Thursday, 23 February 2012
CTS LECTURE XI/THE PRODUCTION & CRITIQUE OF INSTITUTIONS
Notes from today's lecture with Andy Broadey
- To examine the historical development of practices of institutional critique in relation to the corresponding development of the modern art gallery.
- To demonstrate the importance of the art museum to the rise of the bourgeois public sphere in the 19th century.
- To analyse Peter Burger's theorisation of the twin development of aestheticist (formalist) art practice, and critical avant-gardism in the first three decades of the 20th century.
- To consider the postwar critique of the convention of the white cube through attention to Brian O'Doherty's 'Inside the White Cube', and Michael Asher's 1974 Claire Copley Gallery instillation.
- The 19th century public exhibition spaces, a visible presence of a social body- showcasing the achievements of a society.
- Hiding the role of the individual role in society- performing an idealogical task.
- Review and contrast to Marxist's view of society to the "public" presence performed by art galleries and museums.
- The workers labour (in Marxism) is a commodity that they must sell to live. This makes the products of our work feel alien as we exchange our labour for monetary benefit. Work is an object, and it exists independently- an "autonomous power opposed to him".
- Social mystification and false consciousness- ideology for Marx explains man's failure to comprehend his own alienation in society. The voice that we have is a construct of different voices and class interests who have their own take on our place within wider society.
- Ideologies, though systems of belief they are attempted to naturalise their own special place throughout history. Our circumstances are routed in our material situation, and our socially constructed understanding in relation to lots of different voices that express thoughts and feelings.
- Modernist art museums.
- Louvre, Paris- one of the largest and one of the most famous in the world. The ideological institution of belief- post- revolutionary French, new social institutions were formed to promote the new core values of the new, French state. With the rise of the bourgeoisie, came the rise of the new public art museum. Spaces devoted to man's "greatest feats" were ambitious of this time, and represented the core values of the revolution- eg liberty.
- The opening of the museum corresponded with the anniversary of the republic, and a festival was planned within Paris- all individuals in society would be "joined as one" through the opening of the gallery and the festival- making individuals aware of their belonging with society and the public.
- Delegates from Paris' municipal departments set fire to a pile of debris of "feudalism"- forms, paperwork and aristocratic trinkets that were left from the execution of Louis XVI.
- A political function- promoting the values of the new regime.
- 'Liberty Leading the People'- oil painting, 1830, Delacroix.
- Served to promote freedom and equality in new society. Bourgeoise class structure of the society, itself depended on the unequal distribution of means between French people- they became free to compete with one another. Free from the absolute poverty that the French lived in under Monarchical rule.
- Roland Barthes, 'Mythologies', 1957- looked at culture and behaviour (set of essays). Responded to the sight of the naturalness that newspapers dressed up common sense as a reality- undoubtedly determined by history. Nature and history seen as confused at every turn.
- For Marx, ideology is related to methods of production. A "collective consciousness" that society holds is related to how society physically holds itself physically and materially. Reproducing and re-generating ideological constructs. The social existence determines their consciousness.
- We don't really think or generate our place in the world- our place in the world generates our beliefs (Marxist views on materialism).
- Through the 19th century, art galleries and exhibits increased greatly in popularity throughout the public.
- The Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace, 1851. Exhibitions such as these generated a feeling of public space and belonging.
- Whilst everyone could see, they could also be seen.
- Foucault's ideas of Panopticism are relevant here- you behave, and are aware of public monitoring by others/institutions. People could witness their own inclusion within a large social body, and visit the achievements of the cultural body- whist becoming aware of their roles within it.
- In the first three decades of the 20th century, Peter Burger looked at art's representational function, and the separation between art and life.
- Paul Gaugin, discussing the use of colour- the relationships of colour and colour interaction could capture the feeling of the artist's encounter with nature.
- A focus for the individual's emotions.
- Under Burger's analysis, art was separated from other spheres of human's reality- no responsibility to represent human reality- became purely about aesthetic pleasure. No longer connected to social reality and practices. Abstract art came to focus upon the production and reception of art against disinterested tastefulness.
- Physical satisfactions from beauty was played out in man's intellectual faculties.
- Life is made up of "getting things done". For some, the development of the modern art gallery was a space apart from the wider pressures of life where one could engage in a sensuousness. Aesthetic emotions before ones individuality- freed from the sense of achievement and trying to get things done.
- The institutionalisation and modes of encounter in which the individual may discover a set of aesthetic emotions.
- An ideology and set of social values are formed of art and it's distance from the other spheres of social life.
- Dadaism- Tristan Tzara, 'Dada 3', 1918. Tzara was a leading Dadaist, the 'Dadaist Manifesto'. In keeping with the rejection of society and rationality of convention and normality, Tzara started his manifesto with the rejection of writing a manifesto.
- Marcel Duchamp, 'Fountain', 1917- Dadaist art. Still debated and questioned at the value of art.
- Marcel Duchamp, 'Bottle Rack', Found Object, 1914.
- Reducing art to a "game"- what is a work of art, is art a game? (Such as any rule-bound process) No essence or "artness" to distinguish works of art from other objects in the world- it is what we do with them that defines them as works of art.
- WHITE CUBE- Clean, crisp, minimal gallery environment- Instillation View, Colour Fields Exhibition, Deutsche Guggenheim, 2010/11. Sparsely hung work- "space to be enjoyed- not interrupted by other works".
- Michael Asher, Untitled, 1974, (Instillation view, Claire Copley Gallery, Los Angeles).
Monday, 20 February 2012
Received my feedback and average grade marking today from my morning tutorial session with tutor Richard, to discuss my progress from the first draft of my essay, and where I can take it from here in terms of development.
I was really pleased (and a bit surprised) when I found out that Richard considered my essay to currently be at a high 2:1, on the cusp of a 1st (the 6/7 out of 10- so 60/70%, ish...). Although I felt I had considered research and a significant topic to write about within my essay, I didn't consider it to be a very strong piece of work, despite my efforts, feeling a little disjointed and confused.
All the points Richard bought up in the feedback session were points I completely agreed with, a couple ones I had started to contemplate myself (such as the aforementioned disjointed quote/paragraph structure) since the essay hand in.
A great opportunity to discuss current progress and fortunately I now have a few more weeks until resubmission- so I'll work hard on the edits to make sure it's as successful a text as possible! Feeling very motivated to get a good grade now!
Thursday, 16 February 2012
‘According to usage and conventions which are at last being questioned but have by no means been overcome - men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at’ (Berger 1972, 45, 47)
Discuss this quote with reference to one work of art and one work from the contemporary media.
Discuss this quote with reference to one work of art and one work from the contemporary media.
THE GAZE/TASK RESPONSE
'The Gaze' is a psychoanalytical reference to the self-awareness of being watched, and the role that is played upon this aforementioned awareness for the suggested audience, most commonly, the "gazed" a woman, an object of desire, of beauty, and of lust, the "gazer", the man.
Since the beginning of time the role of the "gazer" and the "gazed" has been played. Since the evolution of monogamous relationships in prehistoric man, the idea of "ownership" of women by men has been enforced- no longer the females playing the matriarchal role, but the male now the provider, the hunter gather- women often regarded as "the weaker sex".
From this time, the role of women has often, particularly through art, has been portrayed as "the gazed", objectified by males for lust- with curvaceous, voluptuous bodies that are to be admired and fantasied about. Though, instead of a preying intimidation, the fundamental effect of "the gaze" is that "men act and women appear...women watch themselves being looked at"- therefore suggesting that it is in fact the women that initiate the gaze; that long for it, that entice and seduce men, urging themselves to be gazed upon.
Created in 1863, French painter Alexandre Cabanel’s “academic” style was portrayed in ‘Birth of Venus’, the Goddess of love, often also associated with beauty, sexuality and fertility. Depicted in a reclined position, a hand slightly raised over her face, suggesting a playful coyness and sensuality, her eyes covered, allowing the audience to gaze upon her body without a returned glance- suggesting innocence and purity. The painting itself is taken up by ¾ of her naked body, the last quarter with her head and face, the only distinction between the individuality of the woman herself.
Of course, it is also an important factor to remember that at this time it was inconceivable for a woman to be an artist; women having no real “right” or status to receive education or political empowerment. As males dictated this world, women were painted in the way they wanted women to be painted, how they wanted to perceive woman. Women were painted in the way in which men felt women themselves wanted to be perceived, a theory which refers to a quote within John Berger's 1972 televised programme and printed publication, 'Ways of Seeing' in which he states “Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at” (John Berger Quotes, 2012, http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/29919.Jonh_Berger), therefore questioning the way in which women represent themselves, or how men believe they do. Women want to be watched, and all that they do in presenting themselves in an alluring, or sensual manner, is for the needs and want for desirability and male attentions.
