• New2K2
    10
    My apologies if this sounds uneducated but; I've been trudging through Nietzsche's the birth of tragedy and it appears to me that Nietzsche held a lot of contempt for himself and other people. If this is a sample of the typical German mind is it possible that this explains why the Nazi gained weight in Germany
    My main question is that Nietzsche sounds so depressing and suicidal and elitists and violently atheistic that I think I'm missing the point.
    Note: kindly refrain from aggressive and insulting replies please. This is my first time here and I came here just to ask this.
    So please give me your thoughts
  • NOS4A2
    1.5k


    Nietzsche himself had reservations about this work, even criticizing it, blaming it on his youth. Try reading his other works.
  • unenlightened
    4k
    Nietzsche is probably close to the worst possible place to start philosophy. In the first place he is radically iconoclastic, but the icons he was clasticating have by now become so covered in ivy that you will not even recognise what he was ranting about unless you are familiar with the Christian tradition and the Greek mythology as well as ancient philosophy and the historical canon.

    And psychologically, I think you have him bang to rights, but I would hesitate to extrapolate to the whole of German philosophy or the whole German culture.
  • Daniel C
    69
    Perhaps, if there is one important point to remember about Nietzsche, it is that he is a figure playing a vital transitional role in the history of philosophy: the transition from modernism to post-modernism. To really understand this transition from the one cultural phase to the next one it is imperative to make a study of Nietzsche. And bear in mind: his use of symbolic language can be very confusing and make you feel desperate at times!
  • Gus Lamarch
    24


    I remember a teacher of mine once saying:

    -If someday you come say to me that you finished reading one of Nietzsche's works, with a big smile, i would happily say that you didn't understand a thing of the whole work, because if you understanded it, in such a young age, your mental faculties could be negatively affected.

    So it's alright if you read it and got a negative opinion on him, or of the whole context, that meant that you in reality, didn't understand what brilliant Nietzsche wanted to say.
  • Valentinus
    584
    I recommend starting with The Genealogy of Morals. The book is contiguous with all his other works but gives the reader a chance to see the argument as an argument.
    It is difficult to reconstruct the environment he was reacting against with much of his writing.
    The gaps are the interesting thing.
  • I like sushi
    1.6k
    It’s kind of pointless reading if you know next to nothing about ancient Greek tragedy. Read what Aristotle and Plato have to say about ‘poetry’ first.

    His style is always bombastic. If all you got from it was a means to psychoanalyze him then maybe philosophy isn’t really your main interested.
  • I like sushi
    1.6k
    How so? He refers back to Beyond Good and Evil? The Birth of Tragedy was easily the one where I grasped his overarching approach - albeit backed up by ancient Greek works.
  • I like sushi
    1.6k
    He probably isn’t. Depends on your stance. He certainly revolutionised the ‘philosophical world’. I do wonder if he was alive today if he’d call himself a ‘postmodernist’? I suspect he would.
  • Valentinus
    584

    I don't mean to disparage any of his works. Suggesting one order of reading over another won't matter after you have read them all.
  • I like sushi
    1.6k
    I wasn’t coming to his defense. Btw it makes no sense to suggest there is no better order to read his works in even if you read them all.
  • Valentinus
    584

    I suggested starting with a particular book in light of the OP reaction to reading another. I am not suggesting that random selection of order is worthy in itself.
    On the other hand, the guy did not write millions of words. When you get close to reading most of them,
    how they become related to each other can follow many different lines of inquiry.
  • I like sushi
    1.6k
    No probs. I’m probably just another idiot who thinks they know more than they do. In my experience that is the general disposition of nearly every human alive :D

    At the end of the day one method will work better for someone more than for another. If the OP views his writing as a means of psychoanalysis I’d say they’re off. His bombastic style is quite funny (I thought so anyway). The self critique in the preface to Birth of Tragedy is an insight into how harsh he was on his on thoughts too, not just his impressions of others.

    The key for me was reading Aristotle’s Poetics and having a vested interest in storytelling and narrative structures alongside how memory functions and the fascinating discoveries of over the past few decades in the cognitive neurosciences.

    It seems a little contrary to tell someone, as I do, that in order to understand Nietzsche you need to start reading elsewhere.

    I imagine his ideas appeal more to those who kind of hold a partial dislike toward what we call ‘philosophy’ today. He certainly does a decent job of uncloaking a certain atmosphere of pretension in regard to those who claim the self-proclaimed title of ‘philosopher’. Kant is another heavyweight who pretty much said something along the same lines, that is - to poorly paraphrase - ‘To call yourself a philosopher is the height of arrogance.’ Much like Plato tried to frame the ‘ideal’ ruler I believe we should also regard the title of ‘philosopher’ in the very same manner: as an idealised and unobtainable pole around which we can rotate but never possess. That is likely why much of ancient thought of those times was encapsulated in Christian, and other religious, mythos. The ideal for humanity is an unseen target, yet we can vaguely make out some rough idea of ‘betterment’/‘flourishing’. This is what I am quite strongly inclined to believe Nietzsche was flitting around - especially in Beyond Good and Evil, which is backed up by his words in On the Gen ...

    Gotta go ...
  • TheMadFool
    4.1k
    This is probably totally unrelated to the great Nietzsche but in my opinion bad things must happen to good people in a tragedy. If not it's just comeuppance. Can you tell me what was good about what Nietzsche deemed a tragedy?
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