Sunday, September 19, 2010

To Nietzsche or not to Nietzsche....................

Faithful readers will know that this blog enjoys S. Peter Davis's
Three Minute Philosophy series.  Here is his atypical entry on
Friedrich Nietzsche. 


I will confess to being a history major who struggled with the
only philosophy course I ever took.  After watching Davis
refuse to interpret Nietzsche for me, I picked up a copy of
Beyond Good and Evil, which for some reason found its way
onto one of my bookshelves.

Nietzsche starts out Paragraph 202, in the sub-section titled
On the Natural History of Morals, this way:

     "Let us straight away say once more what we have
     already said a hundred times:  for ears today offer such
     truths- our truths- no ready welcome."

No kidding?   Later in the paragraph comes the following
SENTENCE:

      "But that the tempo of this movement is much too slow
     and somnolent for the more impatient, for the sick and
     suffering of the said instinct, is attested by the ever
     more frantic baying, the ever more undisguised fang-
     bearing of the anarchist dogs which now rove the
     streets of European culture: apparently the reverse
     of the placidly industrious democrats and revolutionary
     idealists, and even more so of the stupid philosophasters
     and brotherhood fanatics who call themselves socialists
     and want a 'free society', they are in fact at one with
     them all in their total and instinctive hostility towards
     every form of society other that that of the autonomous
     herd (to the point of repudiating even the concepts of
     'master' and 'servant'- ni dieu ni maitre says a socialist
     formula-); at one in their tenacious opposition to every
     special claim, every special right and privilege (that is
     to say, in the last resort to every right: for when every-
     one is equal no one will need any 'rights'-); at one in
     their mistrust of punitive justice (as if it were an
     assault on the weaker, and injustice against the
     necessary previous consequence of all previous society-);
     but equally at one in the religion of pity, in sympathy
     with whatever feels, lives, suffers (down as far as the
     animals, up as far as 'God'- the extravagance of 'pity
     for God' belongs in a democratic era-); at one, one
     and all, in the cry and impatience of pity, in moral
     hatred for suffering in general, in their almost
     feline incapacity to remain spectators to suffering,
     to let suffer; at one in their involuntary gloom and
     sensitivity, under whose spell Europe seems threatened
     with a new Buddhism; at one in their faith in the
     morality of mutual pity, as if it were morality in itself
     and the pinnacle, the attained pinnacle of man, the sole
     hope of the future, the consolation of the present and
     the great redemption from all the guilt of the past- as
     one, one and all, in their faith in the community as the
     savior, that is to say in the herd, in 'themselves'......."
    
I won't speak for anyone else, but that is enough Nietzsche
for me today.

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