Philosophy Essays - Friedrich Nietzsche

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All the Interesting People are Missing in Heaven - Biography of Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche born on October 15, 1844 in Röcken bei Lützen, Prussian Saxony he was a German philosopher most credited for his brash criticism about religion and the role in played in society and mortality. What makes Fredrick controversial by even today’s standards is so many people see him as a mad man while others see him as a mad genus however no matter what your option of him one thing can be said that he was a man always seeking the truth.

Nietzsche grew up in the small town of Röcken, near Leipzig, in the Prussian province of Saxony. His name comes from King Frederick William IV of Prussia, who turned 49 on the day of Nietzsche's birth. He had one brother Joseph who died in 1850 and one sister Elisabeth while he was never extremely close with either sibling growing up later in life he became closer with Elisabeth (Sherefkin, J). Carl Ludwig Frederick’s father was a pastor and died of a brain aliment early on in his child hood which I feel might have a lot to do with his ideas regarding religion. Shortly after the tragic death of both his brother and father the rest of the family moved to Germany to live with his grandmother. From the ages of 14 to 19, Nietzsche attended a first-rate boarding school, Schulpforta, located not far from Naumburg, where he prepared for university studies. The school's educational atmosphere was reflected in its long history as a former Cistercian monastery and its buildings included a 12th century Romanesque chapel and a 13th century Gothic church (Nietzsche Nov 2007). While attending this religious affiliated boarding school he met some life long friends Paul Deussen and Caral Von Gersdorff both promenade members of the community. While at school as a teenager he was very interested in the arts and music I feel maybe while he didn’t really continue this passion in life it helped shape his views of that a lot of this are unique in there own right and should not be conformed for religion or society.

After graduating from Schulpforta, Nietzsche entered the University of Bonn in 1864 as a theology and philology student, and his interests soon gravitated more exclusively towards philology a discipline which then centered upon the interpretation of classical and biblical texts. Inspired by Ritschl, and following him to the University of Leipzig in 1865 an institution located closer to Nietzsche's hometown of Naumburg, Nietzsche rapidly established his own academic reputation through his published essays on Aristotle, Theognis and Simonides. In Leipzig, he developed a close friendship with Erwin Rohde (1845-1898), a fellow philology student and future philologist, with whom he would correspond extensively in later years (Sherefkin, J). The World as Will and Representation in 1818 by Schopenhauer's who had some what of a pessimistic view of the current world and was an atheist at the time this book came out Nietzsche was twenty-one this formed many of his ideas. Then there was the book that argued that Kant;s ideas regarding the metaphysical world were wrong and then this got him interested in the after life.

At twenty-three Nietzsche was required by the government to complete one year in the military however he did not last long due to an injury in his chest which put him on sick leave. Due in part to Ritschl's support, Nietzsche received a generous offer to become professor of classical philology at the University of Basel before having completed his doctorate or certificate for teaching. After moving to Basel, Nietzsche renounced his Prussian citizenship: for the rest of his life he remained officially stateless. With the help of some esteemed colleagues in 1872, Nietzsche published his first book, The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music. However, his colleagues in the field of classical philology, including Ritschl, expressed little interest for the work. Due to his failure he became isolated among many of his counter parts however this gave Fredrick time to reflect and add to his works which in this time period created four long essays. With the publication of Human, All Too Human in 1878 on subjects ranging from metaphysics to morality and from religion to the sexes, Nietzsche's removal from the philosophy of Wagner and Schopenhauer became apparent. Nietzsche's friendship with Deussen and Rohde began to deteriorate as well. Becoming more of a loner he went his separate way to try to find a wife, however also at this time his heath was worsening one of which might have been his infection of syphilis which he contracted when he was in the military. He became some what of gypsy publishing Daybreak (1881), The Gay Science (1882/1887), Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883-85), Beyond Good and Evil (1886), and On the Genealogy of Morals (1887). Nietzsche's final active year, 1888, saw the completion of The Case of Wagner (May-August 1888), Twilight of the Idols (August-September 1888), The Antichrist (September 1888), Ecce Homo (October-November 1888) and Nietzsche Contra Wagner (December 1888). On the morning of January 3, 1889, while in Turin, Nietzsche experienced a mental breakdown which left him an unsound for the rest of his life. Upon witnessing a horse being whipped by a coachman at the Piazza Carlo Alberto although this episode with the horse could be anecdotal he threw his arms around the horse's neck and collapsed in the plaza, never to return to full sanity.

