Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche Essay Sample
Friedrich Nietzsche is a German philosopher who was born in the Prussian province of Saxony. His childhood was not happy as he lost his father and was brought up by his mother, aunts, and sister. At school, Nietzsche was good at classical studies, German literature, and religious studies. He showed the interest in learning classical philology and theology. At the same time, his life was fraught with health problems leading to constant necessity of treatment. However, it did not prevent him from studying and self-development. Suffering from the disease did not deter the philosopher from serving in the army and being a medical orderly during the Franco-Prussian war.
Nietzsche was the founder of Existentialism (Clark 1990, 19). He is a controlversial personality due to his commitment to Adolf Hitler and facism. It means that his philosophy is debatable as well. Nietzsche was interested in the problems of good and evil and the truth in the context of morals, free spirit, religion, and virtues. Consequently, these questions are depicted in his philosophical work Beyond Good and Evil. Not without reasons, Nietzsche was interested in the theme of the truth as it penetrated all aspects of his life. He was faced with the choice of what was right. The biographical facts prove that Friedrich Nietzsche was on the side of the truth revealing its nature in his philosophical works. Consequently, this essay intends to describe the personality of Nietzsche and reveal his philosophy through the theme of the truth. The object for studying is the book Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche. The essay explains the concept of the truth in the historical context, reveals the strengths and weaknesses of the philosophy of the truth, its continuing influence and relation to the modern problem of global poverty.
The Theme of the Truth in the Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche
The problem of the truth penetrates every aspect of the philosophical book Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche. However, the peculiarity of his depiction of the problem is his suspicion of morality, truth, knowledge, philosophy, and religion. Consequently, his philosophy balances between the positive and negative attitudes. For Nietzsche, morality, truth, knowledge, philosophy, and religion are the sources for studying the development of human nature. Moreover, these issues can lead to the disastrous psychological, social and cultural outcomes. His constructive vision of the world proves his desire to restrain the oppressive traditions that impose following the stereotypical principles (Nietzsche 2002, 36).
Nietzsche relates his vision of good and evil to the will of power, metaphysics, language and truth. He is convinced that the universe is constantly changing. Consequently, the truth is dependable and conditioned. Nietzsche believes that one cannot look at the universe as a fixed place. However, he is also skeptical about the truth as it can adopt the fixed perspectives that are unacceptable for the philosopher. Fixed perspective does not presuppose growth and development. The truth has a discovering nature, but it provokes support and moral satisfaction of people. Consequently, Nietzsche (2002) wrote, “The love of truth finds its reward in heaven and even on earth” (46). It means that even a bitter truth is justified.
Nietzsche tends to flexibility and dynamics. As a result, he is skeptical about words as they are fixed, and when one utters them once, it is impossible to change them. As to the thoughts, they can change and flow as the things in the universe. Nietzsche distinguishes different categories of words: magnificent, festive, virtuous, and strict. Festive words include the heroism of truthfulness, sacrifice for knowledge, love of wisdom, love of truth and genuine honesty. Moreover, the philosopher believes that these words can bring pride. Words are the ways of expression of the truth. Language is related to fixity; therefore, many philosophers think that the words are not fluid but fixed.
Nietzsche supposes every word a prejudice as words are the instruments for the expression of the truth and deception. Moreover, the words can be harmful to the spiritual freedom. It is evident that Nietzsche does not know the origin of the truth. However, he tries to isolate it from the influence of religion, morality, and language.
However, Nietzsche regards words as the source of conception of the truth and other absolutes such as morality and God. It is a particular feature of the philosopher to transfer from traditional philosophy to nontraditional philosophy. Traditional philosophy is rigid and does not presuppose changes and shifts. Moreover, Nietzsche thinks that one should regard the truth in different contexts and relations to morality and changes. However, one can provide changes only with the help of will that is a driving force of any activity. Telling or not telling the truth is the result of will. Will to power establishes domination over other things and freedom.
Nietzsche is skeptical about the traditional treatment of the truth as he supposes that there is no absolute or correct viewpoint. It means that one should analyze the truth according to the intention of the speaker and context. Nietzsche advises that one should be especially flexible while talking about the truth. Moreover, it is necessary to look at matters from different perspectives.
