The Mask of Enlightenment: Nietzsche’s Zarathustra (2nd Edition)

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Next, Nietzsche considers the nature of temporal limits and duration. He proposes that no beginning or end of time can be determined, absolutely, in thought. No matter what sort of temporal limits are set by the imagination, questions concerning what lies beyond these limits never demonstrably cease. Time is infinite with this model, but filled by a finite number of material possibilities, recurring eternally in the never-ending play of the great cosmic game of chance.

What intuition led Nietzsche to interpret the cosmos as having no inherent meaning, as if it were playing itself out and repeating itself in eternally recurring cycles, in the endless creation and destruction of force-points without purpose? How does this curious temporal model relate to the living of life?

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In his philosophical autobiography, Ecce Homo, Nietzsche grounds eternal recurrence in his own experiences by relating an anecdote regarding, supposedly, its first appearance to him in thought. It is important to note that at the time of this discovery, Nietzsche was bringing his work on The Gay Science to a close and beginning to sketch out a plan for Zarathustra.

The greatest weight. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!

How would the logic of this new temporal model alter our experiences of factual life? Would such a thought diminish the willfulness of those who grasp it? Would it diminish our willingness to make normative decisions? What would we lose by accepting the doctrine of this teaching? What would we gain? It seems strange that Nietzsche would place so much dramatic emphasis on this temporal form of determinism.

If all of our worldly strivings and cravings were revealed, in the logic of eternal recurrence, to be no more than illusions, if every contingent fact of creation and destruction were understood to have merely repeated itself without end, if everything that happens, as it happens, both re-inscribes and anticipates its own eternal recurrence, what would be the affect on our dispositions, on our capacities to strive and create?

Would we be crushed by this eternal comedy? Or, could we somehow find it liberating?

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Even though Nietzsche has envisioned a temporal model of existence seemingly depriving us of the freedom to act in unique ways, we should not fail to catch sight of the qualitative differences the doctrine nevertheless leaves open for the living. The logic of eternity determines every contingent fact in each cycle of recurrence. That is, each recurrence is quantitatively the same. The quality of that recurrence, however, seems to remain an open question. What if the thought took hold of us? If we indeed understood ourselves to be bound by fate and thus having no freedom from the eternal logic of things, could we yet summon love for that fate, to embrace a kind of freedom for becoming that person we are?


Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! Even some of the most enthusiastic Nietzsche commentators have, like Kaufmann, deemed it unworthy of serious reflection. The presentation of this idea, however, leaves room for much doubt concerning the literal meaning of these claims, as does the paucity of direct references to the doctrine in other works intended for publication. Nevertheless, intellectual histories pursuing the question of how Nietzsche has been placed into the service of all sorts of political interests are an important part of Nietzsche scholarship. While an exhaustive survey of the way this key issue has been addressed in the scholarship would be difficult in this context, a few influential readings may be briefly mentioned.

Nietzsche had many casual associates and a few close friends while in school and as a professor in Basel. On both levels of this complex issue, the work of Martin Heidegger looms paramount. However, the plausibility of this reading has come into question almost from the moment the full extent of it was made known in the s and 60s. Nevertheless, the question remains open whether Nietzsche does not already leave the metaphysical dimensions of any problems essentially and intentionally behind in his conception of the cosmos.

Notable works by Schacht, Clark, Conway, and Leiter fall into this category. In a loosely related movement, many commentators bring Nietzsche into dialogue with the tradition by concentrating on aspects of his work relevant to particular philosophical issues, such as the problem of truth, the development of a natural history of morals, a philosophical consideration of moral psychology, problems concerning subjectivity and logo-centrism, theories of language, and many others.

Due to these suspicions, moreover, common Nietzschean themes such as historical nihilism, Dionysianism, tragedy, and play, as well as cosmological readings of will to power, and eternal recurrence are downplayed in Anglo-American treatments, in favor of bringing out more traditional sorts of philosophical problems such as truth and knowledge, values and morality, and human consciousness. Nietzsche reception in the United States has been determined by a unique set of circumstances, as portrayed by Schacht and others.

The next stage of Nietzsche reception in the U. So successful was Kaufmann in this regard, that Anglo-American readers had difficulty seeing Nietzsche in any other light, and philosophers who found existentialism shallow regarded Nietzsche with the same disdain. In such a light, Schacht sees his work on Nietzsche as an attempt to bridge this institutional divide, as do other Anglo-American readers.

