• Helen G
    3
    Good evening to all!
    I am doing a presentation on Nietzche at college and I was wondering if any of you had any views or information on his influence on Hitler. I am to understand that Hitler had a great interest in his writings but just how far was Nietzches work hijacked and used to justify the Nazi regime?
  • Valentinus
    252
    How much have you read of Nietzsche's work?
    Nietzsche's sister helped make the work a thing for the Nazis.
    Not to say that one can remove him from the larger question of German philosophy.
    You might start by spelling his name correctly.
  • Josh Alfred
    39
    There's little doubt that Hitler thought he was the Nietzschian Superman. Hilter's ideas of "master race" may have been prompted by Nietzschian philosophy, but to what extent is unclear in reading history and comparing Mein Kampf with any of Nietzsche's work. A comparative analysis of the works should lead one to WHERE the men's ideology overlapped. I haven't done much of that as a school assignment or as a informal study, but such is possible.
  • tim wood
    1.6k
    Hi Helen G. The instructor - for that is what you are if you are presenting something - is well advised to ask him- or herself what exactly he wants his auditors to remember, know, be able to do, after he's finished. As exactly as possible. You're giving a presentation on Nietzsche. Be realistic. There are shelves of books on Nietzsche; how many of them are you going to present in an hour or two?

    And his influence on Hitler? No chance; put that our of your mind entirely. (You might ask his influence on so-called Nazi philosophy - but for you not that either.) Why not? How can you indicate the influence of someone on someone or something else if you haven't made clear what they themselves are about?

    Most folks know very little about Nietzsche, except maybe he's the guy pictured with the mustache. What makes sense (to me) then is that you assemble a presentation in two parts, both necessarily brief. First, his life and times. Born when, died when, lived and died where and under what conditions. This should include reference to his sister and her control of his writings and estate, and what she did with them.

    Second, grab one or two of the ideas he's best known for. Present the myth that surrounds those ideas, and then pierce the myth with the reality of what he really said, and what he meant. Two possibilities: "God is dead," and who or what is his ubermensch, often translated "superman" and better as over-man.

    Perhaps make note that for many people, Nietzsche is not a real philosopher. Why not?

    In short, brief, manageable, simple, memorable. The key? Writing down to begin with your "exactlies" from above.

    Likely you're in way over your head. There's nothing wrong with Idiot's Guide to...., and 60 or 90 Minute Guides to..., or cliff notes, or summaries of his thought in anthologies.
  • karl stone
    284
    It's not directly information on Nietzsche's effect on Hitler, but I can tell you why Nietzsche was wrong about one of the core ideas that manifested in the Nazi regime; that of the Superman, or Ubermenschen, originally described by Nietzsche in Thus Spake Zarathustra (1883–5), with reference to the facts of human evolutionary history.

    "Elaborating the concept in The Antichrist, Nietzsche asserts that Christianity, not merely as a religion but also as the predominant moral system of the Western world, inverts nature, and is "hostile to life". As "the religion of pity", it elevates the weak over the strong, exalting that which is "ill-constituted and weak" at the expense of that which is full of life and vitality." (wikipedia: transvaluation of values.)

    What Nietzsche didn't know is that, for the vast majority of our evolutionary history, human beings were hunter gatherers - living in tribal groups, headed by an alpha male and his one or two lieutenants. The earliest human societies only date back around 15,000 years or so; while evidence of a truly human intellect as evidenced in art and artifacts, improved tools and burial of the dead dates back around 50,000 years. Thus, for around 30,000 years - intelligent human beings lived as hunter gatherers - a fact that requires some explanation. Why did society not occur earlier?

    In my view, the difficulty was the aforementioned naturally occurring hierarchy, and this is where Nietzsche's ideas enter the picture, but not in the way he thought. His claim was that naturalistic morality was overthrown as a consequence of the weak fooling the strong with religious morality. That's a misunderstanding. Religious morality is actually social morality necessary for hunter gatherer tribes to join together.

    Imagine, two tribes both headed by alpha males, trying to join together to form a society. Any dispute over food or mating opportunities would likely lead to violence, and split the society into its tribal components. What was needed was an objective authority for moral law, and God served as that objective authority for an explicit set of moral laws (see Moses, and his tablets) that would apply equally to all.