Despite over one hundred years later, contemporary art shows little difference in regards to “the gaze” and how women are perceived in the media. One prime contemporary example, almost a replica for Cabanel’s Venus, was Sophie Dahl’s commissioned photoshoot (by Tom Ford and Steven Meisel) for Yves Saint- Laurent, in an advertising campaign for their brand of perfume, Opium. Nude, reclined onto a sheet of black satin, the image is sexually charged, the model opening caressing her own body. Unusually, however, in contrast to many advertisements and photoshoots of models of this same style and nature, the advert was initially unapproved by the Advertising Standards Authority. Although once the composition of the image was changed from horizontal to vertical (thus the focus being made upon the face as opposed to the body) it was approved- though no real edits were made to the image itself- still the woman portrayed in the same sexually inviting pose as was first shown in ‘The birth of Venus’- the reclined nude, the objectified woman. Still the pretence of the woman’s invitation to be gazed upon. Still the ‘gazer’ and ‘the gazed’.
- Alexandre Cabanel's 'Birth of Venus' http://www.artcyclopedia.org/art/cabanel-birth-of-venus.jpg
- Sophie Dahl for Yves Saint Laurent/Opium (Landscape) http://www.brassagency.com/blog/wp-content/uploads//2010/08/Sophie-Dahl_Opium-300x200.jpg
- Sophie Dahl for Yves Saint Laurent/Opium (Portrait) http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-vvBQe0PwQJ4/TqlaTW3ijoI/AAAAAAAAAjM/tFWbS6-o4Bc/s400/3.jpg
Write a short analysis (300 words approx) of an aspect of our culture that is in some way Hypperreal. Hypperreality is an awkward and slippery concept. Wikipedia defines it as follows-
"Hyperreality is used in semiotics and postmodern philosophy to describe a hypothetical inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in technologically advanced post-modern societies. Hyperreality is a way of characterising what our consciousness defines as "real" in a world where the multitude of media can radically shape and filter an original event or experience."
Wikipedia cites the following examples to get you thinking (but please come up with your own!):
- A well manicured garden (nature as hyperreal).
- Any massively promoted versions of historical or present "facts" (e.g. "General Ignorance" from QI, where the questions have seemingly obvious answers, which are actually wrong).
- Professional sports athletes as super, invincible versions of the human beings.
- Many world cities and places which did not evolve as functional places with some basis in reality, as if they were creatio ex nihilo (literally 'creation out of nothing')" Disney World; Dubai; Celebration, Florida; and Las Vegas.
- TV and film in general (especially "reality" TV), due to it's creation of a world of fantasy and it's dependance that the viewer will engage with these fantasy worlds. The current trend is to glamorise the mundane with using histrionics.
- A retail store that looks completely stocked and perfect due to facing, creating a world of endless identical products.
- A life which cannot be (e.g. the perfect facsimile of celebrity's invented persona).
- A high end sex doll used as a simulacrum of an unattainable partner.
- A newly made building or item designed to look old, or to recreate or reproduce an older artefact, by stimulating the feel of age or ageing.
- Second Life- The distinction becomes blurred when it becomes the platform for RL (Real Life) courses and conferences, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or leads to real world interactions behind the scenes.
- Weak virtual reality which is greater than any possible simulation of physical reality.
HYPERREALITY ESSAY TASK//
Student Mark Zuckerberg founded the social networking site, Facebook, in February 2004. Although originally restricted to his fellow Harvard Students, the site grew nationally, and, soon after- globally- now reaching an estimated audience of 845 million users worldwide- over 1/10th of the World's total population.
Originally created as a fun, interactive tool for keeping in touch with friends and family, in more recent years, Facebook has had an association with behavioural traits such as online bullying, narcissism, and depression- generated, in part, to the manifestation and belief of mediocrity in ones self, due to the reflected appearance of other's lives and successes as portrayed on the social networking site.
In a recent report from Men's Health Magazine (http://news.menshealth.com/), it describes a recent survey of Facebook users;
"In a study presented at the recent Society for Personality and Social Psychology meeting, researchers asked a sample group of Facebook users between the ages of 18 and 65 to read some of their friends' status updates. Afterward, those Facebook users rated their lives as much less satisfying than people who didn't check their news feed first".
Social networking sites such as Facebook provide a constant reminder and open window into the lives of others- close friends and acquaintances, as well as "liked" designers, musicians, artists, and so on, often even strangers and people of whom one has never met. With an overall increase in expectation in society for achievement through graduate unemployment and financial crisis, success is sought after and yearned for more than ever, increased with constant "scare- mongering".
However, despite this natural comparison, it is easy to forget the fundamental control and sense of hyperreality that Facebook constantly provides. Each registered Facebook user has control of their own "wall", the statuses and messages that they send out each day; providing only the wittiest, smartest, crudest, or most successful achievements in their lives, sifting through their own mundane day's events and lack of achievements to masquerade what may also be a relatively mediocre existence.
Postmodernist philosopher and sociologist, Jean Baudrillard (2012, http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/1264/Jean_Baudrillard), on the subject of modern living wrote:
“Smile and others will smile back. Smile to show how transparent, how candid you are. Smile if you have nothing to say. Most of all, do not hide the fact you have nothing to say nor your total indifference to others. Let this emptiness, this profound indifference shine out spontaneously in your smile.”
This statement is a true reflection of modern day social networking, and the sense of hyperreality is creates- the rising of expectation and achievement, as opposed to the reality and mundanity of every day lives. Though this is not what is perceived- and this false reality is easy to be led on by, and to believe in. However, it should be remembered and understood to gauge a real understanding of what is important and real, and what is merely exaggerated fantasy.
- Facebook Lowers Your Self-Esteem | Men's Health News, 2012, (ONLINE) Available at: http://news.menshealth.com/facebook-self-esteem/2012/02/12 (Accessed 25 March 2012)
- Jean Baudrillard Quotes (Author of Simulacra and Simulation), 2012, (ONLINE) Available at: http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/1264.Jean_Baudrillard (Accessed 25 March 2012)
Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Ever since reading, and adoring Milan Kundera's 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being' around four years ago, I have become fascinated by theories of existentialism and the philosophy of Nietzsche (of whom was a great supporter of the ideas of existentialism). Throughout the lecture last week, I decided to go and speak to the lecturer about Nietzsche, always passionate and interested to read more of his work, and about him, but not really knowing where to start. I was recommended to begin with an essay from the collective philosophical textbook 'The Continental Aesthetics Reader' (with texts also from the likes of Foucault, Marx, and so on), 'On Truth & Lies In An Extra- Moral Sense', found online which can be seen at the bottom of the page.
Directly below, just a brief introduction to Nietzsche, though the most reliable of sources, good old Wikipedia.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and aphorism.
Nietzsche's influence remains substantial within and beyond philosophy, notably in existentialism, nihilism and postmodernism. His style and radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth have resulted in much commentary and interpretation, mostly in the continental tradition. His key ideas include the death of God, perspectivism, the Übermensch, amor fati, the eternal recurrence, and the will to power. Central to his philosophy is the idea of "life-affirmation", which involves an honest questioning of all doctrines that drain life's expansive energies, however socially prevalent those views might be.
Nietzsche began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. In 1869, at the age of 24 he was appointed to the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel (the youngest individual to have held this position), but resigned in the summer of 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life. In 1889 he became mentally ill with what was then characterized as atypical generalparesis attributed to tertiary syphilis, a diagnosis that has since come into question. He lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897, then under the care of his sister until his death in 1900.
Born on October 15, 1844, Nietzsche grew up in the small town of Röcken, near Leipzig, in the Prussian Province of Saxony. He was named after King Frederick William IV of Prussia, who turned 49 on the day of Nietzsche's birth. (Nietzsche later dropped his given middle name, "Wilhelm".) Nietzsche's parents, Carl Ludwig Nietzsche (1813–1849), a Lutheran pastor and former teacher, and Franziska Oehler (1826–1897), married in 1843, the year before their son's birth, and had two other children: a daughter, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, born in 1846, and a second son, Ludwig Joseph, born in 1848. Nietzsche's father died from a brain ailment in 1849; Ludwig Joseph died the next year, at age 2. The family then moved to Naumburg, where they lived with Nietzsche's paternal grandmother and his father's two unmarried sisters. After the death of Nietzsche's grandmother in 1856, the family moved into their own house.
In 1854, he began to attend Pforta in Naumburg, but after he showed particular talents in music and language, the internationally recognised Schulpfortaadmitted him as a pupil, and there he continued his studies from 1858 to 1864. Here he became friends with Paul Deussen and Carl von Gersdorff. He also found time to work on poems and musical compositions. At Schulpforta, Nietzsche received an important introduction to literature, particularly that of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and for the first time experienced a distance from his family life in a small-town Christian environment. His end of semester exams in March 1864 showed a "straight I" in Religion and German, a 2a in Greek and Latin, 2b in French, History and Physics, and a "lackluster" 3 in Hebrew and Mathematics. Nietzsche attended a boys' school and then later a private school, where he became friends with Gustav Krug, Rudolf Wagner and Wilhelm Pinder, all of whom came from very respected families.
After graduation in 1864 Nietzsche commenced studies in theology and classical philology at the University of Bonn. For a short time he and Deussen became members of the Burschenschaft Frankonia. After one semester (and to the anger of his mother) he stopped his theological studies and lost his faith. This may have happened in part because of his reading around this time of David Strauss's Life of Jesus, which had a profound effect on the young Nietzsche, though in an essay entitled Fate and History written in 1862, Nietzsche had already argued that historical research had discredited the central teachings of Christianity. Nietzsche then concentrated on studying philology under Professor Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl, whom he followed to the University of Leipzig the next year. There he became close friends with fellow-student Erwin Rohde. Nietzsche's first philological publications appeared soon after.
