Friedrich Nietzsche, nihilistic philosopher, poet, vehement religion skeptic, a charismatic and at times controversial writer. In his 55 years of life he wrote several pieces such as, The Birth of Tragedy, Human All Too Human, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and On the Genealogy of Morality. Within these books, Nietzsche discussed ethics, nihilism, atheism, “the death of god”, and the creation of the Übermensch.
Nietzsche’s popularity and work has both grown and declined in popularity over the years. Near his death in the year 1900, his manuscripts fell at the feet of his sister, Elizabeth Förster-Nietzsche; an anti-Semitic, extreme German nationalist. Historians have determined that Förster was responsible for perverting Nietzsche’s work, taking advantage of his declining health and death, to alter his work to fit her extremist ideology. Her perversions of the manuscripts brought Nietzsche into the eyes of the Nazis, who turned him into a nationalistic propaganda icon, (despite the fact that his original work was clearly against anti-Semitism/nationalism). His misconstrued words became revered by Nazi propagandists. Naturally, the link put Nietzsche’s work into decline. Many years later however, alteration of his work was shown by various historians, clearing his name. From the 1960’s and on, his work became popular and influential once more.
Here are some wise words from him:
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”
“Against boredom even the gods struggle in vain.”
“We have art in order not to die of the truth.”
Here two very different sides of Nietzsche are separated. The almost nostalgic retrospective man of culture, and the cynical nihilist, who questions our formation of society.
“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.”
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
“Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.”
“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”
“Is man merely a mistake of God’s? Or God merely a mistake of man?”
A man of many identities and unique ideas, surely Nietzsche holds at least some wisdom that resonates with, or interests everyone. If you have a suggestion for quote of the week, I’d love to hear it! Leave your suggestion in the comments section!
Check back soon for more! Cheers! -MC