    Thus, Nietzsche identified a real phenomenon - but misunderstood it, and passed that misunderstanding onto the Nazis. The 'transvaluation of values' occurred not because the strong were fooled by the weak - but rather, because both tribes agreed to an explicit set of moral laws justified by the authority of God, to overcome tribalism and form multi-tribal society.

    One might therefore speculate that, Nietzsche declaring "God is dead" undermined moral values justified by divine authority, and thereby allowed for the 'uncivilized' behaviors of the Nazis. World war II and the holocaust are thus understood as man taking divine authority unto himself - an idea you'll find explored in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, where the protagonist, Raskalinkov - imagines himself above the herd morality, and in his own mind justifies the killing of an old woman pawnbroker and her sister with an axe.

    Raskalinkov gets away with it, but eventually breaks down under the weight of his own troubled conscience - and this is psychologically accurate, and true to the facts of evolutionary history, for in fact - morality is a sense, ingrained into the human organism by evolution in a tribal context. The idea of evolution as survival of the fittest - where fittest means brutally violent is also mistaken. Rather, both the moral individual within the tribe, and the tribe made up of moral individuals, would tend to prosper relative to a tribe of selfish individuals, because the moral individual would share food and fight for the tribe, unlike the selfish individual. Thus a tendency to morality would be promoted through sex and survival.

    Nietzsche, and the Nazis assumed that evolution implied natural morality was merely brutal and selfish, but when you consider that they brought children into the world, protected mother and child through a prolonged gestation period, and raised children through to adolescence, that's obviously false. Human beings are moral creatures, but that ingrained moral sense can be perverted by ideas, to justify both the good, i.e. society, and unimaginable evil with considerable equanimity.
  • TheMadFool
    2.7k
    Can't two minds come up with the same idea without having to attribute origins to either?

    That two philosophies match is no indication that one is a derivative of the other. Hitler could've thought of Nazi philosophy, if we could call it one, and discovered a common vein with Nietzschean thought. Since Nietzsche is a ''great'' philosopher it must've presented the perfect opportunity to associate Nazism with a well-known sage.

    Propaganda!
  • Πετροκότσυφας
    995
    I am to understand that Hitler had a great interest in his writingsHelen G

    My understanding is that this is not clear at all. Nietzsche was certainly no stranger to nazis in general, but, whether Hitler read Nietzsche or whether he had an interest in doing so, is a different matter. What we know for a fact was his interest in and admiration of other historical figures. His role models and his ideals are to be found in much more practical figures like Ataturk and Mussolini. Nietzschean ideas, distorted or not, might have found their way into the nazi ideology (thus into Hitler's as well), but they did through other nazi members and sympathisers, not directly from Nietzsche. Such ideas or themes (for example, the idea that it is great individuals that make history, not the masses - exemplified in the pivotal role the führer should have in the modern volkish state), were usually themes of the whole era and were transported into nazi ideology through chains of transmission. Stefan Ihrig goes into this in his book "Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination" (specifically about the führer, in Nietschean terms the Übermensch or the Sovereign Individual, you can read Chapter 3. Hitler’s "Star in the Darkness": Nazi Admiration for Atatürk and His New Turkey). Note that Ihrig uses the word "imagination" in the title of his book. While this refers to Atatürk's influence on nazis, the same applies to other cases too. Nazis weren't passive receivers; even where there were affinities, they usually bended the ideas and deeds of others to fit theirs.
  • Helen G
    3
    Goodness! I wasn’t quite expecting all these responses. And while some of them have been incredibly helpful there have been a few condescending replies.
    I appreciate the time you have all taken to reply to my question.
    Just to clarify...I am currently studying an ACCESS course to go on to study Philosophy at university. So I am very new to all of this. We have just finished lesson two of Philosophy at college so you may want to go a little easy on me. Yes I understand Nietzsche is one of the hardest Philosphers to read and understand and congrats to all of you for you impeccable knowledge but some of you do come across as quite brash to someone who is just starting out. I am a mature student who has only recently been granted full use of her eyes over these last two years and I have a thirst for knowledge on the subject of Philosophy. I have chosen Nietzsche because I feel for what I have read so far that he is very misunderstood. I have ordered ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ and ‘The Will to Power’ and I will not allow anyone to try and make me feel as though I am in over my head with wanting to read his works. He fascinates me. He challenges a lot of my own thoughts and beliefs and that is exactly what I am looking for with wanting to study Philosophy. As for offending anyone with my question about Hitler’s interest in his work, I was simply putting forth a discussion which took place in my classroom and turned into somewhat of a debate and thought this would be the best place to come for clarity after googling “Philosophy forums” and selecting what I thought would be the best bet. I apologise for offending anyone with Mis-spelling his name or the mention of Hitler. But we all have to start somewhere and I thought this would be a good place. My presentation is a mere five minutes long and I do not intend on bringing in Hitler as it is not something that can possibly be covered in that space of time but it did spark an interest in me.
    Again, I thank you all for your time.
    Forgive my ignorance.
  • Bitter Crank
    7k
    The subject of Nietzsche & Hitler is too broad unless you have quite a bit of time to prepare and talk.

