A lover of Greek myths and a holistic by trade, Nietzsche expounded his controversial philosophy with an Iron fist criticizing Platonism, Christianity and other popular forms of thought as anesthetizing and suppressing the instinctual, impulsive energies of man. Nietzsche was the original non-conformist and true ‘punk’ amongst his peers and predecessors. He pounded upon the door of reason and provoked us to think and question like no other.
This essay will argue that Nietzsche critique of Christianity and Platonism created advancements In our understanding of the human condition because It repels us to challenge and question the status quo and it encourages us to strongly consider primal and instinctual forces as a path to creativity and higher living. It will also show that Nietzsche taught the world to accept and embrace suffering as natural and inevitable and that only by personally overcoming hardship and turmoil will we become better and stronger beings. Any prosecutor has ever uttered.
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To me it is the extremist thinkable form of corruption,” expounded the vociferously atheist Frederica Nietzsche (The Ann-Christ 1888, p. 62). Nietzsche conspired against Christianity, its ideals and teachings and awe nothing but a religion of nihilism, pity and values which were not only irrelevant but harmful to modern man. In the Birth of Tragedy (1872, p. 23) Nietzsche writes, “Christianity was from the beginning, essentially and fundamentally, life’s nausea and disgust with life, merely concealed behind, masked by, dressed up as, faith in “another” or “better” life”.
Nietzsche sees it as nothing but an illusion, a panacea and suppressant to the pains and ills of mankind in the form of faith and in doing so takes a stand against the powers of the church and conformist thinking. He questions the beginnings of the faith by writing in Human, all too Human (Nietzsche, 1878, s. 405) “When we hear the ancient bells growling on a Sunday morning we ask ourselves: Is it really possible! This, for a Jew, crucified two thousand years ago, who said he was God’s son? The proof of such a claim is lacking… ND the fact that the claim is believed. ” Although not entirely original in its capacity to provoke thought, Nietzsche directness and candor has arguably inspired us to think and question the origins and reasons for blind adherence to not only the Christian faith, but any faith, belief or thought for that matter. He continues to illuminate this for us in the same text (s. 122) with, “as long as a man knows very well the strength and weaknesses of his teaching, his art, his religion, its power is still slight.
The pupil and apostle who, blinded by the authority of the master and by the piety he feels toward him, pays no attention to the weaknesses of a teaching, a religion, and soon usually has for that reason more power than the master. ” Nietzsche advises us to pay heed to blind faith and questioning obedience and calls pond men to challenge the status quo as dictated by powerful institutions and maintained by the faithful.
One of the more significant contributions Nietzsche makes in critiquing organized religion and Christianity in particular, is that it not only discourages individuals to question their ideas but also of striping society of the agency to act in its own interest. He claims that through the promotion of pity, Christianity accepts human suffering as fact and discourages overt or individual attempts to overcome it. Section 8 of The Antichrist’s (Nietzsche, 1888) reveals, “pity stands opposed to the tonic motions which heighten our vitality: it has a depressing effect.
We are deprived of strength when we feel pity. That loss of strength which suffering as such inflicts on life is still further increased and multiplied by pity. Pity makes suffering contagious. ” In this regard, Nietzsche beseeches us to not to succumb to the feelings of pity as it saps our strength, denies us of our life forces and deprives us of our will to power (Demons, 2013). His expectations for humans are held higher than that of Christianity and asks us not to feel negated when encountering suffering and enter he world of nihilistic pity.
The denial of power and responsibility that Christianity imposed, according to Nietzsche, may be exemplified with Matthews ‘Sermon on the Mount’, (Bible, 5:3), “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ” Nietzsche claims that words such as the these are anathema to his will to power as it is “a large treasure- trove of the most ingenious means of consolation, so much to refresh, soothe and narcotics is piled up inside it… O stimulate in order to conquer the deep depression, he leaden fatigue and the black melancholy of the physiologically obstructed, at least temporarily’ (Nietzsche, 1887, p. 96). Essentially, Nietzsche extolled Will to power’ encourages one to meet, embrace and overcome pain. Only by doing this can it be possible to enter the realm of the frontbenchers (overran) and realize one’s highest ideal. Taking control and holding responsibility over one’s own state on both a social and individual level is, in Nietzsche view, integral to the human condition.
Nietzsche argues that Christianity is repressive, sanctimonious and provides too such solace which prevents one from living an ideal life. The conditions inherent in Christianity thwarts man’s desire to live an instinctual, free and creative life where man can exercise his will to power. Instead he says, the “Christian faith from the beginning, is sacrifice. The sacrifice of all freedom, all pride, all self-confidence of spirit, it is at the same time subjection, self-derision, and self-mutilation” (Nietzsche, 1886 , p. 45).
He sees it as being out of touch with reality and irrelevant and cautions us to at the least question its morals and teachings and not being a blind, following weep, or in Nietzsche lexicon, a ‘herdsman’. Radically, Nietzsche took the power from God and attributed it instead to mankind. Nietzsche proposal “the real philosophers of Greece are those before Socrates” (1888, p. 437) clearly demonstrates his stance and attitude towards Platonism. Nietzsche, as a philologist, was enamored with the ancient Greeks, their freedom, unbridled and unrestrained passions and their pledge for an instinctual, unrepressed life.
