Germany after its victory in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 - 1871 entered its expansive age. Rapid industrialization combined with unification allowGermany after its victory in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 - 1871 entered its expansive age. Rapid industrialization combined with unification allowed it to become a leader in many industrial and scientific fields (Einstein came out of this). It was a time of the heroic music of Wagner. Within this context of hubris and expansion a young 20 something Nietzsche imagined a Greek heroic culture as a societal ideal. Following that, his morality for nations (races) and individuals became the law of the jungle where the strong would rule the weak and men would rule women. This in turn led to “the will to power” as being his central psychological concept. The development of these ideas are shown in this book of collected works by Nietzsche ranging from his 1872 “Birth of Tragedy” to Beyond Good and Evil (1876) to The Genealogy of Morals (1877) to Ecce Homo (1888) with many other works besides (he died shortly after).
“Birth of Tragedy” begins this odyssey by contrasting the opposites of primal Dionysian art with sublime Apollinian art: .. they continually incite each other to new and more powerful births, which perpetuate an antagonism only superficially reconciled by the common term ‘art’ till eventually by a metaphysical miracle of the Hellenic ‘will’ they appear coupled with each other [to form Attic tragedy] “. (The Birth of Tragedy, section 1)
“the new philosophers … belong .. among the levelers - those falsely so-called ‘free spirits’ … being slaves of the democratic taste and its ‘modern ideas’ .. would like to strive for .. universal green-pasture happiness of the herd, with security, lack of danger, comfort, and an easier life for everyone; the two songs and doctrine which they repeat most often are ‘equality of rights’ and ‘sympathy for all that suffers’ - and suffering itself they take for something that must be abolished. (Beyond Good and Evil, section 44)
“What is amazing about the religiosity of the ancient Greeks is the enormous abundance of gratitude it exudes: it is a very noble type of man that confronts nature and life in this way. Later, when the rabble gained the upper hand in Greece, fear became rampant in religion too - and the ground was prepared for Christianity.” (Beyond Good and Evil, section 49)
“In all ‘science of morals’ so far one thing was lacking, strange as it may sound: the problem of morality itself; what was lacking was any suspicion that there was something problematic here.” (Beyond Good and Evil, section 186)
Nietzsche is important for understanding German culture prior to WWII but his ideas have no lasting significance unless someone seriously considers that the law of the jungle should be an organizing principle of human society....more