neitzsche that hard?

i've seen several people on here mention how difficult he is to read. i've only read twilight of the idols & found it pretty accessible. is the rest of it quite different, or is it just something that either gels with you or it doesn't? what's some other neitzsche i should check out?


I actually think reading Nietzsche's an absolute joy; but yeah, it did take me some time to accustom myself to his writing style--which is based around aphorisms and parables rather than linear or dialectic writing style. All the effort it takes to get through Nietzsche is hansomely paid off by the profoundness of his thought.

He definitely is not an entry-level philosopher, and I found that as I became better read and 'educated' I had a far better understanding of the discourses/dialogues that he engages in.

I second Beyond Good and Evil as a good place to start. I would start with somehing like the parable of the madman or his death of God statement (everyone should work through this piece to figure out what he means by his God is Dead statement).

i'll put beyond good & evil on my list, thanks. incidentally, what would a beginner philosopher be?

Ah, Neitzsche. It is not that he is that hard to read, but that he is so easy to misread. Why, because he works so well as a sound bite philosopher. "God is Dead" for example one of the most famous philosophical lines. Many take just this sound bite without the proper context. Some of the context of the death of god is found in the "The Gay Science" in a section entitled the madman. The full quote give us a sense of the sense of lose that the death of god brings, the philosophical problem of how we could have destroyed that which was greater than us, and the rise of nihilism. For a good unpacking of the God is dead it is worth looking at Heidegger's essay "The word of Nietzsche".

I got a little sidetracked there. Basically he writes in a manner that allows himself to be taken as a very superficial philosopher. Many university students after their first encounters with N come away converted in a manner and number than you don't see with other philosophers. I have met very few undergrad followers of Plato, Spinoza, or Heidegger, but many Nietzschians. (Only Marx seems to be as successful at undergrad conversion.) However if you ask them what Nietzsche is saying, most likely you will get a defense of hedonism. Nietzsche says I can fuck, (figuratively and literally) who ever I want. I think there is a lot more going on in N's works that this. See the thread on Nietzsche's morality for more info.

Rand are you from The Peg? You're just named after a fairly good bookstore in Grant Park.

Nope. I was trying to come up with a username, the big map over my desk is published my Rand Mcnally. I liked the sound of it. (Am I right to assume that The Peg is Winnipeg.)

D'oh. The name of the bookstore is Rally McRobinson... Rand McNally is obviously the big publisher. Ugh. Sometimes the synapses in my brain don't fire off that well.


I have a third interpretation of the Death of God statement, but I'll have to leave it till tomorrow...

Twightlight of the Idols is a good place to start. Beyond Good and Evil is what they give the first year political science students at my school. On the Genealogy of Morals is really good. I would also recommend reading Sartre┬║s play "The Flies". Even Heart of Darkness is helpful.

"God is Dead" means that the utility of religion in society no longer exists, in fact it would benefit from an anti-leveling philosophy.

EJ: where your interpretation differs from mine, it must be wrong. Just joking. This is how Nietzsche is hard. His literary style allows for many interpretations, on many levels. (This of course not does not mean there are not incorrect readings, but there are many different good readings.)

I was far to brief with my explanation, and on rereading today it does not express fully what I thing is an important message in the passage. To a large degree I don't really think that God in this passage means God in a truly religious sense. He is dealing with the history of Metaphysics or ontology. It is the death of the supersensory world, the end of the viability of the Platonic system (With is the root of the Western tradition). The "and we have killed" him is a refection of the Hegalian system of thesis and antithesis. The system of western metaphysics contained its own overcoming . Nihilism is part of the inner logic of western history. Yes, the collapse of the western system does lead to the possibility of a new thesis. Nietzsche considered him self to be a preparatory writer. He subtitled "Beyond good and evil" a Prelude to a philosophy of the future. He does not offer an escape to Nihilism, he prepares the way. So I do think it does have a depressing tone. The end of system, which worked for so long, leaves us without something to replace it. There is genuine loss in the passage.

Well I could say a lot more, but I have a ton of work to do. It was going to be a late night even before I started in on this topic.

Where did everyone on this thread go? EJ any replies. Hakujin what is your theory. Any thoughts poorboy. Hello, anyone here.

Wow that was quick.

Depressing is not really the right word. But I do think there is a sense of loss. N. is concerned with the problem of Nilhism, which occurs with death of god (DOG), (which as I stated above is not only a religous event). Your right in the fact that it is not a depressing event because it opens up the possibility for a more authentic life, a more developed Will to Power. N. does not morn the DOG.

However, one of the problem I find a lot of people have with the DOG is they think it is the end state. It is not. We have lost something but as of yet have found how to replace it. It the period between the DOG and a higher Will to Power comes Nilhism.

As for a Passage. The Madman out of "The Gay Science" I think conveys a strong sense of loss. Give me a few minutes to find it.

"How were we able to drink you the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entie horizon? What did we do when we unchained the erth from the sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away drom all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, Forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying through an infinite nothing? Do we not fell the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night and more night coming on all the while..." There is a sense here of loss, I think.

He goes on in the same passage to say that "Whomever will be born after us -- for the sake of this deed he will be part of a higher history than all history before." This seems to be the part that catches your fancy. It speaks of a greater future. However I don't think that we are yet "born after" people. The next para goes on to say "I come to time has not come yet."

I tend to focus on the sense of loss because I think we are living in the post DOG, pre what ever comes after period. And the full knowledge of the DOG had not reached us. We are a inbetween times people.

I don't think so. I could be wrong. Could some new Paradigm emerge to displace nilhism; sure. Will it be anything like what N envisioned. No. I don't think he left a clear vision of what that new fully developed Will to Power would look like. Plus I also think that much of his vision was bound up in the 19th century world view. The vision of a chain of being, progressing upward, his views on women, the concern with race. I am not even sure I if the next stage occurs on a individual or cultural level. Most readings lean towards individual, but I lean the otherway.

I think that N's genius lay in his reading of history as a story of the will to power, and his criticisms of his (and our own) society. I think that his skills as a prognosticator are over rated. (I have a similer view of Marx, brilliant critic, poor prognosticator )
I have high regard for hegal's quote "the owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk". Philosophy understands reality, only after the event, never before.

been busy with school, no time to respond, but i'm reading.