✎✎✎ Personal Identity: An Abstruse Idea

Monday, November 15, 2021 2:21:43 AM

Personal Identity: An Abstruse Idea

And when Edward Bellamys Looking Backward saw my devil, I Personal Identity: An Abstruse Idea him serious, thorough, profound, solemn: he was the spirit of gravity — through him all things fall. Thus it is that heroic virtues—"[c]ourage, intrepidity, Personal Identity: An Abstruse Idea, love of glorymagnanimityPersonal Identity: An Abstruse Idea all the other shining virtues of Personal Identity: An Abstruse Idea kind"—are chiefly admired for the "well-regulated Personal Identity: An Abstruse Idea they embody. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Nature Nov 15, Personal Identity: An Abstruse Idea Dec 20, Personal Identity: An Abstruse Idea Blocher rated it it Personal Identity: An Abstruse Idea ok. Personal Identity: An Abstruse Idea everything cleanly am Personal Identity: An Abstruse Idea well disposed; but I hate to see the grinning mouths and the thirst of the unclean. Trollope, Anthony. In Personal Identity: An Abstruse Idea are the broken-down mendicants who live on soup-kitchens and begging. They What Are The Mistakes In The Kite Runner the bridge to something higher.

How artists explore identity - Modern Art \u0026 Ideas

Convinced myself, I seek not to convince. There is, however, a remembrance of aerial forms --of spiritual and meaning eyes --of sounds, musical yet sad --a remembrance which will not be excluded; a memory like a shadow, vague, variable, indefinite, unsteady; and like a shadow, too, in the impossibility of my getting rid of it while the sunlight of my reason shall exist. In that chamber was I born.

Thus awaking from the long night of what seemed, but was not, nonentity, at once into the very regions of fairy-land --into a palace of imagination --into the wild dominions of monastic thought and erudition --it is not singular that I gazed around me with a startled and ardent eye --that I loitered away my boyhood in books, and dissipated my youth in reverie ; but it is singular that as years rolled away, and the noon of manhood found me still in the mansion of my fathers --it is wonderful what stagnation there fell upon the springs of my life --wonderful how total an inversion took place in the character of my commonest thought.

The realities of the world affected me as visions, and as visions only, while the wild ideas of the land of dreams became, in turn, --not the material of my every-day existence-but in very deed that existence utterly and solely in itself. Berenice and I were cousins, and we grew up together in my paternal halls. Yet differently we grew --I ill of health, and buried in gloom --she agile, graceful, and overflowing with energy; hers the ramble on the hill-side --mine the studies of the cloister --I living within my own heart, and addicted body and soul to the most intense and painful meditation --she roaming carelessly through life with no thought of the shadows in her path, or the silent flight of the raven-winged hours.

Naiad among its fountains! Disease --a fatal disease --fell like the simoom upon her frame, and, even while I gazed upon her, the spirit of change swept, over her, pervading her mind, her habits, and her character, and, in a manner the most subtle and terrible, disturbing even the identity of her person! Among the numerous train of maladies superinduced by that fatal and primary one which effected a revolution of so horrible a kind in the moral and physical being of my cousin, may be mentioned as the most distressing and obstinate in its nature, a species of epilepsy not unfrequently terminating in trance itself --trance very nearly resembling positive dissolution, and from which her manner of recovery was in most instances, startlingly abrupt.

In the mean time my own disease --for I have been told that I should call it by no other appelation --my own disease, then, grew rapidly upon me, and assumed finally a monomaniac character of a novel and extraordinary form --hourly and momently gaining vigor --and at length obtaining over me the most incomprehensible ascendancy. This monomania , if I must so term it, consisted in a morbid irritability of those properties of the mind in metaphysical science termed the attentive. It is more than probable that I am not understood; but I fear, indeed, that it is in no manner possible to convey to the mind of the merely general reader, an adequate idea of that nervous intensity of interest with which, in my case, the powers of meditation not to speak technically busied and buried themselves, in the contemplation of even the most ordinary objects of the universe.

To muse for long unwearied hours with my attention riveted to some frivolous device on the margin, or in the topography of a book; to become absorbed for the better part of a summer's day, in a quaint shadow falling aslant upon the tapestry, or upon the door; to lose myself for an entire night in watching the steady flame of a lamp, or the embers of a fire; to dream away whole days over the perfume of a flower; to repeat monotonously some common word, until the sound, by dint of frequent repetition, ceased to convey any idea whatever to the mind; to lose all sense of motion or physical existence, by means of absolute bodily quiescence long and obstinately persevered in; --such were a few of the most common and least pernicious vagaries induced by a condition of the mental faculties, not, indeed, altogether unparalleled, but certainly bidding defiance to anything like analysis or explanation.

Yet let me not be misapprehended. It was not even, as might be at first supposed, an extreme condition or exaggeration of such propensity, but primarily and essentially distinct and different. In the one instance, the dreamer, or enthusiast, being interested by an object usually not frivolous, imperceptibly loses sight of this object in a wilderness of deductions and suggestions issuing therefrom, until, at the conclusion of a day dream often replete with luxury, he finds the incitamentum or first cause of his musings entirely vanished and forgotten.

