pleasure" or "pain". however. Rather than dismiss it or laugh it off. more than any other race." He has mocked "truth" from the start. without any firm definition. we could even use Nietzsche's own method. and its sublimated will to power. but we have to stop somewhere. let us try to be as charitable as we can. 8 . His discussion of truth and his blatant example of prejudice also highlight an interesting new twist to his perspectivism . Clearly. We may dig very deeply and overturn all sorts of prejudices and assumptions. he himself acknowledges that his bias against women is unreasonable. While i t will breed a great deal of mediocrity. we should ask what Nietzsche's misogyny can teach us about him and his thought. but this is done for the sake of our better half. he is convinced that no one is totally free from being fixed in a certain perspective. This kind of inquiry takes mental courage and flexibility. While heavy spirits spend half their life wallowing in the prejudices and narrow -mindedness of nationalistic sentiment. this chapter deals primarily with nationalism and nationali ties. . it is highly contestable that they apply to all Christians or all democrats. the creator in us. The Germans. We suffer as the creature in us. and wherever we stop there will be a set of assumptions. particularly the Germans. but is alw ays digging deeper and upsetting one's assumptions. and are often considered a profound race."Peoples and Fatherlands" Summary As the title suggests. He alludes to his earlier remarks abo ut women as "a plop and relapse into old loves and narrownesses. all sorts of different people believe in democracy for all sorts of different reasons. one's own "truths. Nietzsche does have a tendency to talk about "the Jews" as though what he says could possibly apply to all Jews. In fact.form of cruelty to oneself: one never allows oneself to rest content with any truth. It seems that. a set of "truths" lying underneath. The Germans see this complexity as profundity. very exceptional spirits.

when reading was always done aloud. to create new values. and made lighter by its contact with the Mediterranean. While Nietzsche's praise of the Jews might seem as commendable as his attack on the English might seem narrow minded. and this could only be to Europe's benefit. among other things. Contrary to anti -Semitic paranoia. shallow. These are races whose creative drive is absorbed by the cultur es they contact. ##Stendhal##. The true French spirit of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is artistic. in spite of Nietzsche's criticisms of what Wagner became. the Jews. need to beget and impregnate. This philosophy led. Heinrich Heine. They are unphilosophical. He takes the Greeks and the French as examples of "fe minine" races. to vicious stereotypes and racism. The most exemplary figures of the nineteenth century. and races that. We might ask how much of the rest of this chapter consists of remarks that a "good European" might be ashamed of. Free spirits want more than the knowledge that these men dig up so well: free spirits want to be something new. like women. Now that everyone reads silently. and that German anti-Semitism arises precisely because Germany is unable to cope with the strength of Jewish spirit. while they are responsible for slave morality and the grand style of moralizing. The English. or Herbert Spencer. Goethe. in both the figurative and litera l senses. sensitive. Nietzsche asserts that Europe fundamentally longs to be united. Nietzsche admits that even those who are above nationalism sometimes descend into petty prejudices and the like. Nietzsche suggests the contrary. ##Beethoven##. this creative act has been one of the greatest Europe has ever seen. Nietzsche draws a distinction between races that. Nietzsche suggests Romans and Germans. Nietzsche argues. The common conception of the Jews saw them as an effeminat e race that lacked any creative instinct of their own. need to be fertilized and give birth. and lack any sense of music or dance. like men. Nietzsche suggests that the Jews do not want to take over Europe. Among "masculine" races. pass ionate. Most notable is his opposition to anti -Semitism. In ancient times. Nietzsche cites as examples ##Napoleon##. but merely stole from other cultures. the sound of a language was crucial. like Mill. are also responsible for the democratic French ideals that come from figures such as ##Rousseau##. While Nietzsche doesn't seem to question the basic principle that certain characteristics can meaningfully be applied to an entire race. Rather. Nietzsche asserts that the Jews are the strongest race in Europe. Schopenhauer. In spite of prevailing nationalism.Nietzsche criticizes German literature and language for lacking a sense of rhythm and tempo. Nietzsche isn't so charitable with the English. Nietzsche also knocks away the anti-Semitic assumption that Germans come from . there are few writers who still understand the natural music of language. He even alludes once more to his vitriolic remarks about women in the previous chapter. which came to see different races as having different "acquired characteristics." From living together in the same place with the sam e needs for extended periods. rely on insipid Christian moralizing. saying that. giving the impetus for great creations. and the pursuit of knowledge is of secondary importance. different nationalities would develop different characteristics to help them adapt to their environment. A prevailing view in nineteenth century Europe was a kind of Lamarckism adapted by the likes of Herbert Spencer. The best of England are mediocre men with good minds. he is very clever in reversing many of the stereotypes. but above all. Nietzsche claims. and even Wagner. we must recognize that they come from the sam e source. Nietzsche speaks highly of the Jews. have all risen above their own nationality. that the Jews are a "masculine" race that plants the creative seed that blossoms in other cultures. Commentary At the beginning of the chapter. they want to be assimilated by Europe. ##Darwin##. who assimilate the force and spirit of other races and craft it into something beautiful.

