• New2K2
    14
    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
    4.3k


    Nietzsche himself had reservations about this work, even criticizing it, blaming it on his youth. Try reading his other works.
  • unenlightened
    5.5k
    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
    81
    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
    784


    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
    971
    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
    2.4k
    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
    2.4k
    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
    2.4k
    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
    971

    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
    2.4k
    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
    971

    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
    2.4k
    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
    8.7k
    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?
  • Nagel
    23
    In that book, Nietzsche was actually referring to Greek tragedy (plays, dithyrambs) and how it came to pass that the Greeks gave birth to such things in relation to music, hence the title "On the Birth of Tragedy out of the spirit of music." He was talking about tragedy as an art.
  • TheMadFool
    8.7k
    In that book, Nietzsche was actually referring to Greek tragedy (plays, dithyrambs) and how it came to pass that the Greeks gave birth to such things in relation to music, hence the title "On the Birth of Tragedy out of the spirit of music." He was talking about tragedy as an artNagel

    As far as I can tell, from my own personal experience that is, music has the power to stir up all kinds of emotions, from joy to sorrow and everything in between. I don't see how and why the Greeks seem to have found it particularly useful for tragedies. Perhaps music, the right kind, can intensify the heartache of tragedies but I'm unable to see the connection between sadness and music - it should exist if what you say is true, assuming I read you correctly.
  • Nagel
    23
    There is truth in what you say, but in the book's context, It is the reverse. Please be wary of what I tell you for it is only my interpretation, but it seems to me that Nietzsche found it counterintuitive for the Greeks to deviate from what he calls the "primordial pain and its primordial reechoing," and the "primal unity" that can best be experience through music. He talks about how by using imagery and words, by confining one to linguistics, one actually deviates from music and thus deviates from this "primal unity."

    Perhaps music, the right kind, can intensify the heartache of tragedies
    @TheMadFool

    Put this in reverse. In a way, he's telling us that the lyrical aspect of tragedies is weakening the heartache and joy one can experience from music. Because one is driven away from the Dionysian and brought closer to the Apollonian.

    Music brings us to this "primordial suffering" which is why it connects with sadness.

    Can you tell me what was good about what Nietzsche deemed a tragedy?
    @TheMadFool

    To answer this, let me first quote myself from one of my posts.

    The lyric genius is someone who symbolizes himself, subjects himself into the constraints of language and rationality in order to actualize the Dionysian contradiction. In contrast, we have the plastic artist whose concern is in the realm of images. However, Dionysian music is without images. Then we have the epic poet who lives in images, lives in what we may call "dreams" where he sees pleasure in even the expression of an "angry Achilles".
    @Nagel

    Nietzsche differentiated tragedies based on these three types of artists. He puts particular emphasis on what he calls the lyric genius who he presents Archilochus as a prime example.

    "The value of existence (as an aesthetic phenomenon) is independent of our subjective valuations of the world. He then proceeds to end section five with how the artistic genius "is at once subject and object, at once poet, actor, and spectator." I suppose this means that the genius, being the subject who produces art is at the same time the medium in which this art is produced. In a sense, he is detached from the artist and is therefor placed as the spectator."
    @Nagel

    In short, tragedies, the lyric genius' in particular, are good because it expresses the primordial pain and somehow puts the person much more in touch with reality than other types of tragedies that bring us to the "realm of dreams."
  • I don't get it
    9

    Hi Nagel, you seem to have a decent grasp on Nietzsche, (as much as anyone can) can you recommend me a good starting place for someone trying to get into Nietzsche? I've been wanting to for a while, I just don't know where to start.
  • Nagel
    23
    I assume that you're familiar with some of Nietzsche's ideas but have not yet really dove deep into his works? If so, then my best recommendation for you is to familiarize yourself with him and how he relates to other (older) philosophers. You can achieve this by watching tapes, lectures, and podcasts on YouTube. Philosophy Overdose is a channel I'd recommend. Once you have a fair grasp and a broad understanding of what Nietzsche is about, you can focus on deepening your understanding through his books. I read Kaufman's translations, though I can't say that I recommend it because, welp, his translations are the only ones I've read. I can't really compare it with others, now can I. Afterwards, I highly recommend that you make essays or take notes of what Nietzsche is saying relative to your personal self. By this, I mean you should relate your personal experiences or thoughts to whatever in his works that you can relate to or have you pondering. Ah, yeah, you can even start writing essays in the YouTube stage if you want. It's really important to flesh out your own thoughts about philosophical topics. Hey, you might even someday encounter a completely unfamiliar book about ideas that you've already written tons of essays about. Lastly, if you judge it as necessary, you should google about the unfamiliar concepts that arise. In my case, I read some Antigone and Agamemnon (Greek tragedies), searched about the tale with Silenus and Midas, and googled Archilochus in order to have a good idea of what Nietzsche was talking about in Birth of Tragedy.

    I am by no means an academic philosopher, I only commit to studying philosophy in my free time. And by free time, I mean free-er time. I usually spend my free time either by playing and chatting with my friends or drawing. Once I am free of those activities, I do philosophy. Though I do sometimes listen to philosophy stuff while drawing, I would still say that it is most effective to have complete focus when studying up on it.

    Welp, as you can see, studying these things isn't my priority. It makes it a slower process than it already is, but I prefer doing it in my own pace. You can join me in my snail race but you can also go overkill and consume as much materials as you can as fast as possible.
  • I don't get it
    9
    Hey thanks for the reply. That's what I've always heard, start learning about Nietzsche before you actually read any of his stuff. I wanted to read birth of tragedy, but I wasn't sure if that was a good place to start. I think I'll get into the greek tragedies first , and then wade into Nietzsche. Thanks for the advice. Cheers.
  • Nagel
    23
    You might want to consider learning the Greeks as you are reading the Birth.
  • TheMadFool
    8.7k
    Well, that music and suffering are connected at a deeper level seems, from my musings for what they're worth, plausible. Joy, in my humble opinion, is too complete a state of being to require reinforcements - it would be gilding the lily in a manner of speaking.

    Sorrow, on the other hand, needs a helping hand, it cries out for help and music, the right kind, does, in a way, soften the blow.
  • Miguel Hernández
    66

    If you don't appreciate "the birth of tragedy" (Nietzsche), perhaps you should try the tragedy of birth (Cioran).
    animals-acting-like-humans-13.jpg
  • Nagel
    23
    Music is somehow mystical in the sense that it has a sort of universality relative to human emotions and passions. Sad music makes us sad regardless of our race and culture the same way that joyous music make us, welp, happy. This is especially the case for musical compositions without linguistic conflation. Sometimes, lyrics ruin the song but if done right, it actually enhances our experience of it. By "done right", I'm not suggesting a universal structure of lyrical composition that makes all songs good. Lyrics step into culture, so it's a given that it loses its universality, but if songs with lyrics are directed to certain cultures and are consumed by these cultures, then to them it would have been "done right." This is why some westerners may not really appreciate, say, Vietnamese music or why there's even a divide between K-pop stans and the rest of the world.

    This is also why I enjoy cute anime music and get shamed for it (ノ´ヮ`)ノ*: ・゚
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