In 1865 Nietzsche thoroughly studied the works of Arthur Schopenhauer. He owed the awakening of his philosophical interest to reading his Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (The World as Will and Representation) and later admitted that he was one of the few thinkers that he respected, dedicating to him his essay Schopenhauer als Erzieher (Schopenhauer as Educator), one of his Untimely Meditations.
In 1866 he read Friedrich Albert Lange's History of Materialism. Schopenhauer and Lange influenced him. Schopenhauer was especially significant in the development of Nietzsche's later thought. Lange's descriptions of Kant's anti-materialistic philosophy, the rise of European Materialism, Europe's increased concern with science, Darwin's theory, and the general rebellion against tradition and authority greatly intrigued Nietzsche. The cultural environment encouraged him to expand his horizons beyond philology and to continue his study of philosophy.
In 1867 Nietzsche signed up for one year of voluntary service with the Prussian artillery division in Naumburg. However, a riding accident in March 1868 left him unfit for service. Consequently Nietzsche turned his attention to his studies again, completing them and first meeting with Richard Wagner later that year.
Professor at Basel (1869–1879)
Nevertheless, Nietzsche served in the Prussian forces during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 to 1871 as a medical orderly. In his short time in the military he experienced much, and witnessed the traumatic effects of battle. He also contracted diphtheria and dysentery. Walter Kaufmannspeculates that he might also have contracted syphilis along with his other infections at this time, and some biographers speculate that syphilis caused his eventual dementia, though there is some disagreement on this matter. On returning to Basel in 1870 Nietzsche observed the establishment of the German Empire and the following era of Otto von Bismarck as an outsider and with a degree of skepticism regarding its genuineness. At the University, he delivered his inaugural lecture, "Homer and Classical Philology". Nietzsche also met Franz Overbeck, a professor of theology, who remained his friend throughout his life; Afrikan Spir, a little-known Russian philosopher and author of Denken und Wirklichkeit (1873); and his colleague the historian Jacob Burckhardt, whose lectures Nietzsche frequently attended, began to exercise significant influence on Nietzsche during this time.In part because of Ritschl's support, Nietzsche received a remarkable offer to become professor of classical philology at the University of Basel. He was only 24 years old and had neither completed his doctorate nor received his teaching certificate. Despite the fact that the offer came at a time when he was considering giving up philology for science, he accepted. To this day, Nietzsche is still among the youngest of the tenured Classics professors on record. Before moving to Basel, Nietzsche renounced his Prussian citizenship: for the rest of his life he remained officially stateless.
Nietzsche had already met Richard Wagner in Leipzig in 1868, and (some time later) Wagner's wife Cosima. Nietzsche admired both greatly, and during his time at Basel frequently visited Wagner's house in Tribschen in the Canton of Lucerne. The Wagners brought Nietzsche into their most intimate circle, and enjoyed the attention he gave to the beginning of the Bayreuth Festival Theatre. In 1870 he gave Cosima Wagner the manuscript of 'The Genesis of the Tragic Idea' as a birthday gift. In 1872 Nietzsche published his first book, The Birth of Tragedy. However, his colleagues in the field of classical philology, including Ritschl, expressed little enthusiasm for the work, in which Nietzsche eschewed the classical philologic method in favor of a more speculative approach. In a polemic, Philology of the Future, Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorffdampened the book's reception and increased its notoriety. In response, Rohde (by now a professor in Kiel) and Wagner came to Nietzsche's defense. Nietzsche remarked freely about the isolation he felt within the philological community and attempted to attain a position in philosophy at Basel, though unsuccessfully.
Between 1873 and 1876, Nietzsche published separately four long essays: David Strauss: the Confessor and the Writer, On the Use and Abuse of History for Life, Schopenhauer as Educator, and Richard Wagner in Bayreuth. (These four later appeared in a collected edition under the title, Untimely Meditations.) The four essays shared the orientation of a cultural critique, challenging the developing German culture along lines suggested by Schopenhauer and Wagner. In 1873, Nietzsche also began to accumulate notes that would be posthumously published as Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks. During this time, in the circle of the Wagners, Nietzsche met Malwida von Meysenbug and Hans von Bülow, and also began a friendship with Paul Rée, who in 1876 influenced him in dismissing the pessimism in his early writings. However, he was deeply disappointed by the Bayreuth Festival of 1876, where the banality of the shows and the baseness of the public repelled him. He was also alienated by Wagner's championing of 'German culture', which Nietzsche thought a contradiction in terms, as well as by Wagner's celebration of his fame among the German public. All this contributed to Nietzsche's subsequent decision to distance himself from Wagner.
With the publication in 1878 of Human, All Too Human (a book of aphorisms on subjects ranging from metaphysics to morality and from religion to the sexes) Nietzsche's reaction against the pessimistic philosophy of Wagner and Schopenhauer became evident, as well as the influence of Afrikan Spir's Denken und Wirklichkeit. Nietzsche's friendship with Deussen and Rohde cooled as well. In 1879, after a significant decline in health, Nietzsche had to resign his position at Basel. (Since his childhood, various disruptive illnesses had plagued him, including moments of shortsightedness that left him nearly blind, migraine headaches, and violent indigestion. The 1868 riding accident and diseases in 1870 may have aggravated these persistent conditions, which continued to affect him through his years at Basel, forcing him to take longer and longer holidays until regular work became impractical.)
Independent philosopher (1879–1888)
Because his illness drove him to find climates more conducive to his health, Nietzsche traveled frequently, and lived until 1889 as an independent author in different cities. He spent many summers in Sils Maria, near St. Moritz in Switzerland, and many winters in the Italian cities of Genoa, Rapallo and Turin and in the French city of Nice. In 1881, when France occupied Tunisia, he planned to travel to Tunis to view Europe from the outside, but later abandoned that idea (probably for health reasons). While in Genoa, Nietzsche's failing eyesight prompted him to explore the use of typewriters as a means of continuing to write. He is known to have tried using the Hansen Writing Ball, a contemporary typewriter device.
Nietzsche occasionally returned to Naumburg to visit his family, and, especially during this time, he and his sister had repeated periods of conflict and reconciliation. He lived on his pension from Basel, but also received aid from friends.
A past student of his, Peter Gast (born Heinrich Köselitz), became a sort of private secretary to Nietzsche. In 1876, Koselitz transcribed the crabbed, nearly illegible handwriting of Nietzsche for the first time with Richard Wagner in Bayreuth. He would go on to both transcribe and proofread the galleys for almost all of Nietzsche's work from there on. On at least one occasion, February 23, 1880, the usually broke Koselitz received 200 marks from their mutual friend, Paul Ree. Koselitz was one of the very few friends Nietzsche allowed to criticize him. In responding most enthusiastically to "Zarathustra," Koselitz did feel it necessary to point out that what were described as "superfluous" people were in fact quite necessary. He went on to list the number of people Epicurus, for example, had to rely on—even with his simple diet of goat cheese.
To the end of his life, Gast and Overbeck remained consistently faithful friends. Malwida von Meysenbug remained like a motherly patron even outside the Wagner circle. Soon Nietzsche made contact with the music-critic Carl Fuchs. Nietzsche stood at the beginning of his most productive period. Beginning with Human, All Too Human in 1878, Nietzsche would publish one book (or major section of a book) each year until 1888, his last year of writing, during which he completed five.
By 1882, Nietzsche was taking huge doses of opium, but was still having trouble sleeping. In 1883, while staying in Nice, he was writing out his own prescriptions for the sleeping powder chloralhydrate, signing them 'Dr Nietzsche'. In 1882 Nietzsche published the first part of The Gay Science. That year he also met Lou Andreas Salomé, through Malwida von Meysenbug and Paul Rée. Nietzsche and Salomé spent the summer together in Tautenburg in Thuringia, often with Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth as a chaperone. Nietzsche, however, regarded Salomé less as an equal partner than as a gifted student. Salomé reports that he asked her to marry him and that she refused, though the reliability of her reports of events has come into question. Nietzsche's relationship with Rée and Salomé broke up in the winter of 1882/1883, partially because of intrigues conducted by Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth. Amidst renewed bouts of illness, living in near isolation after a falling-out with his mother and sister regarding Salomé, Nietzsche fled to Rapallo. Here he wrote the first part ofThus Spoke Zarathustra in only ten days.
After severing his philosophical ties with Schopenhauer and his social ties with Wagner, Nietzsche had few remaining friends. Now, with the new style of Zarathustra, his work became even more alienating and the market received it only to the degree required by politeness. Nietzsche recognized this and maintained his solitude, though he often complained about it. His books remained largely unsold. In 1885 he printed only 40 copies of the fourth part of Zarathustra, and distributed only a fraction of these among close friends, including Helene von Druskowitz.
