Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche connections - (1844-1900) - He wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra or Z - the monolith and music from the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey, alchemy, eclipse of time over the monolith, the monolith which will be built NYC at Ground Zero, Zero Point , Twin Towers, 9/11 and so on. Friedrich Nietzsche, with a Z in the middle, like Quetzalcoatl who is linked to the Mayan Calendar and a metaphoric end time on December 21, 2012.

Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher. Nietzsche began his career as a philologist. At the age of 24 he was appointed professor of classical philology at the University of Basel, but resigned in 1879 due to health problems. His writing included critiques of religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy, and science. In 1889 he suffered a mental collapse. Nietzsche lived the remainder of his life as an invalid under the care of his mother and sister, until his death in 1900.

Nietzsche's works are written in a distinctive style, showing a fondness for aphorism and paradox. Recognition of Nietzsche's importance increased during the first half of the 20th century. The German Nazi Party exploited his work through selective readings. Despite this posthumous association with Nazism, by the second half of the 20th century Nietzsche gained a reputation as a significant figure in modern philosophy, and his influence remains substantial within and beyond philosophy, notably in existentialism and postmodernism.

Born on October 15, 1844, Nietzsche lived in the small town of Röcken, near Leipzig, in the Prussian province of Saxony. His name comes from 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 (1813–1849), a Lutheran pastor and former teacher, and Franziska Oehler (1826–1897), married in 1843. His sister, Elisabeth, was born in 1846, followed by a brother, Ludwig Joseph, in 1848. Nietzsche's father died from a brain ailment in 1849; his younger brother died in 1850. 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.

Nietzsche attended a boys' school and later a private school, where he became friends with Gustav Krug and Wilhelm Pinder, both of whom came from respected families. In 1854 he began to attend the Domgymnasium in Naumburg, but after he showed particular talents in music and language, the internationally-recognized Schulpforta admitted 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.

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.[2] This may have happened in part due to his reading about this time of David Strauss's Life of Jesus, which had a profound effect on the young Nietzsche.[3] 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 became acquainted with the work of Arthur Schopenhauer, and he read Friedrich Albert Lange's Geschichte des Materialismus in 1866. He found both of these encounters stimulating: they encouraged him to expand his horizons beyond philology and to continue his schooling. In 1867, Nietzsche signed up for one year of voluntary service with the Prussian artillery division in Naumburg. However, a bad 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.

Due in part to Ritschl's support, Nietzsche received a generous offer to become professor of classical philology at the University of Basel before having completed his doctorate degree or certificate for teaching. After moving to Basel, Nietzsche renounced his Prussian citizenship: for the rest of his life he remained officially stateless. Nevertheless, he served on the Prussian side 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. 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 Thought and Reality (1873), and his colleague the historian Jacob Burckhardt, whose lectures Nietzsche frequently attended, began to exercise significant influence on Nietzsche during this time.

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 out of the Spirit of Music. However, his classical philological colleagues, including Ritschl, expressed little enthusiasm for the work, in which Nietzsche forewent a precise philological method to employ a style of philosophical speculation. In a polemic, Philology of the Future, Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff dampened 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. Starting in 1873, Nietzsche also accumulated the notes later 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 imminently influenced him in dismissing the pessimism in his early writings. However, his disappointment with the Bayreuth Festival of 1876, where the banality of the shows and the baseness of the public repelled him, caused him in the end to distance himself from Wagner.

With the publication of Human, All Too Human in 1878, a book of aphorisms on subjects ranging from metaphysics to morality and from religion to the sexes, Nietzsche's departure from the philosophy of Wagner and Schopenhauer became evident. Nietzsche's friendship with Deussen and Rohde cooled as well. Nietzsche in this time attempted to find a wife - to no avail. 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 - moments of shortsightedness practically to the degree of blindness, migraine headaches, and violent stomach attacks. 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 no longer practical.)

Because his illness drove him to find more compatible climates, 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. He 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. 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.

In 1882 Nietzsche published the first part of The Gay Science. That year he also met Lou 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 chaperon. However, Nietzsche regarded Salomé less as an equal partner than as a gifted student. He fell in love with her and pursued her with the help of their mutual friend Rée. When he asked to marry her, Salomé refused. Nietzsche's relationship with Rée and Salomé broke up in the winter of 1882/1883, partially due to intrigues conducted by his sister Elisabeth. In the face of renewed fits of illness, in near isolation after a falling-out with his mother and sister regarding Salomé, and plagued by suicidal thoughts, Nietzsche fled to Rapallo, where he wrote the first part of Thus 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, even 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.