In my case the primary object was invariably frivolous, although assuming, through the medium of my distempered vision, a refracted and unreal importance. Few deductions, if any, were made; and those few pertinaciously returning in upon the original object as a centre. The meditations were never pleasurable; and, at the termination of the reverie , the first cause, so far from being out of sight, had attained that supernaturally exaggerated interest which was the prevailing feature of the disease.

In a word, the powers of mind more particularly exercised were, with me, as I have said before, the attentive, and are, with the day-dreamer, the speculative. My books, at this epoch, if they did not actually serve to irritate the disorder, partook, it will be perceived, largely, in their imaginative and inconsequential nature, of the characteristic qualities of the disorder itself. Austin's great work, the "City of God"; and Tertullian "de Carne Christi," in which the paradoxical sentence "Mortuus est Dei filius; credible est quia ineptum est: et sepultus resurrexit; certum est quia impossibile est" occupied my undivided time, for many weeks of laborious and fruitless investigation.

Thus it will appear that, shaken from its balance only by trivial things, my reason bore resemblance to that ocean-crag spoken of by Ptolemy Hephestion , which steadily resisting the attacks of human violence, and the fiercer fury of the waters and the winds, trembled only to the touch of the flower called Asphodel. And although, to a careless thinker, it might appear a matter beyond doubt, that the alteration produced by her unhappy malady, in the moral condition of Berenice, would afford me many objects for the exercise of that intense and abnormal meditation whose nature I have been at some trouble in explaining, yet such was not in any degree the case.

In the lucid intervals of my infirmity, her calamity, indeed, gave me pain, and, taking deeply to heart that total wreck of her fair and gentle life, I did not fall to ponder frequently and bitterly upon the wonder-working means by which so strange a revolution had been so suddenly brought to pass. But these reflections partook not of the idiosyncrasy of my disease, and were such as would have occurred, under similar circumstances, to the ordinary mass of mankind. True to its own character, my disorder revelled in the less important but more startling changes wrought in the physical frame of Berenice --in the singular and most appalling distortion of her personal identity.

During the brightest days of her unparalleled beauty, most surely I had never loved her. In the strange anomaly of my existence, feelings with me, had never been of the heart, and my passions always were of the mind. Through the gray of the early morning --among the trellised shadows of the forest at noonday --and in the silence of my library at night, she had flitted by my eyes, and I had seen her --not as the living and breathing Berenice, but as the Berenice of a dream --not as a being of the earth, earthy, but as the abstraction of such a being-not as a thing to admire, but to analyze --not as an object of love, but as the theme of the most abstruse although desultory speculation. And now --now I shuddered in her presence, and grew pale at her approach; yet bitterly lamenting her fallen and desolate condition, I called to mind that she had loved me long, and, in an evil moment, I spoke to her of marriage.

But uplifting my eyes I saw that Berenice stood before me. Was it my own excited imagination --or the misty influence of the atmosphere --or the uncertain twilight of the chamber --or the gray draperies which fell around her figure --that caused in it so vacillating and indistinct an outline? I could not tell. She spoke no word, I --not for worlds could I have uttered a syllable. An icy chill ran through my frame; a sense of insufferable anxiety oppressed me; a consuming curiosity pervaded my soul; and sinking back upon the chair, I remained for some time breathless and motionless, with my eyes riveted upon her person. My burning glances at length fell upon the face.

The forehead was high, and very pale, and singularly placid ; and the once jetty hair fell partially over it, and overshadowed the hollow temples with innumerable ringlets now of a vivid yellow, and Jarring discordantly , in their fantastic character, with the reigning melancholy of the countenance. The eyes were lifeless, and lustreless, and seemingly pupil-less, and I shrank involuntarily from their glassy stare to the contemplation of the thin and shrunken lips.

They parted; and in a smile of peculiar meaning, the teeth of the changed Berenice disclosed themselves slowly to my view. Would to God that I had never beheld them, or that, having done so, I had died! The shutting of a door disturbed me, and, looking up, I found that my cousin had departed from the chamber. But from the disordered chamber of my brain, had not, alas! Not a speck on their surface --not a shade on their enamel --not an indenture in their edges --but what that period of her smile had sufficed to brand in upon my memory. I saw them now even more unequivocally than I beheld them then. The teeth! Then came the full fury of my monomania , and I struggled in vain against its strange and irresistible influence.

In the multiplied objects of the external world I had no thoughts but for the teeth. For these I longed with a phrenzied desire. All other matters and all different interests became absorbed in their single contemplation. They --they alone were present to the mental eye, and they, in their sole individuality, became the essence of my mental life. I held them in every light. I turned them in every attitude. I surveyed their characteristics. I dwelt upon their peculiarities. I pondered upon their conformation. I mused upon the alteration in their nature.

I shuddered as I assigned to them in imagination a sensitive and sentient power, and even when unassisted by the lips, a capability of moral expression. Of Mad'selle Salle it has been well said, "que tous ses pas etaient des sentiments," and of Berenice I more seriously believed que toutes ses dents etaient des idees. Des idees! I felt that their possession could alone ever restore me to peace, in giving me back to reason.

And the evening closed in upon me thus-and then the darkness came, and tarried, and went --and the day again dawned --and the mists of a second night were now gathering around --and still I sat motionless in that solitary room; and still I sat buried in meditation, and still the phantasma of the teeth maintained its terrible ascendancy as, with the most vivid hideous distinctness, it floated about amid the changing lights and shadows of the chamber.