In 1883 he tried and failed to obtain a lecturing post at the University of Leipzig. It was made clear to him that, in view of the attitude towards Christianity and the concept of God expressed in Zarathustra, he had become in effect unemployable at any German University. The subsequent "feelings of revenge and resentment" embittered him. "And hence my rage since I have grasped in the broadest possible sense what wretched means (the depreciation of my good name, my character and my aims) suffice to take from me the trust of, and therewith the possibility of obtaining, pupils."
In 1886 Nietzsche broke with his editor, Ernst Schmeitzner, disgusted by his anti-Semitic opinions. Nietzsche saw his own writings as "completely buried and unexhumeable in this anti-Semitic dump" of Schmeitzner—associating the editor with a movement that should be "utterly rejected with cold contempt by every sensible mind". He then printed Beyond Good and Evil at his own expense, and issued in 1886–1887 second editions of his earlier works (The Birth of Tragedy, Human, All Too Human, Dawn, and The Gay Science), accompanied by new prefaces in which he reconsidered his earlier works. Thereafter, he saw his work as completed for a time and hoped that soon a readership would develop. In fact, interest in Nietzsche's thought did increase at this time, if rather slowly and in a way hardly perceived by him. During these years Nietzsche met Meta von Salis, Carl Spitteler, and also Gottfried Keller. In 1886 his sister Elisabeth married the anti-Semite Bernhard Förster and traveled to Paraguay to foundNueva Germania, a "Germanic" colony—a plan to which Nietzsche responded with mocking laughter. Through correspondence, Nietzsche's relationship with Elisabeth continued on the path of conflict and reconciliation, but they would meet again only after his collapse. He continued to have frequent and painful attacks of illness, which made prolonged work impossible. In 1887 Nietzsche wrote the polemic On the Genealogy of Morals.
During the same year Nietzsche encountered the work of Fyodor Dostoevsky, with whom he felt an immediate kinship. He also exchanged letters with Hippolyte Taine, and then also with Georg Brandes. Brandes, who had started to teach the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard in the 1870s, wrote to Nietzsche asking him to read Kierkegaard, to which Nietzsche replied that he would come to Copenhagen and read Kierkegaard with him. However, before fulfilling this undertaking, he slipped too far into sickness. In the beginning of 1888, in Copenhagen, Brandes delivered one of the first lectures on Nietzsche's philosophy.
Although Nietzsche had in 1886 announced (at the end of On The Genealogy of Morality) a new work with the title The Will to Power: Attempt at a Revaluation of All Values, he eventually seems to have abandoned this particular approach and instead used some of the draft passages to compose Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist (both written in 1888).
His health seemed to improve, and he spent the summer in high spirits. In the fall of 1888 his writings and letters began to reveal a higher estimation of his own status and "fate." He overestimated the increasing response to his writings, especially to the recent polemic, The Case of Wagner. On his 44th birthday, after completing Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist, he decided to write the autobiography Ecce Homo. In the preface to this work—which suggests Nietzsche was well aware of the interpretive difficulties his work would generate—he declares, "Hear me! For I am such and such a person. Above all, do not mistake me for someone else." In December, Nietzsche began a correspondence with August Strindberg, and thought that, short of an international breakthrough, he would attempt to buy back his older writings from the publisher and have them translated into other European languages. Moreover, he planned the publication of the compilation Nietzsche Contra Wagner and of the poems that composed his collection Dionysian-Dithyrambs.
Mental breakdown and death (1889–1900)
In the following few days, Nietzsche sent short writings—known as the Wahnbriefe ("Madness Letters")—to a number of friends (includingCosima Wagner and Jacob Burckhardt). To his former colleague Burckhardt, Nietzsche wrote: "I have had Caiaphas put in fetters. Also, last year I was crucified by the German doctors in a very drawn-out manner. Wilhelm, Bismarck, and all anti-Semites abolished." Additionally, he commanded the German emperor to go to Rome to be shot, and summoned the European powers to take military action against Germany. On January 3, 1889, Nietzsche suffered a mental collapse. Two policemen approached him after he caused a public disturbance in the streets ofTurin. What happened remains unknown, but an often-repeated tale states that Nietzsche witnessed the whipping of a horse at the other end of the Piazza Carlo Alberto, ran to the horse, threw his arms up around its neck to protect it, and then collapsed to the ground.
On January 6, 1889, Burckhardt showed the letter he had received from Nietzsche to Overbeck. The following day Overbeck received a similarly revealing letter, and decided that Nietzsche's friends had to bring him back to Basel. Overbeck traveled to Turin and brought Nietzsche to a psychiatric clinic in Basel. By that time Nietzsche appeared fully in the grip of a serious mental illness, and his mother Franziska decided to transfer him to a clinic in Jena under the direction of Otto Binswanger. From November 1889 to February 1890 the art historian Julius Langbehn attempted to cure Nietzsche, claiming that the methods of the medical doctors were ineffective in treating Nietzsche's condition. Langbehn assumed progressively greater control of Nietzsche until his secretiveness discredited him. In March 1890 Franziska removed Nietzsche from the clinic, and in May 1890 brought him to her home in Naumburg. During this process Overbeck and Gast contemplated what to do with Nietzsche's unpublished works. In January 1889 they proceeded with the planned release of Twilight of the Idols, by that time already printed and bound. In February they ordered a fifty copy private edition of Nietzsche contra Wagner, but the publisher C. G. Naumann secretly printed one hundred. Overbeck and Gast decided to withhold publishing The Antichrist and Ecce Homo because of their more radical content. Nietzsche's reception and recognition enjoyed their first surge.
In 1893 Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth returned from Nueva Germania (in Paraguay) following the suicide of her husband. She read and studied Nietzsche's works, and piece by piece took control of them and of their publication. Overbeck eventually suffered dismissal, and Gast finally co-operated. After the death of Franziska in 1897, Nietzsche lived in Weimar, where Elisabeth cared for him and allowed people, including Rudolf Steiner (who in 1895 had written one of the first books praising Nietzsche) to visit her uncommunicative brother. Elisabeth at one point went so far as to employ Steiner – at a time when he was still an ardent fighter against any mysticism – as a tutor to help her to understand her brother's philosophy. Steiner abandoned the attempt after only a few months, declaring that it was impossible to teach her anything about philosophy.
In 1898 and 1899 Nietzsche suffered at least two strokes, which partially paralysed him and left him unable to speak or walk. After contracting pneumonia in mid-August 1900 he had another stroke during the night of August 24 / August 25, and died about noon on August 25. Elisabeth had him buried beside his father at the church in Röcken bei Lützen. His friend, Gast, gave his funeral oration, proclaiming: "Holy be your name to all future generations!" Nietzsche had written in Ecce Homo (at the time of the funeral still unpublished) of his fear that one day his name would be regarded as "holy".Nietzsche's mental illness was originally diagnosed as tertiary syphilis, in accordance with a prevailing medical paradigm of the time. Although most commentators regard his breakdown as unrelated to his philosophy, Georges Bataille drops dark hints ("'man incarnate' must also go mad") and René Girard's postmortem psychoanalysis posits a worshipful rivalry with Richard Wagner. The diagnosis of syphilis was challenged, and manic-depressive illness with periodic psychosis, followed by vascular dementia was put forward by Cybulska prior Schain's; and Sax's studies;. Orth and Trimble postulate frontotemporal dementia, while other researchers propose a syndrome called CADASIL.
Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche compiled The Will to Power from Nietzsche's unpublished notebooks, and published it posthumously. Because his sister arranged the book based on her own conflation of several of Nietzsche's early outlines, and took great liberties with the material, the consensus holds that it does not reflect Nietzsche's intent. Indeed, Mazzino Montinari, the editor of Nietzsche's Nachlass, called it a forgery in The 'Will to Power' Does Not Exist. For example, Elisabeth removed aphorism 35 ofThe Antichrist, where Nietzsche rewrote a passage of the Bible (see The Will to Power and Nietzsche's criticisms of anti-Semitism and nationalism).
Nietzsche's works remain controversial, due to interpretations and misinterpretations of his work. Common misinterpretations of Nietzsche include the notion that he rejected religious spirituality in its entirety, that he was anti-Semitic, or that he was entirely opposed to Christian beliefs. Nietzsche's concept that "God is dead" applies to the doctrines of Christendom, though not to all other faiths: he claimed that Buddhism is a successful religion that he compliments for fostering critical thought. While Nietzsche attacked the principles of Judaism, Nietzsche was not anti-Semitic: in his work On the Genealogy of Morality, he explicitly condemns anti-Semitism, and pointed out that his attack on Judaism was not an attack on Jews as a people but specifically an attack upon the ancient Jewish priesthood whom he claims anti-Semitic Christians paradoxically based their views upon. He did not attack the teachings and examples of Jesus, but claimed that the Christian faith as practiced was not a proper representation of Jesus' teachings, as it forced people merely to believe in the way of Jesus but not to act as Jesus did, in particular his example of refusing to judge people, something that Nietzsche claimed Christians had deliberately done the opposite of. He condemned institutionalized Christianity for emphasizing a morality of pity, which assumes an inherent illness in society. A few of the themes that Nietzsche scholars have devoted the most attention to include Nietzsche's views on morality, his view that "God is dead" (and along with it any sort of God's-eye view on the world thus leading to perspectivism), his notions of the will to power and Übermensch, and his suggestion of eternal return.
