Nietzsche: from Nazi to postmodern hero

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Archiving yet another reply to a comment on my Live Journal.

Nietzsche wasn't really given to system building. In his last days he did get carried away hoping to find a proof of 'eternal return.' Somewhere he (more or less) says that the truly healthy man with perfect powers of enjoyment, freedom from dissatisfaction with things as they are would, if being told that he would live his life over again infinitely, assent with a joyous “Yes!”

The truly healthy man is, of course, the ubermensch, the superman. Thanks to his stupid, evil sister and British propaganda of two wars many came to think Nietzsche’s superman was some sort of hyper-butch monster (like, say, some of the evil mutants in the X-Men).* Like much of Nietzsche it is best understood as an image. The Nietzschean superman was able to take zest in every part of his life. His joy made him generous, not selfish.

It has been too long but I’m sure he did think the will to power to be a true insight into human motivation. (Maybe one the things that caused Freud to say of Nietzsche that no man knew himself better.)

My favorite books by Nietzsche were Twilight of the Idols and Antichrist although I think you have to read his earlier books like The Genealogy of Morals, Beyond Good & Evil and The Gay Science for the last books to be intelligible. (Never could read Zarathrustra.

Nietzsche is best read as a literary man not a technician. At least that is what I remember of what I read long ago.

*Now he’s a hero of postmodernism. Things have changed since Walter Kaufmann felt the need to provide meticulous refutations.

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Nietzsche: from Nazi to postmodern hero
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