    Adolph Hitler did not invent antisemitism -- it was in the European air, more here, less there; encouraged here, tolerated there, suppressed elsewhere. Antisemitism is a key piece of Nazi thinking; how does it figure in Nietzsche's thinking?

    Hitler doesn't compare well to Nietzsche as a thinker. I don't know a lot about Nietzsche; I know more about Hitler, and I wouldn't describe him as any sort of systematic thinker.

    One of the reasons why the Nazis decided to kill all the Jews was a critical food shortage. The Jews were characterized as "useless eaters". Getting rid of several million of the "useless eaters" helped ease up the food situation for a while.

    Germany suffered a severe labor shortage, and they needed to pressgang several million workers from other countries in Europe to meet production goals, and these extra laborers had to be fed if they were going to work. Did it make sense to be killing several million Jews, many of whom could have worked in factories, to save food while importing several million workers who needed to be fed? No. It's completely irrational.

    Hitler, as the embodiment of the fuhrer principle, wasn't the only decision maker, but his decisions carried more weight than anybody else's. In order to compare Hitler and Nietzsche, you would need to isolate Hitler the man and thinker (such as he was) from Hitler-and-the-Nazi-party. That would be a difficult and time-consuming project.
  • Bitter Crank
    7k
    By all means read his works and prepare a talk about Nietzsche. The problem comes in comparing Nietzsche and Hitler, tracing influence. It isn't that there is no way of doing it, it is just that such a comparison involves a lot of cultural history that takes time (years) to sift through and can't easily be compressed into a reasonable classroom presentation.

    Remember, your audience is probably not as interested in Nietzsche as you are, so what is it about Nietzsche that makes him a "hot property" -- or a philosopher who is likely to stay on the shelf past his sell-by date, depending on your view of him?

    God luck and enjoy the study.
  • Amity
    76
    I have chosen Nietzsche because I feel for what I have read so far that he is very misunderstood.Helen G

    I am one of those who misunderstood Nietzsche. I am still not attracted to his works despite the enthusiasm of others. So think of me as an interested part of your audience - persuade me if you can that he is worth my effort and time.

    I found an interesting article about the myths surrounding him:

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/oct/06/exploding-nietzsche-myths-need-dynamiting

    I apologise for offending anyone with Mis-spelling his name or the mention of Hitler. But we all have to start somewhere and I thought this would be a good place. My presentation is a mere five minutes longHelen G

    You were right to visit a philosophy forum to discover views. This is the best, most informative one in my experience.
    Not all forums are equal - just as posters and tutors vary in helpfulness.

    So if your presentation is 5 minutes long, I guess marks will be allocated for different aspects.
    Including Introduction, Main body and Conclusion. Hopefully you will have been given guidance on this.
    No matter how passionate you are about Nietzsche or Philosophy - the important thing is to pass this course. If you haven't already, find out the marking criteria for content and ability to choose and present key information etc.

    A good resource for you might be:

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nietzsche/

    Good Luck !
  • karl stone
    284
    Tell us more about how you gained/regained use of your eyes. Were you completely blind and can now see? How did you get your sight back, and how does it make you feel? Is the world what you thought it was, and does this explain your interest in philosophy?
  • boethius
    46
    Connecting Nietzsche and specifically Hitler is probably too ambitious if you are starting in you interest for philosophy. As others have mentioned, getting to an informed opinion of what either actually thought is a time consuming task before even starting to connect them directly, indirectly or culturally.

