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Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche ( /ˈniːtʃə/;[33]German pronunciation: [ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈvɪlhɛlm ˈniːtsʃə]; October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) was a German philosopher, poet, composerand classical philologist. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and aphorism. Sony vaio VPCYA15FH/R battery

Nietzsche's influence remains substantial within and beyond philosophy, notably inexistentialism, nihilism and postmodernism. His style and radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth have resulted in much commentary and interpretation, mostly in thecontinental tradition. His key ideas include the death of God, perspectivism, theÜbermensch,  Sony vaio VPCS13L8E/B battery

 amor fati, the eternal recurrence, and the will to power. Central to his philosophy is the idea of "life-affirmation", which involves an honest questioning of all doctrines that drain life's expansive energies, however socially prevalent those views might be.[34]  Sony PCG-5J1L battery

Nietzsche began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. In 1869, at the age of 24 he was appointed to the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel (the youngest individual to have held this position), Dell Inspiron 15z battery

but resigned in the summer of 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life.[35] In 1889 he became mentally ill with what was then characterized as atypical general paresis attributed totertiary syphilis, a diagnosis that has since come into question.[36] He lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897, then under the care of his sister until his death in 1900. Sony PCG-5L1L battery

YOUTH (1844–1869)

Born on October 15, 1844, Nietzsche grew up in the small town of Röcken, near Leipzig, in the Prussian Province of Saxony. He was named after King Frederick William IV of Prussia, who turned 49 on the day of Nietzsche's birth. (Nietzsche later dropped his given middle name, "Wilhelm".)[37] HP ProBook 4515s battery

Nietzsche's parents, Carl Ludwig Nietzsche (1813–49), aLutheran pastor and former teacher, and Franziska Oehler (1826–97), married in 1843, the year before their son's birth, and had two other children: a daughter, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, born in 1846, and a second son, Ludwig Joseph, HP Pavilion dv3-2340ez Battery

born in 1848. Nietzsche's father died from a brain ailment in 1849; Ludwig Joseph died the next year, at age 2. The family then moved to Naumburg, where they lived with Nietzsche's paternal grandmother and his father's two unmarried sisters. After the death of Nietzsche's grandmother in 1856, the family moved into their own house. HP Pavilion dv3-2350ed Battery


Nietzsche attended a boys' school and then later a private school, where he became friends with Gustav Krug, Rudolf Wagner and Wilhelm Pinder, all of whom came from very respected families. HP Pavilion dv3-2350ee Battery

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In 1854, he began to attend Pforta in Naumburg, but after he showed particular talents in music and language, the internationally recognised Schulpforta admitted him as a pupil, and there he continued his studies from 1858 to 1864. Here he became friends with Paul Deussen and Carl von Gersdorff. He also found time to work on poems and musical compositions. HP Pavilion dv3-2355ee Battery

At Schulpforta, Nietzsche received an important introduction to literature, particularly that of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and for the first time experienced a distance from his family life in a small-town Christian environment. His end of semester exams in March 1864 showed a "straight I" in Religion and German, a 2a in Greek and Latin, 2b in French, History and Physics, and a "lackluster" 3 in Hebrew and Mathematics.[HP Pavilion dv3-2360ee Battery


After graduation in 1864 Nietzsche commenced studies in theology and classical philology at the University of Bonn. For a short time he and Deussen became members of theBurschenschaft Frankonia. After one semester (and to the anger of his mother) he stopped his theological studies and lost his faith.[39] HP Pavilion dv3-2380eg Battery

This may have happened in part because of his reading around this time of David Strauss's Life of Jesus, which had a profound effect on the young Nietzsche,[39] though in an essay entitled Fate and Historywritten in 1862, Nietzsche had already argued that historical research had discredited the central teachings of Christianity.[40]HP Pavilion dv3-2390eg Battery

 Nietzsche then concentrated on studying philology under Professor Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl, whom he followed to the University of Leipzigthe next year. There he became close friends with fellow-student Erwin Rohde. Nietzsche's first philological publications appeared soon after. HP Pavilion dv3-2390eo Battery

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In 1865 Nietzsche thoroughly studied the works of Arthur Schopenhauer. He owed the awakening of his philosophical interest to reading his Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung(The World as Will and Representation) and later admitted that Schopenhauer was one of the few thinkers that he respected, dedicating to him his essay Schopenhauer als Erzieher(Schopenhauer as Educator), one of his Untimely Meditations. HP Pavilion g4-1010us Battery


In 1866 he read Friedrich Albert Lange's History of Materialism. Lange's descriptions of Kant's anti-materialistic philosophy, the rise of European Materialism, Europe's increased concern with science, Darwin's theory, and the general rebellion against tradition and authority greatly intrigued Nietzsche. The cultural environment encouraged him to expand his horizons beyond philology and to continue his study of philosophy. HP Pavilion g4-1011nr Battery


In 1867 Nietzsche signed up for one year of voluntary service with the Prussian artillery division in Naumburg. However, a riding accident in March 1868 left him unfit for service.[41] Consequently Nietzsche turned his attention to his studies again, completing them and first meeting with Richard Wagner later that year.[42]HP Pavilion g4-1013tx Battery



In part because of Ritschl's support, Nietzsche received a remarkable offer to become professor of classical philology at the University of Basel. He was only 24 years old and had neither completed his doctorate nor received his teaching certificate. Despite the fact that the offer came at a time when he was considering giving up philology for science, he accepted.[43] HP Pavilion g4-1014tx Battery

To this day, Nietzsche is still among the youngest of the tenured Classics professors on record.[44] Before moving to Basel, Nietzsche renounced his Prussian citizenship: for the rest of his life he remained officially stateless.[45][46]HP Pavilion g4-1015tx Battery


Nevertheless, Nietzsche served in the Prussian forces during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 to 1871 as a medical orderly. In his short time in the military he experienced much, and witnessed the traumatic effects of battle. He also contracted diphtheria and dysentery. HP Pavilion g4-1016tx Battery

Walter Kaufmann speculates that he might also have contracted syphilis along with his other infections at this time, and some biographers speculate that syphilis caused his eventual dementia, though there is some disagreement on this matter.[47][48]HP Pavilion g4-1017tu Battery

 On returning to Basel in 1870 Nietzsche observed the establishment of the German Empire and the following era of Otto von Bismarck as an outsider and with a degree of skepticism regarding its genuineness. At the University, he delivered his inaugural lecture, HP Pavilion g4-1018tu Battery

"Homer and Classical Philology". Nietzsche also met Franz Overbeck, a professor of theology, who remained his friend throughout his life. Afrikan Spir, a little-known Russian philosopher and author of Denken und Wirklichkeit (1873), and Nietzsche's colleague the historian Jacob Burckhardt, whose lectures Nietzsche frequently attended, began to exercise significant influence on him during this time. HP Pavilion g4-1020us Battery

Nietzsche had already met Richard Wagner in Leipzig in 1868, and (some time later) Wagner's wife Cosima. Nietzsche admired both greatly, and during his time at Basel frequently visited Wagner's house in Tribschen in the Canton of Lucerne. HP Pavilion g4-1021tx Battery