It is evident that the philosopher regards his concept of the truth with the help of the ideal philosophy of the future that ruins stereotypical canons. The peculiarities of new kind of philosophy include freedom, changes, and shift perspectives. Furthermore, Nietzsche moves forward to avoid the dogmas of rigid thinking and overturn the truth. For the philosophy of Nietzsche, such concepts as “good” and “evil” are merely surfaces as they have no inherent meaning. Nietzsche wants to move beyond good and evil with the help of the truth. Moreover, overcoming the assumptions and prejudices is inevitable when it comes to struggling and will to power (Wilcox 1985, 10).
One can explain the unusual philosophical style of Nietzsche with the help of his views on the truth. The philosopher omits stereotypes in his works avoiding linear and singular arguments. For Nietzsche, the truth is not a two-dimensional and simple picture. Moreover, it cannot be depicted with the help of a simple linear sketch. Conversely, his truth operates in the world that is a three-dimensional and complex in its structure (Dieter 2006, 49).
Maudemarie Clark (1990) underlines the importance of the notion of the truth for Nietzsche. She reveals all definitions of the truth, according to the differences in perception. Moreover, her analysis of Nietzsche’s truth relies on the relation of this concept with others. Nontraditional interpretation of the truth by Nietzsche has made the revolution in traditional philosophy. Clark insists that Nietzsche’s truth is like correspondence. Moreover, dynamism and flexibility of his truth proves its illusionary nature. As to the language, it is a metaphorical way of the truth expression. Clark has revealed that at first Nietzsche denies the existence of the truth. However, then his position about the truth is becoming more distinct (Clark 1990, 1).
Consequently, Nietzsche states that the will to the truth can be in every person. Nevertheless, not every person can use it in a proper way. One demands learning and observation to discover the truth. Moreover, the philosopher explores self-perception as it is also crucial when it comes to the truthfulness of religion and morality. Nietzsche is convinced that one needs the innate ability to feel the truth. The philosopher wants people to be more flexible and ambitious as individuals without any ambitions are robotic, socialized and weak creatures. Moreover, he supposes that his reasoning and theories are true. Such idealism of his philosophy proves the ambitious nature of Nietzsche and his tendency to nobility rather than to the poor social classes (Clark 1990, 1).
Nietzsche regards the truth from a single perspective. However, many critics believe that he should do this from multiple perspectives. The perspectivism of his philosophy of the truth is related to morality. Moreover, it is valuable because it is related to the language. One can put Nietzsche’s philosophy of the truth in one line with more modern philosophers and great Greek masters. However, his beliefs in his rightness confuse and provoke much criticism. Nietzsche has granted the new breed of philosophers who will extend his studies in the truth. He believes that one should be a man of growth and change to delve into the truth.
Being too critical to the conceptions and his contemporaries, Nietzsche is idealistic to himself and his ideas. He wants to achieve objectivity of the truth. Inflexibility in thinking restrains the way to the truth. Nietzsche believes that a healthy mind can recognize the ways of considering a matter. Moreover, it is flexible. To understand the philophy of the truth of Nietzsche, one should regard it in the historical context.
The Theme of the Truth in the Historical Context
One should explore the theme of the truth in the philosophy of Nietzsche in the historical context. First of all, this is the Nihilism of contemporary Europe that makes the philosopher transfer from the traditional to nontraditional philosophy. Moreover, he has different perception of the rise of the German state in the late nineteenth century. His contemporaries are more optimistic about the development and growth. As to Nietzsche, he sees his age as a fundamental crisis of values. Consequently, his vision of the truth is sometimes controversial and ambiguous. For him, the man should always pursue the truth to address the outcomes of untruth, deception and existential dangers.
The rise of science has led to the decline of the Christian worldview. As a result, Nietzsche believes that God is dead. One can say that German society is on the boundary between the scientific innovations and morality. It is evident that science cannot provide a new set of values and displace Christianity. The philosopher believes that the search for the truth can become the source of value and meaning that prevents aggressive nationalism. However, it does not mean that Nietzsche wants to return to traditional Christianity. Creativity, truth and willful affirmation of life are the ways of changing the community. Nietzsche believes that deception or self-deception brings a mortal danger (Nietzsche 2002, 10).