    However, given the political climate, I think the general idea of discussing the roots of fascism is a good one.

    You can lower the ambition of your question by asking a question such as how Nietzsche was interpreted by the Nazi's; i.e. focus on some key ideas that the Nazis saw as either coming from or being supported by Nietzsche, in a broader theme that philosophy is a dangerous thing and can give rise to philosophies that want to "make reality" instead of understanding it much less justify their interactions with it.

    If the germ of this project is to connect the present Trump Administration to the Bush Administration to various intermediate stages back to Nazi Germany and then broader European fascism and the philosophical roots of that, you need but one tug on a single thread:

    "The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' [...] 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'"

    -- Suskind; In a 2004 article appearing in the New York Times Magazine.
  • SophistiCat
    649
    Yes I understand Nietzsche is one of the hardest Philosphers to read and understand and congrats to all of you for you impeccable knowledge but some of you do come across as quite brash to someone who is just starting out. I am a mature student who has only recently been granted full use of her eyes over these last two years and I have a thirst for knowledge on the subject of Philosophy. I have chosen Nietzsche because I feel for what I have read so far that he is very misunderstood.Helen G

    Well, one thing Nietzsche is not is clear and consistent, which is why just about every scholar of Nietzsche thinks that he is misunderstood by someone (or even everyone) else. So, you are in a good company.
  • Hanover
    4.2k
    A lot of haters here. Your assignment is reasonable, interesting, and doable. I'd start by Googling your topic ("Nietzche's influence on Hitler" - a lot of good stuff there; I just Googled it) and go from there. Wiki's a good place to start in understanding Nietzsche. This is an introductory class after all. To the extent you must speculate as to whether Hitler came up with his ideas independently or whether he actually relied on his perverted views on Nietzsche, just say that you're speculating to some degree. If at the end of the day you better understand Nietzsche and you've informed the class, you've accomplished your goal.
  • Fooloso4
    94
    The Guardian article cited by Amity is very helpful in addressing your question.

    Some quotes from Nietzsche compiled by Arthur M. Melzer Nietzsche on Reading Nietzsche (and Some Others) that may help in reading him and why there is so little agreement regarding the interpretation of his work. Like Plato he was a master ironist. Nothing should be taken at face value. But we must all begin from where we are. Don’t let anyone dissuade you from reading him. Whether or not you have understood him properly is secondary at this point to what you may find of value in what you read.

    Plato has given us a splendid description of how the philosophical thinker must within
    every existing society count as the paragon of all wickedness: for as critic of all customs
    he is the antithesis of the moral man, and if he does not succeed in becoming the lawgiver
    of new customs he remains in the memory of men as ‘the evil principle.’
    – Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak, 202 (aph. 496)

    Our highest insights must–and should–sound like follies and sometimes like crimes when
    they are heard without permission by those who are not predisposed and predestined for
    them. The difference between the exoteric and the esoteric, formerly known to
    philosophers–among the Indians as among the Greeks, Persians, and Muslims, in short,
    wherever one believed in an order of rank and not in equality and equal rights –….
    [consists in this:] the exoteric approach sees things from below, the esoteric looks down
    from above…. What serves the higher type of men as nourishment or delectation must
    almost be poison for a very different and inferior type…. There are books that have
    opposite values for soul and health, depending on whether the lower soul, the lower
    vitality, or the higher and more vigorous ones turn to them; in the former case, these
    books are dangerous and lead to crumbling and disintegration; in the latter, [they are]
    heralds’ cries that call the bravest to their courage. Books for all the world are always
    foul-smelling books.
    – Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 42 (aph 30)

    Whatever is profound loves masks. . . . There are occurrences of such a delicate nature
    that one does well to cover them up with some rudeness to conceal them…. Such a
    concealed man who instinctively needs speech for silence and for burial in silence and
    who is inexhaustible in his evasion of communication, wants and sees to it that a mask of
    him roams in his place through the hearts and heads of his friends.
    – Ibid., 50 (aph. 40)