The Wagners brought Nietzsche into their most intimate circle, and enjoyed the attention he gave to the beginning of the Bayreuth Festival Theatre. In 1870 he gave Cosima Wagner the manuscript of 'The Genesis of the Tragic Idea' as a birthday gift. HP Pavilion g4-1022TU Battery

In 1872 Nietzsche published his first book, The Birth of Tragedy. However, his colleagues in the field of classical philology, including Ritschl, expressed little enthusiasm for the work, in which Nietzsche eschewed the classical philologic method in favor of a more speculative approach. HP Pavilion g4-1022tx Battery

In a polemic, Philology of the Future, Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorffdampened the book's reception and increased its notoriety. In response, Rohde (by now a professor in Kiel) and Wagner came to Nietzsche's defense. Nietzsche remarked freely about the isolation he felt within the philological community and attempted to attain a position in philosophy at Basel, though unsuccessfully. HP Pavilion g4-1023TU Battery

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Between 1873 and 1876, Nietzsche published separately four long essays: David Strauss: the Confessor and the WriterOn the Use and Abuse of History for LifeSchopenhauer as Educator, and Richard Wagner in Bayreuth. These four later appeared in a collected edition under the title Untimely Meditations. The four essays shared the orientation of a cultural critique, HP Pavilion g4-1027TX Battery

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challenging the developing German culture along lines suggested by Schopenhauer and Wagner. In 1873, Nietzsche also began to accumulate notes that would be posthumously published as Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks. HP Pavilion g4-1047tx Battery

During this time, in the circle of the Wagners, Nietzsche met Malwida von Meysenbug and Hans von Bülow, and also began a friendship with Paul Rée, who in 1876 influenced him in dismissing the pessimism in his early writings. HP Pavilion g4-1048tx Battery

However, he was deeply disappointed by the Bayreuth Festival of 1876, where the banality of the shows and the baseness of the public repelled him. He was also alienated by Wagner's championing of 'German culture', which Nietzsche thought a contradiction in terms, as well as by Wagner's celebration of his fame among the German public. All this contributed to Nietzsche's subsequent decision to distance himself from Wagner. HP Pavilion g4-1049tu Battery

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With the publication in 1878 of Human, All Too Human (a book of aphorisms on subjects ranging from metaphysics to morality and from religion to the sexes) Nietzsche's reaction against the pessimistic philosophy of Wagner and Schopenhauer became evident, HP Pavilion g4-1051xx Battery

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as well as the influence of Afrikan Spir's Denken und Wirklichkeit.[49] Nietzsche's friendship with Deussen and Rohde cooled as well. In 1879, after a significant decline in health, Nietzsche had to resign his position at Basel. (Since his childhood, various disruptive illnesses had plagued him, including moments of shortsightedness that left him nearly blind, HP Pavilion g4-1053TX Battery

migraine headaches, and violent indigestion. The 1868 riding accident and diseases in 1870 may have aggravated these persistent conditions, which continued to affect him through his years at Basel, forcing him to take longer and longer holidays until regular work became impractical.) HP Pavilion G42 Battery

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Because his illness drove him to find climates more conducive to his health, Nietzsche traveled frequently, and lived until 1889 as an independent author in different cities. He spent many summers in Sils Maria, near St. Moritz in Switzerland, HP Pavilion g4t-1000 CTO Battery

and many winters in the Italian cities of Genoa, Rapallo and Turin and in the French city of Nice. In 1881, whenFrance occupied Tunisia, he planned to travel to Tunis to view Europe from the outside, but later abandoned that idea (probably for health reasons).[50] HP Pavilion g6-1000 Battery

While in Genoa, Nietzsche's failing eyesight prompted him to explore the use of typewriters as a means of continuing to write. He is known to have tried using the Hansen Writing Ball, a contemporary typewriter device. HP Pavilion g6-1005tu Battery


Nietzsche occasionally returned to Naumburg to visit his family, and, especially during this time, he and his sister had repeated periods of conflict and reconciliation. He lived on his pension from Basel, but also received aid from friends. HP Pavilion g6-1006tu Battery


A past student of his, Peter Gast (born Heinrich Köselitz), became a sort of private secretary to Nietzsche. In 1876, Koselitz transcribed the crabbed, nearly illegible handwriting of Nietzsche for the first time with Richard Wagner in Bayreuth.[51] HP Pavilion g6-1008tx Battery

He would go on to both transcribe and proofread the galleys for almost all of Nietzsche's work from there on. On at least one occasion, February 23, 1880, the usually broke Koselitz received 200 marks from their mutual friend, Paul Ree.[52] HP Pavilion g6-1009tx Battery

Koselitz was one of the very few friends Nietzsche allowed to criticize him. In responding most enthusiastically to "Zarathustra," Koselitz did feel it necessary to point out that what were described as "superfluous" people were in fact quite necessary. He went on to list the number of people Epicurus, for example, had to rely on—even with his simple diet of goat cheese.[53]HP Pavilion g6-1010tx Battery


To the end of his life, Gast and Overbeck remained consistently faithful friends. Malwida von Meysenbug remained like a motherly patron even outside the Wagner circle. Soon Nietzsche made contact with the music-critic Carl Fuchs. HP Pavilion g6-1011tx Battery

Beginning with Human, All Too Human in 1878, Nietzsche would publish one book (or major section of a book) each year until 1888, his last year of writing, during which he completed five. HP Pavilion g6-1012tx Battery


In 1882 Nietzsche published the first part of The Gay Science. That year he also met Lou Andreas Salomé,[54] through Malwida von Meysenbug and Paul Rée. Nietzsche and Salomé spent the summer together in Tautenburg in Thuringia, often with Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth as a chaperone. Nietzsche, however, regarded Salomé less as an equal partner than as a gifted student. HP Pavilion g6-1013tu Battery

Salomé reports that he asked her to marry him and that she refused, though the reliability of her reports of events has come into question.[55]Nietzsche's relationship with Rée and Salomé broke up in the winter of 1882/1883, HP Pavilion g6-1013tx Battery

partially because of intrigues conducted by Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth. Amidst renewed bouts of illness, living in near isolation after a falling-out with his mother and sister regarding Salomé, Nietzsche fled to Rapallo. Here he wrote the first part of Thus Spoke Zarathustrain only ten days. HP Pavilion g6-1014tu Battery


By 1882, Nietzsche was taking huge doses of opium, but was still having trouble sleeping.[56] In 1883, while staying in Nice, he was writing out his own prescriptions for the sedative chloral hydrate, signing them 'Dr Nietzsche'.[57]HP Pavilion g6-1014tx Battery

After severing his philosophical ties with Schopenhauer and his social ties with Wagner, Nietzsche had few remaining friends. Now, with the new style of Zarathustra, his work became even more alienating and the market received it only to the degree required by politeness. HP Pavilion g6-1015tu Battery

Nietzsche recognized this and maintained his solitude, though he often complained about it. His books remained largely unsold. In 1885 he printed only 40 copies of the fourth part of Zarathustra, and distributed only a fraction of these among close friends, including Helene von Druskowitz. HP Pavilion g6-1016tu Battery