Spending a lot of his time in Germany effected some of his view points because at this time before all the wars and such Germany was one country who had little problems. His book, Twilight of the Idols talks about how Germany needs to stop consuming them selves with beer and start concentrating more on gaining knowledge and sophistication. He in part blames French and Britain culture for this because what they allowed Germany to become was a sea of nothingness. Also I feel he was able to see that because the German people were so unsophisticated it would lead to even more corruption in power for the church all the way up to the government. The best way to control people is arm them with as little information as possible so they have nothing to go buy.

Nietzsche completed Human, All-Too-Human in 1878. Here, he often reflects upon cultural and psychological phenomena in reference to individuals' organic and physiological constitutions. The idea of power infrequently appears as an explanatory principle, but Nietzsche tends at this time to invoke self-indulgent considerations of pleasure and pain in his explanations of cultural and psychological phenomena (Nietzsche Vogt press). This book comprises more a collection of debunking of unwarranted assumptions than an interpretation, though it offers some elements of Nietzsche's thought in his arguments: he uses his perspectives and the idea of the will to power as descriptive devices, though the latter on his writing show this a lot better.

In Daybreak: Reflections on Moral Prejudices Nietzsche de-emphasizes the role of pleasure-seeking as a motivator and accentuates the role of a "feeling of power". His relativism, both moral and cultural, and his critique of Christianity also reach greater maturity (Nietzsche Cambridge). In Daybreak Nietzsche devoted a drawn out passage to his criticism of Christian biblical writings including its arbitrary interpretation of objects and images in the Old Testament as prefigureements of Christ's crucifixion.

In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche identified imagination, self-assertion, danger, originality and the “creation of values” as qualities of authentic philosophers, as opposed to incidental characters who engage in dusty scholarship. Nietzsche also took aim at some of the world's great philosophers, who grounded their outlooks wholeheartedly upon concepts such as “self-consciousness,” “free will,” and “either/or” bipolar thinking. Alternatively, Nietzsche philosophizes from the perspective of life located beyond good and evil, and challenges the entrenched moral idea that exploitation, domination, injury to the weak, destruction and appropriation are universally objectionable behaviors (Nietzsche Oxford). Above all, he believes that living things aim to discharge their strength and express their “will to power” a pouring-out of expansive energy that, quite naturally, can entail danger, pain, lies, deception and masks. As he views things from the perspective of life, he further denies that there is a universal morality valid indiscriminately to all human beings, and instead assign a series of moralities in an order of rank that ascends from the plebeian to the noble’s.

The word "I" obscures and fudges together a whole complex of commanding and obeying wills. This "freedom" of the will comes only from identifying this "I" as the source both of the commanding and the obeying (Nietzsche Jungle). The concept of free will also relies on the erroneous notions of cause and effect, which see our will as a "cause." Cause and effect are a part of a larger picture of physics, according to which nature is governed by laws. Nietzsche argues that this is a democrat's interpretation of nature: we could equally well see it as totally lawless, governed only by the unfettered assertion of wills.

On the Genealogy of Morals first essay states within Christian morality are products of self-deception, since they were forged in the bad air of revenge, resentment, hatred, impotence, and cowardice. In this essay, as well as the next, Nietzsche's controversial references to the “blond beast” in connection with master morality also appear. In the second essay, Nietzsche continues with an account of how feelings of guilt, or the “bad conscience,” arise merely as a consequence of an unhealthy Christian morality that turns an evil eye towards our natural inclinations. Nietzsche focuses upon the truth-oriented ascetic ideals that underlie and inform prevailing styles of art, religion and philosophy, and he offers a particularly sarcastic critique of the priesthood: the priests are allegedly a group of weak people who guide even weaker people as a way to experience power for themselves (Nietzsche Oxford). The third essay also contains one of Nietzsche's clearest expressions of “perspectives” the idea that there is no absolute, God watching us standpoint from which one can experiences anything that is around them. When reading his work the thing that I most found fascinating to think about was Nihilism or rather Existentialism the idea that fate is in everyone’s own hands that there is no god to control us.

