I was talking with a friend the other day, and we got into the subject of how Originators of Things have really good ideas, really good explanations and perhaps even solutions of certain sticky problems that come up again and again among people, and yet their students and disciples end up running with their masters’ ideas and twisting them to all hell such that those original ideas sound just godawful.
Now, I don’t really know that much about Freud — outside of Adolescent Psych class, I haven’t studied him, and in Lit circles, all you *ever* here is Oedipus Complex this, Oedipus Complex that, phallus this, castration anxiety that, bullshit.
But I *have* studied Nietzsche, and all I can say about him is that his proto-Nazi sister did a grave disservice to him such that, may God forgive me, I hope she’s toasty warm, burning in hell for what she did to her brother’s legacy. If you wanna know Nietzsche, read “Thus Spake Zarathustra” and “Birth of Tragedy”. Here’s something about Nietzsche below:
Thus Spoke Zarathustra flips Hegel on its head (or, more aptly, on its feet) and inverts Christianity by stressing the primacy of the body over spirit. Nietzsche, in attacking Christianity, uses the same tactics as the Bible (especially in the Gospels), in which Zarathustra, the solitary harbinger of the overman, uses parables to impart his “wild wisdom” to his disciples. So instead of parables about the workers in the field, we get parables about the master over these workers. Instead of parables about a people joined together in a covenant with God, we get parables about he-who-would-create-god, the overman.
Much of this work is so strongly anti-Christian that I think that perhaps Nietzsche should have titled this work The Antibible, in keeping with his Antichrist. But since Nietzsche evidently depends on Christianity for his foil, depends on his greatly towards his doctrine against pity, against a Redeemer (with a capital R), and against the equalizing of men in God’s eyes, I wonder if perhaps he is doing a service to Christianity qua reformer, much like Martin Luther was for the Roman Catholic Church, pointing out the corruption of the institution in which it no longer really served the purpose for which it was formed, i.e., the salvation of man.
Zarathustra, from what I have read so far, damns men for their hypocrisy more than anything else: e.g., pity is really ressentiment, religious belief is really an activity (like watching tight-rope walkers), etc. The reason why the Last Man is so abhorrent to Zarathustra and nauseates him is because the Last Man accepts the institutions set forth in accepted values but only does so out of custom and tradition; the Last Man does not live deliberately, does not question why he does the things he does, and does not even believe that most of the customary religious tenets that he supposedly adheres to is relevant in his shallow life towards ease and happiness. Last Man does not live nor think deeply, which is what Zarathustra tries to teach.
In repudiating the Last Man, in much the same way that Christ repudiates the Pharisees, Nietzsche (via Zarathustra) may actually be doing a service to Christianity, as a Devil’s Advocate, to which Christianity, if it is to be true to itself, must acknowledge the accusations put forth from this advocate and answer with solutions.