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Posts Tagged ‘Friedrich Nietzsche’

Thus Spoke Zarathustra” — book review
Today’s review is for the book: “Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and for No One” (1883-1885), written by: Friedrich Nietzsche (this version (2012 ©) is a translation to English by: Thomas Common and was originally published in 1909).  Nietzsche was a trained “philogist”.  Basically, he studied classic languages (Greek and Latin) and in particular their literature.  Nietzsche became a philosopher and is considered one of the “great” philosophers of the 19th century.  He considered this work to be his greatest achievement.  The book was written in four main pieces and published over several years.
The main character (Zarathustra) is based on a semi-mythological Indo-Iranian religious figure named Zoroaster, who started his own religion and which “may have” influenced some current day including Islam and the Bahá’í Faith.  Anyway, in the story, Zarathustra is a hermit who lives in a cave for some period of years and then goes down from his mountain home to visit and teach the natives.
The book appears to be both a work of philosophy and a story book. Kind of like the Bible (allegory and parables), but with philosophy overlaid where “god” would normally appear.  As near as I can tell, the main gist of the work is that the traditional “god” is dead and that mankind is merely a bridge between the animals and a future superior species (Übermensch) which I believe translates to “over-man”, but which generally translated as “superman”.  We regular humans will recognize these coming supermen by their differing (self-created and self-benefiting) “values” which Nietzsche calls their “will to power”.
What did I think? BORING!!  A few good bits, but mostly just boring.
I think I may be too hard on the work because Nietzsche was a poet / philogist / and philosopher.  I am none of those and therefore am certainly not qualified to provide an in-depth analysis / critique of the ideas or how they are expressed.  My reaction is to the mixed styles of writing, the verbose language, the poorly explained (mostly unexplained) allegories / metaphors.  So, “God” is a creation of primitive man.  Man is no longer primitive, and so, no longer needs the “God” we created.  Man, in raising himself above the baser creatures should shrug off the superstition and create himself in the image of a new and superior man without the values imposed by prior civilization.  We should create our own value system and impose it on lesser men who will want to retain their older values.
Or, as near as I can tell: “Thus spoke Zarathustra”…
Seriously, this work is considered one of the classics of Western (European) philosophy and it was on my “bucket-list” of books to read to consider myself “educated”.  Am I now better educated?  NO.  Wider read, but not better educated.
Final recommendation: weak to moderate recommendation.  I read this in chunks of 10 to 20 pages at a time over the course of almost a month.  Perhaps I should have ploughed through it more quickly and decisively…  Perhaps I should read a different version – maybe something with more annotations.  Maybe it’s far better in the original German…  I don’t know.  I do know I’m not going to learn German just to try to get more out of this work.  Anyway, if it’s on your personal bucket list, read this translation as I’m informed it is one of the “better” ones.  If it’s not on your list, I think you’ll get more out of reading about this book, the author and Zoroaster on Wikipedia.  In fairness, there were some interesting bits and some flowery prose. I just don’t know if they (the good bits) were from the original or from the translation / translator.  I already have multiple Nietzsche quotes on my blog and I’m sure I add some from this book…  Perhaps they will pique my readers’ interests and you’ll find a copy to read.  Hopefully, you’ll gain more insight than I have.
Midnight has passed and there is no new day.  Thus passed Zarathustra…
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A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions – as attempts to find out something.  Success and failure are for him answers above all.
  ―  Friedrich Nietzsche
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Whoever knows he is deep, strives for clarity; whoever would like to appear deep to the crowd, strives for obscurity.  For the crowd considers anything deep if only it cannot see to the bottom: the crowd is so timid and afraid of going into the water.
  —  Friedrich Nietzsche
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Believe me!  The secret of reaping the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerously!
  —  Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
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When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.
   ―  Friedrich Nietzsche
[Some folks would like to return to a past when (they believe) America was greater than it is today.  The simple truth is, when it comes to the past, you can’t get there from here.
Despite our current President and political climate, America is still (IMHO) the best nation on earth.  We are NOT perfect.  Far from it.  Many other countries have better health care, better education systems, more safety from violence (specifically gun violence).  But is there any place you’d rather be?  Is there any other time in which you would rather live?
We have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights.  American greatness stems from our beliefs: in the rule of law; that no one is above the law; and, that right makes might.  We have faith in the will of the informed majority and believe in the protection of the rights of the minority.
If our national course is erratic, it is because we understand (but sometimes only reluctantly accept) that the law breathes and changes.  As fundamental human rights are increasingly recognized, acknowledged, and codified, we change as a people, as a society and as a country.  And, yes, sometimes, change is painful.  When it is too painful, the rate of change is slowed (as it is now).  But, change is not halted.  It cannot be halted because change is an emergent property of existence and particularly of life.
America is STILL a great country!  To become a still greater nation we need only rededicate ourselves to a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”  No, future greatness cannot be found in returning to the past, but we can get there (future continued greatness) from here…  —  KMAB]
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No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.
   ―  Friedrich Nietzsche
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The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.
[And…]
In truth, there was only one christian and he died on the cross.
   ―  Friedrich Nietzsche
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I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time.
  ―  Friedrich Nietzsche
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Let us distrust our first reactions; they are invariably too favorable.
   —   Friedrich Nietzsche
[Not every critical political post HAS to be about the “moron” in the Oval Office.   —    KMAB]
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It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!
   ―     Friedrich Nietzsche
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Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.
   ―  Friedrich Nietzsche
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You have your way.  I have my way.  As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.
   ―  Friedrich Nietzsche
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On This Day In:
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It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!
   ―  Friedrich Nietzsche
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On This Day In:
2016 Jumps
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A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.
     —  Friedrich Nietzsche
[Because “faith” in and of itself requires no proof.  —  KMAB]
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I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.
   ―  Friedrich Nietzsche
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