In Daybreak Nietzsche begins his "Campaign against Morality". He calls himself an "immoralist" and harshly criticizes the prominent moral schemes of his day: Christianity,Kantianism, and utilitarianism. In Ecce Homo Nietzsche called the establishment of moral systems based on a dichotomy of good and evil a "calamitous error", and wished to initiate are-evaluation of the values of the Judeo-Christian world. He indicates his desire to bring about a new, more naturalistic source of value in the vital impulses of life itself.
In Beyond Good And Evil and On The Genealogy Of Morality, Nietzsche's genealogical account of the development of master-slave morality occupies a central place. Nietzsche presents master-morality as the original system of morality—perhaps best associated with Homeric Greece. Here, value arises as a contrast between good and bad, or between 'life-affirming' and 'life-denying': wealth, strength, health, and power, the sort of traits found in a Homeric hero, count as good; while bad is associated with the poor, weak, sick, and pathetic, the sort of traits conventionally associated with slaves in ancient times.
Slave-morality, in contrast, comes about as a reaction to master-morality. Nietzsche associates slave-morality with the Jewish and Christian traditions. Here, value emerges from the contrast between good and evil: good being associated with other-worldliness, charity, piety, restraint, meekness, and submission; evil seen as worldly, cruel, selfish, wealthy, and aggressive. Nietzsche sees slave-morality born out of the ressentiment of slaves. It works to overcome the slave's own sense of inferiority before the (better-off) masters. It does so by making out slave weakness to be a matter of choice, by, e.g., relabeling it as "meekness." This is viewed as a misinterpretation of the essence of Christian morality by G.K. Chesterton, who believes it signifies a reckless sense of charity of the naturally powerful to his neighbor in need.
Nietzsche sees the slave-morality as a source of the nihilism that has overtaken Europe. In Nietzsche's eyes, modern Europe, and its Christianity, exists in a hypocritical state due to a tension between master and slave morality, both values contradictorily determining, to varying degrees, the values of most Europeans (who are "motley"). Nietzsche calls for exceptional people to no longer be ashamed of their uniqueness in the face of a supposed morality-for-all, which Nietzsche deems to be harmful to the flourishing of exceptional people. However, Nietzsche cautions that morality, per se, is not bad; it is good for the masses, and should be left to them. Exceptional people, on the other hand, should follow their own "inner law." A favorite motto of Nietzsche, taken from Pindar, reads: "Become what you are."
Death of God, nihilism, perspectivism
The statement "God is dead", occurring in several of Nietzsche's works (notably in The Gay Science), has become one of his best-known remarks. On the basis of it, most commentators regard Nietzsche as an atheist; others (such as Kaufmann) suggest that this statement reflects a more subtle understanding of divinity. In Nietzsche's view, recent developments in modern science and the increasing secularization of European society had effectively 'killed' the Abrahamic God, who had served as the basis for meaning and value in the West for more than a thousand years.
Nietzsche claimed the death of God would eventually lead to the loss of any universal perspective on things, and along with it any coherent sense of objective truth. Instead we would retain only our own multiple, diverse, and fluid perspectives. This view has acquired the name "perspectivism".
Alternatively, the death of God may lead beyond bare perspectivism to outright nihilism, the belief that nothing has any inherent importance and that life lacks purpose. As Heidegger put the problem, "If God as the suprasensory ground and goal of all reality is dead, if the suprasensory world of the Ideas has suffered the loss of its obligatory and above it its vitalizing and upbuilding power, then nothing more remains to which man can cling and by which he can orient himself." Developing this idea, Nietzsche wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra, therein introducing the concept of a value-creating Übermensch. According to Lampert, "the death of God must be followed by a long twilight of piety and nihilism (II. 19; III. 8). […] Zarathustra's gift of the superman is given to a mankind not aware of the problem to which the superman is the solution."
Will to power
A basic element in Nietzsche's philosophical outlook is the "will to power" (der Wille zur Macht), which provides a basis for understanding human behavior — more so than competing explanations, such as the ones based on pressure for adaptation or survival. As such, according to Nietzsche, the drive for conservation appears as the major motivator of human or animal behavior only in exceptions, as the general condition of life is not one of emergency, of 'struggle for existence'. More often than not, self-conservation is but a consequence of a creature's will to exert its strength on the outside world.
In presenting his theory of human behavior, Nietzsche also addressed, and attacked, concepts from philosophies popularly embraced in his days, such as Schopenhauer's notion of an aimless will or that of utilitarianism. Utilitarianists claim that what moves people is mainly the desire to to be happy, to accumulate pleasure in their lives. But such a conception of happiness Nietzsche rejected as something limited to, and characteristic of, the bourgeois lifetyle of the English society, and instead put forth the idea that happiness is not an aim per se — it is instead a consequence of a successful pursuit of one's aims, of the overcoming of hurdles to one's actions — in other words, of the fulfillment of the will.
Related to his theory of the will to power, is his speculation, which he did not deemed as final, regarding the ontological reality of the physical world, including inorganic matter — that what holds true for man's affections and impulses, may also apply to the external world. At the core of his theory is a a rejection of what he called "atomism" — the idea that matter is composed of stable, indivisible units (atoms). Instead, he seems to have accepted the conclusions of Ruđer Bošković, who explained the qualities of matter as a result of an interplay of forces. One study of Nietzsche defines his fully developed concept of the will to power as "the element from which derive both the quantitative difference of related forces and the quality that devolves into each force in this relation" revealing the will to power as "the principle of the synthesis of forces.". Of such forces Nietzsche said they could perhaps be viewed as a primitive form of the will. Likewise he rejected as a mere interpretation the view that the movement of bodies is ruled by inexorable laws of nature, positing instead that movement was governed by the power relations between bodies and forces.
Another concept important to an understanding of Nietzsche's thought is the Übermensch. While interpretations of Nietzsche's overman vary wildly, here is one of his quotations from Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Prologue, §§3–4):
"I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him? … All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood, and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is ape to man? A laughing stock or painful embarrassment. And man shall be that to overman: a laughingstock or painful embarrassment. You have made your way from worm to man, and much in you is still worm. Once you were apes, and even now, too, man is more ape than any ape.... The overman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the overman shall be the meaning of the earth.... Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman—a rope over an abyss … what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end."
The idea of eternal return occurs in a parable in Section 341 of The Gay Science, and also in the chapter "Of the Vision and the Riddle" in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, among other places. Nietzsche contemplates the idea as potentially "horrifying and paralyzing", and says that its burden is the "heaviest weight" imaginable ("das schwerste Gewicht"). The wish for the eternal return of all events would mark the ultimate affirmation of life, a reaction to Schopenhauer's praise of denying the will–to–live. To comprehend eternal recurrence in his thought, and to not merely come to peace with it but to embrace it, requires amor fati, "love of fate".
Reading and influence
As a philologist, Nietzsche had a thorough knowledge of Greek philosophy. He read Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, Arthur Schopenhauerand African Spir, who became his main opponents in his philosophy, and later Spinoza, whom he saw as his "precursor" in some respects but as a personification of the "ascetic ideal" in others. However, Nietzsche referred to Kant as a "moral fanatic", Mill as a "blockhead", and of Spinoza he said: "How much of personal timidity and vulnerability does this masquerade of a sickly recluse betray?"
Nietzsche's philosophy, while highly innovative and revolutionary, was indebted to many predecessors. While at Basel, Nietzsche offered lecture courses on the "Pre-Platonic Philosophers" for several years, and the text of this lecture series has been characterized as a "lost link" in the development of his thought. "In it concepts such as the will to power, the eternal return of the same, the overman, gay science, self-overcoming and so on receive rough, unnamed formulations and are linked to specific pre-Platonics, especially Heraclitus, who emerges as a pre-Platonic Nietzsche." The pre-Socratic Greek thinker Heraclitus was known for the rejection of the concept of being as a constant and eternal principle of universe, and his embrace of "flux" and incessant change. His symbolism of the world as "child play" marked by amoral spontaneity and lack of definite rules was appreciated by Nietzsche. From his Heraclitean sympathy Nietzsche was also a vociferous detractor of Parmenides, who opposed Heraclitus and believed all world is a single Being with no change at all.
In his Egotism in German Philosophy, Santayana claimed that Nietzsche's whole philosophy was a reaction to Schopenhauer. Santayana wrote that Nietzsche's work was "an emendation of that of Schopenhauer. The will to live would become the will to dominate; pessimism founded on reflection would become optimism founded on courage; the suspense of the will in contemplation would yield to a more biological account of intelligence and taste; finally in the place of pity and asceticism (Schopenhauer's two principles of morals) Nietzsche would set up the duty of asserting the will at all costs and being cruelly but beautifully strong. These points of difference from Schopenhauer cover the whole philosophy of Nietzsche."