At length there broke in upon my dreams a cry as of horror and dismay; and thereunto, after a pause, succeeded the sound of troubled voices, intermingled with many low moanings of sorrow, or of pain. I arose from my seat and, throwing open one of the doors of the library, saw standing out in the antechamber a servant maiden, all in tears, who told me that Berenice was --no more. She had been seized with epilepsy in the early morning, and now, at the closing in of the night, the grave was ready for its tenant, and all the preparations for the burial were completed.

Perhaps it is a sign of just how much time I spent mooning after Nietzsche, back when I took him in small doses, but I am especially conscious of the time period in which he wrote this. His decrying of the "mob" echoes my own views regarding oppressive ideologies, and I have to wonder how much of his rampant condemnation of popular mentality fell upon the people rather than the ideas they lived by.

As for his abysmal portrayal of women, who knows what a healthy dose of feminism and exposure to such awesome thinkers as Simone de Beauvoir , Hannah Arendt , and so many others would have accomplished. Probably gotten rid of his 'creator's pregnancy' conceit if you're going to slander, Nietzsche, back off from the ridiculously disproportionate appropriation please , if nothing else.

Also, there is the matter of his one serious attempt at heterosexual love having been rejected right around the time of composition of this piece. It doesn't excuse him at all, but it does explain his vitriol some. All of that above is wishful thinking, of course, but seeing as this is the enigmatic rhapsodizer on the subject of wishful thinking, it's more than merited. There's no small amount of nihilism in his dismissal of everything solid, everyone stationary, everything decrepit and outdated and finally after long last proved false, but there's a spitfire life to it that laughs at self-serving pandering and loves chaotic progress that I myself cannot forbear from adoring and making my own. For the way - does not exist!

I shall keep this in mind, Nietzsche, if nothing else. Not all of what your Zarathustra spoke rings true to me, but you are one of the few who favored freedom over advice. For that, I am in your debt. I am of today and of the has-been he said then ; but there is something in me that is of tomorrow and of the day-after-tomorrow and of the shall-be. This particular edition was great. I have no clue about the quality of the translation, but the introduction and endnotes, endnotes that included all those untranslateable bits with as much explanation as possible, were indispensable. View all 17 comments. Dec 20, Ross Blocher rated it it was ok. Thus Spoke Zarathustra is a messy, self-serious heap of obscure references and ungracious philosophy wrapped in a mountain of bad allegory.

And yet, there are moments of brilliance hidden in the midden pile of Nietzsche's impenetrable poetry and prose that almost make it worth the effort. This may be the longest short book I've ever read. Granted, the original was in German, and I read an English translation. Apparently it was already arcane and replete with wordplay and personal references in i Thus Spoke Zarathustra is a messy, self-serious heap of obscure references and ungracious philosophy wrapped in a mountain of bad allegory.

Apparently it was already arcane and replete with wordplay and personal references in its original form. There were a few moments when I encountered new, interesting words and consulted the dictionary, only to discover it was not an actual word. I'm sure the translators were doing the best they could. Also granted, this was published in , and I came along a good years later. You can only blame a book so much for being a product of its time, though.

I don't see much of value here for a modern audience. The main message of the book is to prepare the way for the superman. The idea is that mankind is only a transitional form, building toward a higher, better race. All efforts should be made to hasten his arrival and to stop mollycoddling weak, needy degenerates. What will this superman accomplish? What makes him so super? Why is his coming so important that all the ugly and inferior denizens of Earth must needs be eradicated?

These questions are never raised, let alone answered. Zarathustra aka Zoroaster, the ancient founder of Zoroastrianism was chosen as the protagonist for a cloud of reasons: his name sounds cool, he's Persian Nietzsche considered them early individualists , and he was all about truth. Nietzsche has him walk up and down mountains to talk to the people he meets and shout he is always shouting or exclaiming - there are many exclamation marks his philosophy. Along the way he encounters various real and allegorical animals all of whom represent someone important in Nietzsche's life or some group of people as well as a small cast of other humans.

At times he disappears for a while. Other times he gets really worked up. Eventually Zarathustra gathers some "higher men" in his cave and talks to them there. That's the extent of this skeletal plot, and it's even more boring and threadbare than that sounds. The structure reminded me a lot of Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet , until I looked them up and saw that Gibran was a huge fan of Nietzsche's. Go figure. There are long, long passages devoid of content. Screed and mumbo jumbo, really. A few examples: Life is a well of delight; but where the rabble also drink, there all fountains are poisoned. To everything cleanly am I well disposed; but I hate to see the grinning mouths and the thirst of the unclean.

Verily, I have often laughed at the weaklings, who think themselves good because they have crippled paws! The stupidity of the good is unfathomably wise. O my soul, I have given thee new names and gay-coloured playthings, I have called thee "Fate" and "the Circuit of circuits" and "the Navel-string of time" and "the Azure bell. Do those last two even mean anything? I don't know. I tried reading them four times and then just had to move on. There's a lot of that. Oh, and I mentioned misogyny! As yet woman is not capable of friendship: women are still cats, and birds.