One should mention that the philosopher is interested in responsibility, morality and free will that are the aspects of the truth. As a result, his studies are valuable for the modern philosophy. Sigmund Freud who was also the inspirer of modern and post-modern approaches to psychoanalysis took Nietzsche’s philosophy as the basis for his ideas. Nietzsche has influenced the development of the intellectual history and Western philosophy with the help of the studies on history, consciousness, nihilism, the meaning of existence, aesthetics, power, cultural theory, truth, language, and morality. In addition, atheistic studies of Nietzsche are useful for the analysis of religion. The philosopher rejects religion, especially Christianity due to its rigidity and statics. Nietzsche’s philosophy is also valuable for the history of culture. For example, English poet Yeats, the composers Delius, Schoenberg, Mahler, and Strauss, psychoanalyst Freud, dictators Mussolini and Hitler, and the playwright Shaw were influenced by the philosophy of Nietzsche (Dieter 2006, 43).
Nietzsche criticizes the man for the commitment to the things and apathy towards finding the possibility to conceal them. The truth is a mobile army of anthropomorphisms, metonyms and metaphors. However, deception can also include such stylistic devices. Nietzsche sees the truth as a poetical and rhetorical presentation of objective information. Moreover, it shoud be obligatory and canonical. The philosopher does not know the orign of the truth as this is the society that obliges to follow it (Clark 1990, 37).
The historical context is beneficial for the development of the philosophy of the truth of Nietzsche. In addition, absolute power of Hitler and fascism have found the reflection in the ideas of the philosopher.
The Examples of the Truth in the Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche
Nietzsche does not clearly demonstrate his evaluation of the truth. On the contrary, he tries to show that the absence of the truth or deception threatens the existence. For example, if one lies, it can lead to his/her moral degradation and psychological devastation. The philosopher believes that trust is based on self-deception. Consequently, the truth begins to lose its meaning. One can find many examples of the truth in the philosophical studies of Nietzsche. First of all, what is supposed to be the truth can be only a fiction. For example, the appearance of the person cannot help to decide whether it is truth or deception. The appearance is deceptive. However, many people take into consideration this aspect (Nietzsche 2002, 46).
Nietzsche states there is no absolute truth. It means that one cannot be sure that the person provides the objective truth. For example, the person can tell the truth, but his/her feelings can prove that he/she does not want to do this. Such truth is conditioned and dependable. For example, one should not evaluate words and language but the context in which they are used. Nietzsche believes that one can understand the truth only from the beginning as further development can confuse and lead to misunderstanding. The philosopher is very strict when it comes to the example of the truth. Consequently, every mistake can be regarded as deception. The examples of the truth by Nietzsche demonstste that only radical and intellectual people can be trustworthy. Morever, they have the capacity or ability to know the truth and identify deception (Dieter 2006, 50).
Nietzsche thinks that the truth should inspire, elevate and please. It can be the source for survival. Loss of honor, community, family and personal destruction are the consequences of untruth or deception. The truth is only typical for men. “What does truth matter for a woman! Nothing is so utterly foreign, unfavorable, hostile for women from the very start than truth, – their great art is in lying, their highest concern is appearance and beauty” (Nietzsche 2002, 232). It means that women cannot tell the truth. However, these words do not reveal the entity of the truth but prove Nietzsche’s disappointment with women. Nietzsche distinguishes the fatal truth. However, it is not harmful.
Moreover, the philopher supposes that Christianity is a way of denying the characteristics of the healthy lifestyle. For him, Christianity is an enemy of life. The promise of an afterlife does not inspire Nietzsche. Consequenly, one should study the influence of the truth on the community.
The Continuing Influence of the Truth
The truth plays a crucial role when it comes to morality, religion and preservation of the values and principles. It is evident that the truth touches every aspect of human life due to its absolutism and objectivity. Nietzsche persuades that searching for the truth is a continuing process that demands addressing mathematics, science, philosophy, religion, superstition and metaphors. Consequently, the truth can kill, bring back to life, inspire, charm, and insult. Nietzsche distinguishes different types of the truth. There is the truth appointed for mediocre minds, there is the truth that has a seductive allure and charm. Nietzsche supposes that the truth is not a solution but the problem itself. Consequently, he studies both positive and negative influence of the truth (Nietzsche 2010, 50). The continuing influence of the truth is related to the change of the human personality making it more flexible. Moreover, the impact of the truth is evident in the intellectual growth that is revealed through the search for something new, avoiding mistakes and being sincere. It is obvious that the impact of the truth depends on the situation, personality and context.