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In 1883 he tried and failed to obtain a lecturing post at the University of Leipzig. It was made clear to him that, in view of the attitude towards Christianity and the concept of God expressed in Zarathustra, he had become in effect unemployable at any German University. HP Pavilion g6-1023tx Battery

The subsequent "feelings of revenge and resentment" embittered him. "And hence my rage since I have grasped in the broadest possible sense what wretched means (the depreciation of my good name, my character and my aims) suffice to take from me the trust of, and therewith the possibility of obtaining, pupils."[58]HP Pavilion g6-1024tx Battery


In 1886 Nietzsche broke with his editor, Ernst Schmeitzner, disgusted by his anti-Semitic opinions. Nietzsche saw his own writings as "completely buried and unexhumeable in this anti-Semitic dump" of Schmeitzner—associating the editor with a movement that should be "utterly rejected with cold contempt by every sensible mind".[59] HP Pavilion g6-1025sf Battery

He then printed Beyond Good and Evil at his own expense, and issued in 1886–1887 second editions of his earlier works (The Birth of TragedyHuman, All Too HumanDawn, and The Gay Science), accompanied by new prefaces in which he reconsidered his earlier works. HP Pavilion g6-1025tx Battery

Thereafter, he saw his work as completed for a time and hoped that soon a readership would develop. In fact, interest in Nietzsche's thought did increase at this time, if rather slowly and in a way hardly perceived by him. During these years Nietzsche met Meta von Salis, HP Pavilion g6-1026tx Battery

Carl Spitteler, and also Gottfried Keller. In 1886 his sister Elisabeth married the anti-Semite Bernhard Förster and traveled to Paraguay to found Nueva Germania, a "Germanic" colony—a plan to which Nietzsche responded with mocking laughter.[60] HP Pavilion g6-1027tx Battery

Through correspondence, Nietzsche's relationship with Elisabeth continued on the path of conflict and reconciliation, but they would meet again only after his collapse. He continued to have frequent and painful attacks of illness, which made prolonged work impossible. In 1887 Nietzsche wrote the polemic On the Genealogy of Morals. HP Pavilion g6-1030ef Battery


During the same year Nietzsche encountered the work of Fyodor Dostoevsky, with whom he felt an immediate kinship.[61] He also exchanged letters with Hippolyte Taine, and then also with Georg Brandes. Brandes, who had started to teach the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard in the 1870s, wrote to Nietzsche asking him to read Kierkegaard, HP Pavilion g6-1030tx Battery

to which Nietzsche replied that he would come to Copenhagen and read Kierkegaard with him. However, before fulfilling this undertaking, he slipped too far into sickness. In the beginning of 1888, in Copenhagen, Brandes delivered one of the first lectures on Nietzsche's philosophy. HP Pavilion g6-1031tx Battery


Although Nietzsche had in 1886 announced (at the end of On The Genealogy of Morality) a new work with the title The Will to Power: Attempt at a Revaluation of All Values, he eventually seems to have abandoned this particular approach and instead used some of the draft passages to compose Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist (both written in 1888).[62]HP Pavilion g6-1040ef Battery


His health seemed to improve, and he spent the summer in high spirits. In the fall of 1888 his writings and letters began to reveal a higher estimation of his own status and "fate." He overestimated the increasing response to his writings, especially to the recent polemic, HP Pavilion g6-1040sf Battery

The Case of Wagner. On his 44th birthday, after completing Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist, he decided to write the autobiography Ecce Homo. In the preface to this work—which suggests Nietzsche was well aware of the interpretive difficulties his work would generate—he declares, HP Pavilion g6-1041ef Battery

"Hear me! For I am such and such a person. Above all, do not mistake me for someone else."[63] In December, Nietzsche began a correspondence withAugust Strindberg, and thought that, short of an international breakthrough, HP Pavilion g6-1042ef Battery

he would attempt to buy back his older writings from the publisher and have them translated into other European languages. Moreover, he planned the publication of the compilationNietzsche Contra Wagner and of the poems that composed his collectionDionysian-Dithyrambs. HP Pavilion g6-1045ef Battery

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On January 3, 1889, Nietzsche suffered a mental collapse. Two policemen approached him after he caused a public disturbance in the streets of Turin. What happened remains unknown, but an often-repeated tale states that Nietzsche witnessed the whipping of a horse at the other end of the Piazza Carlo Alberto, ran to the horse, threw his arms up around its neck to protect it, and then collapsed to the ground.[64]HP Pavilion g6-1046sf Battery


In the following few days, Nietzsche sent short writings—known as the Wahnbriefe("Madness Letters")—to a number of friends (including Cosima Wagner and Jacob Burckhardt). To his former colleague Burckhardt, Nietzsche wrote: HP Pavilion g6-1047ef Battery

"I have had Caiaphasput in fetters. Also, last year I was crucified by the German doctors in a very drawn-out manner. Wilhelm, Bismarck, and all anti-Semites abolished."[65][page needed] Additionally, he commanded the German emperor to go to Rome to be shot, and summoned the European powers to take military action against Germany.[66]HP Pavilion g6-1050ef Battery


On January 6, 1889, Burckhardt showed the letter he had received from Nietzsche to Overbeck. The following day Overbeck received a similarly revealing letter, and decided that Nietzsche's friends had to bring him back to Basel. Overbeck traveled to Turin and brought Nietzsche to a psychiatric clinic in Basel. By that time Nietzsche appeared fully in the grip of a serious mental illness, HP Pavilion g6-1050sf Battery

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and his mother Franziska decided to transfer him to a clinic in Jena under the direction of Otto Binswanger. From November 1889 to February 1890 the art historian Julius Langbehn attempted to cure Nietzsche, claiming that the methods of the medical doctors were ineffective in treating Nietzsche's condition. HP Pavilion G62 Battery

Langbehn assumed progressively greater control of Nietzsche until his secretiveness discredited him. In March 1890 Franziska removed Nietzsche from the clinic, and in May 1890 brought him to her home in Naumburg. During this process Overbeck and Gast contemplated what to do with Nietzsche's unpublished works. HP Pavilion G62t Battery

In January 1889 they proceeded with the planned release of Twilight of the Idols, by that time already printed and bound. In February they ordered a fifty copy private edition of Nietzsche contra Wagner, but the publisher C. G. Naumann secretly printed one hundred. Overbeck and Gast decided to withhold publishing The Antichrist and Ecce Homo because of their more radical content. Nietzsche's reception and recognition enjoyed their first surge. HP Pavilion g6 Battery


In 1893 Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth returned from Nueva Germania (in Paraguay) following the suicide of her husband. She read and studied Nietzsche's works, and piece by piece took control of them and of their publication. Overbeck eventually suffered dismissal, and Gast finally co-operated. HP Pavilion g7-1000 Battery

After the death of Franziska in 1897, Nietzsche lived in Weimar, where Elisabeth cared for him and allowed people, including Rudolf Steiner (who in 1895 had written one of the first books praising Nietzsche)[67][page needed] HP Pavilion g7-1000eg Battery

to visit her uncommunicative brother. Elisabeth at one point went so far as to employ Steiner – at a time when he was still an ardent fighter against any mysticism – as a tutor to help her to understand her brother's philosophy. Steiner abandoned the attempt after only a few months, declaring that it was impossible to teach her anything about philosophy.[68]HP Pavilion g7-1000sa Battery