Or at the best, cows. Everything in woman is a riddle, and everything in woman hath one solution - it is pregnancy. The happiness of man is, "I will. Man's soul, however, is deep, its current gusheth in subterranean caverns: woman surmiseth its force, but comprehendeth it not. These aren't just selective quotes out of context - this is pervasive. Nietzsche even has a character exclaim, "Strange!

Zarathustra knoweth little about woman, and yet he is right about them! There are mixed messages, and you never know when Zarathustra is supposed to be taken seriously. Nietzsche seems to have no concept of what makes some people great and others not, and is oblivious to the roles of circumstance and environment. Somehow, to him, some people are just inherently lesser, and his disgust is apparent. As though he were such a model human being himself: Nietzsche was frequently sick, out of work, unable to write, and suffering from dementia.

He has a weird, limited understanding of evolution, and borrows from religion frequently. Nietzsche proclaims God dead and the church corrupt, but also makes a display of his religious inculcation in his language and poetry. Spake Zarathustra: "Man doth not live by bread alone", "do this in remembrance of me", and the psalmic punctuation "Selah". I had avoided Nietzsche for years, largely because I'd encountered him as the target of Christian apologist arguments along with Freud , and I didn't want him to be part of my own atheism.

After this, I still don't. Fans of his assure me that I'd do better to read one of his less obscurantist works, such as The Antichrist. Maybe I will. The best that can be gleaned here is encouragement to soar above and be the best person you can be, but I hope you don't do that at the expense of others. I can see why this book so often appeals to young men. There are indeed some deep insights and beautiful phrasings to be had here, but they are virtually lost in a sea of boring and spiteful blather. View all 4 comments. Incredibly interesting ideas. For sure you will be thinking about what is said here for a long, long time.

Nietzsche himself claims it is "the deepest book ever written". Zarathustra was the first moralist and now fictionally the first anti-moralist. This is intended as an irony, Nietzsche mimics the style of the Bible and indeed has ideas which fundamentally oppose Christian and Jewish morality and tradition. Many criticisms of Christianity can be found in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, in particular Christian values of good and evil and its belief in an afterlife.

Nietzsche sees the complacency of Christian values as fetters to the achievement of overman as well as on the human spirit. According to Nietzsche, the will to power is the fundamental component of human nature. Everything we do is an expression of the will to power. The will to power is a psychological analysis of all human action and is accentuated by self-overcoming and self-enhancement please note emphasis on self. Contrasted with living for procreation, pleasure, or happiness, the will to power is the summary of all man's struggle against his surrounding environment as well as his reason for living in it.

Faced with the knowledge that he would repeat every action that he has taken the eternal recurrence , a normal man would be moved to depression. An overman however would be elated as he has no regrets and loves life. To many it sounds like evolutionary theory. And like Darwinism his philosophy was interpreted by many into a form of Social Darwinism and extermination of races. It is still up for debate whether he really was a Social Darwinist.

A vulnerability of Nietzsche's style is that his nuances and shades of meaning are very easily lost — and all too easily gained — in translation. There is an ambiguity and paradoxical nature, which has helped its eventual enthusiastic reception by the reading public, but has frustrated academic attempts at analysis as Nietzsche may have intended. Thus Spake Zarathrustra was however clearly intended to be taken as an alternative to repressive moral codes and an aversion to "nihilism" in all of its varied forms. Two things that can and should also be taken positively.

There are certainly moral issues to take up against the man though as he intended. Most controversially and to the point that matters most for many, would he have condoned the mass extermination of Jews taken upon by Nazis? Not passe at all, his ideas are alive and well today, but his immoral approach should be considered extremely problematic. If an important challenge to repressive moral codes it should also be firmly acknowledged as too absolutist and all-encompassing of a challenge to all morals. And some you may or may not find helpful such as atheism. View all 3 comments. Jun 22, P. All "It was" is a fragment, a riddle, a fearful chance - until the creating Will says thereto: "But thus would I have it.

The story of Zarathustra, the seeker of his personal truth makes this work more alluring and i All "It was" is a fragment, a riddle, a fearful chance - until the creating Will says thereto: "But thus would I have it. The story of Zarathustra, the seeker of his personal truth makes this work more alluring and in the end more fleshed out and convincing to me than the previous two, sheer collections of aphorisms and thoughts. Here again, I catch myself further entrenching that personal prejudice about philosophy, namely that novels or stories at large offer the most lively, the most unconstrained, easy-flowing and at the same time the most fleshed-out way, in short the best way, to convey an actual modicum of your philosophical notions to the reader, as he follows the subjectivity in motion of the characters, from inception to the embodiment of the values they themselves assert as the story progresses.

I have had actual, keen pleasure following Zarathustra's travels, the conversations and trials, and found myself sympathizing for the characters and the spirit inhabitating them, even smiling at some of their witticisms, their wilfulness and waywardness! In particular during the feast at Zarathustra's cave, which I've had no difficulty imagining as a scene in Alice in Wonderland or the climax of a manga series or something along these lines :D Curious, isn't it! And I'm not even that much of a manga reader! There is something so exuberant, vibrant, cheerful and fateful at the same time in these last scenes that I have came as far as to feel among their very company, in the flesh, and I've had a fantastic time with the King on the Left and the King on the Right, Zarathustra's Shadow, the Soothsayer, the Voluntary Beggar, the Magician, the Ass, the Leech scholar, the Ugliest Man and the Old Pope 'out of service' I've even found an illustration of this memorable scene; A bunch of quotes: 'I tell you: one must still have chaos in one, to give birth to a dancing star.