He saw Platonism as a system of thought that was pathologically conditioned and placed too much importance on logic and reason. In Twilight of the Idols (Nietzsche,1888, s. , 10) he says, “Reason equals virtue and happiness, that means merely that one must imitate Socrates and counter the dark appetites with a permanent daylight -?? the daylight of reason. One must be clever, clear, bright at any price: any concession to the instincts, to the unconscious, leads downward. ” The overreach to reason as a virtue comes at a price and that price, according to Nietzsche is the depravity and blocking of our instincts and natural forces.
Nietzsche argues that man would behoove itself by living instinctual, free from contemplation and reason, which he views as not entirely virtuous. The notion of “looking before you leap” and applying logic and reason to all matters of life is the highest Socratic/Platonic virtue and it is this which Nietzsche propounds as a fallacy and as causing the emasculation, impotence and dwarfing of a once great human. The idea of living a reflective, contemplative, examined life not only lacks virtue, but according to Nietzsche, is dangerous.
The truth of the human condition can be found, according to Nietzsche, not in religious fervor or in scientific contemplation, but rather in the natural human instincts which each individual possess. This can be he-zone-like mindset which must be devoid of thought and reflection and which, it can be argued, form the foundation of any society and every culture on earth. Pausing to think about actions and movements in the midst of performance can only have unintended and possibly disastrous effects (Sacristan, 2003).
Nietzsche ideal, Will to power,’ can only be achieved if man can sublimate his inner forces and desires and live instinctual. It is this inner power that lies dormant and latent within which holds man’s highest potential and Nietzsche sees Platonism as anathema to this. Freud (1930, p. 0), influenced by Nietzsche, expands on the concept of sublimation seeing it as “an especially conspicuous feature of cultural development; it is what makes it possible for higher psychical activities, scientific, artistic or ideological, to play such an important part in civilized life”.
Freud, considered the father of psychoanalysis, argues sublimation as a sign of maturity (particularly, of civilization), that permits man to function normally in culturally acceptable ways (Games, 2009). Nietzsche, with support of Freud, implores us to understand that inner, sinister forces, which are inherent in all of us, are not to be pressed nor restrained, but to be discharged and released as an act of man’s ultimate and true expression. Nietzsche disdain for Socratic philosophers also stems from the fact that he considers them spiritual dwarfs when comparing them to the ancient Greeks.
Moreover, he holds Platonist in contempt for allowing the world to forget ancient Greece as the Platonist code has grown powerful and popular. In Twilight of the Idols (1888, p. 45) he writes, “l realized that Socrates and Plato were symptoms of degeneration, tools of the Greek dissolution, pseudo-Greek, anti-Greek. Possessing a love for ancient Greece, Nietzsche views the ancient Greeks as the embodiment of his will to power. Living naturally and celebrating life, they relentless vie to exercise their dominance, strength and spirit over each other.
We see this in Homeric poems such as The Iliad and The Odyssey where the heroes of each, Achilles and Odysseus, overcome pain, suffering and various trials to rise up and above others and thus exercise their will to power and transform into brunches or overseen. Nietzsche reinvigorated modernity’s interest in ancient Greek texts by adroitly including them in his writings, describing them passionately and exuberantly and allowing people to discover who they were and how they lived.
The extreme juxtaposition painted between Socrates and Homer is one that is obvious and extreme and Nietzsche argues that western culture originated from glory and honor; “Let me not then die ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some great thing that shall be told among men hereafter” (Homer, The Iliad, XII). Consider Plat’s contemplative and calm, ” I know that I do not know’ and the bellicose and fiery Homer, “Rage – Goddess, sing the rage of Pulses’ son Achilles…
The Iliad, l). Nietzsche trumpets the culture of ancient Greece by highlighting the fact that it “animatedly and paradoxically celebrated life and welcomed the inevitability of death, embracing hardship and pain whilst celebrating its magnificence” (Venires, and pain is rather natural to the human condition and that by facing it, whilst celebrating and rejoicing in all facets of life, we can overcome and become stronger, powerful and more natural human beings.
Frederica Nietzsche critique of Platonism and Christianity teaches us that while blind faith and obedience must certainly be avoided and all forms of morality must e questioned, society must be equally wary of abandoning instinct and passion in favor of pure rationality. He advises us, in the vein of the ancient Greeks, to rejoice and celebrate life and sublimate inner, instinctual drives and forces by engaging and creating in sport, art and music.
His ideas regarding the ills of contemplation and reflection of Platonism are, in Nietzsche time, revolutionary and a shift in paradigm as they caution us to pay heed to the inherent ramifications of leading a life steeped in thought and reason. In rejecting the social entrenchment of faith and reason and instead offering an alternative lens through which to view and participate in social life, Nietzsche makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the human condition.