Presentation on theme: "Lecture 3 (Wk 18): How to become what one is Nietzsche (PY432) Matt Bennett."— Presentation transcript:
Lecture 3 (Wk 18): How to become what one is Nietzsche (PY432) Matt Bennett
Last week God died, our highest values devaluated themselves Our choice appears to be: decadence or nihilism. Dying values or no values. Either we –Attempt to cling on to the dying faith in old ways of redeeming the world (decadence) –Or embrace the death of God and attempt to go on regardless (nihilism) Third option: the creation of new values
How to become what one is (I) The creation of new values means first and foremost living a life in accordance with new values Creating a virtuous life for oneself Becoming what one is: –Ecce Homo: how one becomes what one is –What does your conscience say? – “You shall become the person you are.” (GS 270)
How to BECOME what one is (I) A worthwhile life must avoid the complacency of a herd mentality Schopenhauer as Educator – shaking us out of complacency –Breaking from the herd –Striving for one’s higher self –A call of conscience (NB – we’ll return to this in OGM essay II)
How to BECOME what one is (II) Self-criticism –breaking habits (GS 295) –prepared to undergo criticism (GS 297) –prepared to change one’s mind (GS 296) Working on oneself as an artwork Giving style to oneself (GS 290) –Adding and removing parts of oneself –Governed by a “single taste” –Governed by a “law of their own”
How to BECOME what one is (III) Thus BECOMING what one is, is: –Self-creation –Creation of a unique self –Creation of a higher self
How to become what one IS But what are the values that Nietzsche thinks we should adopt? Nietzsche doesn’t give us precise instructions (he couldn’t, for it to be a task of creating one’s own values) But they must be non-nihilistic values New values must be life-affirming rather than life denying Nietzsche counsels acceptance and affirmation of our lives as they are
Amor Fati (love of fate) I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer (GS 276)
Amor Fati (love of fate) Learning to see as beautiful that which is necessary –Not deceiving oneself about the beauty of ugly or regrettable events – but learning acceptance –But what is “necessary”? Do we have to accept everything as beautiful? –Perhaps – if we combine this counsel with Nietzsche’s teaching of eternal recurrence
Eternal Recurrence Eternal recurrence – every feature of every moment in time has happened before infinite times and will happen infinite times more –Cosmological theory – the eternal return is true (e.g. WP 1053-1067) – probably not what Nietzsche intends –Psychological test – how we react to the hypothesis (e.g. GS 341)
Problem: Accepting AND improving oneself? In summary, Nietzsche’s task for us is to avoid –The complacency of someone who has decided to simply live out their life –The frustration and resentment of self-hatred And Nietzsche ask us to both –Develop ourselves into a higher, unique person –Accept everything about ourselves and our lives But how can we both accept everything about ourselves and take up a project of self- development?
Possible solution: Pindar Pindar, Pythian 2: ‘Learn and become who you are’ Story of Hieron and Ixion But: ‘One must not fight against a god, who raises up some men's fortunes at one time, and at another gives great glory to others. But even this does not comfort the minds of the envious; they pull the line too tight and plant a painful wound in their own heart before they get what they are scheming for. It is best to take the yoke on one's neck and bear it lightly; kicking against the goad makes the path treacherous. I hope that I may associate with noble men and please them.’ Conservativism? Humility? Acceptable for Nietzsche?
Does Nietzsche have a resolution for this tension? Open question: do we find in Nietzsche a convincing account of how we can both wholeheartedly accept ourselves, and recognise the need to improve and cultivate ourselves?
Next week Reading –On the Genealogy of Morality Essay 1
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