Nietzsche expressed admiration for 17th century French moralists such as La Rochefoucauld, Jean de La Bruyère and Vauvenargues, as well as for Stendhal. The organicism ofPaul Bourget influenced Nietzsche, as did that of Rudolf Virchow and Alfred Espinas. Nietzsche early learned of Darwinism through Friedrich Albert Lange. Notably, he also read some of the posthumous works of Charles Baudelaire, Tolstoy's My Religion, Ernest Renan's Life of Jesus and Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Possessed. Nietzsche called Dostoevsky "the only psychologist from whom I have anything to learn." Harold Bloom has often claimed, particularly in Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?, that the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson had a profound and favourable influence on Nietzsche. While Nietzsche never mentions Max Stirner, the similarities in their ideas have prompted a minority of interpreters to suggest a relationship between the two. In 1861 Nietzsche wrote an enthusiastic essay on his "favorite poet", Friedrich Hölderlin, mostly forgotten at that time. He also expressed deep appreciation for Adalbert Stifter's Indian Summer.
In the years after his death in 1900, Nietzsche's works became better known, and readers have responded to them in complex and sometimes controversial ways. Many Germans eventually discovered his appeals for greater individualism and personality development in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, but responded to those appeals divergently. He had some following among left-wing Germans in the 1890s; in 1894–1895 German conservatives wanted to ban his work as subversive. During the late 19th century Nietzsche's ideas were commonly associated with anarchist movements and appear to have had influence within them, particularly in France and the United States. The poet W.B. Yeats helped to raise awareness of Nietzsche in Ireland. H.L. Mencken produced translations of Nietzsche's works that helped to increase knowledge of his philosophy in the United States.
By World War I, Nietzsche had acquired a reputation as an inspiration for right-wing German militarism. German soldiers received copies of Thus Spoke Zarathustra as gifts during World War I. The Dreyfus Affair provides another example of his reception: the French anti-semitic Right labelled the Jewish and Leftist intellectuals who defended Alfred Dreyfus as "Nietzscheans". Nietzsche had a distinct appeal for manyZionist thinkers at the turn of the century. It has been argued that his work influenced Theodore Herzl, and Martin Buber went so far as to extoll Nietzsche as a "creator" and "emissary of life". Israel Eldad, the ideological chief of the Stern Group that fought the British in Palestine in the 1940s, wrote about Nietzsche in his underground newspaper and later translated most of Nietzsche's books into Hebrew. Bertrand Russell, in his History of Western Philosophy was scathing about Nietzsche, calling his work the "mere power-phantasies of an invalid", referring to him as a "megalomaniac", and writing that he was a philosophical progenitor of the Nazis and fascists.
Nietzsche's growing prominence suffered a severe setback when his works became closely associated with Adolf Hitler and the German Reich. Many political leaders of the twentieth century were at least superficially familiar with Nietzsche's ideas, although it is not always possible to determine whether or not they actually read his work. Hitler, for example, probably never read Nietzsche, and if he did, his reading was not extensive, although he was a frequent visitor to the Nietzsche museum in Weimar and did use expressions of Nietzsche's, such as "lords of the earth" in Mein Kampf. The Nazis made selective use of Nietzsche's philosophy. Mussolini and Charles de Gaulle read Nietzsche. It has been suggested that Theodore Roosevelt read Nietzsche and was profoundly influenced by him, and in more recent years, Richard Nixon read Nietzsche with "curious interest".
A decade after World War II, there was a revival of Nietzsche's philosophical writings thanks to exhaustive translations and analyses by Walter Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale. Others, well known philosophers in their own right, wrote commentaries on Nietzsche's philosophy, including Martin Heidegger, who produced a four-volume study. Many 20th century thinkers (particularly in the tradition of continental philosophy) cite him as an important influence, including Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Leo Strauss, Albert Camus, Michel Foucault,Jacques Derrida, and Gilles Deleuze. Paul Ricœur called Nietzsche one of the masters of the "school of suspicion", alongside Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. In the Anglo-American tradition he has had a profound influence on Bernard Williams due to the scholarship of Walter Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale, which rehabilitated Nietzsche as a philosopher, and American philosophers such as Alexander Nehamas, William E. Connolly, Judith Butler, Brian Leiter, Ruth Abbey and Michael Allen Gillespie continue to study him today.
- The Greek State (1871)
- The Birth of Tragedy (1872)
- On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense (1873)
- Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks (1873)
- Untimely Meditations (1876)
- Human, All Too Human (1878; additions in 1879, 1880)
- The Dawn (1881)
- The Gay Science (1882)
- Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883–1885)
- Beyond Good and Evil (1886)
- On the Genealogy of Morality (1887)
- The Case of Wagner (1888)
- Twilight of the Idols (1888)
- The Antichrist (1888)
- Ecce Homo (1888)
- Nietzsche contra Wagner (1888)
- The Will to Power (Unpublished manuscripts edited by Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche)
On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense
In some remote corner of the universe, poured out and glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once was a star on which clever animals invented knowledge. That was the highest and most mendacious minute of "world history"—yet only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths the star grew cold, and the clever animals had to die.One might invent such a fable and still not have illustrated sufficiently how wretched, how shadowy and flighty, how aimless and arbitrary, the human intellect appears in nature. There have been eternities when it did not exist; and when it is done for again, nothing will have happened. For this intellect has no further mission that would lead beyond human life. It is human, rather, and only its owner and producer gives it such importance, as if the world pivoted around it. But if we could communicate with the mosquito, then we would learn that he floats through the air with the same self-importance, feeling within itself the flying center of the world. There is nothing in nature so despicable or insignificant that it cannot immediately be blown up like a bag by a slight breath of this power of knowledge; and just as every porter wants an admirer, the proudest human being, the philosopher, thinks that he sees on the eyes of the universe telescopically focused from all sides on his actions and thoughts.It is strange that this should be the effect of the intellect, for after all it was given only as an aid to the most unfortunate, most delicate, most evanescent beings in order to hold them for a minute in existence, from which otherwise, without this gift, they would have every reason to flee as quickly as Lessing's son. [In a famous letter to Johann Joachim Eschenburg (December 31, 1778), Lessing relates the death of his infant son, who "understood the world so well that he left it at the first opportunity."] That haughtiness which goes with knowledge and feeling, which shrouds the eyes and senses of man in a blinding fog, therefore deceives him about the value of existence by carrying in itself the most flattering evaluation of knowledge itself. Its most universal effect is deception; but even its most particular effects have something of the same character.The intellect, as a means for the preservation of the individual, unfolds its chief powers in simulation; for this is the means by which the weaker, less robust individuals preserve themselves, since they are denied the chance of waging the struggle for existence with horns or the fangs of beasts of prey. In man this art of simulation reaches its peak: here deception, flattering, lying and cheating, talking behind the back, posing, living in borrowed splendor, being masked, the disguise of convention, acting a role before others and before oneself—in short, the constant fluttering around the single flame of vanity is so much the rule and the law that almost nothing is more incomprehensible than how an honest and pure urge for truth could make its appearance among men. They are deeply immersed in illusions and dream images; their eye glides only over the surface of things and sees "forms"; their feeling nowhere lead into truth, but contents itself with the reception of stimuli, playing, as it were, a game of blindman's buff on the backs of things. Moreover, man permits himself to be lied to at night, his life long, when he dreams, and his moral sense never even tries to prevent this—although men have been said to have overcome snoring by sheer will power.What, indeed, does man know of himself! Can he even once perceive himself completely, laid out as if in an illuminated glass case? Does not nature keep much the most from him, even about his body, to spellbind and confine him in a proud, deceptive consciousness, far from the coils of the intestines, the quick current of the blood stream, and the involved tremors of the fibers? She threw away the key; and woe to the calamitous curiosity which might peer just once through a crack in the chamber of consciousness and look down, and sense that man rests upon the merciless, the greedy, the insatiable, the murderous, in the indifference of his ignorance—hanging in dreams, as it were, upon the back of a tiger. In view of this, whence in all the world comes the urge for truth?Insofar as the individual wants to preserve himself against other individuals, in a natural state of affairs he employs the intellect mostly for simulation alone. But because man, out of need and boredom, wants to exist socially, herd-fashion, he requires a peace pact and he endeavors to banish at least the very crudest bellum omni contra omnes [war of all against all] from his world. This peace pact brings with it something that looks like the first step toward the attainment of this enigmatic urge for truth. For now that is fixed which henceforth shall be "truth"; that is, a regularly valid and obligatory designation of things is invented, and this linguistic legislation also furnishes the first laws of truth: for it is here that the contrast between truth and lie first originates. The liar uses the valid designations, the words, to make the unreal appear as real; he says, for example, "I am rich," when the word "poor" would be the correct designation of his situation. He abuses the fixed conventions by arbitrary changes or even by reversals of the names. When he does this in a self-serving way damaging to others, then society will no longer trust him but exclude him. Thereby men do not flee from being deceived as much as from being damaged by deception: what they hate at this stage is basically not the deception but the bad, hostile consequences of certain kinds of deceptions. In a similarly limited way man wants the truth: he desires the agreeable life-preserving consequences of truth, but he is indifferent to pure knowledge, which has no consequences; he is even hostile to possibly damaging and destructive truths. And, moreover, what about these conventions of language? Are they really the products of knowledge, of the sense of truth? Do the designations and the things coincide? Is language the adequate expression of all realities?Only through forgetfulness can man ever achieve the illusion of possessing a "truth" in the sense just designated. If he does not wish to be satisfied with truth in the form of a tautology—that is, with empty shells—then he will forever buy illusions for