Three times No! There are still Blessed isles! Silence then, you sighing sorrow-sack! For the great despisers are the great reverers. In that you have despaired, there is much to honor. For you have not learned to submit yourselves, you have not learned petty policy. For to-day have the petty people become master: they all preach submission and humility and policy and diligence and consideration and the long et cetera of petty virtues. It is the hour of your greatest contempt. The hour in which even your happiness becomes loathsome to you, and so also your reason and virtue.

So first, learn to love. And for that you have to drink the bitter cup of your love. Ready must thou be to burn thyself in thine own flame; how couldst thou become new if thou have not first become ashes! I had strong doubts something akin to this didn't exist already to be frank, ha ha! Music: La Femme d'Argent - Air Dec 07, Ram Alsrougi rated it really liked it. Great, almost practical application, that it's almost possible to apply it even in today's society. Nietzsche's courage, creativity, and passion in this work make him enchant. However, while reading; I had to repeat many chapters twice because of his kind of strange and blunt language!.

Zarathustra, the character through which Nietzsche vicariously spews forth his world-view, is a pompous, narcissistic, ego maniac that is so obsessed with how right he is, he can't see just how terribly wrong he ends up being. Nietzsche constantly contradicts himself, uses poor logic and reasoning, and pushes for a social order that benefits only the elite. I'm appalled of Nietzsche's idea that the great men of the world should walk all over the little, regular people to achieve their greatness. He says that the existence of the general population is justified only by the fact that there may come out of them a greater race Hitler was a big fan of this view as well.

He says that morality and ethics are not real, but merely tools to manipulate masses and hold back the elite. This guy must have been insane! Turns out he was, being committed to a mental institution only years after finishing this work. I believe George Bernard Shaw put it best, when he said the following about this book: "Nietzsche is worse than shocking, he is simply awful Nietzsche is the champion of privilege, of power, and of inequality.

Never was there a deafer, blinder, socially and politically inepter academician The tale meanders all over the place as Zarathustra ejaculates ridiculous philosophy for page after page, his followers fawning after him with nary a singular thought of their own. Both they and Zarathustra are in awe of Zarathustra's own wisdom and insight, and Nietzsche never lets a page go by without reminding us of his grandiose status. If anybody in the story tries to contradict Zarathustra, he merely laughs at how stupid the person is and ridicules them.

This book is, in a nutshell, just a guy trying to make himself look all powerful, knowing, and important while making everyone else look bad. I give this book an epic FAIL! Sep 24, Chris Shank rated it it was amazing. This is one of my top 3 favorite books of all time. It seems heavy reading at first, but it grows progressively easier once you get used to his language and ideas. His message is a bit different, enjoining his listeners to turn away from a traditional notion of God a This is one of my top 3 favorite books of all time. His message is a bit different, enjoining his listeners to turn away from a traditional notion of God and values written in stone; but his call to a pure heart and pure mind, and his appeal to return to an innate sense of right and wrong with an emphasis on caring for others and striving to live according to the highest ideal for humanity moves essentially in the same vein.

When I first picked up this book I knew next to nothing about Nietzsche or this specific work except, although I had heard it referred to by one of my profs in a negative light. His works were cited as the voice of opposition. And so began my journey with the abomination that is called Nietzsche. Everybody knows about Nietzsche, very few know him.

So many wiki-dabblers, so little reading of his actual work. Nietzsche would spit in the face of his executioner, and give a final word of hope and courage to those of us who are next. He would dig you out to freedom, and once in the free air, help you escape the searchlights of Mother church and state, furious with its escaped worshipers. He has no promise of a map to buried treasure once outside prison walls, but he has the confidence that we can figure the rest out on our own. Nietzsche is, in general, a tonic against conformity. He speaks up for the individual, and he is loud, even brash. Living is sacrificed to mere existence.

And Lord knows we all know people that, if the fate of the human race were left in their hands, we would be done for. Contrary to these despisers of the body is the Ubermensch, the beyond-man-and-woman, the despiser of conventional living. Nietzsche passion was truly religious in essence. His precepts are much more negative than positive in that they are a foghorn away from the shoals, not as much a beacon guiding ships to harbor. But being a negative voice in no wise implies that he is a pessimist. He believed in some mystical permanence of human existence, and embraced what feels like an Eastern idea of recurrence and reincarnation. So, as I have now developed a profound appreciation for some of his writings, does this mean I have become a blind fanatic of Nietzsche?

Course not. Fellow-creators the creator seeks, those who grave new values on new tables. Take heed lest a statue crush you! Now do I bid you lose me and find yourselves; and only when ye have all denied me, will I return unto you. I choose to focus on what I appreciate from his works, but that does not vindicate him in all ways in my mind. View all 10 comments. Please note : Read in from an on-line edition for personal research and edification.

Reactions to it are my own. Annotated Synopsis : Described by Nietzsche himself as "the deepest ever written", the book is a dense and esoteric treatise on philosophy and morality, featuring as protagonist a fictionalized Zarathustra. A central irony of the text is that Nietzsche mimics the style of the Bible in order to present ideas which fundamentally oppose Christian and Jewish morality and tradition. The o Please note : Read in from an on-line edition for personal research and edification. The original text contains a great deal of word-play. My Thoughts : Nietzsche espouses a desire to create Supermen, who will be superior to modern humans. He vilifies pity, charity, and sympathy as being weak, and glorifies the warrior and those who would be cruel to create strength in themselves and others "cruel to be kind" I suppose you could say.

