Thursday, December 15, 2005

Mindwarp

I started reading The Genealogy of Morals the other night before bed. As a result, I pose the following question:

Is it at all possible to read Nietzsche without coming away with the oddly and viscerally unsettled feeling one might experience having just read the diary of another who is severely mentally ill?

Perhaps this is not the best possible introduction to this particular philosopher - and I know that he suffered a mental breakdown later in life and also that some people say that he has been misinterpreted and misunderstood - but I've come away from it both nights feeling a little disturbed at this particular display of the human experience: whether of Nietzsche's view of the world or of Nietzsche himself.

If anyone has read this book, or any other by him, your comments are particularly welcome.

2 Comments:

Blogger Cardinal Martini said...

Nietzsche was a narcissistic jerk. I read him and I think you're right; he was insane -- and not the positive, Dr. Emmett L. Brown kind of insane.

I'll wager that most people who praise him don't understand most of what he's written -- because, come on, most of it is pseudo-intellectual gobbledy goop -- they just want to appear smarter than the rest of us, having been led to the false belief that only smart people "get" Nietzsche. Well, the emperor has no clothes.

This is from the Preface of "Genealogy":

"If this book is incomprehensible to anyone and jars on his ears, the fault, it seems to me, is not necessarily mine. It is clear enough, assuming, as I do assume, that one has first read my earlier writings and has not spared some trouble in doing so: for they are, indeed, not easy to penetrate."

Who said any idiot can make things seem more complicated than they are, but it takes a genius to make things simple to understand?

3:36 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I'll wager that most people who praise him don't understand most of what he's written -- because, come on, most of it is pseudo-intellectual gobbledy goop -- they just want to appear smarter than the rest of us, having been led to the false belief that only smart people "get" Nietzsche. Well, the emperor has no clothes.

I agree somewhat, that many people who quote what they learned in Philosophy 101 are guilty of spewing "intellectual gobbledy goop", but isn't that true of any field?

I admit I got pretty tired of endless discussions in college examining the nature of reality and knowledge. I didn't think it should be necessary to spend half of the semester trying to prove that I was real to prove I understood Descartes.
Just to be a smart-ass, I wrote a paper in PHI 101 asserting that mathamatics was mere myth. I reasoned that nobody could define the numeral "1" without using a relative definition of another number, which could only be defined in relation to another...and so forth. Since we couldn't define a numeral, we can't count on math.

I got an "A" on that paper. So it is with much of philosophy as most people use it; it has very little to do with real life.

1:42 AM  

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