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  •  Nothing, he's exactly what you think he is (1+ / 0-)
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    The germ of what the Nazis, Ayn Rand, and the neoconservatives (you'll see) allegedly turned Nietzsche into is already present in his writings.

    Nietzsche believed that there ought to be a stratum of society that create the values which everyone else will believe and live by: i.e. a ruling class. He believed that the behavior of this stratum should not be restrained by any code of ethics or law other than what they themselves create, which is no restraint at all. He believed that this stratum was not only necessary but desirable as only it could give value and purpose to the lower orders, who are incapable of desiring anything other than comfortable idleness ... sounds pretty neoconservative, doesn't he?

    Nietzsche believed that democracy, human rights, Christian ideals of humility, and even simple compassion prevented his blessedly psychopathic übermensch from emerging from the mass of humanity, and taking it up in his hands and shaping it and destroying it according to his whims. Nietzsche's ideal (though admittedly never stated explicitly) was aristocracy: kings and emperors playing with the world on a string - titans eternally warring with each other for supremacy.

    Nietzsche also believed in a sort of 'trickle down' effect, where us mere mortals would be conscripted to fight the übermensch's battles and raise up his monuments to himself, and thus be able to share in his glory in some small way, just as the mythological heroes of Ancient Greece fought and died to entertain the gods.

    •  Suffice to say that I disagree (0+ / 0-)

      entirely.  You are reading the superman as an external, separate other, just as Rand did.

      That wasn't his point.  The point was to engage rather than judge, to dance rather than suffer, even if it is harder to do.  The call isn't to SERVE Dionysus, but to be Dionysus.

      See, he starts from Spinoza's Ethics which (to brutally simplify) posits that the capacity for action is the same as being.  To enhance the capacity for action (power; puissance; capability) is to enhance being.  In this reading there is more will to power in an average one year-old than in all the political leaders ever assembled.  It is the desire to become.

      The dictator, the king, the emperor, is, in fact, an example of "slave-mentality," motivated by resentment.  Much as the T party is.  But resentment running counter to a straight-forward desire, gets one nowhere.

      Should desire be tied to judgement?  His rejection of judgment is not a rejection of ethical action.  Rather he extends Spinoza's point that ethical action means enhancing the other, combining with the other, not just refraining from harm.

      That, at least, are some of the aspects of his work that find compelling and relevant.

      It takes a movement to change the world, and the Oval Office just can't hold all of us --- me, in a moment of pithy pique.

      by oxon on Thu May 20, 2010 at 01:37:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is completely illogical (1+ / 0-)
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        The king is of the "slave mentality"? That's illogical. The king is by definition the master. Teabaggers resent the rest of us because they are deluded into believing that we have power over them, when in fact they - or rather their corporatist masters - have power over all of us, and merely lie to the teabaggers in order to use them: just as any master would.

        The 'slave morality' at its simplest is when one first defines evil, and good is defined automatically by evil as its opposite. It is the slave who resents the master, and so he defines the master as evil, and therefore to be good is not to be a master or anything that a master is.

        Conversely, the 'master morality' begins with the definition of good as identical to oneself, and much as before, evil is automatically defined by good as its opposite: i.e. anything other than oneself. At best you have the makings of a psychopath who is coldly indifferent to the suffering he causes as he works to maximize himself.

        You say that the average one-year-old has more 'will to power' than all the politicians in the world. I question this - a one-year-old can barely walk, never mind think or want anything other than milk - but besides ... who in their right mind would want to live in a world created by and for toddlers, and toddlers with absolute power no less? This is essentially what Nietzsche proposes: a world ruled by beings who arbitrarily elevate their basest impulses to supreme morality.

        That arbitrariness is how Nietzsche (and you) can argue that "His rejection of judgment is not a rejection of ethical action" - that amorality is functionally indistinguishable from morality because it is internally self-consistent. The übermensch is moral only because he has declared himself to be; his personal moral code is just as circular as god-based moral codes. Both philosophies justify this by arguing that God and the übermensch metaphysically define morality for the Universe and everyone in it and therefore can only be judged by their own standards.

        P1: X is good, where X is God or the übermensch.
        P2: X is X.
        C: X is good.
        The simplest definition of circular logic is where the premise and the conclusion are identical.

        Nothing in Nietzsche suggests that the superman is not meant to be a flesh-and-blood human. What is the relevance of his philosophy if it is not a prescription for humanity? I could also take a page from Wittgenstein and argue that the "real" Nietzsche is the [deliberately] misinterpreted one, given the nature of the people most attracted to Nietzsche's philosophy, along with the gist of Nietzsche is that one ought to become [like] the superman.

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