I have been thinking in building my moral philosophy based, in a significant part, in Nietzsche`s works (such as beyond good and evil) and would like to hear you comments about it. Have in mind that Nietzsche talked about the pursue for power as part of human nature and the idea of making a philosophy from the perspective of the master not the slave. I am now a nihilist and working on understanding the meaning of his work and any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.
(Non serviam)

Tags: Beyond, Nietzsche, and, evil, good, morality, nihilism, power

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Replies to This Discussion

Marcelo, I think you may not have understood Nietzsche's position on nihilism. When I look at several online resources, they imply that Nietzsche was not the origin of the idea and that he did not adovcate living as a nihilist.




From the dictionary entry at Answers.com, nihilism includes:
2. Rejection of all distinctions in moral or religious value and a willingness to repudiate all previous theories of morality or religious belief.
3. The belief that destruction of existing political or social institutions is necessary for future improvement.
4. also Nihilism A diffuse, revolutionary movement of mid 19th-century Russia that scorned authority and tradition and believed in reason, materialism, and radical change in society and government through terrorism and assassination.

Also found through Answers.com


"The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) foresaw a European collapse into nihilism. In works of powerful and beautiful prose and poetry he struggled to head off the catastrophe."

If I understand this correctly, many scholars are saying that Nietzsche was ultimately AGAINST nihilism.

I am no expert on this.

Are you advocating anarchist revolutionary action?
Sorry, perhaps I didn´t explain myself. Nietche talked about overcoming nihilism but what I have dont undersatand is how tu build a moral ground from someding abouve good and evil or is it totally contradictory. I meant that I am a nihilist but as niche said the objective is to overcome it. If I am quooting him correcly I don´t know but he said something about the overman reaching above God and nihilism. The problem I am face with is how to overcome nihilism or how to react after the rejection of all distinctions in moral or religious value. in short the question woulth be who to overcome nihilism. nihilism understud of the rejection of mainly the religious moral values as faith etc...

I mean one can raise above god by understanding his unexistence but how would one raice above nothinges. I am looking for ideas. pehaps a greating of personal moral values or a subscription to consecuencialism or the other thing that Kant deffendes which the name i dont remeber. Any way the bottom line is to know your thought about what a Nietzsche would consider a "moral" although he in a way called himself an inmoralist. For example I guess one could argue that the overman creats his own morals or that he follows his will or that he is not consern with that matter at all and does not justify it actions in htat sense.

Thank you for you respons and I am not advocating anarchist revolutionary action but If you intrested I am sowhat incline to a libertarian socialist sytem or at least some type of meritocracy. Although this might coflict with Nietzsche ideas It is separte matter so I digress. (sorry for the spelling jaja)

I am trying to learn more about these ideas.

Looking again at descriptions of Nietzsche and his ideas, many scholars say he is important to the existentialist movement, although he did not identify himself as such.

You mention consequentialism. The other thing Kant proposes is deontology, is this correct? Consequentialism is that you chose an action based only on it's consequences. Deontology says there are some things you must do regardless of the consequences. It seems that Nietzsche did not want to commit to any moral theory. Therefore, it is difficult for me to guess what Nietzsche would consider to be moral.

Phenomenology is considered to be closely related to and preceeding existentialism.

Now, if we consider Nietzsche as being a kind of an existentialist, it is still not easy to decide how to make moral decisions. I found another resource on the Web with some interesting ideas about the struggle that Nietzsche appears to have had all his life:

(from http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist/exist.html)

Existentialism requires the active acceptance of our nature. Professor Robert Olson noted that we spend our lives wanting more and more. Once we realize the futility of wordly desire, we try to accept what we have. We turn to philosophy or religion to accept less. We want to detach from our worldly needs — but we cannot do so. It is the human condition to desire. To want. To seek more, even when that “more” is “more of less.” It is a desire to prove something to ourselves, as well as others.

"The existentialists … mock the notion of a complete and fully satisfying life. The life of every man, whether he explicitly recognizes it or not, is marked by irreparable losses. Man cannot help aspiring toward the goods of this world, nor can he help aspiring toward the serene detachment from the things of this world which the traditional philosopher sought; but it is not within his power to achieve either of these ambitions, or having achieved them to find therein the satisfaction he had anticipated. "
- Existentialism; Olson, p. 14

I don't know if it is acceptable to you to look at Nietzsche as an existentialist. I think that existentialists see life and all of its absurdity. From what I read, existentialism proposes that we always want things we can not have because it is our nature. We must accept that but we also continue to work toward making our lives better. Unfortunately, I don't see any clear ideas on how to make moral decisions on that.

Maybe posting these questions in the Philosophy Group will produce some more ideas.
Marcelo, firstly Nietzsche was not a nihilist. This is one of the many, many things commonly attributed to him that have no real foundation.

