A Brief Analysis of Nietzsche

By Mason Nelson

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche was widely considered to be one of the greatest philosophers of the 19th century. His unique mindset carried a patent despair, and a nihilist approach to what would eventually become post-modernism in the 21st century. Yet often his name is maligned for his godlessness, and his philosophies and writings are often associated with the ideology of the Nazis.

Born 1844, Friedrich was considered to be a gifted child, excelling in poetry and music. He was admitted into one of the top schools in his native land of Prussia, and was named top of his class and was made prefect. He showed an interest early on in unhealthy or mentally unstable artists that were his contemporaries, and some of their habits rubbed off onto him. One poet with whom he had become acquainted with, a boisterous drunk, was found dead in a ditch several weeks after first meeting Nietzsche. The impressionable Friedrich showed up inebriated to his class the day after meeting his new drunkard poet friend. Despite all this, he excelled in his classes, scoring perfectly on religion and German.

Later on in his life when he left to continue his education at a university, he encountered the works of Darwin, and several dissertations on anti-materialism. These affected his personal view considerably, leading him on to study philosophy in depth. He coined the phrase “God is dead” – a line often referenced by both the dissenting religious groups and the atheist proponents of his philosophy. What Nietzsche was saying was that modern man had killed the idea of god with their religious changes and the theory of evolution. He then goes on in an almost apprehensive tone to speak about the enormity of what was done, without giving any approval to the deed.

He also writes of the world, now atheist, falling into what we would call chaos and ruin ending in the inevitable extinction of humanity. He saw this as the “natural” state of man, with “Ubermensch” ruling the lesser castes of men. His philosophy was extremely pessimistic, stating that humanity is an innately self-destructive race. He attributes religion, and largely Christianity, with the endurance of the human race. He saw faith in God as the only way for the race to continue existing in any meaningful form.

What Nietzsche saw in humanity was the same view that the Bible gives us, and the same view that Christianity gives that of a naturally corrupt and greedy race. The criticisms so liberally lavished upon Nietzsche’s philosophical positions are largely false, if only because he was entirely in accordance with Christian teachings.

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