Philospher Friedrich Nietzsche - Essay Example

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The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), has been an inspiration for much of the philosophy which has come after him, including the controversial school of postmodernist theory. Widely regarded as one of Western Europe's greatest philosophers, Nietzsche produced a body of work within a very short period (he was insane by 1888), and yet in that time managed to write some of the great works of modern philosophy, including Ecce Homo, The Antichrist, Beyond Good and Evil, and the work studied here: Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
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Philospher Friedrich Nietzsche
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Download file to see previous pages Since Nietzsche was clearly concerned with the question of whether good and evil exist in the world, Zarathustra is a natural focus for his attention.
In considering the question of suicide, the first chapter where Zarathustra comes down from the mountain is significant: from his lofty position, "Zarathustra wants to become man again" (Nietzsche, page 122). The old man criticizes him: "You lived in your solitude as in the seaAlas, would you now climb ashore Alas, would you again drag your own body" (Nietzsche, page 123). This is a question of life and death - Zarathustra, who has been free of his mortal shackles, now returns, to drag his own body. The spiritual and physical separation of Zarathustra is an example of the living and dead being: at the beginning of the book, Zarathustra has most clearly chosen life. Moreover, he has decided that God, or the spiritual side, is "Dead", i.e., that only the physical self exists. "All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want toeven go back to the beasts rather than overcome man" (Nietzsche, 125). The soul and the body are not equal, and to believe in life after death is to deny current life "Do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes!...Despisers of life are they, decaying and poisoned themselvesso let them go" (Nietzsche, page 125). What Nietzsche appears to be saying here is that those who focus upon life-after-death, to the detriment of the physical present, are no different from suicides, who also long for death (for different reasons); Nietzsche seems to condemn both as poisonous to other men. He also attacks them later, in "On the afterworldly": "It is not in afterworlds and redemptive drops of blood, but in the body, that they too have most faithbut a sick thing it is to them, and gladly would they shed their skins. Therefore they listen to the preachers of death and themselves preach afterworlds." (Nietzsche, page 145). Those who hanker after the afterworld, the life-beyond-death, are too fond of their bodies to let go, but at the same time, their desire to continue with their lives leads to an obsession with death, and life after death, that denies the very body they admire.
Those who wish to live on after death are followed in almost biblical procession by those who despise the body. Nietzsche is very sarcastic about these teachers: "I would not have them learn and teach differently, but merely say farewell to their own bodies - and thus become silent" (Nietzsche, page 146). He contrasts the self with the body: "Your self itself wants to die and turns away from life" (Nietzsche, page 147).
The chapter which criticizes "The Preachers of Death", again suggests that those who despise the body are suicidal: ""These are the preachers of death; and the earth is full of those to whom one must preach renunciation of life" (Nietzsche, 156). He uses very withering sarcasm, seeming to cut back their ideals to the basic premise: "The earth is full of the superfluous; life is spoiled by the all-too-many. May they ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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