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Ernesto Rodriguez

Philosophy 12: Ethics

Summer 2004


Post 9: (Nietzsche packet) write up an analysis on the selected passages. Label the passage and give a brief summary and analysis of it. Do this for each one.


Will to Power

In this passage Nietzsche discusses the inherent fear and distress that has lead to the devolution of the will to power, causing man to be weak and fragile. To this Nietzsche attributes the invention of culture.



In this segment, Nietzsche stops to contemplate what little significance “human intellect” has in relation to the entirety of nature. If human nature is important it is only important to us, and it is only important because we consider it as such. Nietzsche compares our sense of self-importance to that of a mosquito, which “floats through the air with the same self-importance, feeling within itself the flying center of the world.”  Having considered this, Nietzsche looks beyond the quest for truth and looks at the idea of truth itself. He asks why it is that we seek the truth in the first place, given that nature has hidden it from us. He then questions our idea of truth itself, and states that it is really not much more than “human relations” that have been warped by rhetoric into mere metaphors. 



This segment is an allegory about a “madman” who runs with a lantern announcing the death of God. He comes to a point where he realizes that while God is dead, the implications have yet to be seen and will not be seen for quite some time. What can be gathered from this is that Nietzsche believes that humanity has essentially killed the idea of a benevolent God, but has yet to realize the repercussions.



This is where Nietzsche makes his argument that morality, Christian morality, is effectively against human nature. Passion, as he describes it, is something both inherent and disadvantageous to humanity. To surrender to such compulsions is by Nietzsche’s definition a folly, but to attempt to completely remove these compulsions from the individual as does Christian morality is an even greater folly. Nietzsche believes that to remove these compulsions from humanity is to essentially remove a part of humanity; he refers to this practice of Christian morality as “castration” of human nature.



Here, Nietzsche further condemns Christian morality as a perversion of what was intended to be “good news”. Nietzsche said that Christianity lies in the act and not in the word. The life and death of Jesus Christ was intended to be an example of this, but that message was in effect lost in translation.


Free Spirit

In this section Nietzsche refers to the idea that God is dead in a very factual manner, as if it was the undeniable, uncontested consensus of the world. He wrote of happy, cheerful implications from this, that people would feel free once again to "venture out again, venture out to face any danger". Those who revel in this knowledge are what Nietzsche called "free spirits".



Higher Humanity

Here Nietzsche, rather fanatically, advocates his idea of the superman. By this he seems to mean a higher level of man, which would be to man what man is to ape. This ideal of the superman replaces the ideal of God (whom is now dead, according to Nietzsche).