Nietzsche's mental illness was originally diagnosed as tertiary syphilis, in accordance with a prevailing medical paradigm of the time. Although most commentators regard his breakdown as unrelated to his philosophy, Georges Bataille drops dark hints ("'man incarnate' must also go mad")[69] and René Girard's postmortem psychoanalysis posits a worshipful rivalry with Richard Wagner.[70] HP Pavilion g7-1000sg Battery

The diagnosis of syphilis was challenged, and manic-depressive illness with periodic psychosis, followed by vascular dementia was put forward by Cybulska[71] prior Schain's;[72] and Sax's studies;[73] Orth and Trimble postulate frontotemporal dementia,[74] while other researchers[75] propose a syndrome called CADASIL. HP Pavilion g7-1001eg Battery


In 1898 and 1899 Nietzsche suffered at least two strokes, which partially paralysed him and left him unable to speak or walk. After contracting pneumonia in mid-August 1900 he had another stroke during the night of August 24–25, and died about noon on August 25.[76] Elisabeth had him buried beside his father at the church in Röcken bei Lützen. HP Pavilion g7-1001sg Battery

His friend, Gast, gave his funeral oration, proclaiming: "Holy be your name to all future generations!"[77] Nietzsche had written in Ecce Homo (at the time of the funeral still unpublished) of his fear that one day his name would be regarded as "holy".HP Pavilion g7-1001xx Battery


Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche compiled The Will to Power from Nietzsche's unpublished notebooks, and published it posthumously. Because his sister arranged the book based on her own conflation of several of Nietzsche's early outlines, and took great liberties with the material, the consensus holds that it does not reflect Nietzsche's intent. HP Pavilion g7-1002sg Battery

Indeed,Mazzino Montinari, the editor of Nietzsche's Nachlass, called it a forgery in The 'Will to Power' Does Not Exist. For example, Elisabeth removed aphorism 35 of The Antichrist, where Nietzsche rewrote a passage of the Bible (see The Will to Power and Nietzsche's criticism of anti-Semitism and nationalism). HP Pavilion g7-1003eg Battery



General commentators and Nietzsche scholars, whether emphasizing his cultural background or his language, overwhelmingly label Nietzsche as a "German philosopher".[78][79][80][81] Others do not assign him a national category.[82][83][84]HP Pavilion g7-1004eg Battery

Germany had not yet been unified into a nation-state but Nietzsche was born a citizen ofPrussia, which was then part of the German Confederation.[85] His birthplace, Röcken, is in the modern German state of Saxony-Anhalt. When he accepted his post at Basel, HP Pavilion g7-1004sa Battery

Nietzsche applied for the annulment of his Prussian citizenship.[86] The official response confirming the revocation of his citizenship came in a document dated April 17, 1869,[87]and for the rest of his life he remained officially stateless. HP Pavilion g7-1004sg Battery


A common myth is that Nietzsche's ancestors were Polish.[88] Nietzsche himself subscribed to this story toward the end of his life. He wrote in 1888, "My ancestors were Polish noblemen (Nietzky); the type seems to have been well preserved despite three generations of German mothers."[89]HP Pavilion g7-1006eg Battery

 At one point Nietzsche becomes even more adamant about his Polish identity. "I am a pure-blooded Polish nobleman, without a single drop of bad blood, certainly not German blood."[90] On yet another occasion Nietzsche stated "Germany is a great nation only because its people have so much Polish blood in their veins [...] I am proud of my Polish descent."[91]HP Pavilion g7-1006sg Battery

 Nietzsche believed his name might have been Germanized, in one letter claiming, "I was taught to ascribe the origin of my blood and name to Polish noblemen who were called Niëtzky and left their home and nobleness about a hundred years ago, finally yielding to unbearable suppression: they were Protestants."[92]HP Pavilion g7-1007sg Battery

Most scholars dispute Nietzsche's account of his family's origins. Hans von Müller debunked the genealogy put forward by Nietzsche's sister in favor of a Polish noble heritage.[93] Max Oehler, the curator of Nietzsche Archive at Weimar, argued that all of Nietzsche's ancestors bore German names, even the wives' families.[89] HP Pavilion g7-1010eg Battery

Oehler claims that Nietzsche came from a long line of German Lutheran clergymen on both sides of his family, and modern scholars regard the claim of Nietzsche's Polish ancestry as a "pure invention".[94] Colli and Montinari, the editors of Nietzsche's assembled letters, gloss Nietzsche's claims as a "mistaken belief" and "without foundation."[95][96] HP Pavilion g7-1011eg Battery

The nameNietzsche itself is not a Polish name, but an exceptionally common one throughout central Germany, in this and cognate forms (such as Nitsche and Nitzke). The name derives from the forename Nikolaus, abbreviated to Nick; assimilated with the Slavic Nitz, it first became Nitsche and then Nietzsche.[89]HP Pavilion g7-1017cl Battery

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It is not known why Nietzsche wanted to be thought of as Polish nobility. According to biographer R. J. Hollingdale, Nietzsche's propagation of the Polish ancestry myth may have been part of the latter's "campaign against Germany".[89]HP Pavilion g7-1020eg Battery

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A few of the themes in Nietzsche that have received the most attention include his view ofmorality, his statement "God is dead" (and along with it the rejection of any sort of God's-eye view), his ideas of the will to power and the Übermensch, and his theory of eternal return. HP Pavilion g7-1023eg Battery

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Nietzsche's works remain controversial, due to interpretations and misinterpretations of his work. Common misinterpretations of Nietzsche include the notion that he rejected religious spirituality in its entirety, that he was anti-Semitic, HP Pavilion g7-1025eg Battery

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or that he was entirely opposed to Christian beliefs. Nietzsche's concept that "God is dead" applies to the doctrines of Christendom, though not to all other faiths: he claimed that Buddhism is a successful religion that he compliments for fostering critical thought.[97] HP Pavilion g7-1033cl Battery

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While Nietzsche attacked the principles of Judaism, Nietzsche was not anti-Semitic: in his work On the Genealogy of Morality, he explicitly condemns anti-Semitism, and pointed out that his attack on Judaism was not an attack on Jews as a people but specifically an attack upon the ancient Jewish priesthood whom he claims anti-Semitic Christians paradoxically based their views upon.[98] HP Pavilion g7-1033sg Battery

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Nietzsche claimed that the Christian faith as practiced was not a proper representation of Jesus' teachings, as it forced people merely to believe in the way of Jesus but not to act as Jesus did, in particular his example of refusing to judge people, something that Nietzsche claimed Christians had deliberately done the opposite of.[97] He condemned institutionalized Christianity for emphasizing a morality of pity, which assumes an inherent illness in society.[99]HP Pavilion g7-1045ef Battery

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In Daybreak Nietzsche begins his "Campaign against Morality".[100][101] He calls himself an "immoralist" and harshly criticizes the prominent moral schemes of his day: Christianity, Kantianism, and utilitarianism. In Ecce Homo Nietzsche called the establishment of moral systems based on a dichotomy of good and evil a "calamitous error",[102] HP Pavilion g7-1046sf Battery

