There's just too much for me to say about this book. For some of my thoughts about it and about Harris more generally just check out this review and tThere's just too much for me to say about this book. For some of my thoughts about it and about Harris more generally just check out this review and the comments beneath:
Here Nietzsche returns to the form of the essay after several complete works largely composed aphoristically. The second essay in the polemic On the GHere Nietzsche returns to the form of the essay after several complete works largely composed aphoristically. The second essay in the polemic On the Geneology of Morals is excellent and my personal favorite of the three essays that comprise this work. He discusses the historical tossings and turnings that have led to weird inversions of moral standards throughout the ages. The ways in which many eggs are often broken to make various omelettes and how the omelettes often turn out much differently than intended. Social psychology at its most fearless and polemicized.
Ecce Homo (tr. "Behold the man!" in reference to Pontius Pilate's presentation of Jesus to the blood thirsty crowd) is interesting as well. Nietzsche gives several short "reviews" of each of his own books written up until that time, some are a bit forgettable, some a bit more interesting. For a good example of official self-critique see his essay ("Attempt at Self-Criticism") about his first book The Birth of Tragedy which can be found in the intro to some copies of the same book.
The rest of this Beholding of the Man consists of four short chapters entitled "Why I Am So Wise", "Why I Am So Clever", "Why I Write Such Good Books", and "Why I Am a Destiny". These are probably best read as something written on the brink of insanity and steeped in deliberate irony and sarcasm--but not completely. I'll just admit that I had a hard time taking much of it all that seriously. For several pages Nietzsche goes on about his ideas concerning nutrition. He also equates drinking alcohol with subscribing to Christianity. It's a bit of a laugh riot from some angles but one that includes a series of doubtful and perplexed moments about from where or why the laughter comes....more
As translated and cited by Owen Flanagan in The Really Hard Problem:
"We should consider our discussion adequate insofar as we make things perspicuousAs translated and cited by Owen Flanagan in The Really Hard Problem:
"We should consider our discussion adequate insofar as we make things perspicuous enough as regrds our subject matter. We do not seek or expect the same degree of exactness in all sort of arguments (compare: mathematics, physics, history), just as we do not expect sameness in the products of different crafts (compare pressing coins, to knitting clothes)...In ethics and political science each of our generalizations ought to be understood as holding true usually. And because this is the nature of our premises (that such and such holds generally, but not universally), we must be satisfied with probabilistic conclusions of the same sort."
Here's video footage of a pretty good discussion of a great, frequently glossed over, and far too often underappreciated philosopher who is one of myHere's video footage of a pretty good discussion of a great, frequently glossed over, and far too often underappreciated philosopher who is one of my favorite philosophers of all time:
Steven Nadler is an excellent authority on Spinoza and has written a few books on him. I really like Catherine Wilson as well from this and now have several of her books and articles on my to-read list.
The other guys are sort of annoying and make some rather disagreeable points in my opinion. Especially Mr. Blue Shirt and the guy who keeps going on about Freud because he doesn't seem to know about much else. But Nadler is solid and so is Catherine Wilson.
There are links to the entire work as published online here:
"Have you ever said Yes to a single joy? O my friends, then you have said Yes too to all woe. All things are entangled, ensnared, enamored; if ever yo"Have you ever said Yes to a single joy? O my friends, then you have said Yes too to all woe. All things are entangled, ensnared, enamored; if ever you wanted one thing twice, if ever you said, "You please me, happiness! Abide moment!" then you wanted all back. All anew, all eternally, all entangled, ensnared, enamored--oh then you loved the world. Eternal ones, love it eternally and evermore; and to woe too, you say: go, but return! For all joy wants--eternity."
— Friedrich Nietzsche (Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None)
This is the best overall take on Nietzsche I've seen yet. It focuses on the aspect of his work that I was most drawn to when first really getting into it and would continue to exalt above all else to this day: a deep affirmation of existence.
This book is very carefully laid out, well-argued, insightful, evenhanded and corrects many extremely common mischaracterizations of Nietzsche's central themes.