In 1886 Nietzsche printed Beyond Good and Evil at his own expense. With this book and with the appearance in 1886–1887 of second editions of his earlier works (The Birth of Tragedy, Human, All Too Human, Daybreak, and The Gay Science), he saw his work completed for the time and hoped that soon a readership would develop. In fact, interest in Nietzsche's thought did increase at this time, even if rather slowly and 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 found Nueva Germania, a "Germanic" colony, a plan to which Nietzsche responded with 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 quickly wrote the polemic On the Genealogy of Morals.

During this year Nietzsche encountered Fyodor Dostoevsky's work, which he quickly appropriated. He also exchanged letters with Hippolyte Taine, and then also with Georg Brandes. Brandes, who had started to teach the philosophy of SŅren 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 and madness. In the beginning of 1888, in Copenhagen, Brandes delivered one of the first lectures on Nietzsche's philosophy.

In the same year, Nietzsche wrote five books, based on his voluminous notes for the long-planned work, The Will to Power. 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, above all, for the recent polemic, The Case of Wagner. On his 44th birthday, after completing The Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist, he decided to write the autobiography Ecce Homo, which presents itself to his readers in order that they "[h]ear me! For I am such and such a person. Above all, do not mistake me for someone else." (Preface, sec. 1, tr. Walter Kaufmann) 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 Dionysian Dithyrambs.

Mental breakdown and death (1889–1900)

On January 3, 1889, Nietzsche suffered a mental collapse. Two policemen approached him after he caused a public disturbance in the streets of Turin. What actually happened remains unknown. The 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 the horse’s neck to protect it, and collapsed to the ground. (The first dream-sequence from Dostoyevski's Crime and Punishment has just such a scene in which Raskolnikov witnesses the whipping of a horse around the eyes (Part 1, Chapter 5). Incidentally, Nietzsche called Dostoyevsky "[t]he only psychologist from whom I have anything to learn." (Twilight of the Idols, Friedrich Nietzsche, 1889, §45).)

In the following few days, he sent short writings to a number of friends (including Cosima Wagner and Jacob Burckhardt), which may indicate potential signs of a breakdown. To his former colleague Burckhardt he 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."

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 travelled to Turin and brought Nietzsche to a psychiatric clinic in Basel. By that time, Nietzsche appeared fully in the grip of insanity, 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, Julius Langbehn attempted to cure Nietzsche, claiming that the doctors' methods were ineffective to cure Nietzsche's condition. Langbehn assumed progressively greater control of Nietzsche until his secrecy 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 The Twilight of the Idols, by that time already printed and bound. In February, they ordered a 50-copy private edition of Nietzsche contra Wagner, but the publisher C. G. Naumann secretly printed 100. Overbeck and Gast decided to withhold publishing The Antichrist and Ecce Homo due to their more radical content. Nietzsche's reception and recognition enjoyed their first surge.

In 1893 Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth returned from Nueva Germania (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, to visit her uncommunicative brother.

Early commentators frequently diagnosed a syphilitic infection as the cause of the breakdown; however, some of Nietzsche's symptoms seem inconsistent with typical cases of syphilis. Some have diagnosed a form of brain cancer, possibly inherited from his father. While most commentators regard Nietzsche's breakdown as unrelated to his philosophy, some, including Georges Bataille and René Girard, argue for considering his breakdown as a symptom of a psychological maladjustment brought on by his philosophy.

On August 25, 1900, Nietzsche died after contracting pneumonia. At the wish of Elisabeth, he was buried beside his father at the church in Röcken. His friend, Gast, gave his funeral oration, proclaiming: "Holy be your name to all future generations!" (Note that Nietzsche had pointed out in his book Ecce Homo how he did not wish to be called "holy".)

Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche compiled The Will to Power, from notes he had written, and published it posthumously. Since his sister arranged the book, the general consensus holds that it does not reflect Nietzsche's intent, especially because Nietzsche opposed Elisabeth's marriage to an anti-Semite. Indeed, Mazzino Montinari, the editor of Nietzsche's Nachlass, called it a forgery. The content of The Will to Power has given rise to accusations that Nietzsche shared views similar to those of the Nazis. But many of Nietzsche's writings specifically contradict this view, including those in his best-known work Thus Spake Zarathustra, in which he forcefully spoke against the incipient strain of German Nationalism. The Nazis appropriated only the title of The Will to Power, as it fitted their aims regardless of context.

Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche

List of Works by Friedrich Nietzsche

Carl Jung and Nietzsche





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