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and wished to initiate a re-evaluation of the values of the Judeo-Christian world.[103] He indicates his desire to bring about a new, more naturalistic source of value in the vital impulses of life itself. HP Pavilion g7-1050sf Battery

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In Beyond Good And Evil and On The Genealogy Of Morality, Nietzsche's genealogical account of the development of master-slave morality occupies a central place[citation needed]. Nietzsche presents master-morality as the original system of morality—perhaps best associated with Homeric Greece. Here, value arises as a contrast between good and bad, HP Pavilion g7-1051sf Battery

or between 'life-affirming' and 'life-denying': wealth, strength, health, and power, the sort of traits found in a Homeric hero, count as good; while bad is associated with the poor, weak, sick, and pathetic, the sort of traits conventionally associated with slaves in ancient times. HP Pavilion g7-1051xx Battery

Slave-morality, in contrast, comes about as a reaction to master-morality. Nietzsche associates slave-morality with the Jewish and Christian traditions. Here, value emerges from the contrast between good and evil: good being associated with other-worldliness, charity, piety, restraint, meekness, and submission; evil seen as worldly, cruel, selfish, wealthy, and aggressive. HP Pavilion g7-1053ef Battery

Nietzsche sees slave-morality born out of the ressentiment of slaves. It works to overcome the slave's own sense of inferiority before the (better-off) masters. It does so by making out slave weakness to be a matter of choice, by, e.g., relabeling it as "meekness." HP Pavilion g7-1053sf Battery


Nietzsche sees the slave-morality as a source of the nihilism that has overtaken Europe. In Nietzsche's eyes, modern Europe, and its Christianity, exists in a hypocritical state due to a tension between master and slave morality, both values contradictorily determining, to varying degrees, the values of most Europeans (who are "motley").HP Pavilion g7-1054sa Battery

Nietzsche calls for exceptional people to no longer be ashamed of their uniqueness in the face of a supposed morality-for-all, which Nietzsche deems to be harmful to the flourishing of exceptional people. HP Pavilion g7-1070us Battery

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However, Nietzsche cautions that morality, per se, is not bad; it is good for the masses, and should be left to them. Exceptional people, on the other hand, should follow their own "inner law." A favorite motto of Nietzsche, taken from Pindar, reads: "Become what you are." HP Pavilion g7-1075nr Battery

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The statement "God is dead", occurring in several of Nietzsche's works (notably in The Gay Science), has become one of his best-known remarks. On the basis of it, most commentators[104] regard Nietzsche as an atheist; HP Pavilion g7-1086eg Battery

others (such as Kaufmann) suggest that this statement reflects a more subtle understanding of divinity. In Nietzsche's view, recent developments in modern science and the increasing secularization of European society had effectively 'killed' the Abrahamic God, who had served as the basis for meaning and value in the West for more than a thousand years. HP Pavilion g7-1090sg Battery

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Nietzsche claimed the death of God would eventually lead to the loss of any universal perspective on things, and along with it any coherent sense of objective truth.[105][106][page needed] Nietzsche himself rejected the idea of objective reality arguing that knowledge is contingent and conditional, relative to various fluid perspectives or interests.[107]HP Pavilion G72t Battery

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 This leads to constant reassessment of rules (i.e., those of philosophy, the scientific method, etc.) according to the circumstances of individual perspectives.[108]This view has acquired the name perspectivism. HP Pavilion g7t-1000 CTO Battery

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Among his critique of traditional philosophy of Kant, Descartes and Plato in Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche attackedthing in itself and cogito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am) as unfalsifiable beliefs based on naive acceptance of previous notions and fallacies.[109][110]HP Pavilion dm4-1000 Battery

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Alternatively, the death of God may lead beyond bare perspectivism to outright nihilism, the belief that nothing has any inherent importance and that life lacks purpose. As Heidegger put the problem, "If God as the suprasensory ground and goal of all reality is dead, HP Pavilion dm4-1001tx Battery

if the suprasensory world of the Ideas has suffered the loss of its obligatory and above it its vitalizing and upbuilding power, then nothing more remains to which man can cling and by which he can orient himself."[111] HP Pavilion dm4-1002tu Battery

Nietzsche approaches the problem of nihilism as a deeply personal one, stating that this problem of the modern world is a problem that has "become conscious" in him.[112] Furthermore, he emphasises both the danger of nihilism and the possibilities it offers, as seen in his statement that "I praise, HP Pavilion dm4-1003xx Battery

I do not reproach, [nihilism's] arrival. I believe it is one of the greatest crises, a moment of the deepest self-reflection of humanity. Whether man recovers from it, whether he becomes master of this crisis, is a question of his strength!"[113] HP Pavilion dm4-1004tu Battery

According to Nietzsche, it is only when nihilism isovercome that a culture can have a true foundation upon which to thrive. He wished to hasten its coming only so that he could also hasten its ultimate departure. HP Pavilion dm4-1004xx Battery


A basic element in Nietzsche's philosophical outlook is the will to power (der Wille zur Macht), which provides a basis for understanding human behavior — more so than competing explanations, such as the ones based on pressure for adaptation or survival.[114][115][116] HP Pavilion dm4-1006tu Battery

As such, according to Nietzsche, the drive for conservation appears as the major motivator of human or animal behavior only in exceptions, as the general condition of life is not one of emergency, of 'struggle for existence'.[117] More often than not, self-conservation is but a consequence of a creature's will to exert its strength on the outside world. HP Pavilion dm4-1006tx Battery


In presenting his theory of human behavior, Nietzsche also addressed, and attacked, concepts from philosophies popularly embraced in his days, such as Schopenhauer's notion of an aimless will or that of utilitarianism. Utilitarianists claim that what moves people is mainly the desire to be happy, HP Pavilion dm4-1008tu Battery

to accumulate pleasure in their lives. But such a conception of happiness Nietzsche rejected as something limited to, and characteristic of, the bourgeois lifestyle of the English society,[118] and instead put forth the idea that happiness is not an aim per se — it is instead a consequence of a successful pursuit of one's aims, of the overcoming of hurdles to one's actions — in other words, of the fulfillment of the will.[119]HP Pavilion dm4-1008tx Battery

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Related to his theory of the will to power, is his speculation, which he did not deem final,[120] regarding the reality of the physical world, including inorganic matter — that what holds true for man's affections and impulses, may also apply to the external world. HP Pavilion dm4-1010eg Battery

At the core of his theory is a rejection of what he called "atomism" — the idea that matter is composed of stable, indivisible units (atoms). Instead, he seems to have accepted the conclusions of Ruđer Bošković, who explained the qualities of matter as a result of an interplay of forces.[121][122] HP Pavilion dm4-1010tx Battery

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One study of Nietzsche defines his fully developed concept of the will to power as "the element from which derive both the quantitative difference of related forces and the quality that devolves into each force in this relation" revealing the will to power as "the principle of the synthesis of forces."[123] HP Pavilion dm4-1013tx Battery

