If we’re an insignificant speck in the universe does it follow that a 6” tall person is more significant than a 5”tall person?
Support of the second amendment has to be some sick joke America is playing on the rest of the world so we think they’re idiots.
Thanks for the suggestions of floydpinkus amongst others for more Nietzsche on the blog and i hope the misconceptions piece suffices. Had a lot of material and cut it down as much as I could to keep it as simple as possible but may take all 4 misconceptions and deal with them in more detail individually sometime in the future.
Due to the value of the research for me and the enjoyment i got out of it i think i’ll take bononos' request up for more posts on the misconceptions of other philosophers. Was thinking of maybe Wittgenstein or Kierkegaard but if you guys have any suggestions that would be great. :)
This myth is the belief that Nietzsche’s work is all focused on the Ubermensch which many then link to Hitler’s master-race. It is easily the most common misconception of Nietzsche and one that will not bother anyone who reads him to any real level. The Ubermensch or ‘overman’ is a character in Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, that all people should aspire to be. Whilst this does sound vaguely like a master-race it is important to understand that the image of the overman only appears in one of Nietzsche’s books. To understand his use of the ubermensch we must understand the reason behind Thus Spoke Zarathustra. This book is written in a very fanciful, non-philosophical fashion because it is a parody of the New Testament with Zarathustra being a parody of Jesus Christ. One of Zarathustra’s teachings is that his people should aim towards becoming this overman. Therefore, not only does Nietzsche not agree with the idea of the ubermensch but the idea of the overman is a stab at Christianity, a religion that the whole book attempts to undermine.
Anti-semitism and Nazi Ideology
This is a misconception that contemporary authors are doing a very good job of removing from common ideas of Nietzsche and one which his sister and publisher are heavily responsible for as she was very proto-Nazi and an anti-semite. This particularly became a problem in his later years in which he was extremely unstable and had huge amounts of unpublished work for her to edit and twist to fit her own message, but i’ll come to that later. In terms of his own feeling towards Jewish people there are many (and i mean many) instances of him praising them in his work and even one passage where he ranks them much higher than the Germans whom he disliked passionately. The main criticism Nietzsche has of Judaism is that it is responsible for the formation of Christian values and nothing to do with anti-semitism as we know it.
The Will to Power
For me, this is the most frustrating misconception because many who are aware of the previous two misconceptions fall for this one. It is a common held belief that, along with the ubermensch, the will to power is at the core of Nietzsche’s teachings. To straighten out this myth we must look to Nietzsche’s later work Ecce Homo in which he reviews all his works and ideas. The idea of the will to poweris mentioned only in passing and is given little to no significance. Even more importantly is the fact that Nietzsche did not want to publish a book called Will to Power and this was done by his sister and publisher who were mentioned earlier. Basically, that work is a perverted piece of work that a now mentally incapacitated Nietzsche could do nothing about. As Nietzsche wrote his published work by taking pieces of text from his notebook he was left with a lot of unpublished material so sadly Will to Power is not the only one of his later works to be tampered with. What Nietzsche was interested in was the psychology of how people are motivated by the desire and feeling of power. In this Nietzsche is not only talking of controlling others but also of the feeling of power that comes from self-control. The idea that Nietzsche believed that reality and life is completely and totally driven by a will to power is a complete fiction.
Post-modernism and relativism
This misconception is one that is more a problem in the academic sphere of philosophy and is perhaps the main reason that Nietzsche is not as highly respected as he should be by other philosophers. Recently Nietzsche has been adopted by post-modernists such as Derrida and Foucault as the man who first understood that texts basically have no meaning and that he was a huge skeptic about objective truth. Amazingly and ironically this is the opposite of what Nietzsche actually teaches in his philosophy. It is important to understand that Nietzsche was educated not primarily in philosophy but in classical philology which is basically the study of the culture of Ancient Greece and Rome. Nietzsche’s work shows a deep respect for the science of philology and it’s careful reading and interpretation to find the true meaning of texts. Therefore Nietzsche is certainly not a relativist or a prototype to post-modernism.
Philosophy aside though, a question I have to my followers who are so inclined to the female form is that is it just me or is there something sexy about stretch marks?
A real bug-bear I have with philosophical works involving things like feminism or anarchism is that many authors seem to be droning out a selection of phrases like a mixture of a preacher spewing rhetoric on his pulpit and a child abusing the string on the back of a Woody toy.
Don’t get me wrong there are excellent works out there on both subjects and I’ve only picked those two out in particular because they are the most prominent examples. It just seems like a problem many of the works suffer from is this catchphrase syndrome where there is a lack of serious philosophy but just playing to the emotions of a crowd with the same old increasingly unsubstantiated script.
Damn Nietzsche is one misunderstood guy.