I wouldn't recommend this to newcomers, unless they have a penchant for reading serious scholarly analysis generally and have at least some primer on Nietzsche under their belt already. This isn't to say this book is dry or overly technical, rather it's just extremely thorough in its argumentative rigor and references nearly all of the work which comprises Nietzsche's corpus, including rarely published notes and correspondence.
So the execution is skillful and thorough beyond a doubt, but the really satisfying element of this book for me is the overarching programme of its focus on Nietzsche's emotionally resonant struggle with and promotion of a clear-eyed, intrepid affirmation ("Yes-saying") of the mere fact that one is permitted to exist--finding a way to embrace the humdrum miracle (a phrase of my own that I like) of life as much as possible, in the face of pain and under the ubiquitous threat of its loss. ...more
"If you can approach the world's complexities, both its glories and its horrors, with an attitude of humble curiosity, acknowledging that however deep"If you can approach the world's complexities, both its glories and its horrors, with an attitude of humble curiosity, acknowledging that however deeply you have seen, you have only scratched the surface, you will find worlds within worlds, beauties you could not heretofore imagine, and your own mundane preoccupations will shrink to proper size, not all that important in the greater scheme of things." — Daniel C. Dennett, Breaking the Spell
"Is this Tree of Life* a God one could worship? Pray to? Fear? Probably not. But it did make the ivy twine and the sky so blue, so perhaps the song I love tells a truth after all. The Tree of Life is neither perfect nor infinite in space or time, but it is actual, and if it is not Anselm's "Being greater than which nothing can be conceived," it is surely a being that is greater than anything any of us will ever conceive of in detail worthy of its detail. Is something sacred? Yes, say I with Nietzsche. I could not pray to it, but I can stand in affirmation of its magnificence. This world is sacred." — Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea
From a blog I wrote early on in my reading of this book (I'll be writing more about the rest later on):
"Climbed to the Highest Point on the Tree and tFrom a blog I wrote early on in my reading of this book (I'll be writing more about the rest later on):
"Climbed to the Highest Point on the Tree and the Empathy Therein"
I'm reading a book right now that's quite impressive called Primates & Philosophers by the primatologist Frans de Waal which is mostly about the evolution of morality. The book is finished with a series of exchanges between philosophers (like Peter Singer for instance) so basically like a conversation in essay form about the subject of evolutionary ethics among other things. De Waal critiques what he calls "Veneer Theory" which posits that human morality exists as a thin layer on top of our amoral core. According to de Waal, and I agree, this model just doesn't add up when we look to the empirical evidence provided by evolution and the rich sources of information we currently have on animal behavior studies. Anyway, I suggest that people check it out. It argues very well for the idea that nature and culture, human nature and moral reasoning are not at odds but rather are so intertwined that the Veneer Theory (culture as a layer on top of biology) just breaks down and falls apart. It's really interesting and has some great descriptions of non-human primate behavior and non-primates (such as dolphins with their relevant presence of higher levels of cognition). One very moving and interesting story is an account of a bonobo attempting to care for an injured bird and help it fly again:
"Here is another story about Bonobo empathy: Betty Walsh, an animal caretaker, observed the following incident involving a 7 year old female Bonobo named Kuni at Twycross Zoo in England. One day, Kuni captured a starling. Out of fear that she might hurt the bird, the keeper urged Kuni to let it go. Kuni took the bird and gently set it on its feet, right side up. When it didn't move, Kuni tossed it in the air. However, it returned to sitting on the earth, probably because it was too stunned or terrified to fly. Kuni then picked it up, climbed to the highest point on the highest tree, wrapped her legs around the trunk so that she had both hands free and carefully unfolded the bird's wings and spread them wide open on her palm and then threw the bird into the air as hard as she could. Unfortunately, it was still too stunned to make it over the barrier, so it sat on the edge of the moat where Kuni guarded it for a long time from the juveniles until it finally flew away."