All organic processes rely on some form of exploitation of the weaker by the stronger. Rather. This caste must believe that there is an order of rank that differentiates great humans from the commoners. on the other hand. to Nietzsche. he lauds the pursuit of knowledge as the highest possible pursuit. are the meaning and end goal of their society. and that they. He writes in earlier chapters about how a great thinker is always "masked" and must rarely reveal his true colors. and prejudices that allows one to create meaning. as being of the highest rank. 9 ." The slaves. come to see their oppressive masters as "evil." and look down upon the weak. and will to power is exploitation. The "knowledge" of a Darwin or a Spen cer is the digging up of facts." The masters see themselves. language. A final point worth noting is Nietzsche's disparagement of English thinkers as being obsessed with knowledge. Society exists in order to create the few exceptional individuals that are its crowning glory. It seems a great deal of his discussion of race in this chapter is meant to oppose the nationalistic. if nothing else. I suppose it's good fun." and is analogous to the contrast of "noble" and "contemptible." and develop the concept of "good" to describe themselves in contrast to these masters. I shall try to fly by those nets. You talk to me of nationality. A critique of the very concept of "race" might have gone right over their heads. for instance.-strong." Nietzsche was eager to be read as a European writer. does not come from some "master morality" of conquering and dominating others. Aryan stock. an aristocratic caste is fundamental to the ennoblement of the human species. and is generally critical of German nationalism. and powerful--as "good. and not as a German writer. anti -Semitic Germans who were in power at the time. healthy. . The "knowledge" of a free spirit is a removal of inhibitions. On the contrary. Nietzsche suggests that no race is more mixed than the Germans. We must always be careful not to ascribe simply a positive or simply a negative to any words used by Nietzsche. On a less political bent.pure. which praises the Jews and disdains the idea of "pure" German stock. assumptions. and it is folly to try to eliminate this exploitation altogether. this reading still leaves us wondering why Nietzsche chose to pick on the English. We see the direct influence of Nietzsche on James Joyce in ## A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man##: "When the soul is born in this country th ere are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. the best among Europeans are able to see beyond the nationalism that their homeland foists upon them. unhappy slaves as "bad. Nietzsche anticipa tes twentieth-century scholarship in identifying the Greeks as owing a great debt to the cultures that preceded them." Even Joyce's choice of metaphors is Nietzschean. This contrast helps to bring out Nietzsche's use of words to mean opposite things. According to Nietzsche. religion. Life is will to powe r. Section 260 is a concise and definitive account of Nietzsche's conception of ma ster and slave morality. might hit them directly where it hurts. He lived in Switzerland and Italy. Nationalism. Nietzsche's admiration for Napoleon. This reading of Nietzsche is also supported by his conception of the "good European. If we want to be charitable to Nietzsche (and it is always good form to be charitable to philosophers one studies). Of course. but a reversal of their stereotypes. he uses many French terms. that justify any sacrifice or hardship endured by that society. poor. it comes from Napoleon's vision of uniting Europe and bringing all nationalities under a common rule . says Nietzsche."What is Noble" Summary According to Nietzsche. The contrast of "good" and "bad" was developed by the aristocratic "masters. devoid of meaning. In the previous chapter. and it is precisely this mixture that explains their character. The Greeks are "feminine" because they absorbed the heritage of the Asian cultures that had preceded them and "gave birth" to some of the greatest philosophy and literature the world has seen. we could argue that Nietzsche doesn't really believe the racial stereotyping he empl oys. brings just one more set of prejudices that a truly free spirit must move beyond.