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Of such forces Nietzsche said they could perhaps be viewed as a primitive form of the will. Likewise he rejected as a mere interpretation the view that the movement of bodies is ruled by inexorable laws of nature, positing instead that movement was governed by the power relations between bodies and forces.[124]HP Pavilion dm4-1015TX Battery

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Another concept important to an understanding of Nietzsche's thought is the Übermensch. Developing the idea of nihilism, Nietzsche wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra, therein introducing the concept of a value-creating Übermensch. HP Pavilion dm4-1017tx Battery

According to Lampert, "the death of God must be followed by a long twilight of piety and nihilism (II. 19; III. 8). [...] Zarathustra's gift of the overman is given to a mankind not aware of the problem to which the overman is the solution."[125]HP Pavilion dm4-1018tx Battery


While interpretations of Nietzsche's overman vary wildly, here is one of his quotations fromThus Spoke Zarathustra (Prologue, §§3–4): HP Pavilion dm4-1019tx Battery

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I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?... All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood, and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is ape to man? A laughing stock or painful embarrassment. HP Pavilion dm4-1021tx Battery

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And man shall be that to overman: a laughingstock or painful embarrassment. You have made your way from worm to man, and much in you is still worm. Once you were apes, and even now, too, man is more ape than any ape... The overman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the overman shall be the meaning of the earth... Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman—a rope over an abyss ... what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end. HP Pavilion dm4-1023tx Battery

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Eternal return (also known as "eternal recurrence") is a concept which posits that the universe has been recurring, and will continue to recur, in a self-similar form an infinite number of times across infinite time or space. The idea of eternal return occurs in a parable in Section 341 of The Gay Science, and also in the chapter "Of the Vision and the Riddle" in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, HP Pavilion dm4-1027tx Battery

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among other places.[126] Nietzsche contemplates the idea as potentially "horrifying and paralyzing", and says that its burden is the "heaviest weight" imaginable ("das schwerste Gewicht").[127] The wish for the eternal return of all events would mark the ultimate affirmation of life, a reaction to Schopenhauer's praise of denying the will‐to‐live. To comprehend eternal recurrence in his thought, and to not merely come to peace with it but to embrace it, requires amor fati, "love of fate".[128]HP Pavilion dm4-1029tx Battery

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As a philologist, Nietzsche had a thorough knowledge of Greek philosophy. He readImmanuel Kant, Plato, John Stuart Mill, Arthur Schopenhauer and African Spir,[129] who became his main opponents in his philosophy, and later Spinoza, HP Pavilion dm4-1030tx Battery

whom he saw as his "precursor" in some respects[130] but as a personification of the "ascetic ideal" in others. However, Nietzsche referred to Kant as a "moral fanatic", Plato as "boring", Mill as a "blockhead", and of Spinoza he said: "How much of personal timidity and vulnerability does this masquerade of a sickly recluse betray?"[131]HP Pavilion dm4-1031tx Battery

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Nietzsche's philosophy, while highly innovative and revolutionary, was indebted to many predecessors. While at Basel, Nietzsche offered lecture courses on the "Pre-Platonic Philosophers" for several years, and the text of this lecture series has been characterized as a "lost link" in the development of his thought. "In it concepts such as the will to power, HP Pavilion dm4-1034tx Battery

the eternal return of the same, the overman, gay science, self-overcoming and so on receive rough, unnamed formulations and are linked to specific pre-Platonics, especially Heraclitus, who emerges as a pre-Platonic Nietzsche."[132] HP Pavilion dm4-1035tx Battery

The pre-Socratic Greek thinkerHeraclitus was known for the rejection of the concept of being as a constant and eternal principle of universe, and his embrace of "flux" and incessant change. His symbolism of the world as "child play" HP Pavilion dm4-1036tx Battery

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marked by amoral spontaneity and lack of definite rules was appreciated by Nietzsche.[133] From his Heraclitean sympathy Nietzsche was also a vociferous detractor of Parmenides, who opposed Heraclitus and believed all world is a single Being with no change at all.[134]HP Pavilion dm4-1048tx Battery

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In his Egotism in German Philosophy, Santayana claimed that Nietzsche's whole philosophy was a reaction to Schopenhauer. Santayana wrote that Nietzsche's work was "an emendation of that of Schopenhauer. HP Pavilion dm4-1050ea Battery

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The will to live would become the will to dominate; pessimism founded on reflection would become optimism founded on courage; the suspense of the will in contemplation would yield to a more biological account of intelligence and taste; HP Pavilion dm4-1050so Battery

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finally in the place of pity and asceticism (Schopenhauer's two principles of morals) Nietzsche would set up the duty of asserting the will at all costs and being cruelly but beautifully strong. These points of difference from Schopenhauer cover the whole philosophy of Nietzsche."[135]HP Pavilion dm4-1060ea Battery

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Nietzsche expressed admiration for 17th century French moralists such as La Rochefoucauld, Jean de La Bruyère and Vauvenargues,[136] as well as for Stendhal.[137]The organicism of Paul Bourget influenced Nietzsche,[138] as did that of Rudolf Virchowand Alfred Espinas.[139] HP Pavilion dm4-1060ss Battery

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Nietzsche wrote in a letter in 1867 that he was trying to improve his German style of writting with the help of Lessing, Lichtenberg and Schopenhauer. It was probably Lichtenberg (along with Paul Rée) whose aphoristic style of writing contributed to Nietzsche's own use of aphorism instead of an essay.[140]HP Pavilion dm4-1062nr Battery

.Hippolyte Taineinfluenced Nietzsche's view on Rousseau and Napoleon.[141] Nietzsche early learned ofDarwinism through Friedrich Albert Lange.[142] Notably, he also read some of the posthumous works of Charles Baudelaire,[143] HP Pavilion dm4-1063cl Battery

Tolstoy's My Religion, Ernest Renan's Life of Jesus and Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Possessed.[143][144] Nietzsche called Dostoevsky "the only psychologist from whom I have anything to learn."[145] Harold Bloomhas often claimed, particularly in Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?, that the essays ofRalph Waldo Emerson had a profound and favourable influence on Nietzsche. HP Pavilion dm4-1063he Battery

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While Nietzsche never mentions Max Stirner, the similarities in their ideas have prompted a minority of interpreters to suggest a relationship between the two.[146][147][148][149][150][151][152] In 1861 Nietzsche wrote an enthusiastic essay on his "favorite poet", Friedrich Hölderlin, mostly forgotten at that time.[153] He also expressed deep appreciation for Adalbert Stifter's Indian Summer,[154]Lord Byron's Manfred and Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.[155]HP Pavilion dm4-1070ee Battery

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Nietzsche's works did not reach a wide readership during his active writing career. However, in 1888 Georg Brandes (an influential Danish critic) aroused considerable excitement about Nietzsche through a series of lectures he gave at the University of Copenhagen. HP Pavilion dm4-1070sf Battery

Then in 1894 Lou Andreas-Salomé published her book, Friedrich Nietzsche in seinen Werken (Friedrich Nietzsche in His Works). Andreas-Salomé had known Nietzsche well in the early 1880s, and she returned to the subject of Nietzsche, years later, HP Pavilion dm4-1080ea Battery

in her work Lebensrückblick – Grundriß einiger Lebenserinnerungen (Looking Back: Memoirs) (written in 1932), which covered her intellectual relationships with Nietzsche,Rilke, and Freud. Nietzsche himself had acquired the publication-rights for his earlier works in 1886 and began a process of editing and re-formulation that placed the body of his work in a more coherent perspective. HP Pavilion dm4-1080ee Battery

