Friedrich Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols commences with his maxims and missiles, the wisest of proverbs Nietzsche embodies his thought in. Initially, the maxims are not so clear and one may only speculate as to what Nietzsche really intends for them to mean. His succeeding work is an exegesis of these maxims, an illumination of the text, and an expository revelation of Nietzsche’s assailment of the Christian church.
“The Problem of Socrates” was Nietzsche’s understanding of the life of the philosopher, or better yet, the death of life. Socrates was the philosopher, one who embodied the reason, virtue, and happiness, one who understood the vanity of life. Life was a sickness, as an individual philosophizing and as an aggregate society. Socrates and Plato were the “symptoms of decline” for life. Life’s sickness progressed as more reason revealed the sickness many covered. This revelation was only known through the philosophers. What then is the value of life? Nietzsche’s response, a paradox:
A living man cannot [estimate the value of life], because he is a contending party, or rather the very object in the dispute, and not a judge; nor can a dead man estimate it—for other reasons. For a philosopher to see a problem in the value of life, is almost an objection against himself, a note of interrogation set against his wisdom—a lack of wisdom.read more »