Monday, September 20, 2010

'Beyond Good and Evil'

On September 20, 2010 I have begun to read Nietzsche's book 'Beyond Good and Evil' for the October 10th meeting of the philosophy club.

The introduction to the translation that I have includes this:

Explore Nietzsche yourself.  He mostly wrote directly and clearly,without scholarly jargon.  See if he brings out the artist or psychologist or dancer in you.  ...... Nietzsche was what I would call a life experimenter.  .....Part of Nietzsche's genius was a very simple method:  He took the most widely believed, most important "truths" of his day, turned them upside-down, shook them a little, and watched with delight all the fascinating insights that flowed out.

Then the book starts "Supposing that Truth is a woman--what then...."

At the Sept 19th philosophy club meeting Ken wanted us to consider Truth vs truth.  And here the book capitalizes Truth.   For some reason that makes me giggle.   I think we can explore that idea for a while.  What is the difference between Truth vs truth?

Here are some more quotes from the book:
Stoicism is self-tyranny .... ..this is an old and everlasting story: what happened in old times with the Stoics still happens today, as soon as ever a philosophy begins to believe in itself.  It always creates the world in its own image ,

I'm having to look up terms on every page.  IF I was more well read, perhaps I'd already know all these terms.   Nietzsche is blasting all the philosophers.  BUT I have to understand the philosophers in order to understand his criticism.

I think our perception can skew the "Truth" of a THING.  So it makes sense to me the term "a thing in itself."  Our perceptions do NOT change the thing BUT our perceptions alter our experience of the thing.  And as we learn about all the attributes of the thing, our original definition of the thing will change.

At highlight 14960-63, he throws Kant and Spinoza under the bus.  He doesn't think Kant proves his "categorical imperative" nor does he think Spinoza's has proved his moral principles via mathematics.

At location 15226, I'm thinking he is finally getting to his point.  There is not black and white in morals...but many refinements of gradation.

At location 15242, he talks about solitude and how one can remain good in solitude.  I thought that was funny.

At location 15270, he seems to be saying that animalistic (hunger, sex) desires are what motivate us.  It makes me wonder if he has a bitter envy toward people like Spinoza that can rise above them.

At location 15304, he talks of independence.  i wonder if this is his goal but I doubt if he ever achieved it.  BUT I wonder if it's this part that attracts independent people to his writings. The problem for me is that on his way, he blasts others.  For instance, read loc. 15316 where he talks of the higher and lower class.

I believe at location 15374 he is talking about gradations of truth.  And he seems to be saying that a semblance of truth might be just as good as the truth.  That seems odd to me.

See location 15399.  Why can't will act on matter?    In this section he uses the words "the power of the will" and "the will to power".  This section doesn't make sense to me.

He mentions the French Revolution at location  15407.  The French Revolution was 1789 and Nietzsche was born 1844.

At location 15413, he talks about the idealists who are enthusiastic about the good and beautiful.  Here is a quote:  "nobody will very readily regard a doctrine as true merely because it makes people happy [except the amiable idealists]."  

At location 15472, he talks again about the green meadow happiness.  He says that we need to suffer.  He says "the will to life had to be increased to the unconditioned will to power." 

He talks about suffering again in chapter 5.  At location 16146, he talks about people that hate suffering. 

At location 15418, he wants to talk about the wicked that are happy.  BUT what about the unhappiness that the wicked cause others?  Isn't that important?

At location 15455, he says that what is good for one is not necessarily good for another.  I agree with that.  BUT he mostly throws things out without proving anything to be true.

Most of chapter 3 is railing against Christianity....but this one quote seems to show some empathy: "they honoured something in themselves when they honoured the saint."

I think the quote at location 15608, summarizes Nietzsche's anger: "they .sacrificed to their God the strongest instincts they possessed..., their nature."  Then at 15612, he rails against Schopenhauer again.  He seems to have a lot of anger toward any proponent of an aesthetic life.

But at location 15687, Nietzsche says that religion gives comfort to people.  Contentedness.   He says it again at location 15690.

Then Chapter 4 is just a series of aphorisms.  Here is a link to all of them:

...#164, he is saying that he is quoting Jesus..but I googled that quote and can't find the Bible verse.  I think Nietzsche made it up.

At #174 , he says the utiliarian's also use their philosophy to justify their own inclinations.

Chapter 5, I think he is finally making his point. 

He is more pointedly attacking Schopenhauer. See bottom of this blog where I quote from wiki. I think we have to understand Schopenhauer to understand Nietzsche. I wonder if Nietzsche's "will to power" was a play on Schopenhauer's use of the word will.

This seems obvious:  "many a moralist would like to exercise power...over mankind."

What about the quote at 1592?  What is he saying?  Is he saying we must have laws in order to accomplish anything?

What about 15955?  His anguish was his lust?

Location 16045, he talks again about the will to power.  "would like to play the master."

I want to defend Spinoza when he blasts him at location 16051.  He claims Spinoza wants to destroy the emotions.

What about 16097?  The golden rule is based on fear?  That's an interesting slant.  He says it again at 16106.

below are definitions of words Nietzsche is using:
And here is what wiki says about Stoicism:
The Stoics considered destructive emotions to be the result of errors in judgment, and that a sage would not suffer such emotions.Stoics were concerned with the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that it is virtuous to maintain a will (called prohairesis) that is in accord with nature. Because of this, the Stoics presented their philosophy as a way of life, and they thought that the best indication of an individual's philosophy was not what a person said but how he behaved
Prohairesis :variously translated as "moral character", "will", "volition", "choice", "intention", or "moral choice"

And here is the definition of positivism:
a philosophical system that holds that every rationally justifiable assertion can be scientifically verified or is capable of logical or mathematical proof.

And here is a definition of “thing-in-itself”:
the thing as it exists “by itself”, abstracted from our impression of it or our knowledge of it

So is Nietzsche's 'Beyond Good and Evil' a railing against Schopenhauer?'s_aesthetics?wasRedirected=true

For Schopenhauer, the Will is an aimless desire to perpetuate itself, the basis of life. Desire engendered by the Will is the source of all the sorrow in the world; each satisfied desire leaves us either with boredom, or with some new desire to take its place. A world in thrall to Will is necessarily a world of suffering. Since the Will is the source of life, and our very bodies are stamped with its image and designed to serve its purpose, the human intellect is, in Schopenhauer's simile, like a lame man who can see, but who rides on the shoulders of a blind giant.

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