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In the years after his death in 1900, Nietzsche's works became better known, and readers have responded to them in complex and sometimes controversial ways. Many Germans eventually discovered his appeals for greater individualism and personality development inThus Spoke Zarathustra, but responded to those appeals divergently. He had some following among left-wing Germans in the 1890s; HP Pavilion dm4-1090ee Battery

in 1894–1895 German conservatives wanted to ban his work as subversive. During the late 19th century Nietzsche's ideas were commonly associated with anarchist movements and appear to have had influence within them, particularly in France and the United States.[156][157][158] The poet W.B. Yeatshelped to raise awareness of Nietzsche in Ireland.[159]HP Pavilion dm4-1090la Battery

 H.L. Mencken produced translations of Nietzsche's works that helped to increase knowledge of his philosophy in the United States.[160] Nietzsche's influence on Herman Hesse is evident in Narcissus and Goldmund, while Thomas Mann acknowledges his debt to Nietzsche in The Magic Mountain. HP Pavilion dm4-1100 Battery

In Russia, Nietzsche has influenced Russian symbolism[161] and figures such as Dmitry Merezhkovsky,[162] Andrei Bely[163] and Alexander Scriabin have all incorporated or discussed parts of Nietzsche philosophy in their works. HP Pavilion dm4-1100eg Battery


By World War I, Nietzsche had acquired a reputation as an inspiration for right-wing German militarism. German soldiers received copies of Thus Spoke Zarathustra as gifts during World War I.[164][165] The Dreyfus Affair provides another example of his reception: the French anti-semitic Right labelled the Jewish and Leftist intellectuals who defendedAlfred Dreyfus as "Nietzscheans".[166] HP Pavilion dm4-1100sa Battery

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Nietzsche had a distinct appeal for many Zionistthinkers at the turn of the century. It has been argued that his work influenced Theodore Herzl,[167][168], while some disagree[169] and Martin Buber went so far as to extoll Nietzsche as a "creator" and "emissary of life".[170] HP Pavilion dm4-1101tx Battery

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Israel Eldad, the ideological chief of the Stern Group that fought the British in Palestine in the 1940s, wrote about Nietzsche in his underground newspaper and later translated most of Nietzsche's books into Hebrew.[171]HP Pavilion dm4-1107tx Battery

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Bertrand Russell, in his History of Western Philosophy was scathing about Nietzsche, calling his work the "mere power-phantasies of an invalid", referring to him as a "megalomaniac", and writing that he was a philosophical progenitor of the Nazis and fascists.[172][page needed]HP Pavilion dm4-1111tx Battery

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Nietzsche's growing prominence suffered a severe setback when his works became closely associated with Adolf Hitler and the German Reich. Many political leaders of the twentieth century were at least superficially familiar with Nietzsche's ideas, although it is not always possible to determine whether or not they actually read his work. HP Pavilion dm4-1116tx Battery

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Hitler, for example, probably never read Nietzsche, and if he did, his reading was not extensive,[173][174][175][176] although he was a frequent visitor to the Nietzsche museum in Weimar and did use expressions of Nietzsche's, such as "lords of the earth" in Mein Kampf.[177] HP Pavilion dm4-1120tx Battery

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The Nazis made selective use of Nietzsche's philosophy. Mussolini andCharles de Gaulle read Nietzsche.[178][179][180] It has been suggested that Theodore Roosevelt read Nietzsche and was profoundly influenced by him,[181] and in more recent years, Richard Nixon read Nietzsche with "curious interest".[182]HP Pavilion dm4-1140sa Battery

A decade after World War II, there was a revival of Nietzsche's philosophical writings thanks to exhaustive translations and analyses by Walter Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale. Others, well known philosophers in their own right, wrote commentaries on Nietzsche's philosophy, HP Pavilion dm4-1162ef Battery

including Martin Heidegger, who produced a four-volume study. Many 20th century thinkers (particularly in the tradition of continental philosophy) cite him as an important influence, including Martin Heidegger, Theodor Adorno, Jean-Paul Sartre, HP Pavilion dm4-1164nr Battery

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 Leo Strauss, Oswald Spengler, Emil Cioran, Albert Camus, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Gilles Deleuze. Foucault's later writings, for example, adopt Nietzsche's genealogical method to develop anti-foundationalist theories of power that divide and fragment rather than unite polities (as evinced in the liberal tradition of political theory). HP Pavilion dm4-1173cl Battery

 Paul Ricœur called Nietzsche one of the masters of the "school of suspicion", alongside Karl Marx andSigmund Freud.[183] In the Anglo-American tradition he has had a profound influence onBernard Williams and Allan Bloom due to the scholarship of Walter Kaufmann and R. HP Pavilion dm4-1180ef Battery

J. Hollingdale, which rehabilitated Nietzsche as a philosopher, and American philosophers such as Alexander Nehamas, Judith Butler, William E. Connolly, Stanley Rosen, Ruth Abbey and Michael Allen Gillespie continue to study him today. HP Pavilion dm4-1180sf Battery



The Übermensch (German for "Overman, Overhuman, Above-Human, Superman"; German pronunciation: [ˈˀyːbɐmɛnʃ]) is a concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche.Nietzsche posited the Übermensch as a goal for humanity to set for itself in his 1883 bookThus Spoke Zarathustra (German: Also Sprach Zarathustra). HP Pavilion dm4-1211tx Battery

There is no overall consensus regarding the precise meaning of the Übermensch, nor on the importance of the concept in Nietzsche's thought. HP Pavilion dm4-1218tx Battery


Übermensch in English

The first translation of Thus Spoke Zarathustra into English was by Alexander Tille published in 1896. Tille translated Übermensch as Beyond-Man. But in his translation, published in 1909, Thomas Common rendered Übermensch as "Superman";HP Pavilion dm4-1221tx Battery

 Common was anticipated in this by George Bernard Shaw, who had done the same in his 1903 stage play Man and Superman. Walter Kaufmann lambasted this translation in the 1950s for two reasons: first, its near or total failure to capture the nuance of the German wordüber, HP Pavilion dm4-1250ca Battery

and second, a rationale which Frederic Wertham railed against even more vehemently in Seduction of the Innocent, for promoting an eventual puerile identification with the comic-book character Superman. His preference was to translate Übermensch as "overman." Scholars continue to employ both terms, some simply opting to reproduce the German word. HP Pavilion dm4-1253cl Battery


The German prefix über can have connotations of superiority, transcendence, excessiveness, or intensity, depending on the words to which it is prepended.[1] Menschrefers to a member of the human species, rather than to a male specifically. The adjectiveübermenschlich[2] means super-human, in the sense of beyond human strength or out of proportion to humanity. HP Pavilion dm4-1265dx Battery