His character Zarathustra speaks in a stilted, medieval way which, I suppose, is supposed to call to mind biblical passages. While I accept the importance of this work as philosophy and classic literature, I have to mark it as 2 stars because I felt this was, to a great extent, the philosophy espoused by Nazi Germany - at any rate, I could see where this formed part of the backbone of their society as developed and enforced by Hitler and his party. I did not really enjoy reading it, although I feel it is important to read as many and as varied works as possible in order that I might learn something new all the time.

View all 20 comments. Get a life, Nietzsche. This book gave me what I needed: a logical basis for accepting laughter into my life again. And yet, this book says profound things about laughter. His point, if I understood correctly, is that laughter is the way to be open to seeing yourself; to face who you really are; and to accept yourself without walls and resistance. And then the shouting and laughter of the Higher Men again came from the cave: it had started again.

Already they are learning to laugh at themselves: do I hear aright? But he who wants to become light and a bird must love himself — thus do I teach. No wonder many a pot is shattered! Learn to laugh at yourselves as a man ought to laugh. You Higher Men, oh how much is still possible! And my soul too is a leaping fountain. It is night: only now do all songs of lovers awaken. And my soul too is the song of a lover. And when I saw my devil, I found him serious, thorough, profound, solemn: he was the spirit of gravity — through him all things fall. Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay. Come, let us slay the spirit of gravity!

I learned to walk; since then I have let myself run. I learned to fly; since then I do not need pushing in order to move from a spot. Now am I light, now do I fly; now do I see myself under myself. And that among men you will always be wild and strange: wild and strange even when they love you: for above all they want to be indulged! O happiness before evening! O harbour in mid-sea! O peace in uncertainty! How I mistrust you all! Truly, I am mistrustful of your insidious beauty! I am like the lover who mistrusts all —too-velvety smiles. As the jealous man thrusts his beloved from him, tender even in his hardness — thus do I thrust this blissful hour from me.

Away with you, blissful hour! With you there came to me an involuntary bliss! I stand here ready for my deepest pain — you came out of season! Write with blood, and thou wilt find that blood is spirit. Proverbs should be peaks, and those spoken to should be big and tall. The atmosphere rare and pure, danger near and the spirit full of a joyful wickedness: thus are things well matched. I want to have goblins about me, for I am courageous. The courage which scareth away ghosts, createth for itself goblins — it wanteth to laugh.

Aug 03, Mohammad Ali Abedi rated it did not like it. It had to happen. There had to come a moment in my life where I would sit down and start reading, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra". And I am glad I did, because I can now confidently state that this book is garbage. I don't care how uncool and unintelligent this makes me seem, but I have no doubt about it. Here is what he wrote about It had to happen. Here is what he wrote about his book, "With [Thus Spoke Zarathustra] I have given mankind the greatest present that has ever been made to it so far. This book, with a voice bridging centuries, is not only the highest book there is, the book that is truly characterized by the air of the heights—the whole fact of man lies beneath it at a tremendous distance—it is also the deepest, born out of the innermost wealth of truth, an inexhaustible well to which no pail descends without coming up again filled with gold and goodness.

The fact that many do not listen to him initially and mock him, seems to me what Nietzsche might have thought of his own situation. At this point of his life, his books were not very well received, he had lost his friends, and had no female relationships aside from his sister. Supporters of Nietzsche always try to find excuses for him, but it is obvious to me, that he was an angry young man, and thought of himself as possessing wisdom that others did not appreciate fully. To me, the book can be compared to Khalil Gibran's "The Prophet", a book that is easy to read and full of life and love, no bitterness or immature anger, the way I felt Nietzsche's alter-ego had.

It was only my inability to leave a book unfinished that I completed the book. And I am ready to bet anything that a lot of people who have picked up "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" and it is their shame of not liking it that hides their opinion on it, leaving a trail of good image of the book. But if we force everyone who starts it to finish it and give us their honest opinion, I would bet that in several years, we can just leave the book to obsessed philosophy majors. Nietzsche's view on women is defended by contemporary students of philosophy, claiming it is misunderstood, but to me, it is just a reflection of a sickly man that has no luck with any women, and the only one in his life, was his sister.

Keep that image of him in your mind, when you read the below, "As I went on my way alone to-day, at the hour when the sun declineth, there met me an old woman, and she spake thus unto my soul: "Much hath Zarathustra spoken also to us women, but never spake he unto us concerning woman. Man is for woman a means: the purpose is always the child. But what is woman for man? Two different things wanteth the true man: danger and diversion. Therefore wanteth he woman, as the most dangerous plaything. Man shall be trained for war, and woman for the recreation of the warrior: all else is folly.

Too sweet fruits—these the warrior liketh not. Therefore liketh he woman;—bitter is even the sweetest woman. Better than man doth woman understand children, but man is more childish than woman. In the true man there is a child hidden: it wanteth to play. Up then, ye women, and discover the child in man! A plaything let woman be, pure and fine like the precious stone, illumined with the virtues of a world not yet come. Let the beam of a star shine in your love! Let your hope say: "May I bear the Superman! With your love shall ye assail him who inspireth you with fear! In your love be your honour! Little doth woman understand otherwise about honour.