    On the question of being understandable–One does not only wish to be understood when
    one writes; one wishes just as surely not to be understood. It is not by any means
    necessarily an objection to a book when anyone finds it impossible to understand:
    perhaps that was part of the author’s intention–he did not want to be understood by just
    “anybody.” All the nobler spirits and tastes select their audiences when they wish to
    communicate; and choosing that, one at the same time erects barriers against “the others.”
    All the more subtle laws of any style have their origin at this point: they at the same time
    keep away, create a distance, forbid “entrance,” understanding, as said above–while they
    open the ears of those whose ears are related to ours.
    – Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 343 (aph. 381)

    [M]y brevity has yet another value: given such questions as concern me, I must say many
    things briefly…. For being an immoralist, one has to take steps against corrupting
    innocents–I mean, asses and old maids of both sexes whom life offers nothing but their
    innocence. Even more, my writings should inspire, elevate, and encourage them to be
    virtuous.
    – Ibid., 345 (aph. 381)

    The effectiveness of the incomplete.— Just as figures in relief produce so strong an
    impression on the imagination because they are as it were on the point of stepping out of
    the wall but have suddenly been brought to a halt, so the relief-like, incomplete
    presentation of an idea, of a whole philosophy, is sometimes more effective than its
    exhaustive realization: more is left for the beholder to do, he is impelled to continue
    working on that which appears before him so strongly etched in light and shadow, to
    think it through to the end.
    – Friedrich Nietzsche, Human All Too Human, 92 (1.4.178)

    The misfortune suffered by clear-minded and easily understood writers is that
    they are taken for shallow and thus little effort is expended on reading them: and
    the good fortune that attends the obscure is that the reader toils at them and
    ascribes to them the pleasure he has in fact gained from his own zeal.
    – Ibid., 92 (1.4.181)
    — Nietzsche
  • Amity
    76
    The Guardian article cited by Amity is very helpful in addressing your question.Fooloso4

    Also the 614 comments so far responding below the line !
  • DiegoT
    314
    Hitler had so many influences, that were also shared by millions of other Europeans, that I find unfair to make too much of Nietzsche as a Nazi inspirer. Nietzsche has influenced so many movements, and not all of them bad. In its turn, Nietzsche was himself determined by what was going on in Europe and Germany in the XIX. By the way, Henry Ford was the most influential American for Hitler (and viceversa). Ford and IBM with their industrial vision, were as strong an inspiration (through direct colaboration) for the death camps as the Turkish (Turkey was allied with Germany) systematic mass genocide of millions of Non Muslims two decades before. All these events, plus the visit of the Father of the Arab Palestinian movement to Berlin a month before "the Final Solution" to urge Hitler to prevent the escape of Jews to Palestine, all contributed greatly to motivate the implementation of concentration camps; called gulags in the Soviet Union, Laogai in China, y campos de detención in Cuba. All of these camps killed millions of people and all had a "Labour therapy" propaganda. Was Nietzsche in the inspiration of all of them?

    Totalitarism or the idea that the individual is the problem (nazism, fascism, socialism, separatism) is something that happened and it´s still happening (under the new guises of islamism and multiculturalism) to the Civilized soul, and to reduce its spiritual causes to what was going on in individual minds living in the period and their private readings is misleading. it´s a "History of great philosophers" approach that is not realistic and misses the broader picture.
  • Mattiesse
    20
    Hitler wanted to be an architect...that’s it, and he failed his course. He than went into politics (most likely because it payed well and/or impressed his parents). He thought there was a massive illegal immigrant outbreak taking everyone’s jobs (the Germans jobs) and HE was going to be the hero. WELL...he wasn’t, hitler was 2 things that should never combine, crazy and persuasive speaker. Hitler was blind with power, filled with rage, unreasonable and crazy for blond hair and blue eyes :fear:
  • Jake
    1.1k
    Elaborating the concept in The Antichrist, Nietzsche asserts that Christianity, not merely as a religion but also as the predominant moral system of the Western world, inverts nature, and is "hostile to life". As "the religion of pity", it elevates the weak over the strongkarl stone

    Wow, Karl, that was a good post, most excellent. Seriously, well done!

    I've been pondering this topic in general for some time (minus Nietzsche) but was wary of diving in to it as the mods seem somewhat allergic to Nazi discussion, which is very understandable.

    I don't view this subject through the lens of famous philosophers (I don't know a lot about them) but rather through the lens of my own chosen authority, nature. As example, the environmental movement has taught us that we must understand and respect how nature works, that we aren't above nature but rather subject to it, and can't just make up our own rules to please ourselves.