The work of Rorty may certainly be characterized in this manner. Despite these attempts, tensions remain between Anglo-American readers who cultivate a neo-pragmatic version of Nietzsche and those who, by comparison, seem too comfortable accepting uncritically the problematic aspects of the Continental interpretation.

The following list is by no means exhaustive. A number of these writings are available to English readers, and a few are accessible in a variety of editions, either as supplements to the major works or as part of assorted critical editions. The following list offers a sample of these writings. A firsthand and secondhand biographical narrative may be followed in the collected letters of Nietzsche and his associates:.

The following list is by no means comprehensive, nor does it purport to represent all of the major themes prevalent in Nietzsche scholarship today. It is designed for the reader seeking to learn more about the intellectual history of Nietzsche reception in the twentieth century. In addition to a typically large number full-length manuscripts on Nietzsche published every year, scholarly works in English may be found in general, academic periodicals focused on Continental philosophy, ethical theory, critical theory, the history of ideas and similar themes.

In addition, some major journals are devoted entirely to Nietzsche and aligned topics. Related both to the issue of orthodoxy and to the backlash against multiplicity in Nietzsche interpretation, the value of having so many outlets available for Nietzsche commentators has even been questioned. The following journals are devoted specifically to Nietzsche studies. Dale Wilkerson Email: Dale.

Friedrich Nietzsche — Nietzsche was a German philosopher, essayist, and cultural critic. The following division is typical: i. Post—the later period Nietzsche transitions into a new period with the conclusion of The Gay Science Book IV and his next published work, the novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra, produced in four parts between and The Human Exemplar How and why do nihilism and the pessimism of weakness prevail in modernity? Again, from the notebook of Will to Power, aphorism 27 , we find two conditions for this situation: 1.

Will to Power The exemplar expresses hope not granted from metaphysical illusions. Zarathustra answers: Listen to my teaching, you wisest men! References and Further Reading a. Kritische Gesamtausgabe: Briefwechsel, ed. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, 24 vols. Berlin: de Gruyter, Kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke , ed. At the present time, the project remains unfinished.

Walter Kaufmann, New York: Vintage, Hollingdale Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, The four essays of this work are available separately in other editions Human, All Too Human Menschliches, Allzumenschliches [vol. The later editions of this translation contain a helpful index. Walter Kaufman New York: Vintage, Hollingdale, New York: Penguin, Hollingdale New York: Penguin, Nietzsche contra Wagner Nietzsche contra Wagner , , first published , trans.

Walter Kaufmann, in The Portable Nietzsche , ed. Walter Kaufmann New York: Viking, Keith Ansell-Pearson; trans. Sander L. Gilman, Carole Blair, and David J. Marianne Cowan Washington, D. The Pre-Platonic Philosophers Die vorplatonischen Philosophen , lectures during various semesters at Basel from to ; ed.

II, part 4 , ed. Unpublished Writings from the Period of Unfashionable Observations vol. Bernd Magnus; trans. Richard T. Walter Kaufmann and R. Hollingdale New York: Vintage, Writings from the Late Notebooks writings from the Nachlass , ed. Biographies A firsthand and secondhand biographical narrative may be followed in the collected letters of Nietzsche and his associates: Selected Letters of Friedrich Nietzsche , ed.

Gilman, trans. David J. The following list includes a few of the most well known biographies in English.

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Diethe, Carol. Hayman, Ronald. Hollingdale, R. Pletsch, Carl. Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography , trans. Shelley Frisch New York: Norton, Nietzsche , ed. Allison, David B. Ansell-Pearson, Keith. Aschheim, Steven E. Bambach, Charles R. Bataille, Georges. Allan Stoekl, trans. Stoekl, et. Brobjer, Thomas. Clark, Maudemarie. It is, perhaps, the best point of entry for readers hoping to gain such insight. Conway, Daniel W.

The Mask of Enlightenment: Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Modern European Philosophy)

Nietzsche and the Political London: Routledge, Danto, Authur C. Deleuze, Gilles.

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Nietzsche et la philosophie , Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, , available in English under the title, Nietzsche and Philosophy , trans. For Deleuze, Nietzsche is a post-Kantian thinker of historical consciousness and a genealogist refuting the dialectic rationalism of Hegel Derrida, Jacques.

Derrida, Jacques. Diane P. Michelfelder and Richard E. Fink, Eugen. Goetz Richter London: Continuum, Foucault, Michel. Donald F. Gillespie, Michael Allen.

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