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Author Topic: The effect of reading Nietzsche  (Read 302 times)
LostInAShaftOfSunlight
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but you are the music while the music lasts...


« on: 11/02/09 @ 04:06 »

From my limited exposure to his life and writings, I find him to be a fascinating and even uplifting character.

My question is this: what effects has your study of Nietzsche had on your own thinking and life?
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Man, when I was young I shoved my ignorance in people's faces. They beat me with sticks. By the time I was forty my blunt instrument had been honed to a fine cutting point for me. If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you'll never learn.
Rob
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« Reply #1 on: 11/02/09 @ 15:45 »

It seems that Nietzsche tried to make people think for themselves instead of thinking like him (mostly). He teaches that we should learn to doubt our own beliefs but he also proposes ways in which to overcome the unhealthy effects which this can lead to. By looking at why we think in the way we do, we can look at ourselves (more) objectively, or rather, from different angles, before deciding how to interpret the world.

This is just my interpretation so feel free to correct me if you think otherwise. This may also be a little bias as it was a view I already had; it helped me in the way that I though ''So other people do actually think (somewhat) like me!'' And inspired me to study philosophy.
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Gareth Southwell
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« Reply #2 on: 11/02/09 @ 15:54 »

I agree, Rob. Nietzsche has had that effect on me also. By questioning our assumptions, the "philosophical prejudices" thinkers have, we come to see that it is possible to see the world in a variety of ways. This is both a bit scary and quite liberating, I think!
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LostInAShaftOfSunlight
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but you are the music while the music lasts...


« Reply #3 on: 13/02/09 @ 04:18 »

I''''ve been casually listening to a teaching company lecture series on Nietzsche.  I read a bit of him quite a few years ago, undoubtedly missing much due to a lack of context, but still profitably and with great enjoyment.  I think i''''ve come to a point where the unhealthy effects Rob mentioned are reaching a... well not a critical point or anything so melodramatic... but, hell, it''''s just not fun.

And then i hear things like this:

"Whoever has really gazed down with an asiatic and super-asiatic eye into the most world denying of all possible modes of thought, beyond good and evil, and no longer like buddha and schopenhauer under the spell and illusion of morality; perhaps by this very act, without really desiring it, may have opened his eyes to the opposite ideal: the ideal of the most high spirited, energetic, and world affirming man, who has not only learned to come to terms with and assimilate with what it was and is, but who wants to have it again as it was and is to all eternity, insatiably calling out "once more!""

and feel very deeply that there is something very rich and rewarding on offer.

Was Nietzsche himself able to do this?
« Last Edit: 13/02/09 @ 08:23 by LostInAShaftOfSunlight » Logged

Man, when I was young I shoved my ignorance in people's faces. They beat me with sticks. By the time I was forty my blunt instrument had been honed to a fine cutting point for me. If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you'll never learn.
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« Reply #4 on: 13/02/09 @ 14:17 »

Hi LIASOS (that''s going to be my new nickname for you, if you don''t mind!),

That''s a great question. Perhaps the best book that I''ve come across that might possibly answer this question is "Nietzsche in Turin", by Lesley Chamberlain. It provides an insight into Nietzsche''s last days, and is an intimate portrait of the man himself - his personal thoughts, his struggle with illness, his up and down days. The style is perhaps a little annoying at times, if I''m honest, but the book is a great antidote to the common caricature of Nietzsche, and a huge imaginative effort to get behind Nietzsche''s mask.

The thing that strikes me is how subtle much of Nietzsche''s thinking is. He is the one of the few philosophers, I think, who can still surprise you when you read him. This is because he isn''t always trotting out the same theories (though there are themes, obviously), but is constantly trying to push forward into new ways of seeing things. So, even if you don''t agree with him - and I don''t, on everything - he is still immensely enjoyable and provocative to read.
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LostInAShaftOfSunlight
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but you are the music while the music lasts...


« Reply #5 on: 16/02/09 @ 06:04 »

you can just call me Lost... Sunlight is okay too, though Shaft is probably not.

Well, that does it.  This shall henceforward and for all time be known as the year of Nietzsche.  In between my professional reading (for work, that is), i shall read one of his books.  Is Beyond Good and Evil an appropriate starting point? (well, i''ve already started)  What problems might i run into?
« Last Edit: 16/02/09 @ 06:16 by LostInAShaftOfSunlight » Logged

Man, when I was young I shoved my ignorance in people's faces. They beat me with sticks. By the time I was forty my blunt instrument had been honed to a fine cutting point for me. If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you'll never learn.
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« Reply #6 on: 16/02/09 @ 22:49 »

Well Sunny...

BGAE is quite a good place to start, but you are right, there are problems that you will run into. Firstly, he is not the most straight-forward of philosophers in terms of writing style. Descartes more or less says what he means (though his style has obviously dated a little), Plato is almost conversational, but Nietzsche is difficult. The main problem is that he seems like he should be easy to understand: he writes well, he is funny, he has a relaxed tone. However, he asks a lot of any reader: he makes reference to a wide range of historical, philosophical, literary, and other subjects; he can be very cryptic at times, preferring short epigrams to clear explanations; and, lastly, some of his ideas are very subtle and difficult.

This said, he is well worth persevering with. There are some good guidebooks out there (  Wink ), and if you are patient and determined then you will enjoy it. Remember, the point is not to agree with him, but simply to allow yourself to be challenged - and he certainly is challenging! There is still quite a range of interpretation of his work, so there is still room for discovering a fresh slant.

Anyway, just my thoughts. Other readable texts you could try: The Anti-Christian (Anti-Christ), The Gay Science, Twilight of the Idols, The Genealogy of Morals. However, BGAE is as good a place as any to start.

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