    The comparison we are making here is between 1) a "big fish eat the little fish" system of managing life that has been successful for a billion years, and 2) a human invention, Judeo-Christian morality, which at best is only 5,000 years old and more idealistic utopian theory than reality.

    Hitler was right that the big fish eat the little fish. The only thing he was wrong about was that he was not the big fish. Almost, but close earns one no cigar, so say the laws of nature.

    The big fish are still eating the little fish today. A tiny fraction of humanity owns almost all the wealth, leaving the majority of humans to live in squalor and disease. More to the point, we are rich largely because of our success at dominating the poor. You know, we are rich because the people making most of our stuff are being paid very very little.

    What we can appreciate about Hitler as a philosopher is that he was fully committed to betting everything on his philosophy. He didn't just write some books and give some speeches like "real" philosophers, he didn't just theorize in highly abstract inaccessible language, but instead implemented his clear minded philosophy in the real world to the greatest degree possible with all an consuming unhesitating commitment. Hitler was an authentic wolf, a true child of nature, fully loyal to the laws which have ruled life on this planet since the first very day, and which continue to rule it to this day.

    There are endless generations of Catholic DNA up my family tree, so I am not a Nazi, not capable of being one, nor am I'm selling Nazism. I hope that's clear. However, I seem to be happy to participate in a global economic system which funnels resources up the social ladder from the weak to the strong, because I was lucky enough to be born among the strong.

    When we sweep all the Judeo-Christian delusions aside, we are the big fish, and we are eating the little fish. We just aren't doing so with the clarity and honesty which Hitler possessed. We aren't capable of overturning evolution, but capable only of pretending that we are doing so.
  • Jake
    1.1k
    Here's an example of Judeo-Christian delusions.

    During WWII we Americans were fully convinced beyond doubt that we were the good guys and the Nazis were the bad guys. We were outraged by Nazi racial policy.

    At the very same time we were thinking all this we were ruthlessly repressing blacks in the American south, and treating them like second class citizens across the rest of the country, based solely on their race.

    It was only a generation before the rise of Hitler that we Americans finished our century long ruthless genocide of native peoples across an entire continent, based solely on their race, and the fact that they were sitting on land we wished to steal.

    And we're still at it today. There's nothing stopping us from returning the property we stole from native peoples. There's nothing stopping us from trying to make things right by flooding native communities with cash. But we like the land we stole, we like the cash that has flowed from it, and so the subject never comes up.
  • DiegoT
    314
    "Elaborating the concept in The Antichrist, Nietzsche asserts that Christianity, not merely as a religion but also as the predominant moral system of the Western world, inverts nature, and is "hostile to life". As "the religion of pity", it elevates the weak over the strong, exalting that which is "ill-constituted and weak" at the expense of that which is full of life and vitality."

    Is this a Nietzschean influence on Hitler, or is it an influence of the ideology of the time, in part determined by freemasons in London, through Darwin´s books, on both Nietzsche and Hitler (who read Darwin, like millions of European did)?

    Freemason ideas, as they are related to Gnostic and Luciferian concepts, consider that the real purpose of History (including Natural History) is to create humans and turn humans into god-like beings. In the Victorian Era, they were able to impose these occultic dogmas on Natural Sciences, particularly Biology, that still suffers a lot from this historical diversion from proper science.

    Erasmus Darwin, C.Darwin´s grandad, who belonged to the Lodge of Cannongate Kilwinning of Scotland; was very acquainted with the development of a new science in its time in France, called "Evolution" (A word that Charles Darwin was later adviced to include in the fourth edition of "The Origin of Species").

    French naturalists discovered that geology and fossilized shells and bones allowed us to experimentally study the changes of Life through time, that in Aristotle´s time could only be considered speculatively and the occasional fossil. The idea that all living beings are part of a single process, in which what we now call complexity and memory is passed on from previous forms to more advanced forms through natural mechanisms, resonated in this mason as something he could reconcile with his Luciferian mindset, by which matter is awakened, freed and allowed to become divine. Erasmus wrote about all this in prose and poetry, and linked it with this mason teachings of the arrival of a "god-like" man. For example, in Zoonomia: “The world has been evolved, not created: it has arisen little by little from a small beginning, and has increased through the activity of the elemental forces embodied in itself, and so has rather grown than come into being at an almighty word.”
  • Christoffer
    121
    Nietzche's sister corrupted his unfinished work into a Nazi-supporting form.
  • karl stone
    284
    I would say right back at you - because your post is very well written, but I have some problems with your argument.