For instance. According to Nietzsche. Not surprisingly. Dionysus. the most stylistically exciting chapter of the book deals to a large extent with the difficulties of findin g the right words for a thought. and suffering both from this loneliness and from ill h ealth. that is so rare. but turned it to his advantage. the exceptional is always marginalized. rendering them into words has tied them in place. Nietzsche was a lonely man with very few friends. vanity is an attempt to make others think highly of oneself so as to convince oneself of this good opinion. that would mean someone else had been made to endure their suffering as well. some people are naturally disposed to being of a more noble character. While one should never reduce a philosophy to biographical details. The noble man is not distinguished by works or deeds so much as by a degree of self-respect that commoners lack. light. Nietzsche also remarks on the solitude of people who aspire to rise above the masses. Nietzsche makes explicit his Lamarckism in section 264. The only thing worse than being misunderstood is being understood.torture necessary to self-ennoblement. Nietzsche suggests that perhaps it is not genius. Our character is to a large extent determined by the character s of our ancestors as determined by their station in life. our concept of vanity is a combination of the masters' inclination to think well of themselves and the slaves' sense that their worth is determined by the op inion of other people. Nietzsche expresses the difficulty of putting thoughts into words with the brilliant metaphor of thought as a bird in flight. about how the creator in us thrives only at the expense of the creature in us. hardships. and all modern moralities are some kind of amalgamation of these two. whereas the universe is fundamentally in flux: there are no fixed facts or things. all company is a means. crafting some of the most remarkable books of the nineteenth century. these higher spirits create masks that conceal this suffering from the public. While his thoughts were free." Language can only capture thoughts and ideas that are relatively rigid and fixed: the mos t beautiful. Thus. a delay. Nietzsche points to the development of language as a means of expressing what people share in common and can understand of one another.These are the two fundamental types of morality in the world.moving thoughts always escape expression. We can also see why Nietzsche might write so vigorously about the self . free. and consists in large part of small observations and remarks using a variety of authorial voices and styles that defy summar y. I fear. Higher spirits are thus always misunderstood and made to suffer. By simple majority rule. but it finds a more concise expression in section 298 of The Gay Science: . and malicious. it is not hard to see why N ietzsche is at his clearest and most poetic when writing about the loneliness. Nietzsche concludes by despairing that his thoughts cannot find adequate expression in language. persistently misunderstood." Nietzsche says to them. nothing else is of any importance. he didn't simply endure this suffering. "to become truths. Commentary This chapter is Nietzsche at his stylistically strongest. but the opportunity to take full advantage of genius. the longer it takes for posterity to recognize it. Whatever is exceptional and uncommon is thus necessarily difficult to express in language and difficult for the majority to understand. making them dull and solemn: "some of you are ready. In order to ward of unwanted pity. After a rhapsodizing to his god. and self -overcoming necessary to genius. language is rigid and talks about facts and things. Remarkably. Thus. Reflecting on this fact. In both the thoughts and the expression we get one of the more vivid portraits of the philosopher behind the philosophy. The greater a thought is. or a resting -place: until their goal is reached. He alludes to this metaphor in the last section of this chapter. To such people.

