June 20th, 2012
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.
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June 16th, 2012
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE AND NIHILISM
To attribute nihilism to Friedrich Nietzsche’s works would be a complete misunderstanding of his teleology. Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra is a calling and desire for the übermensch to create a transvaluation of values. To categorize Nietzsche as a nihilist would be a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of his work.
When referring to nihilism there must be an understanding of all that the word entails. Nihilism refers to nothingness and is a denial of all worldviews. There are apparent problems with being consistent in rendering a nihilist understanding. Referring to everything having no meaning renders a meaning of nothingness. There is no objectivity, knowledge, truth, or virtue. There is a claim of paradigm independent referents. For the advancement of understanding Nietzsche’s teleology this self-referential incoherence must be set to the periphery. To discard Nietzsche so quickly in such a manner would be to misunderstand his teleological claims.
Nietzsche’s paradigm for truth was based on biological development. This, by all admission, was a relativistic understanding and rendition of truth; it was a social construct. This was in response to the proclamation that “God is dead.” In the fifth chapter of Twilight of the Idols Nietzsche deduces the implications of stripping God from Christianity [in reference to morality]. Under the Christian paradigm, morality is a command originating from a transcendent source. Because it is a transcendent command it cannot be criticized, and it is only contingently true given the existence of God and that God is the source of all truth. This worries Nietzsche because he believes that there is no reason for God to exist any more being that God is only a social construct that was once useful. As a result, Nietzsche calls for the übermensch.
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May 14th, 2012
In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (1821-1881), a story of four brothers in Russia is a grim description of the reality of what the world would look like if God were not to exist. One brother, Ivan, an atheist, tells another brother that there are no objective truths, specifically that there are no moral absolutes. Ivan’s brother then kills his father, an act that obtains no condemnation if God does not exist.
This can be understood as ☐(~Eg ⊃ ∀ϕ~Wϕ), also known as Karamazov’s Theorem. It is necessarily true that if God does not exist then any action cannot be wrong. It may also be true if a conjunct of rightness is inserted into the theorem. This ultimately leads to moral nihilism—a nonexistence of value. Without God, everything is permitted. Nothing can be praised and nothing can be condemned. This world, as Dostoevsky understands it, is a world of nothingness.
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February 21st, 2012
When it comes to philosophy there are three things I ponder deeply about every day. I’m not exaggerating when I say these things. I think about God every hour I’m awake. He plagues my thought and attention. I often think about my relation to him, how he is who he is, his providence, his action in the world, etc. It is so foreign to me when Christians say that they don’t think about God from day-to-day. The second idea that occupies my thought is death. I don’t think I’m morbid about this; I think I’m just being honest with myself. I wonder what it’s like to die, that moment in between life and death. Is it painful? Is it joyful and painless? What is it like to see the Lord for the first time? The third thought I think about isn’t as often as the formers but is nonetheless occurent. It’s the question: “What would it take for me to be an atheist?”
I certainly believe Christianity is falsifiable, that is, to be proven false. I think there is biblical warrant for this. Consider 1 Corinthians 15.17 when Paul says that if Christ had not risen from the dead then our faith is in vain. To show Christianity is false one must demonstrate that the resurrection of Jesus did not happen. I was speaking with my professor over lunch a month or so back and we struck up a conversation on what it would take for us to be atheists. Proving the resurrection false doesn’t disprove God, it just disproves Christianity.
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February 21st, 2012
The two divisions of absurdity, subjective and objective, by all evidence, binding. If God does not exist then man lives in Bertrand Russell’s world of scaffolding despair. Man is merely the product of pointless cause and effects with no prevision of the ends being achieved. All the labors of the age, devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vase death of the solar system. Man’s achievements are destined to be buried in the debris of the universe. Only within the scaffolding of these [teleological] truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.
If there is no God to provide meaning, value, and purpose, the only consistent option for humanity is suicide. Any becoming of life-affirming or life-denying acts are illusory. Absolutely nothing can be a positive or negative act for the individual since there is nothing to determine a differentiation. One is forced to face Nietzsche’s abyss and face the reality that no rope can scale the depth of nothingness. One is only left with despair, guilt, and angst. If guilt, and angst are not subjectively preferred then the only option is to eliminate such emotions and thoughts. If there is no God, the only remedy for absurdity is to participate in Nietzsche’s abyss of nothingness: suicide.
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October 23rd, 2011
It would be an appropriate evaluation of Friedrich Nietzsche to state that his mere calling for the übermensch is a teleological claim. To call for redemption of something and to set a standard model is a purposeful and meaningful proclamation. The desire appears to be motivated by the very thing Nietzsche is often accused of, nihilism. Nietzsche was in despair over the implications of Christianity with no God—that was nihilism, which was a catalyst to his philosophizing with a hammer.
Nietzsche never denied there being any meaning or purpose. His qualm was that if Christianity continues without God, which would be meaningless and purposeless. He understood that there had to be meaning and purpose. The teleology, for Nietzsche, was a pursuit to overcome those things, which were life denying. Christianity, God, idols, and false ideas were all life denying and life prohibiting concepts. Nietzsche recognized the human nature and need for a teleology, but how? In his pursuit for meaning and purpose he calls for the übermensch to do just that.
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