Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
No modern philosopher has been more maligned and misunderstood or more cynically exploited than Friedrich Nietzsche.
Physically handicapped by weak eyesight, violent headaches and bouts of nausea, this paradoxical thinker fashioned a philosophy, which made short shrift of self-pity and the ostentatious display of compassion. The son of a Lutheran clergyman, whom he adored, he became a fearless agnostic who proclaimed, in Thus Spake Zarathustra that “God is dead!” Of modest bourgeois origins, he detested middle-class conformity, and turned to an uncompromising cult of “aristocratic radicalism.” Nietzsche was the first major philosopher to place psychology, rather than mathematics, logic, physics, or history, at the very center of his thinking. The wealth and diversity of Nietzsche’s aphorisms and brief essays―close to 2,700―make him the most seminal and provocative thinker of modern times. Many of his aphorisms, highly personal statements of his likes and dislikes, are puzzling. They become truly comprehensible only within the context of his restless life, revealed in this enthralling biography.
they spent the night, they ran into a group of holidaymakers whom they had met the previous summer and who were now returning to verdant Flims. Among them was a pretty girl from Basel, Berta Rohr, who so charmed Nietzsche that for a moment he felt tempted to alter his plans, follow her to Flims and there propose to her. But in so doing he knew he would forfeit the solitude and peace of mind he needed to complete his third ‘Untimely Meditation’. And so, putting duty before pleasure, Fritz
Christianity came to regard Eros and Aphrodite – major powers capable of being idealized – as hellish kobolds and forgers of hallucinations, arousing conscience-stricken torments in believers whenever they were seized by sexual excitements. Was it not dreadful, Nietzsche exclaimed, anticipating Freud, to see perfectly regular and necessary impulses transformed into a source of inner wretchedness – all the more pernicious for being kept secret and thus more deeply rooted? And is it not the trait
five, six or more years of preparation! A ‘History of European Nihilism’ – more or less the theme that Albert Camus later tackled in L’Homme révolté, – was all by itself an enormous mountain, requiring a great deal of homework and reading – oh, his poor eyes! – which a sociologically ill-informed Nietzsche had yet to accomplish. Indeed, in a letter written shortly before Christmas of 1887, Georg Brandes had gently chided Nietzsche for his ‘irate’ snap judgements on complex social phenomena such
he naïvely assumed that he was gaining admission to a kind of debating club where the great issues of the day could be argued out in an intellectually stimulating atmosphere. Like the other fraternities, the Franconia had established its ‘seat’ in a local Kneipe (tavern), where a room was reserved for its ‘tavern-evenings’. Deussen and Nietzsche were soon lured here by a Pforta alumnus named Stöckert. Five other Pforta graduates were also invited along for the occasion, and as each entered the
spent the afternoon of Christmas Day with Nietzsche reading Wagner’s poetic sketch for a ‘Parzival’ opera, after which they were treated by the Master of the House to a ‘sublime’ dissertation on the ‘philosophy of music’, which was supposed to supplement and even to supplant the educational functions of Church and State. During the next few days there were skating expeditions out on to the frozen lake, where ‘Herr Nützsche’ amused the children with several spectacular falls. Indoors, while Wagner