Nietzsche primarily uses nihilism to describe philosophies that are world or life denying. He takes aim at buddhism, but reserves the special venom for christianity - stressing the god of the new testament as opposed to the old, which actively used, abused and misused his will and in Nietzsche's opinion was thus a positive, generative force as compared to the passive, 'nihilistic' new testament god. This nihilism is probably best articulated in these extracts from The Antichrist -

part 6
I call an animal, a species, an individual corrupt, when it loses its
instincts, when it chooses, when it _prefers_, what is injurious to it.
A history of the "higher feelings," the "ideals of humanity"--and it is
possible that I'll have to write it--would almost explain why man is so
degenerate. Life itself appears to me as an instinct for growth, for
survival, for the accumulation of forces, for _power_: whenever the will
to power fails there is disaster. My contention is that all the highest
values of humanity have been emptied of this will--that the values of
_decadence_, of _nihilism_, now prevail under the holiest names.

part 9
Whatever a theologian regards as true
_must_ be false: there you have almost a criterion of truth. His
profound instinct of self-preservation stands against truth ever coming
into honour in any way, or even getting stated. Wherever the influence
of theologians is felt there is a transvaluation of values, and the
concepts "true" and "false" are forced to change places: whatever is
most damaging to life is there called "true," and whatever exalts it,
intensifies it, approves it, justifies it and makes it triumphant is
there called "false."... When theologians, working through the
"consciences" of princes (or of peoples--), stretch out their hands for
_power_, there is never any doubt as to the fundamental issue: the will
to make an end, the _nihilistic_ will exerts that power....

part 15

Under Christianity neither morality nor religion has any point of
contact with actuality. It offers purely imaginary _causes_ ("God,"
"soul," "ego," "spirit," "free will"--or even "unfree"), and purely
imaginary _effects_ ("sin," "salvation," "grace," "punishment,"
"forgiveness of sins"). Intercourse between imaginary _beings_ ("God,"
"spirits," "souls"); an imaginary _natural history_ (anthropocentric; a
total denial of the concept of natural causes); an imaginary
_psychology_ (misunderstandings of self, misinterpretations of agreeable
or disagreeable general feelings--for example, of the states of the
_nervus sympathicus_ with the help of the sign-language of
religio-ethical balderdash--, "repentance," "pangs of conscience,"
"temptation by the devil," "the presence of God"); an imaginary
_teleology_ (the "kingdom of God," "the last judgment," "eternal
life").--This purely _fictitious world_, greatly to its disadvantage, is
to be differentiated from the world of dreams; the latter at least
reflects reality, whereas the former falsifies it, cheapens it and
denies it. Once the concept of "nature" had been opposed to the concept
of "God," the word "natural" necessarily took on the meaning of
"abominable"--the whole of that fictitious world has its sources in
hatred of the natural (--the real!--), and is no more than evidence of a
profound uneasiness in the presence of reality.... _This explains
everything._ Who alone has any reason for living his way out of reality?
The man who suffers under it. But to suffer from reality one must be a
_botched_ reality.... The preponderance of pains over pleasures is the
cause of this fictitious morality and religion: but such a preponderance
also supplies the formula for _decadence_....


He seems to use the terms 'nihilism' and 'decadence' interchangeably, at least in The Antichrist.

So nihilism is the denial of will and of life. The exercise of will, for any purpose, good or ill, is thus the antithesis of nihilism. Morality itself is not a part of the equation.

Also, there is a complete Nietzsche text file on Pirate Bay. It is useful and easily searchable.

Pheeew, my brain hurts now...
I'm a big fan of Nietzsche and existentialism in general. Now, most of the existentialists more or less purposely avoided making any really consistent or systematic philosophies; most of the work in existentialism comes through either stories or parables, so a lot of it is a bit open to interpretation.

What's probably important to keep in mind is that Nietzsche was building, to a large degree, off the work done by Kierkegaard. Now, Kierkegaard was a theologian of sorts, and probably his most major work builds off of the story of Abraham and Isaac. His take on the issue is that religious faith is a commitment or compulsion, such that a person is condemned to follow that impulse regardless of whether or not in is sensible or even basically moral. And, that commitment could potentially be for anything: a person, an ideal, whatever. But he seemed to have believed that a person could generally only have one of them, and that commitment defined who you were as an entire being.

Nietzsche differed in that he believed that one could have a multitude of commitments, and that this was in fact a good thing; that the truly noble person committed and re-committed in a constant creative process of self-creation and self-destruction. He also believed that, to get back to slave and master morality, that the weak merely adopted the ideals and morals of others, whereas the masters created their own meaning; and furthermore that the history of humankind was basically a history of the noble-minded struggling to bring their version of morality, their set of commitments, into being. That process, he believed, was interrupted by the Jewish moral system, which promoted humility and service (as much as he disliked Judaism, however, he thought the Christians were even worse) - in other words, who promoted a system that reversed the noble, Greek mode of morality with one in which slave morality, a morality based on service and humility to the authority of others, was considered ideal. The post-Greek world was, for him, completely topsy-turvy, and he advocated a return to what he considered the true, original, noble morality.

Hope this was informative and clear ^^ Existentialism is a lot of fun, I hope you enjoy learning about it.
Thanks =)


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