Nietzsche introduces the concept of the Übermensch in contrast to the other-worldliness of Christianity: Zarathustra proclaims the Übermensch to be the meaning of the earth and admonishes his audience to ignore those who promise other-worldly hopes in order to draw them away from the earth.[3][4] The turn away from the earth is prompted, HP Pavilion dm4-1273ca Battery

he says, by a dissatisfaction with life, a dissatisfaction that causes one to create another world in which those who made one unhappy in this life are tormented. The Übermensch is not driven into other worlds away from this one. HP Pavilion dm4-1275ca Battery


Zarathustra declares that the Christian escape from this world also required the invention of an eternal soul which would be separate from the body and survive the body's death. Part of other-worldliness, then, was the abnegation and mortification of the body, orasceticism. Zarathustra further links the Übermensch to the body and to interpreting the soul as simply an aspect of the body. HP Pavilion dm4-1277sb Battery


As the drama of Thus Spoke Zarathustra progresses, the turn to metaphysics inphilosophy and Platonism in general come to light as manifestations of other-worldliness, as well. Truth and essence are inventions by means of which men escape from this world. The Übermensch is also free from these failings. HP Pavilion dm4-1300 Battery

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Zarathustra ties the Übermensch to the death of God. While this God was the ultimate expression of other-worldly values and the instincts that gave birth to those values, belief in that God nevertheless did give meaning to life for a time. 'God is dead' means that the idea of God can no longer provide values. With the sole source of values no longer capable of providing those values, there is a real chance of nihilism prevailing. HP Pavilion dm4-1301sg Battery


Zarathustra presents the Übermensch as the creator of new values. In this way, it appears as a solution to the problem of the death of God and nihilism. If the Übermensch acts to create new values within the moral vacuum of nihilism, there is nothing that this creative act would not justify. Alternatively, in the absence of this creation, there are no grounds upon which to criticize or justify any action, including the particular values created and the means by which they are promulgated. HP Pavilion dm4-1360ef Battery

In order to avoid a relapse into Platonic idealism or asceticism, the creation of these new values cannot be motivated by the same instincts that gave birth to those tables of values. Instead, they must be motivated by a love of this world and of life. Whereas Nietzsche diagnosed the Christian value system as a reaction against life and hence destructive in a sense, the new values which the Übermensch will be responsible for will be life-affirming and creative. HP Pavilion dm4-1360sf Battery


Zarathustra first announces the Übermensch as a goal humanity can set for itself. All human life would be given meaning by how it advanced a new generation of human beings. The aspiration of a woman would be to give birth to an Übermensch, for example; her relationships with men would be judged by this standard.[5]HP Pavilion dm4t-1000 Battery

Zarathustra contrasts the Übermensch with the last man of egalitarian modernity, an alternative goal which humanity might set for itself. The last man appears only in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and is presented as a condition that would render the creation of the Übermensch impossible. HP Pavilion dm4t-1000 CTO Battery

Some commentators associate the Übermensch with a program of eugenics.[6] This is most pronounced when considered in the aspect of a goal that humanity sets for itself. The reduction of all psychology to physiology implies, HP Pavilion Dm4t-1100 Battery

to some, that human beings can be bred for cultural traits. This interpretation of Nietzsche's doctrine focuses more on the future of humanity than on a single cataclysmic individual. There is no consensus regarding how this aspect of the Übermensch relates to the creation of new values. HP Pavilion dm4t-1100 CTO Battery

Re-embodiment of amoral aristocratic values

For Rüdiger Safranski, the Übermensch represents a higher biological type reached through artificial selection and at the same time is also an ideal for anyone who is creative and strong enough to master the whole spectrum of human potential, good and "evil", to become an "artist-tyrant". HP Pavilion dm4t-1200 CTO Battery

In Ecce Homo, Nietzsche vehemently denied any idealistic, democratic or humanitarian interpretation of the Übermensch: "The word Übermensch [designates] a type of supreme achievement, as opposed to 'modern' men, 'good' men, Christians, and other nihilists ... HP Pavilion dm4t Battery

When I whispered into the ears of some people that they were better off looking for a Cesare Borgia than a Parsifal, they did not believe their ears."[7] Safranski argues that the combination of ruthless warrior pride and artistic brilliance that defined the Italian Renaissance embodied the sense of the Übermensch for Nietzsche. HP Envy 15-1100 Battery

According to Safranski, Nietzsche intended the ultra-aristocratic figure of the Übermensch to serve as a Machiavellian bogeyman of the modern Western middle class and its pseudo-Christian egalitarian value system.[8]HP Envy 17-1000 Battery

The Übermensch shares a place of prominence in Thus Spoke Zarathustra with another of Nietzsche's key concepts: the eternal recurrence of the same. Over the course of the drama, the latter waxes as the former wanes. Several interpretations for this fact have been offered. HP Envy 17-1001tx Battery


Laurence Lampert suggests that the eternal recurrence replaces the Übermensch as the object of serious aspiration.[9] This is in part due to the fact that even the Übermensch can appear like an other-worldly hope. The Übermensch lies in the future — no historical figures have ever been Übermenschen — and so still represents a sort of eschatologicalredemption in some future time. HP Envy 17-1001xx Battery


Stanley Rosen, on the other hand, suggests that the doctrine of eternal return is anesoteric ruse meant to save the concept of the Übermensch from the charge of Idealism.[10] Rather than positing an as-yet unexperienced perfection, Nietzsche would be the prophet of something that has occurred an infinite number of times in the past. HP Envy 17-1002TX Battery


Others maintain that willing the eternal recurrence of the same is a necessary step if the Übermensch is to create new values, untainted by the spirit of gravity or asceticism. Values involve a rank-ordering of things, and so are inseparable from approval and disapproval; yet it was dissatisfaction that prompted men to seek refuge in other-worldliness and embrace other-worldly values. HP Envy 17-1003tx Battery

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Therefore, it could seem that the Übermensch, in being devoted to any values at all, would necessarily fail to create values that did not share some bit of asceticism. Willing the eternal recurrence is presented as accepting the existence of the low while still recognizing it as the low, and thus as overcoming the spirit of gravity or asceticism. HP Envy 17-1006tx Battery


Still others suggest that one must have the strength of the Übermensch in order to will the eternal recurrence of the same; that is, only the Übermensch will have the strength to fully accept all of his past life, including his failures and misdeeds, and to truly will their eternal return. This action nearly kills Zarathustra, for example, and most human beings cannot avoid other-worldliness because they really are sick, not because of any choice they made. HP Envy 17-1007tx Battery

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The Übermensch and the Nazis

The term Übermensch was a favorite of Hitler and the Nazi regime, which borrowed from Nietzsche's work and sought to adopt him as a philosophical precursor. Their conception of the Übermensch, however, was racial in nature.[11][12] HP Envy 17-1009tx Battery

The Nazi notion of the master race also spawned the idea of "inferior humans" (Untermenschen) which could be dominated and enslaved; this term does not originate with Nietzsche. Nietzsche himself was critical of both antisemitism and German nationalism. HP Envy 17-1010el Battery

In defiance of these doctrines, he claimed that himself and Germany was great only because of "Polish blood in their veins",[13] and that he would be "having all anti-semites shot" as an answer to his stance on anti-semitism.[14]HP Envy 17-1010ew Battery

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