But let this be your honour: always to love more than ye are loved, and never be the second. Let man fear woman when she loveth: then maketh she every sacrifice, and everything else she regardeth as worthless. Let man fear woman when she hateth: for man in his innermost soul is merely evil; woman, however, is mean. Whom hateth woman most? Obey, must the woman, and find a depth for her surface. Surface, is woman's soul, a mobile, stormy film on shallow water. Doth this happen, because with women nothing is impossible? And now accept a little truth by way of thanks! I am old enough for it! Swaddle it up and hold its mouth: otherwise it will scream too loudly, the little truth.

And thus spake the old woman: "Thou goest to women? Do not forget thy whip! Halfway through the book, I switched to a newer translation by Adrian del Caro, which was supposed to read better. I suppose it is, but it was still a struggle to get through. Unclean, unclean. Jun 09, Veronica rated it it was amazing Shelves: kant-read-philosophy. Nietzsche, like many great thinkers, contradicts himself enormously. He writes that the mob is "innocently crooked, it always lies" and that "nothing is more valuable and rare today than honesty. Perhaps he Nietzsche, like many great thinkers, contradicts himself enormously. Perhaps he is suggesting that we value truth and still recognize that truth itself is a serpentine concept in the sphere of time.

We may also be persuaded that Nietzsche has reconciled these notions, as he informs us shortly after that "he who cannot lie does not know what truth is. I admit this is not a book for everyone. I love philosophical ramblings, I love books suffused with ideas — even better if I do not subscribe to all those ideas. I take prose plain or purple, philosophy lucid or complex. I am, in this sense, a receptive reader to most everything. Thus Spoke Zarathustra may be too assertive for some, too rambling for others, but just right for a few.

A relevant quote from Nietzsche concerning this book as written in On the Genealogy of Morals : "I cannot acknowledge that anyone really knows that book [Zarathustra] well unless he has been either deeply wounded by it or deeply delighted by it at every point; then and only then can he enjoy the privilege of participating, with all due reverence, in the halcyon element from which that work is born, and in its sunny brilliance, its grand scope, its composed assurance. View 1 comment. Recommended to David by: Stewart Wymer. Shelves: philosophy. The Evolution of Humanity 5 March It is from this book that one comes across the ideas that Fredrick Nietzsche is particularly famous for, that being the concept of the ubermensch and will to power as well as the idea that when one gazes into the abyss the abyss gazes into you though that quote actually comes from 'Beyond Good and Evil' though there are references in this book about gazing into the abyss.

This is probably the book that many of us who have heard of Nietzsche which I suspec The Evolution of Humanity 5 March It is from this book that one comes across the ideas that Fredrick Nietzsche is particularly famous for, that being the concept of the ubermensch and will to power as well as the idea that when one gazes into the abyss the abyss gazes into you though that quote actually comes from 'Beyond Good and Evil' though there are references in this book about gazing into the abyss. This is probably the book that many of us who have heard of Nietzsche which I suspect is quite a few of us, especially in this forum immediately think of when his name comes up in conversation. On the other hand, when his name comes up in conversation, we also generally immediately think of this guy: However the connection with Neiztsche and Hitler is tenuous at best, and as has been indicated by a number of people, the most direct connection was when Hitler met Neiztsche's sister.

However, that does not necessarily mean that Hitler did not borrow Neiztsche's ideas and twist and corrupt them into his own though taking somebody else's ideas is not necessarily a bad thing, and because somebody takes these ideas and puts them to evil uses does not necessarily mean that the progenitator of these ideas is evil themselves — I find it funny that fundamentalist Christians attack Neiztsche because Hitler uses Neiztsche's ideas to justify mass genocide yet they completely ignore the fact that others have done the same thing with ideas from the Bible, and to suggest that on the basis of the argument that they use to condemn Neiztsche they should also condemn the Bible.

Granted, Neiztsche does not think all that much about Christianity — in fact he believes the whole concept of meekness and gentleness to be a sign of weakness. For instance, the idea from this book is not that God created man but that man created God to comfort him in times of trouble, and to give himself hope when none existed. Further, the idea of the Priesthood is illogical because the priesthood is only created to give legitimacy to the idea of there being a God, and in the end the priesthood is a useless appendage, a cancer that latches itself onto society and effectively drains it of much of its productivity. This is moreso the case when the priesthood uses the offerings and gifts of the population to live a comfortable lifestyle while the rest of society struggles with their day to day life.

This is probably where is idea of 'God is dead' comes from another famous saying from this book though where this saying occurs, it is more to do with Zarathustra mourning a prophet and pitys him by saying 'does he not realise that God is dead'. Now, this idea is not that God himself is dead because Neiztsche does not believe in God — he is an atheist but rather that the god that was created by humanity is dead in that humanity has reached a point where they have realised that they no longer need their god and have walked away from him in unbelief, and as such because nobody believes in this god anymore there is no longer any belief to keep this god sustained, and thus god is dead.