The influence of the truth can be destructive and saving. However, deception is more destructive as it leads to a mortal threat to the society and individual. Nietzsche states that the truth can be the source of stability and order. The philosopher proves that religion is deprived of the truth. The afterlife in Christianity makes men weak, dependent and incapable of handling life challenges. It is evident that the truth allows an individual freedom, flexibility and dynamics. A German philosopher is convinced that the genius of innovation can be killed by religious morality and restructions and can lead to the end of civilization and culture. As to the truth, it is free of God and religios beliefs. Only human creations and realizations can ensure the growth and development (Dieter 2006, 60). The truth makes a person independent and free as there is no necessity to hide something. Admitting the mistakes is the way to self-perception and self-development.
Without a doubt, the truth is harsh, but people should be brave and persistent when sharing it. For example, in ancient Greece, only truthful people were considered to be noble. Moral expression of the truth is relected by people and their actions. Nietzsche proves that it is a must for humans to have the “will to power” in culture, politics, and in all spheres of life. “Will to power” gives bravery to tell the truth and be flexible about any changes and shifts. Not without a reason, the philosopher names his age vulgar as education and art are the ways of deception. For example, teachers demand from students to be truthful. However, they fail to be truthful themselves. Nevertheless, Nietzsche tries to change the situation with the help of his studies (Dieter 2006, 60). Nietzsche implements such notions as “will to power” and “will to the truth” as they are the driving forces of bravery of being trustful and truthful.
Self-contradction of the philosophy of the truth does not diminish its influence. First of all, the truth is a driving force of progress and development. Secondly, the truth is a way of manipulation. Thirdly, the truth begets nobility, bravery and intelligence. The truth can lead to knowledge, but the main role is to know the purpose of existence. One should mention that philosophy does not provide the will to truth but leads to the will to pover.
Taking into account all the described influences of the truth, it becomes evident that Nietzsche is beyond good and evil. The psychological aspect of morality is present in his philosophy and expresses the attitude toward life. The objective of the philosopher is to replace the Christian morality with his morality. Nietzsche encourages people to be better, honest, motivated, and realistic. However, not always his philosophy is related to the positive changes. As a result, one should define the strengths and weaknesses of the philosophy of the truth.
The Strenths and Weaknesses of the Philosophy of the Truth
Without a doubt, the philosophy of the truth of Nietzsche has its strengths and weaknesses. The strengths of the philosophy of the truth are related to its connection to the philosophy of existentialism. Consequently, the truth defines the lifestyles of people. Another strength of the philosophy of the truth is related to its subjectivity and absolutism. Nobody denies that fact that the truth of Nietzsche is a driving force of flexibility, bravery, persistence and dynamics. The philosophy of the truth is free from religious beliefs and traditionalism as Nietzsche tries to use a nontraditional approach to philosophy. His truth presents a new set of values that can contribute to the development of intelligence and nobility (Nietzsche 540).
The strong side of the philosophy of the truth is that it is based on the contrast with deception and complex analysis of morality and religion. “Lie and invention to truth! The unreal to the actual! But he was so convinced of the value of appearance that he gave it the attributes ‘being,’ ‘causality’ and ‘goodness,’ and ‘truth,’ in short everything men value” (Nietzsche 2002, 572).
Another advantage of the truth is that it is context-free. Its context is subjective and flexible. Moreover, the truth is based on the facts, knowledge and life experience. It cannot be interpreted as deception in different ways as its entity is fixed. One should say that convictions can kill the truth as they raise doubts and hesitations.
It is obvious that the truth of Nietzsche has its weaknesses. First of all, it is too idealistic and is related to anarchism and fascism. Nietzsche does not include women and people without nobility in the list of the truth-tellers. Secondly, the philosophy of the truth is controversial as, at first, Nietzsche objects the existence of the truth. Thirdly, it is too selfish as the philosopher believes that he is a truth-teller. Forthly, Nietzsche states that the truth is illusionary. Consequently, it cannot be subjective, reliable and noble (Nietzsche 2010, 540).
Nietzsche believes in an overman or superman who is a superior individual able to control his emotions and passions and avoid deception. However, it is a utopic vision of the problem that omits a real state of affairs. “Thus every truth is a partial truth or a perspectival fiction”, writes the philosopher (Nietzsche 2010, 13). It is evident that he contradicts himself and his philosophical studies. One should mention that Nietzsche is too critical to his contemporaries, but he does not admit the weaknesses of his philosophy. Moreover, his philosophy has a discriminatory character due to criticizing a female behavior. It seems that Nietzsche regards men as truth-tellers and women as liars.