truths. What is a word? The image of a nerve stimulus in sounds. But to infer from the nerve stimulus, a cause outside us, that is already the result of a false and unjustified application of the principle of reason. If truth alone had been the deciding factor in the genesis of language, and if the standpoint of certainty had been decisive for designations, then how could we still dare to say "the stone is hard," as if "hard" were something otherwise familiar to us, and not merely a totally subjective stimulation! We separate things according to gender, designating the tree as masculine and the plant as feminine. What arbitrary assignments! How far this oversteps the canons of certainty! We speak of a "snake": this designation touches only upon its ability to twist itself and could therefore also fit a worm. What arbitrary differentiations! What one-sided preferences, first for this, then for that property of a thing! The different languages, set side by side, show that what matters with words is never the truth, never an adequate expression; else there would not be so many languages. The "thing in itself" (for that is what pure truth, without consequences, would be) is quite incomprehensible to the creators of language and not at all worth aiming for. One designates only the relations of things to man, and to express them one calls on the boldest metaphors. A nerve stimulus, first transposed into an image—first metaphor. The image, in turn, imitated by a sound—second metaphor. And each time there is a complete overleaping of one sphere, right into the middle of an entirely new and different one. One can imagine a man who is totally deaf and has never had a sensation of sound and music. Perhaps such a person will gaze with astonishment at Chladni's sound figures; perhaps he will discover their causes in the vibrations of the string and will now swear that he must know what men mean by "sound." It is this way with all of us concerning language; we believe that we know something about the things themselves when we speak of trees, colors, snow, and flowers; and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things—metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities. In the same way that the sound appears as a sand figure, so the mysterious X of the thing in itself first appears as a nerve stimulus, then as an image, and finally as a sound. Thus the genesis of language does not proceed logically in any case, and all the material within and with which the man of truth, the scientist, and the philosopher later work and build, if not derived from never-never land, is a least not derived from the essence of things.Let us still give special consideration to the formation of concepts. Every word immediately becomes a concept, inasmuch as it is not intended to serve as a reminder of the unique and wholly individualized original experience to which it owes its birth, but must at the same time fit innumerable, more or less similar cases—which means, strictly speaking, never equal—in other words, a lot of unequal cases. Every concept originates through our equating what is unequal. No leaf ever wholly equals another, and the concept "leaf" is formed through an arbitrary abstraction from these individual differences, through forgetting the distinctions; and now it gives rise to the idea that in nature there might be something besides the leaves which would be "leaf"—some kind of original form after which all leaves have been woven, marked, copied, colored, curled, and painted, but by unskilled hands, so that no copy turned out to be a correct, reliable, and faithful image of the original form. We call a person "honest." Why did he act so honestly today? we ask. Our answer usually sounds like this: because of his honesty. Honesty! That is to say again: the leaf is the cause of the leaves. After all, we know nothing of an essence-like quality named "honesty"; we know only numerous individualized, and thus unequal actions, which we equate by omitting the unequal and by then calling them honest actions. In the end, we distill from them a qualitas occulta[hidden quality] with the name of "honesty." We obtain the concept, as we do the form, by overlooking what is individual and actual; whereas nature is acquainted with no forms and no concepts, and likewise with no species, but only with an X which remains inaccessible and undefinable for us. For even our contrast between individual and species is something anthropomorphic and does not originate in the essence of things; although we should not presume to claim that this contrast does not correspond o the essence of things: that would of course be a dogmatic assertion and, as such, would be just as indemonstrable as its opposite.What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms—in short, a sum of human relations which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.We still do not know where the urge for truth comes from; for as yet we have heard only of the obligation imposed by society that it should exist: to be truthful means using the customary metaphors—in moral terms: the obligation to lie according to a fixed convention, to lie herd-like in a style obligatory for all. Now man of course forgets that this is the way things stand for him. Thus he lies in the manner indicated, unconsciously and in accordance with habits which are centuries' old; and precisely by means of this unconsciousness and forgetfulness he arrives at his sense of truth. From the sense that one is obliged to designate one thing as red, another as cold, and a third as mute, there arises a moral impulse in regard to truth. The venerability, reliability, and utility of truth is something which a person demonstrates for himself from the contrast with the liar, whom no one trusts and everyone excludes. As a rational being, he now places his behavior under the control of abstractions. He will no longer tolerate being carried away by sudden impressions, by intuitions. First he universalizes all these impressions into less colorful, cooler concepts, so that he can entrust the guidance of his life and conduct to them. Everything which distinguishes man from the animals depends upon this ability to volatilize perceptual metaphors in a schema, and thus to dissolve an image into a concept. For something is possible in the realm of these schemata which could never be achieved with the vivid first impressions: the construction of a pyramidal order according to castes and degrees, the creation of a new world of laws, privileges, subordinations, and clearly marked boundaries—a new world, one which now confronts that other vivid world of first impressions as more solid, more universal, better known, and more human than the immediately perceived world, and thus as the regulative and imperative world. Whereas each perceptual metaphor is individual and without equals and is therefore able to elude all classification, the great edifice of concepts displays the rigid regularity of a Roman columbarium and exhales in logic that strength and coolness which is characteristic of mathematics. Anyone who has felt this cool breath [of logic] will hardly believe that even the concept—which is as bony, foursquare, and transposable as a die—is nevertheless merely the residue of a metaphor, and that the illusion which is involved in the artistic transference of a nerve stimulus into images is, if not the mother, then the grandmother of every single concept. But in this conceptual crap game "truth" means using every die in the designated manner, counting its spots accurately, fashioning the right categories, and never violating the order of caste and class rank. Just as the Romans and Etruscans cut up the heavens with rigid mathematical lines and confined a god within each of the spaces thereby delimited, as within a templum, so every people has a similarly mathematically divided conceptual heaven above themselves and henceforth thinks that truth demands that each conceptual god be sought only within his own sphere. Here one may certainly admire man as a mighty genius of construction, who succeeds in piling an infinitely complicated dome of concepts upon an unstable foundation, and, as it were, on running water. Of course, in order to be supported by such a foundation, his construction must be like one constructed of spiders' webs: delicate enough to be carried along by the waves, strong enough not to be blown apart by every wind. As a genius of construction man raises himself far above the bee in the following way: whereas the bee builds with wax that he gathers from nature, man builds with the far more delicate conceptual material which he first has to manufacture from himself. In this he is greatly to be admired, but not on account of his drive for truth or for pure knowledge of things. When someone hides something behind a bush and looks for it again in the same place and finds it there as well, there is not much to praise in such seeking and finding. Yet this is how matters stand regarding seeking and finding "truth" within the realm of reason. If I make up the definition of a mammal, and then, after inspecting a camel, declare "look, a mammal" I have indeed brought a truth to light in this way, but it is a truth of limited value. That is to say, it is a thoroughly anthropomorphic truth which contains not a single point which would be "true in itself" or really and universally valid apart from man. At bottom, what the investigator of such truths is seeking is only the metamorphosis of the world into man. He strives to understand the world as something analogous to man, and at best he achieves by his struggles the feeling of assimilation. Similar to the way in which astrologers considered the stars to be in man 's service and connected with his happiness and sorrow, such an investigator considers the entire universe in connection with man: the entire universe as the infinitely fractured echo of one original sound-man; the entire universe as the infinitely multiplied copy of one original picture-man. His method is to treat man as the measure of all things, but in doing so he again proceeds from the error of believing that he has these things [which he intends to measure] immediately before him as mere objects. He forgets that the original perceptual metaphors are metaphors and takes them to be the things themselves.Only by forgetting this primitive world of metaphor can one live with any repose, security, and consistency: only by means of the petrification and coagulation of a mass of images which originally streamed from the primal faculty of human imagination like a fiery liquid, only in the invincible faith that this sun, this window, this table is a truth in itself, in short, only by forgetting that he himself is an artistically creating subject, does man live with any repose, security, and consistency. If but for an instant he could escape from the prison walls of this faith, his "self consciousness" would be immediately destroyed. It is even a difficult thing for him to admit to himself that the insect or the bird perceives an entirely different world from the one that man does, and that the question of which of these perceptions of the world is the more correct one is quite meaningless, for this would have to have been decided previously in accordance with the criterion of the correct perception, which means, in accordance with a criterion which is not available. But in any case it seems to me that the correct perception—which would mean the adequate expression of an object in the subject—is a contradictory impossibility. For between two absolutely different spheres, as between subject and object, there is no causality, no correctness, and no expression; there is, at most, an aesthetic relation: I mean, a suggestive transference, a stammering translation into a completely foreign tongue—for which I there is required, in any case, a freely inventive intermediate sphere and mediating force. "Appearance" is a word that contains many temptations, which is why I avoid it as much as possible. For it is not true that the essence of things "appears" in the empirical world. A painter without hands who wished to express in song the picture before his mind would, by means of this substitution of spheres, still reveal more about