this book does not contain his best thoughts. and so in writing a t all. Thus. prayer and curse. clips the wings of a thought. he attacks a given matter from as many points of view as possible. however. he suggests." the way a free and flexible mind can move around a topic. He resolves to let these old friends go and await the arrival of new friends. Language. And now it has died of these arid words and shakes and flaps in them -. When his friends arrive. However. we must also concede. seeing it from different angles." Nietzsche's position on language also explains his aphoristic style. but we should also note that Nietzsche goes to some length in this chapter to suggest that the distinctions be tween different types of people is blurred. and now he is even younger. urging them to join him at a point high up in the mountains. Now all he can do is sit alone and await new friends. "From High Mountains": Aftersong Summary The poem begins with the speaker calling out to his friends.and I hardly know anymore when I look at it how I could ever have felt so happy when I caught this bird. he is giving the public a falsified. fades like words and cannot remain fixed. and we will accept it for the sake of the argument. the translation of any thought into language necessarily kills the birdlike quality that is the essential beauty of that thought. we find Plato --a writer Nietzsche accuses of dogmatism-saying something very similar in Letter VII: "whenever we see a book. The distance that now exists between him and his friends is a result of their aging: while he has changed they have not. . at its most sublime. In Nietzsche's defense. they are stored away with the fairest of his possessions. He has learned to live in inhospitable climates. Nietzsche wishes to explain it as an expression of the aristocrats' will to pow er. awkwardly forcing it to remain in place. This chapter also finds Nietzsche at his most abrasive. Rather than present one sustained argument. His assertion that all life is will to power ha s been discussed elsewhere. where one turns one's instincts for cruelty and freedom upon oneself. causing the speaker some heartache. and that true greatness is usually unrecognizable anyway. and has "unlearned mankind and god. His friends begin to leave." His friends can't live with him here in the mountains: they are not strong enough for it. He has trained himself to be a hunter. The will to power. and Nietzsche's doctrine of the will to power does not always call for suc h exploitation. A writer must necessarily be "masked" because best thoughts defy expression. however. a " wicked archer": his bow is bent so far that the ends touch. his discussion of exploitation is meant largely as a justification for the aristocratic caste's exploitation of the commoners. consists in what we might call exploitation: the dominance of one will over another. He should n ot cling to memories: he knew these friends when he was young. Friendship. they hardly recognize him. What makes a thought beautiful to Nietzsche is the way is "flies.I caught this insight on the way and quickly seized the rather poor words that were closest to hand to pin it down lest it fly away again. rigidified picture of the whole. in adopting a particular point of view.. and can fire arrows with unimaginable force..we can be sure that if the author is really serious. "Exploitation" carries the connotation that one group of people exploits another. and thus as nothing more than a fact of life. this will to power i s a kind of selfovercoming. Interestingly. We may wish to question Nietzsche's Lamarckism that divides the world up into different types. We might want to deal in particular with his highly contestable assertion that all life is exploitation. He suggests that he has undergone great changes through a constant struggle with himself.

this struggle creates great inner tension. envy. but rather suggests a kind of lightness and slyness.The speaker concludes by remarking that this song of longing for friendship has now ended. He spent many of his happiest moments and wrote many of his greatest works in solitude in the Alps. we might remark on the importance of friends to Nietzsche. He longed for a disciple who would not admire him abjectly. This image of the bow also fits in with Nietzsche's conception of humans as a kind of bridge between animal and overman. He also has a very narrow poetic range. He concludes the previous chapter with an affectionate reference to his "wicked thoughts. Perhaps it sounds better in German. Hatred. Nietzsche also plays frequently with youth and wickedness. We are not ends in ourselves: we are merely a means." Nietzsche was very ill during the 1880s. He compares inner struggle and self overcoming to the bending of a bow. and his "new friends" never arrived. that he should associate freedom of spirit with heights. confesses that he dislikes the poem.of dark and light. "the guest of guests. Joined by Zarathustra.used so much that it is tedious even in his prose.. this poem strikes the reader as singleminded and unswerving in its course. It would be the perfect adjective to describe a free spirit. our ultimate goal. criticize them. laughter. (One wonders. are all feelings expressed by someone looking "up. The master is "higher" than the slave. a refusal to remain fixed in place. "wicked" is not a negative term. The poem can be useful to us in its very clumsiness. Like the bending of a bow. He lived a very lonely life.. No wonder. the tightly bent bow shoots arrows the farthest. and speaks harshly against democrats and Jesuits for trying to "unbend" this bow.) Mountain heights have both a symbolic and an autobiographical