    It seems to ignore the fact that we are evolving, from ignorance into knowledge over time - from a state of nature to become civilized beings, from agrarian to industrial, from local to global and so on. You therefore omit that different systems of government and economics developed in isolation of eachother, grew and came into conflict - to thereby imply that we choose to practice a big fish eat little fish ethos, where we might not.

    Power dynamics naturally exist, but the larger part of religious, moral, legal and political philosophy is dedicated to defining the legitimate limits of power, and that's only possible insofar as ideas have jurisdiction - which is far from global. Economics also naturally exists - it can be applied to the way in which troops of chimpanzees groom eachother and share food, and they remember who is selfish, and then refuse to reciprocate. Practicing economics within and between the limited jurisdictions described has the consequence that little fish are eaten by the big fish, but it is not something we choose in every moment, as Hitler chose it - based on Nietzsche's philosophy. It is a developmental problem.

    Overwhelmingly, in the west - economic outcomes are defined by the random distribution of talents by nature, and industriousness. Certainly, there are questions of equality of opportunity that follow from the socio-economic class status one happens to be born into - but we do not, for example, have the racial hierarchy policies that Hitler adopted, and that persist in some parts of the world. We have developed beyond that, even if many would argue there's still a long way to go.

    All that said, it is in my opinion a mistake, and counter productive to project backward in time - the moral values we have developed in the present, to earlier stages of development - or, in denial of those claims of injustice, choose the big fish eat little fish ethos that Hitler chose.
  • Helen G
    3
    WOW!!!

    I’m just going to read all these comments!! Again thank you for this amazing response!!! I really appreciate it!!

    I will be back soon once I have read them all!!
  • ChatteringMonkey
    213


    Good posts, but...

    His claim was that naturalistic morality was overthrown as a consequence of the weak fooling the strong with religious morality.karl stone

    I don't think he said or meant religious morality unspecified, I think he meant Jewish morality. He didn't necessarily have a problem with religion in general, but with Christianity. Usually he was talking about European Culture only. So I don't think your point really follows :

    That's a misunderstanding. Religious morality is actually social morality necessary for hunter gatherer tribes to join together..karl stone

    One might therefore speculate that, Nietzsche declaring "God is dead" undermined moral values justified by divine authority, and thereby allowed for the 'uncivilized' behaviors of the Nazis.karl stone

    Nietzsche didn't declare 'God is dead' himself, it was a description of what had allready happened at that time... but people generally didn't fully realise the ramifications of it yet. If the cornerstone 'God' falls, so must the morality that is build on it eventually, it's a package deal of sorts. Scientific inquiry killed God, or in other words the search for truth killed God.... or ultimately, Christianity killed God itself because truth was one of it's core values.
  • karl stone
    284
    One might therefore speculate that, Nietzsche declaring "God is dead" undermined moral values justified by divine authority, and thereby allowed for the 'uncivilized' behaviors of the Nazis.
    — karl stone

    Nietzsche didn't declare 'God is dead' himself, it was a description of what had allready happened at that time... but people generally didn't fully realise the ramifications of it yet. If the cornerstone 'God' falls, so must the morality that is build on it eventually, it's a package deal of sorts. Scientific inquiry killed God, or in other words the search for truth killed God.... or ultimately, Christianity killed God itself because truth was one of it's core values.ChatteringMonkey

    Reasonable remarks overall there CM, but of course - declaring God is dead only had the effect it did, insofar as Nietzsche's philosophy influenced Nazism. No-one is suggesting Nietzsche was the sole factor responsible for the Nazis, nor that the conflict between science and religion began and ended with Nietzsche. Arguably, it began with Galileo's imprisonment and trail for heresy in 1634 - which somewhat contradicts your assertion that truth is a core Christian value. If you think Christianity is truth then sure, it's a core value. But it moves!
  • Jake
    1.1k
    Hi Karl,

    It seems to ignore the fact that we are evolving, from ignorance into knowledge over time - from a state of nature to become civilized beings, from agrarian to industrial, from local to global and so on.karl stone

    Technologically this is of course true. Morally the situation seems more complicated. As example, nuclear weapons are essentially a cave man's club. Technically they are far superior to the cave man's club, but our relationship with nukes is not that different than our relationship with the club. Nukes are just a bigger club, that's all.

