- Is there anything appealing to you about a pessimistic philosophy of life? Why or why not?
- Does it make any sense to speculate about things-in-themselves? Is there any possible way of discovering such things?
- Can you be in favor of political democracy but against a democracy of morals? What's the difference?
- Can you balance a responsible interest in what's happening in the world with personal activities that allow you, for a time, to ignore it? Are most peripatetics good citizens?
1. Was Friedrich Nietzsche speaking literally when he said "God is dead"?
2. Where did Nietzsche say values like compassion, kindness, and consideration came from?
3. What did Nietzsche call the future type of person who renounces conventional moral codes, and why does Nigel find it worrying?
4. What kind of cure led to psychoanalysis?
5. What did Sigmund Freud consider the "third great revolution" in thought? 177
6. What is a Freudian slip?
1. Polls show that increasing numbers of people, especially young people, describe themselves either as "nones" (with no specific religious denominational identity) or as "spiritual, not religious." Does this support Nietzsche's proclamation?
2. Does it matter where values came from, if they are good values? Why do you think people behave with kindness, compassion, and consideration?
3. Do people who renounce conventional moral codes succeed in placing themselves "beyond good and evil"? Do you renounce any moral conventions? How? Why?
4. Which is more effective for most people with emotional issues, talk or medication? What's the best "medicine" for sadness, in your experience?
5. Is the "unconscious" real? Can it be studied scientifically?
6. Can the forces of reason and irrationality be effectively balanced? Do you attempt such a balance in your own life and personality? Explain.
An old post-
Our text rightly (if inconsistently) points out the non-literal intent of Nietzsche’s infamous “God is dead” proclamation. More to come on that too. Meanwhile, the theists among us will enjoy imagining that their God has the last word.
Aaron Ridley points out that Nietzsche split from Schopenhauer (as he eventually split from everyone) over the question of where we should go after god's "funeral." Ultimately Nietzsche thought we should find a way to go back to our lives, and to affirm them. Schopenhauer, he decided, was a nihilist content to wallow in ultimate meaninglessness (or adopt that pose)... except while walking his poodles or visiting the art gallery or attending a concert. But isn't that the very stuff of life? It's the stuff Nietzsche's "eternal recurrence" challenges us to affirm.
What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!"
Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: "You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine." If this thought gained possession of you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, "Do you desire this once more and innumerable times more?" would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal? -"The Greatest Weight" (in The Gay Science) [When Nietzsche Wept]
Ridley doesn't talk about that, but he's helpful with the Apollonian-Dionysian distinction.
In the final analysis, Nietzsche thought what didn't kill us, what merely made us suffer, made us stronger. That's his blustering pose. It's kind of pathetic. I'd have to agree with James, who pitied "poor Nietzsche's antipathies" and likened Schopenhauer and Nietzsche to a pair of rabid rats in a cage (or think of alienated Dwayne in Little Miss Sunshine, in his room)... largely a cage of their own design.
But what would Freud say?
Freud is darker than Nietzsche… Sheer joy and sheer affirmation of life is pretty hard to find, if you’re being absolutely honest about what reality is.
As long as your ideas of what’s possible are limited by what’s actual, no other idea has a chance.
If life is a gift, then the more you partake in it, the more you show thanks. Susan Neiman, Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-up Idealists...
Some wonder what makes Freud a philosopher. In the spirit of Carlin Romano I wouldn't worry about that. He philosophized (albeit reluctantly, says one biographer) about civilization, psychic health, happiness, religion, the material mind, conscience, consciousness, and the scope of philosophy itself.
Philosophy is not opposed to science, it behaves itself as if it were a science, and to a certain extent it makes use of the same methods; but it parts company with science, in that it clings to the illusion that it can produce a complete and coherent picture of the universe. Its methodological error lies in the fact that it over-estimates the epistemological value of our logical operations…
Like Kierkegaard, Freud endlessly mucked around in the morass of anxiety and depression and, like those other great explorers of the mind, was often accused of being of too depressing. Yet, when pressed to provide some positive vision of health, Freud more than once implied that what is fundamental to happiness is the ability to love and work; that is, to be able to invest in something other than yourself. G. Marino, "Freud asPhilosopher"
"Frude had it all figured out," insisted Barney Fife, a guy I'd not have expected to endorse the Oedipal Complex. But Mayberry was always just a dream, anyway. We need our dreams of a better world, of a safer space.
In general, it's probably a mistake to try and extract a consistent socio-political and ethical philosophy from Nietzsche. He's more about personal therapeutics, of which walking is for him the primal therapy.
“The impious man is not he who denies the gods of the many,” Epicurus writes to a friend, “but he who attaches to the gods the beliefs of the many about them.” Lord Bacon repeats the message for the benefit of readers like Jefferson: “There is no profanity in refusing to believe in the gods of the vulgar: the profanity is in believing of the gods what the vulgar believe.”Stewart reminds us that Jefferson was a self-avowed Epicurean and materialist. "Spiritualism" for him is a term of abuse applied mostly to the Platonic tradition. "Of Jesus he says, 'I am a Materialist; he takes the side of spiritualism.' [But] perhaps Jesus could be interpreted as an Epicurean after all."
In that spirit, we should all read our (Jefferson) Bible.
Old post: Peirce, James, Nietzsche, Freud