Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche

Was a German philosopher, cultural critic, poet, and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on Western philosophy and modern intellectual history.

later in his philosophical thinking. He studied philosophy at the University of Leipzig. Arthur Schopenhauer’s book, “Welt als Wille und Vorstellung” (“The World as Will and Representation”) will be the conceptual premise of his philosophical vocation. In 1869, aged only 25, he was appointed professor at the University of Basel and received Swiss citizenship. Friedrich Nietzsche studied the ancient Greek philosophy, especially the representatives of the pre-Socratic period, Heraclitus and Empedocles. Due to health reasons, he quits university and starting from 1879, he goes in random places like Venice, Turin, Nice or Engadin, in the search of a good climate. In 1882, Nietzsche met Lou von Salomé and proposes to her, but he was refused. In the same year, while he was at Nice, he began writing his most important work, “Also sprach Zarathustra” (“Thus Spoke Zarathustra”), which will appear in 1885. In 1888, he moved to Turin, where he completed his works: “Götze-Dämmerung” ( “Twilight of the idols”) and “Ecce Homo”. On 3 January 1889, in Turin’s Carlo Alberto market, Nietzsche assisted at the horrible whipping and agony of a horse in the street. This is the moment when he had his first crisis of madness, at which he had manifestations of delirium, considering himself as Dionysos or Jesus. He is taken care of until his death by his sister, Elisabeth Foerster Nietzsche.

Nietzsche’s philosophy thought of the revaluation of Greek philosophy and art from the earliest historical period, to the detriment of classicism, seen as affirmation of the rational vision and therefore decadent. Nietzsche identifies in the Greek tradition four stages: 1) the obscure phase of the Titans when the world was indefinite; 2) the balance of reason and dreaming (Apollonian); 3) the stage of chaos, drunkenness, riot, beverage narcotics (Dionysian); 4) The agreement between the Apollonian and Dionysian stage where drunkenness is limited by a balanced mind. In particular, Greek tragedy (Aeschylus, Sophocles) has been interpreted as an expression of the vital impulse that returns to its own, limiting the order and disorder, both understood in radicals, excessive terms. Nietzsche criticizes the fundamental values of the ultra-rationalized society in which he lived, reaching to the denial of the encyclopedic principles that exclude the existence vitalism.

Nietzsche wanted to restructure the society by criticizing several aspects of modern culture, of official universal philosophy, denying those ideas of civilization and democracy. For him, art is the only factor that justifies life. In his book, “Die Geburt der Tragödie” (“Birth of Tragedy”) he opposes and associates the Dionysian and Apollonian figures, both born from the intoxication of the senses. The first is a drunken discharge of energy, the second a purely visual intoxication. As a consequence, Nietzsche adds a third form: the voluntary force that manifests itself in architecture.

Friedrich Nietzsche is the one who said that God is dead. His idea received two major interpretations: the first one supports that Nietzsche talked about the death of the Christian God and the second one speaks about the death of philosophers’ God. He predicted the agony of metaphysics once the manifestation of the Socratic rational spirit destroyed the principles of the Dionysian human, which followed ecstasy by drunkenness , concupiscence and other ecstatic manifestations obtained through the exacerbation of senses.

Nietzsche is considered a vitalist philosopher. He preaches all the virtues of the healthy, vigorous man, full of power over his instincts, who can support freedom on his shoulders. As an irony of life, Nietzsche was quite a sick man all his life. The main reason that he gave up his academic career was that his illness worsened.

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