    I'm proposing that the state of nature still exists in human affairs, but our well intentioned attempts to impose a plan of our own invention (Judeo-Christian) upon a much larger natural plan results in a loss of clarity. We think we are evolving morally, when the truth is that we casually accept that we may recklessly crash modern society at any moment.

    What I'm appreciating about the Nazis is that they seem to have escaped all this self delusion by aligning themselves squarely with a natural order far larger than anything we humans can invent. I'm evaluating them in this particular discussion not through the lens of Judeo-Christian morality, but through the lens of philosophy, where a reach for clarity seems a fundamental value.

    And, I'm pointing to the honesty which arose from that clarity. The Nazis used lies tactically of course, but their overall philosophy was pretty clear to all, "we are the wolf, and you are the sheep". This is abhorrent when viewed through Judeo-Christian ethics, but Judeo-Christian culture is doing essentially the same thing, we just aren't as clear minded and honest about it.

    What Judeo-Christian culture did in North America is really little different than what Hitler had planned for Eastern Europe. We fool ourselves in to thinking this is all part of the past we can do nothing about, but of course we could give the land we stole back, we could flood native communities with cash. We could at least try to make this historic crime right, but we can't be bothered. We can't be bothered to even think about it. We have the land. We have the cash. And we're keeping it, thus making ourselves party to the crime.

    Judeo-Christian culture continues to relentlessly funnel power and money from the lower classes to the upper classes. The big fish still eat the little fish, but the wolves have become far more clever in crafting how this story is told.

    That was perhaps Hitler's big mistake. By being so forthright about his plans, by so perfectly playing the role of villain, he helped his enemies mobilize their populations against him. As example, when Hitler invaded the Ukraine his troops were at first welcomed as liberators from the ruthless rule of the Soviets. Hitler wasn't smart enough to embrace that role long enough to conquer the rest of the Soviet Union.
  • karl stone
    284
    The Nazis wouldn't have been possible if hunter gatherers had not invented religion to overcome the aplha male problem, and join together to form societies and civilizations, Nietzsche and the Nazis did not understand this. Were it not for the "transvaluation of values" inherent to Judeo-Christian morality - we'd still be running around naked in the forest with sharp sticks.
  • Jake
    1.1k
    Good points Karl!

    Ok, so those humans who came together in larger groups out competed the smaller groups, and we saw tribes become villages become cities become nations. Religions and morality do seem to be part of this unifying process, though probably not the only factor.

    So we see that the Soviet Union, a larger nation, defeated Germany, a smaller nation. But, how did the Soviet Union become a larger nation? Through the application of the law of the jungle. Same thing with America. Same thing with the British Empire. All these larger powers were built through a sustained campaign of ruthless conquest. Today, the world's largest nation China is held together by the application of centralized systematic fear. The United States was held together in the 19th century by a horrific war imposed upon those who wished to leave the union.

    Maybe it wasn't morality which held the primitive societies together, but rather fear of neighboring societies? Maybe the alpha male problem was solved by killing off competing alpha males, just as has been the pattern in nature for a billion years?

    It seems to me the Nazis were pretty realistic about how the human realm and the natural world it arises from actually works. Perhaps they were unrealistic in not grasping the important role the illusion of morality plays?

    You know, the Nazis would likely have been more successful if they had played the game and pretended that they were, for example, courageously liberating the captive nations of the Soviet Union. They could have played the game and embraced the Jews, until their conquest was complete. As example, America claimed to be "civilizing" the natives, while we ruthlessly slaughtered them. This farce helped keep the project from generating a lot of internal division within itself.

    The larger point beyond Nazis is, how far can we stray from the laws of nature?
  • Valentinus
    252

    I have ordered ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ and ‘The Will to Power’Helen G

    I just want to point out that The Will to Power is a collection made from notebooks. It is useful as a companion to his finished works. But it is precisely this volume that was published by Elisabeth Forster-Nietzsche after Friedrich's death and which many (including Nazis) read instead of his actual books.

    The order of reading I recommend is Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of Morals, Ecce Homo, and Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
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