Monday, October 4, 2010

second half of 'Beyond Good and Evil'

What is the MAIN goal of the book ‘Beyond Good and Evil’?

I’d say that Nietzsche is trying to justify the existence of the philosopher.

Nietzsche said that the scientist was a tool of the philosopher.

Nietzsche seems to like the decision maker and despise the skeptic who he says just sits on the fence. He seems to be saying that the skeptic is weak willed, unable to decide.

Besides the skeptics, Nietzsche is also blasting the positivist. I think it's because positivists can't grasp the abstract. He seems to be saying that philosophy will be lost if it goes down the path that the positivists want to go.

Here is a definition of positivism from wiki: Positivism asserts that the only authentic knowledge is that which is based on sense experience and positive verification.

One thing that I really don't like about Nietzsche is his elitism. I waffle about whether or not he is being tongue in cheek. Is he really an ass? Is he really an elitist? Is he just telling it like he sees it without judgment? Or does he truly believe that a certain elite should have more rights and privileges than other people…based on some arbitrary notion.

Another recurring theme throughout the book seems to be Nietzsche’s distain for mediocrity. On this topic, I have some sympathy for him. I do think we should encourage the brilliant and the gifted. I don’t think we should drag down the gifted to meet some equality standard. And I wonder if this annoyance that he has arose when he was a professor. I wonder if he wanted to concentrate on the gifted rather teach to all the students.

Why wouldn't philosophers want truth that inspires and elevates? I guess that's why I don't find Nietzsche's philosophy inspiring. He doesn't even want it to be? Although…I suppose….the truth is the truth…whether it inspires or feels good or not. If you want a certain outcome, then you might not really be looking for the truth. You’ll be bullshitting as Frankfurt says in his book.

Here is a quote from BYGE: “they [philosophers of the future] will not deal with the truth in order that it may please them, or elevate and inspire them.”

Nietzsche says that he believes the philosopher should "CREATE VALUES."


When I first read the below I thought Nietzsche was contradicting the above. How can someone in solitude lead? Then I reread it and paid more attention to "betray something of his own ideal" and realized that negates what follows. I have to be very careful in reading Nietzsche. Nietzsche uses "he" a lot even when the noun hasn't been mentioned in many pages.

“the philosopher will betray something of his own ideal when he asserts: He shall be the greatest who can be the most solitary”

Is he talking about himself in the above quote? Was he a recluse when he wrote this book? Or is he blasting Spinoza again? BUT the thing about Spinoza, Spinoza lived during the time of the Inquisition. During that time period, it was probably very wise to keep to yourself and a small group of trusted friends. Otherwise, you might lose your head.

This quote makes sense to me. He is talking about discipline to achieve a goal:“Artists have here perhaps a finer intuition... they no longer do anything arbitrarily,”

This quote really bothers me:“People have always to be born to a high station, or, more definitely, they have to be BRED for it… the ancestors, the "blood," decide here also. Many generations must have prepared the way for the coming of the philosopher”

That is one of those quotes where I wonder if he is
1. Being tongue in cheek, ie making a mockery of the upper class
2. Telling it like he sees it without judgment
3. Actually advocating inbreeding with the higher classes getting more rights

If it’s #3, he is wrong of course. Inbreeding causes problems... NOT blending. he really talking about inbreeding? Does he correct himself when he says "bred for it." Is there any chance that he would be in favor of public schools if the brilliant could have their own class without having to include the mediocre students?

Chapter 7

I thought this was an interesting quote: “instinct is the most intelligent of all kinds of intelligence which have until now been discovered.” I think that people that can react quickly (that have an instinct for what is the right action) do well in the world.

This quote is one of the quotes that makes me wonder about Nietzsche: “for here truth has to stifle her yawns so much when she is obliged to answer. And after all, truth is a woman; one must not use force with her.” To me, it reveals a playful side…that makes me wonder if sometimes he just likes to be provocative.

The way he rambles makes it hard for me to understand his point. I wonder if he does that on purpose to escape scrutiny like Spinoza wanted to escape scrutiny. He talks about the mingling of classes and races. I’m not sure if he is mocking the aristocracy or if he is being sarcastic. See the section that’s at 16540 to 16545 on my Kindle. It almost seems to be saying that the mingling is good. Here is one of the quotes in that section: “where, with all our senses awake, we [the blended European] go our way, enchanted and voluntarily.”

See section 16559 to 16571 in my kindle. He is talking about suffering again. It seems he doesn’t think the goal of eliminating suffering is good. I think that’s crazy.

He talks in several places about “extravagant honesty.” I wonder if that is why he says provocative things. He doesn’t want to shrink from the truth even it is ugly.

At 16675 in my kindle, he says “learning alters us.” And then goes on to say “there is certainly something unteachable, a granite of spiritual fate…” I would think that Steven Pinker would agree with him. We are not a complete blank slate.

Chapter 8
Chapter 9

Here is an interesting quote at 17161: “men of modern ideas believe almost instinctively in progress and the future, and are more and more lacking in respect for old age.”

That statement makes me think he was being tongue in cheek (sarcastic) in his previous praise for the aristocracy….the noble. I think the way he rambles, one can interpret this various ways.

I do agree with what he is saying at 17297. Here is a quote: “It is not sufficient to use the same words in order to understand one another: we must employ the same words for the same kind of internal experiences, we must in the end have experiences IN COMMON….to understand one another.”

I wonder if another translation would have been easier to read.

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