Nicholas's Reviews > Beyond Good and Evil

Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
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's review
Aug 24, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: philosophy, reviewed
Read from August 12, 2012 to July 08, 2013

Chilling yet oddly compelling, Nietzche's second work is an attempt to do exactly what the title says: move the reader beyond the notions of good and evil. He posits instead the idea that mankind develops best in conditions of adversity, when outward forces encourage men to be cunning, creative and generally self-concerned. He is unashamedly dead against religion, socialism and democracy, and reading certain paragraphs of this work aloud to a woman would be a sure way to get slapped or kicked in a sensitive place. In short his views are about as far out of step with present day culture as you could get.

Added to that the prose is dense and confusing. Metaphors are picked up and dropped at random, ideas are often cut short and then picked up again pages later and subject links are sometimes very tenuous. Furthermore lots of references are made to other authors, both contemporary and historic from Nietzche's point of view, and some of them are quite obscure figures, so you have to be quite thorough in your reading of philosophy and arts to get the full value from Nietzche's writing.

From all of this you might justifiably conclude that Beyond Good and Evil is a waste of time, and you might be right except for one thing...if you look around, in the news and social media, you can see some of what Nietzche was talking about happening right now. I'm not saying that I think that he was or is 100% right, or that I subscribe to his solution to the problem, but I recommend that you read this work in order to see if you do. After all one of the things that he advocated was that every person should seek to understand the world for themselves rather than blindly accepting the advice and views of others, and that, at least, is good advice.

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