significance to Nietzsche. . as it gives us a rare opportunity to examine Nietzsche's use of symbolism free from its usual ambiguities and subtleties. but. mountain air did wonders to impro ve his health.overcoming.. Nietzsche never found such a disciple. and he found the clean." Commentary We can be thankful that Nietzsche wrote better prose than he wrote poetry." For Nietzsche. as the speaker has grown older chronologically. Sadly. above the crowd. jealousy. For a writer who places so much emphasis on multiple perspectives. His aggressive style makes for exciting prose reading. then. That Nietzsche's speaker is a "wicked archer" suggests that he has freed his spirit through a process of self. a bow that must be bent in order to shoot for the overman. It is time instead for feasting. why Nietzsche's ideal noble type is such a lousy poet. and rarely had friends who understood him at all. The entire poem consists of little more than a limited and unsubtle use of symbols that we find more elegantly placed in his prose. misunderstood. where they are given extra shading by the "self-overcoming" of the "overman. His discussion of "high" and "low" is over. etc. ressentiment. Lastly. The poem gives us a portrait of Nietzsche's noble type as sketched in the previous chapter: alone. The image of the bent bow also p ops up a number of times in Nietzsche's writing." they can begin "the wedding. Thus. Nietzsche associates this freedom of spirit with youthfulness: one only grows old if one allows oneself to get fixed in place. he has grown younger spiritually. and with mountains in particular." The theme of "going down" is "rising above" is also played upon very heavily in ##Thus Spoke Zarathustra##. he argues. and move beyond them. but who would be able to engage with his thoughts. the translator. but even Walter Kaufmann. though. and so can look "down" in contempt. but it lacks the subtlety and grace we might hope for in poetry. constantl y changing through a process of selfovercoming. and celebration.

He must try it out. there is nothing that is inseparably attached to this "I. Our use of language leads us to believe that there is something in. Interestingly. say. There is the subject. If we were to ask what this "I" is." How does it relate to free spirits and the "philosophy of the future"? Nietzsche's experimental method is not the one used by scientists.Study Questions Why does Nietzsche think that the belief in a soul is a "superstition"? Nietzsche identifies many of the errors in traditional philosophy with a misunderstanding of and a heavy reliance on grammar. Because we can separate sentences like "I think" into a subject and a predicate. according to Nietzsche." and then the act of thinking is a predicate tacked onto it so that the "I" is some entity distinct from the thinking itself. see if it is a good interpretation of the world. This ability to look at matters from any point of view is cruc ial to the flexibility of mind that Nietzsche values in a free spirit." but in each case. b ut his experimental method dictates that he cannot discard that suggestion simply because it is unpleasant. a billiard ball --some sort of "causal power"--that allows it to "effect" the movement of another billiard ball it comes into contact with. Nietzsche suggests that there is no such thing as cause and effect in nature: they are just concepts that we invent and apply to the things we observe." What does Nietzsche take to be wrong with our understanding of cause and effect? Nietzsche complains that we "reify" the notions of cause and effect." a predicate that can also be detached.. that we come to see them as things. Ultimately. Describe Nietzsche's "experimental method. For instance. and to follow out that point of view to all its consequences. this position is almost identical to ##Hume##'s.am a human being" is just one thing we can say about "I. and is necessary to the "philosophy of the future" if it is to have the courage to uncover assumptions and prejudices that have glued down philosophy for millennia." and. we might say that "I am a thing that thinks" or "I am a human being. Rather. a philosopher whom Nietzsche condemns as being "a debasement and lowering of the value of the concept of 'philosophy'" in section 252. we come to name this nothing a "soul.. Perhaps Nietzsche feels the same way. we would be attaching a predicate onto the "I. One of his pet peeves is the misunderstanding of the subject -predicate form. ". "I. it represents a willingness to look at a matter from any point of view. see if it works." but i t doesn't tell us what the "I" itself is. many of us will find Nietzsche's assertion that all human interactions ultimately consist of a struggle for power quite disagreeable. we come to see the subject and predicate as distinct. How does Nietzsche characterize the relationship between science and religion? How is the concept of nihilism significant here? How might we account for the different format of the "Epigrams and Interludes" chapter? What might we then infer about the material contained in that chapter? What is sublimation? What is a "sublimated will to power"? What work does the concept of sublimation do for Nietzsche? How does Nietzsche's ideal philosopher differ from what he considers to be "philosophical laborers"? Do you agree with this distinction Nietzsche makes? .

What is the difference between "truth" and "knowledge" in Nietzsche's writings? Describe some of the characteristics of Nietzsche's "good European." Explain Nietzsche's views on language. How might this color our interpretation of some of his other writings? .

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