Nietzsche regards man as a bridge between animal and overman. Consequently, human beings should continue their development and transiton through the truth telling. Resistance to natural impulses is a way to the spiritual development, knowledge growth and forging civilization. However, the modern problems like povery prove the unefficiency of the philosophy of the truth.
Poverty and the Philosophy of the Truth
Speaking about the moderm society, one should say that the philosophy of the truth fails due to the corruption and violation of moral principles. “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”, writes Friedrich Nietzsche (2010, 345). However, one cannot say this about those people who suffer from poverty. Poor African people are rarely looking for the truth or even understand its meaning in their life. Consequently, one should say that Nietzsche’s philosophy of the truth does not touch such global social problem. It is difficult to speak about morality and ethical principles when people starve in the modern globe community full of millionaires.
Nietzsche stands for the truth as a way of self-development and enrichment of human life. However, he omits the fact that there are people who cannot afford even education and medicine due to their poverty. They suffer from the lack of food and water as well as terrible diseases. It means that his philosophy of the truth does not have a practical value. Such limitation diminishes its importance for the everyday routine. For Nietzsche, the physical strength is a way of achieving human essence through the truth. However, poor African people cannot take care of themselves. As a result, they are far from the moral development (Nietzsche 2002, 540).
Nietzsche objects religion as a traditional way of development. However, poor peole are looking for their moral satisfication in their beliefs and religious values. Looking for the truth will not benefit them because of the lack of possibilities and their isolation from the civilization. One should not explain the reasons behind poverty with the help of Nietzsche’s philosophy as it is too idealistic and appointed for the rich and noble people. It does not mean that the poor do not have the will to the truth. On the contrary, they are disappointed with their living conditions.
The values of poor people are related to religion and the philosophy of the truth cannot persuade them that they need to forget about their values. The miserable living conditions and lifestyle of the poor African countries prove that the truth is conditioned by financial position, place and time. Such people cannot identify the source of meaning and values. They value help, food, water, medicine and possibility to cure the disease. Poor people cannot find this meaning in science as they are deprived of any development and progress. Creative and willful affirmation of life is not for them. Consequntly, their truth is different from the truth of the civilized society.
The changing aspect of reality presented by Nietzsche is absent in the poor African society. It means that the philosophy of the truth is not omnipresent. The poor are fixed beings and the processes of flexibility and development do not touch their lives at all. Nietzsche states that matters are always changing and moving including the truth, knowledge, and ideas. However, the matters in a poor society are always the same. Nietzsche’s ideals are not acute in the poor society.
The philosophy of the truth can be reflected in the poor countries only after their integration into the global processes. Moreover, education and culture are necessary for supporting the truth. One should say that Nietzsche has reflected the character of the world in a proper way. It is typical even for the modern community, especially for the developing countries. “Eternity chaos” is a difficult phenomenon for rooting out. The community imposes the necessity, but it is deprived of wisdom, beauty, form, arrangenment and order. The philosopher is right naming the society neither noble nor beautiful and perfect.
In conclusion, one should say that the theme of the truth is omnipresent in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. First of all, the philosopher is critical to this concept. However, soon he presents it as a way of flexibility, dynamism, objectivity and driving force of the development. In the historical context, the philosophy of the truth is the result of the rise of Germany and changes in all areas. Moreover, Nietzsche has demonstated his studies to overcome religion, especially Christianity as a restraining force of the innovations and changes. The examples of the truth do not reveal its importance as they operate in the context of noble and intelligent people. The truth has a continuing influence as it can lead to knowledge and new skills. The truth reveals the entity of the personality. Moreover, it inspires and charms.
The strengths of the philosophy of the truth are flexibility, absolutism, objectivity as well as relying upon existentuialism. Moreover, the philosophy of the truth provides bravery, persistence and dynamics. The weaknesses of the philosophy of the truth include idealism, relation to anarchism and fascism, discrimination of women, controversial nature and selfishness.
It is obvious that the philosophy of the truth, even such powerful as Nietzsche’s, cannot solve such social and economic problem as poverty. Moreover, poor people have no possibility to stand for the truth due to their inability to provide themselves with food, water, medicine and education and lack of the social and political protection. One can say that the philosophy of the truth of Nietzsche serves for rich and noble people and has no practical value for the poor.
One should say that philosophical studies of Nietzsche on the truth are the basis for further development of the philosophy. The endless reflections of Nietzsche reinforce the necessity and importance of the truth in the society. The philosophy of the truth should be implemented in the practice to drive the community to the development and growth.
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