In The Antichrist, Curse on Christianity September 1888, Nietzsche expresses his disgust over the way noble values in Roman Society were corrupted by the rise of Christianity, and he discusses specific aspects and personages in Christian culture the Gospels, Paul, the martyrs, priests, the crusades with a view towards showing that Christianity is a religion for weak and unhealthy people, whose general historical effect has been to undermine the healthy qualities of the more noble cultures (Nietzsche Cosimo Classics ).

Nietzsche has many publish and unpublished works however I feel it is the ones I have given a breife summery about are the ones that really affect social theory. While most of his critisum regarding power is towards christianity and god it is easy to take his consepts and apply them to many other aspetcts of society. For instances his idea behind that controling people by revenge and punishment is a abuse of power is much like modern American soceity and how the government is able to use there adjenda to control the media. There revenge is on thoes who are trying to counter act what there trying to make American Citzens belive such as the war on terror and then they use punishment by pupposly with holding vital information to the public, which really does affect dessitions down the line and while this might not seem like sever punishment it still is enough to keep people in line. This abuse of power is what neitzsche saw in religon the pope was able to tell the weak and the sick to behave a certain way not to fight the in justices there facing in their lives because all wll be fixed when they get to the kingdom of heaven.

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 with 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. This is true because you don’t see many people in todays world trying to find something new to shead light on most people only get to learn about the same dull matters everyday to keep them focused on stuff that should really no matter like fastion and movie stars. All of this mind numing stuff is almost like an alter reality that the american people galdy bye into. This then leads to scholars not aiming to high when it comes to philsophical ideas this may because they them selves have been so brain washed by he mundane life they interact with everyday or prehapps the most radical and note worthy theories are the ones being kept out of mainstream society in order to keep the “nothingness” alive.

To prove that inequality and raceisum exist on every level he uses women and of course from one nationality to the next there are biased options and this is how he begins his work on anti semitisum. While his intentions may not have been ill mannered some of his consepts were taken on by Hitler along with Neitzsche idea that he was better then god could be or any human making him supior to everyone which is exactly what Hitler belived to. I think that for him to belive that the consept of god and religon had to much power doest make it any better if the power is in his hands. Through most of his life he was not one looked at has a leader or ever given the chance to have more power then he could handle therefor no one could really say what he would do with that power. However we can look through history and see what happens when one belives their suprior to people and espically specfic groups and no one better exeplafies this better then Hitler.

Another critcisum I have of his work would be that while he forcuoses on courrption and power from a view point about god and christinaity I feel he doest anlyze from the prospective of soceity and the governement. As well as other religons he acts as if it is only one particular religon that is courrpt and even by todays standards this is far from true its amost like you can look at human nature and see that the powerful will always be there to control the weak by any means nessary.

What distinguishes Nietzsche from other nineteenth-century critics of religion, morality and nineteenth-century life is that he does not search for a more effective moral life; he attempts to save life from morality itself. He argues that nineteenth-century culture experiences life as a form of nihilism because it has invented a series of moral concepts such as "truth", "selflessness" and "equality" that have been raised above life in order to regulate and judge life. Nietzsche's philosophy insists that we ask questions what does it mean to think? Or what is the value of life? It is his willingness to ask these imperative questions that have made him so controversial yet so genus. So even today in modern American culture he is consistently being debated slowly changing the view points of many all over the world.

Work Cited

  • Existential Primer: Introduction. (n.d.). Retrieved November 5, 2007, from
  • Flynn, T. (2006). Existentialism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions). New York: Oxford University Press, USA.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche. (n.d.). Retrieved November 5, 2007, from
  • Nietzsche, F. (2003). Beyond Good and Evil (Penguin Classics). London: Penguin Classics.
  • Nietzsche, F. (1997). Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy). New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Nietzsche, F. (2007). Human - All-Too-Human - A Book For Free Spirits. New York : Vogt Press.
  • Nietzsche, F. (1998). On the Genealogy of Morals: A Polemic. By way of clarification and supplement to my last book Beyond Good and Evil (Oxford World's Classics). New York: Oxford University Press, USA.
  • Nietzsche, F. (2005). The Anti-Christ. knoxville: Cosimo Classics.
  • Nietzsche, F. (1968). The Will to Power. New York: Vintage.
  • Nietzsche, F. (2007). Thus Spake Zarathustra (A BOOK FOR ALL AND NONE). Little Books Of Wisdom: Book Jungle.
  • Sherefkin, J. (n.d.). NYPL, Nietzsche Research Guide. Retrieved November 5, 2007, from