the essence of things than does the empirical world. Even the relationship of a nerve stimulus to the generated image is not a necessary one. But when the same image has been generated millions of times and has been handed down for many generations and finally appears on the same occasion every time for all mankind, then it acquires at last the same meaning for men it would have if it were the sole necessary image and if the relationship of the original nerve stimulus to the generated image were a strictly causal one. In the same manner, an eternally repeated dream would certainly be felt and judged to be reality. But the hardening and congealing of a metaphor guarantees absolutely nothing concerning its necessity and exclusive justification.Every person who is familiar with such considerations has no doubt felt a deep mistrust of all idealism of this sort: just as often as he has quite early convinced himself of the eternal consistency, omnipresence, and fallibility of the laws of nature. He has concluded that so far as we can penetrate here—from the telescopic heights to the microscopic depths—everything is secure, complete, infinite, regular, and without any gaps. Science will be able to dig successfully in this shaft forever, and the things that are discovered will harmonize with and not contradict each other. How little does this resemble a product of the imagination, for if it were such, there should be some place where the illusion and reality can be divined. Against this, the following must be said: if each us had a different kind of sense perception—if we could only perceive things now as a bird, now as a worm, now as a plant, or if one of us saw a stimulus as red, another as blue, while a third even heard the same stimulus as a sound—then no one would speak of such a regularity of nature, rather, nature would be grasped only as a creation which is subjective in the highest degree. After all, what is a law of nature as such for us? We are not acquainted with it in itself, but only with its effects, which means in its relation to other laws of nature—which, in turn, are known to us only as sums of relations. Therefore all these relations always refer again to others and are thoroughly incomprehensible to us in their essence. All that we actually know about these laws of nature is what we ourselves bring to them—time and space, and therefore relationships of succession and number. But everything marvelous about the laws of nature, everything that quite astonishes us therein and seems to demand explanation, everything that might lead us to distrust idealism: all this is completely and solely contained within the mathematical strictness and inviolability of our representations of time and space. But we produce these representations in and from ourselves with the same necessity with which the spider spins. If we are forced to comprehend all things only under these forms, then it ceases to be amazing that in all things we actually comprehend nothing but these forms. For they must all bear within themselves the laws of number, and it is precisely number which is most astonishing in things. All that conformity to law, which impresses us so much in the movement of the stars and in chemical processes, coincides at bottom with those properties which we bring to things. Thus it is we who impress ourselves in this way. In conjunction with this, it of course follows that the artistic process of metaphor formation with which every sensation begins in us already presupposes these forms and thus occurs within them. The only way in which the possibility of subsequently constructing a new conceptual edifice from metaphors themselves can be explained is by the firm persistence of these original forms That is to say, this conceptual edifice is an imitation of temporal, spatial, and numerical relationships in the domain of metaphor.
We have seen how it is originally language which works on the construction of concepts, a labor taken over in later ages by science. Just as the bee simultaneously constructs cells and fills them with honey, so science works unceasingly on this great columbarium of concepts, the graveyard of perceptions. It is always building new, higher stories and shoring up, cleaning, and renovating the old cells; above all, it takes pains to fill up this monstrously towering framework and to arrange therein the entire empirical world, which is to say, the anthropomorphic world. Whereas the man of action binds his life to reason and its concepts so that he will not be swept away and lost, the scientific investigator builds his hut right next to the tower of science so that he will be able to work on it and to find shelter for himself beneath those bulwarks which presently exist. And he requires shelter, for there are frightful powers which continuously break in upon him, powers which oppose scientific truth with completely different kinds of "truths" which bear on their shields the most varied sorts of emblems.The drive toward the formation of metaphors is the fundamental human drive, which one cannot for a single instant dispense with in thought, for one would thereby dispense with man himself. This drive is not truly vanquished and scarcely subdued by the fact that a regular and rigid new world is constructed as its prison from its own ephemeral products, the concepts. It seeks a new realm and another channel for its activity, and it finds this in myth and in art generally. This drive continually confuses the conceptual categories and cells by bringing forward new transferences, metaphors, and metonymies. It continually manifests an ardent desire to refashion the world which presents itself to waking man, so that it will be as colorful, irregular, lacking in results and coherence, charming, and eternally new as the world of dreams. Indeed, it is only by means of the rigid and regular web of concepts that the waking man clearly sees that he is awake; and it is precisely because of this that he sometimes thinks that he must be dreaming when this web of concepts is torn by art. Pascal is right in maintaining that if the same dream came to us every night we would be just as occupied with it as we are with the things that we see every day. "If a workman were sure to dream for twelve straight hours every night that he was king," said Pascal, "I believe that he would be just as happy as a king who dreamt for twelve hours every night that he was a workman." In fact, because of the way that myth takes it for granted that miracles are always happening, the waking life of a mythically inspired people—the ancient Greeks, for instance—more closely resembles a dream than it does the waking world of a scientifically disenchanted thinker. When every tree can suddenly speak as a nymph, when a god in the shape of a bull can drag away maidens, when even the goddess Athena herself is suddenly seen in the company of Peisastratus driving through the market place of Athens with a beautiful team of horses—and this is what the honest Athenian believed—then, as in a dream, anything is possible at each moment, and all of nature swarms around man as if it were nothing but a masquerade of the gods, who were merely amusing themselves by deceiving men in all these shapes.But man has an invincible inclination to allow himself to be deceived and is, as it were, enchanted with happiness when the rhapsodist tells him epic fables as if they were true, or when the actor in the theater acts more royally than any real king. So long as it is able to deceive without injuring, that master of deception, the intellect, is free; it is released from its former slavery and celebrates its Saturnalia. It is never more luxuriant, richer, prouder, more clever and more daring. With creative pleasure it throws metaphors into confusion and displaces the boundary stones of abstractions, so that, for example, it designates the stream as "the moving path which carries man where he would otherwise walk." The intellect has now thrown the token of bondage from itself. At other times it endeavors, with gloomy officiousness, to show the way and to demonstrate the tools to a poor individual who covets existence; it is like a servant who goes in search of booty and prey for his master. But now it has become the master and it dares to wipe from its face the expression of indigence. In comparison with its previous conduct, everything that it now does bears the mark of dissimulation, just as that previous conduct did of distortion. The free intellect copies human life, but it considers this life to be something good and seems to be quite satisfied with it. That immense framework and planking of concepts to which the needy man clings his whole life long in order to preserve himself is nothing but a scaffolding and toy for the most audacious feats of the liberated intellect. And when it smashes this framework to pieces, throws it into confusion, and puts it back together in an ironic fashion, pairing the most alien things and separating the closest, it is demonstrating that it has no need of these makeshifts of indigence and that it will now be guided by intuitions rather than by concepts. There is no regular path which leads from these intuitions into the land of ghostly schemata, the land of abstractions. There exists no word for these intuitions; when man sees them he grows dumb, or else he speaks only in forbidden metaphors and in unheard-of combinations of concepts. He does this so that by shattering and mocking the old conceptual barriers he may at least correspond creatively to the impression of the powerful present intuition.There are ages in which the rational man and the intuitive man stand side by side, the one in fear of intuition, the other with scorn for abstraction. The latter is just as irrational as the former is inartistic. They both desire to rule over life: the former, by knowing how to meet his principle needs by means of foresight, prudence, and regularity; the latter, by disregarding these needs and, as an "overjoyed hero," counting as real only that life which has been disguised as illusion and beauty. Whenever, as was perhaps the case in ancient Greece, the intuitive man handles his weapons more authoritatively and victoriously than his opponent, then, under favorable circumstances, a culture can take shape and art's mastery over life can be established. All the manifestations of such a life will be accompanied by this dissimulation, this disavowal of indigence, this glitter of metaphorical intuitions, and, in general, this immediacy of deception: neither the house, nor the gait, nor the clothes, nor the clay jugs give evidence of having been invented because of a pressing need. It seems as if they were all intended to express an exalted happiness, an Olympian cloudlessness, and, as it were, a playing with seriousness. The man who is guided by concepts and abstractions only succeeds by such means in warding off misfortune, without ever gaining any happiness for himself from these abstractions. And while he aims for the greatest possible freedom from pain, the intuitive man, standing in the midst of a culture, already reaps from his intuition a harvest of continually inflowing illumination, cheer, and redemption—in addition to obtaining a defense against misfortune. To be sure, he suffers more intensely, when he suffers; he even suffers more frequently, since he does not understand how to learn from experience and keeps falling over and over again into the same ditch. He is then just as irrational in sorrow as he is in happiness: he cries aloud and will not be consoled. How differently the stoical man who learns from experience and governs himself by concepts is affected by the same misfortunes! This man, who at other times seeks nothing but sincerity, truth, freedom from deception, and protection against ensnaring surprise attacks, now executes a masterpiece of deception: he executes his masterpiece of deception in misfortune, as the other type of man executes his in times of happiness. He wears no quivering and changeable human face, but, as it were, a mask with dignified, symmetrical features. He does not cry; he does not even alter his voice. When a real storm cloud thunders above him, he wraps himself in his cloak, and with slow steps he walks from beneath it.