Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None Thus Spake Zarathustra discussion


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Will Durant A book for all and none !


Heritor Great book.


Beukenick I imagine Nietzsche reading the Bible, at one point thinking: "I can do better than this". And indeed he could.


message 4: by Juan (new) - added it

Juan I still think that Beyond Good and Evil was far better than Zarathustra.


Valerie Emmanuel wrote: "I still think that Beyond Good and Evil was far better than Zarathustra."

Both were wonderful enlightening books. Should be required reading.


David The powerful thing about this book is the death of god. Nietzsche slays the Judeo-Christian god, but warns that we must now become gods to be worthy of the deed. Marx would probably argue that gods cease to exist when people stop believing in them or when their existence is no longer useful to the ruling class.


message 7: by LA (new) - rated it 5 stars

LA just bought the book again to reread. Haven't read it since high school, and I have a degree in philosophy now... should be more enjoyable.


David Pollard David wrote: "The powerful thing about this book is the death of god. Nietzsche slays the Judeo-Christian god, but warns that we must now become gods to be worthy of the deed. Marx would probably argue that gods..."

David wrote: "The powerful thing about this book is the death of god. Nietzsche slays the Judeo-Christian god, but warns that we must now become gods to be worthy of the deed. Marx would probably argue that gods..."

Don't forget that the message of the death of God is stated by a madman and that he tells us that it is we who have killed him.


Paul Hampson It is a far more difficult book in terms of style than the Genealogy. I don't think that it is as good, for that reason, at least as a philosophical work. That didn't prevent me from enjoying it. The death of God is far more succinctly put in the Gay Science, #125. The Eternal Recurrence likewise (GS #341).


David Pollard Sorry but the reference to the Gay Science 125 is 'The Madmen' and I hardly think (in all humility) that it is succinct. 'The Greatest Weight' likewise. These are typical Nietzschian thought experiments. Nietzsche writes that you should read his work backwards and forwards, that is, not take things out of context (that the context of all his writings). Goodness??


Mauricio I gave this 4 stars for the same reason I gave four stars to Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality and the Social Contract; not because I think these describe the human condition accurately but because of the prose. It is just so well written.


message 12: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul Hampson David wrote: "Sorry but the reference to the Gay Science 125 is 'The Madmen' and I hardly think (in all humility) that it is succinct. 'The Greatest Weight' likewise. These are typical Nietzschian thought experi..."

Yes, the reference is to the Madman. It is still the clearest, to my mind, discussion of the death of God. "The Greatest Weight" for the same reason. In Zarathustra, the ideas are expressed in biblical language, which is fine from a stylistic view, but to put the matter simply, biblical language is not as clear a style for introducing philosophical ideas. If you think that I'm just stating an interpretation, 'so much the better'.
This doesn't imply that 'Zarathustra' is an incredible achievement. I just enjoyed 'Gay Science' more.


David Pollard OK I think I see where you're going with this and everyone to his own but let's have a quick glance at the 'clearness' here.
The statement "God is dead' (are we to believe that Nietzsche himself thought this?) is stated by a madman but one who carries a lantern - to make what he says more lucid? (the madman sees what others cannot see!) - and begins by saying that he is seeking God: 'whither is he gone. The crowds react to this by asking 'Has he got lost? ie have we not understood him? 'Is he hiding / emigrating / gone on a voyage?' ie might he return? The madman answers by saying 'we have killed him' - in italics. He then goes on to expound that this is a world shaking moment because we have killed Christ. So - we did kill him on the cross or does N mean that we have killed God on our hearts? What is N's feeling about Christ? And what must we do to compensate / overcome this action of ours? And yet (just to complicate matters) this event has not yet occurred - it is as distant as the distant stars. etc, etc
Well this is complex enough for me and hardly, in my humble opinion, clear. If it is so to you, please enlighten me as I have been puzzling over it and its relation to other N statements for years.

PS I think you mean: this doesn't imply that 'Zarathustra' isN'T an incredible achievement


Gibbon91 The best philosophical book I've ever read!
Pure genius!


message 15: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul Hampson :-) Of course, I meant that Zarathustra is an incredible achievement. I will respond to your questions soon.


David Pollard David wrote: "The powerful thing about this book is the death of god. Nietzsche slays the Judeo-Christian god, but warns that we must now become gods to be worthy of the deed. Marx would probably argue that gods..."

The death of god comes in Joyful Wisdom!


message 17: by ch (last edited Jan 04, 2014 05:11AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

ch David wrote: "The death of god comes in Joyful Wisdom! "

I read this book after decades of contemplation and experience of nonduality, a metaphysics that I apprehended and adopted from childhood.

I could see how important this book was to Western philosophy rooted in monotheism. I could discern the techniques Nietzsche used to accomplish his argument. I could see that this book may enable a nondual metaphysics in the Western reader. There is a dangerous possibility of confusing the self with the Self (Atman), as with any nondual metaphysics, and especially any that come later in life when the self is fully developed; this danger is addressed in Eastern traditions too. I think that this problem is extremely common among readers of Nietzsche, especially since Nietzsche doesn't offer a satisfying and fulfilling explanation of nonduality, which is in fact divine love / compassion. My theory is that he didn't attain any personal fulfillment from his nondual metaphysics and so couldn't indicate any to his readers. Joyful wisdom he had not.