Though fast forward to our time and we discover that the need to believe in a god is alive and well, and as such the concept of god is still alive and well — and also notice that I am not capitalising god, because this is not the big G God that I believe in, but rather the concept of a god that society feels that they need to believe in to give them comfort and hope. Now, let us ignore history for a second namely the idea of Moses and Ankenhaten coming up with the idea of a single, monotheistic, god and look at the period in which Zarathustra lived. Zarathustra lived in Ancient Persia at a time when Persia was a polytheistic society.

However Zarathustra burst onto the scene with a radical new concept of not many gods but two gods who were equal and opposite and that these two gods were in a constant struggle, one representing good Ahura-Mazda and one representing evil Angra Mainyu. Actually, I think the Wikipedia definition of the conflict between truth and lie is a much better because good and evil are not necessarily objective concepts.

This philosophy caught on like wildfire and went on to influence the thinking of numerous Greek philosophers and in turn the entire Western World. The reason that this is important is because the previous attempts to create a monotheistic religion failed, but the rise of Zorastrianism in Persia caught on, and thus it is interesting to note that after Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to their homeland they became much more committed to maintaining their own monotheistic religion than they were before the Babylonian Captivity.

Now, two and a half thousand years later we are entering another siesmic shift in the thought of Western Civilisation, and Neiztsche is hailing back to the founding of Zorastrian philosophy to act as a basis for this new shift in modern thought. What was happening now as that the idea of the eternal conflict between the truth and the lie was changing to become not so much a conflict, but rather a means of progression. Truth and lie no longer stand forever opposing each other, but rather they act as opposing forces that seek to find a common ground, and once that common ground is found they come together to form a completely new truth — Hegel's dialectic.

I probably should say something about the plot and the structure of the book before I move on to the ideas of the ubermensch and the will to power. The book appears to be a collection of speeches made by the prophet Zarasthustra to his disciples who then go on to become higher men though not ubermensch , as that appears to be another stage in the journey of humanity. This is not 'the' Zarathustra, but rather a vehicle through which Neiztsche is espousing his philosophy of change. However this is more than just a collection of sayings, but it is rather a novel through which we watch Zarathustra and his philosophy grow, and how his disciples come to understand and grow by being his disciples and listening to his philosophy.

Now, let us consider the doctrine of the ubermensch. I find that by translating the ubermensch to superman can be very misleading because many of us equate superman with this: This is not the idea that that I believed Neiztsche was speculating on, just as I doubt Jerry Seigel had Neiztsche in mind when he created the eponymous superhero. However, the idea of the superhero, at least with regards to the idea that comes out in the comics, is what Neiztsche was exploring in his writings. In a way, my understanding of the ubermensch implies the idea of humanity evolving from its current state into a new state, and this evolution is a self conscious evolution that we decide we want to do.

In a way it is reaching a point where we are in control of ourselves and not dominated by our lusts and passions. It is reaching the point where we can say no, and we can force that desire from our mind, and the more control we have over our desires, the less control those desires have over us. In a way it forms a basis for modern psychology where psychologists seek to teach us 'thought control' meaning that when an invasive thought enters out mind, we crush that thought before it dominates us. This is where the concept of the will to power comes in.

The will to power is where we exercise our will to control our desires and our passions, and in turn our thoughts. Thus by having the will we have power because we have power over our selves and our lives, and we are not dominated or controlled by the world around us. It is the point where were are bombarded with advertising to buy things that we don't need to be able to say 'I don't need that' and therefore do not buy it.

It is the will to be able to control our passions and desires to the point where we are not living under perpetual debt. If there is an unbermensch that has been in existence, that person, to me, would be none other than Jesus Christ. To me Jesus is the ultimate example of a man who enjoyed life and had fun, but did not let his passions or desires overcome him so that he was able to move through his life, teach and in teaching being able to live out an example of his teaching. He did not shy away from persecution, did not let himself be discouraged by mockers, and did not let himself get caught up with popularity. Most of all, he did not sell out to the religious and political heavyweights of his day, but he remained committed to accepting everybody on their own merits, and would live and associate with those whom society had ultimately rejected.

Apr 13, Murtaza rated it it was amazing. It would be presumptuous to suggest I had the capacity to evaluate or even say anything new about Nietszche, who along with Karl Marx was one of the two most influential thinkers of the past two centuries. Like most people I've absorbed many of his ideas by osmosis through various forms and had a familiarity with them even before the first time I read one of his essays. Reading Thus Spoke Zarathustra for the first time however, there was something that struck me: the extent to which this is writ It would be presumptuous to suggest I had the capacity to evaluate or even say anything new about Nietszche, who along with Karl Marx was one of the two most influential thinkers of the past two centuries. Reading Thus Spoke Zarathustra for the first time however, there was something that struck me: the extent to which this is written like a spiritual text.

Nietzsche was a rarity in being a great writer, even in translation. The text of this book is utterly immersive and feels more like plunging into a terrifying world than scanning words on a page. In this he reminded me of Ibn Arabi, whom you don't read so much as dose yourself on. I would suggest that this book has a genuine psychological effect on its reader.

Strang, Herbert. Kraszewski, Jo? This Personal Identity: An Abstruse Idea where the concept of the will to Howard Hodgkin Analysis comes in. Personal Identity: An Abstruse Idea contrast, Personal Identity: An Abstruse Idea of substances tend to fare very poorly.