Personally, I didn't have a god to slay nor a self to do the slaying. I didn't find the book to be compelling for me, and I wonder if it would be relevant to many readers outside the western philosophical tradition.


David Pollard A very interesting comment.
I wonder if N was even writing about god or whether his real object was being. Was he rather trying to force the reader to think about overturning the history of Western Philosophy.
Is Brahman / Atman not still dualistic?


message 19: by ch (new) - rated it 3 stars

ch David wrote: "Is Brahman / Atman not still dualistic"

Atman is the manifestation of the divine singularity, so it is nondual.

My understanding of self, monotheism or any theism, and Nietzsche's god is that god and self have a subject/object relationship. Nonduality is a metaphysics that has no subject/object.

Personally, I don't think that Nietzsche was firmly aware of what he was writing about. From what I know about his life, he spent most of it in a state of psychological reaction to protestant Christianity (which is a highly dualistic position: N vs church/god) and when divine love / compassion finally broke through he promptly lost his mind (horse incident).

I read N as the work of a fellow pilgrim in the world, not as a teacher. We can learn from the struggles of others. A teacher is someone who has found some resolution that could be helpful to others. N couldn't reconcile divine love with his reactionary (egoic) subject/object metaphysics - even though he seems to have felt his metaphysics coming apart, which is indicated in his writing.


David Pollard This is taken from a Hindu site

"What does "atman is Brahman" mean?
"atman" means "soul" or "individual soul." Atman refers to the essence of each individual living thing - its soul or primary living energy. Each living thing - people, animals, plants - have an atman that forms each thing's eternal essence. The atman is not the body; the body is not eternal. The body houses the atman until the body dies. Atman is immortal and eternal.
Brahman is "world soul" or "cosmic soul." It is the eternal essence of the universe and the ultimate divine reality".

It seems to me that this relation is exactly the relation of soul to god in Christianity. Really all you have to do is change 'atman' to 'soul' in the above and you have Christian doctrine.


message 21: by ch (last edited Jan 04, 2014 09:34AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

ch I agree. I don't think that the Christian Church (capital "c") in Germany at that time was a very loving or joyful place, however, very far from the manifestation of divine love. (This is what I've read and seen in material and art about German culture in the years prior to the W Wars. It was also from this era that a lot of existential philosophy emerged. Something was up in Germany - something very radical.)

N idolized his father, a very Lutheran minister, and he died at a critical time in N's ego formation. This was irreconcilable for N, I think, and he was preoccupied in finding (an analytical) resolution. I think he did when he saw the horse's suffering, but he couldn't handle it and had a breakdown. I think N dealt with it like a zen koan, the "solution," when realized, made him mad.


David Pollard Good. This is getting interesting so thanks for the thread. Glad to see that you agree with the similarities between these religions. Religions are dualistic. They have to be.
However I think you are wrong about Nietzsche seeking an analytic resolution. Nietzsche's greatness was precisely in overcoming metaphysics, platonism, etc. He was the grandfather of existential thought (along with Kierkegaard who sought a religious existential solution). His madness was probably inherited tertiary syphilis.


message 23: by ch (last edited Jan 05, 2014 04:42AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

ch I meant advaita vedanta, which is non-dual, with no difference between the Brahman and Atman(Self). Mainstream Hinduism, like Christianity, as you pointed out, maintains a subject/object dualisism - from what I understand.

I don't think it's possible for a human being to overcome metaphysics. We aren't made that way. We may change our metaphysics, from platonic to another that is more closely aligned with the divine gnosis, for example, but we still maintain a frame of reference - a metaphysics - I think. N used analytical methods to explode the dualistic metaphysics that had framed his earlier life. This is the way it is done in zen and raja yoga - through thought (analytical thinking). Other methods, that are not analytical, include bhakti yoga, in which dualism is overcome by loving service. This is what I meant by N using an analytical method to change his metaphysics away from dual toward non-dual - using the mind and thought.

I think existentialism can be a type of raja yoga and a path to nonduality.


message 24: by Liam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Liam Shope I dont know. I really like this book and I LOVE Nietzsche, and this book is enlightining, but jeeze-louise does he do a lot of faffing about! They should change the name of the book to " Nietzsche faffs about for a bit." I think if you want a really good understanding of Nietzsche, read Beyond Good and Evil. In this book, he does cover a lot more, but it takes a long time for him to actually get his point across. Maybe I should read it again in a while. Anyway! Loved the book.


message 25: by J (new) - rated it 2 stars

J What is the message?

Don't worry about what the herd considers virtuous; do not trust in god; do not place your hopes in a heaven, in a god, in a 'spirit--instead, trust in your body, this earth, and the power within yourself (assuming you're not one of the herd).

Christianity advocates a pity-culture that is to be despised. Do not be a nihilist, but embrace this hard world and conquer it.

I agree with Liam that Nietzsche writes too much to deliver these messages.


message 26: by Liam (last edited Mar 18, 2016 02:08PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Liam Shope Jason wrote: "What is the message?

Don't worry about what the herd considers virtuous; do not trust in god; do not place your hopes in a heaven, in a god, in a 'spirit--instead, trust in your body, this earth,..."

Thanks


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