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Friedrich Nietzsche

(1844 - 1900)
Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher that announced : 'God is dead'

Biography of Friedrich Nietzsche :

German philosopher born in a family of pastors. After having given up the career of pastor, Friedrich Nietzsche studies philology and is interested in Arthur Schopenhauer. He becomes professor of philosophy in 1869 at the University of Basle, but he must stop teaching in 1879 for health reasons. Nietzsche binds friendship with Richard Wagner with whom he will fall out a few years later.

The Nietzsche's philosophical thought is carried by passion, with the risk sometimes to wander from the point. The German philosopher does not hamper with proven theories or systems. The principle of the Nietzsche's philosophy is the enthusiasm of life and his morals is a criticism of the Christian ideas as pity and resignation. For him, the Christian "morals of slaves" places man in a state of inferiority, and makes a virtue of it; this morals has to give way to the "morals of the Masters" (Beyond Good and Evil, 1886).

By declaring "God is dead" in "Thus spoke Zarathustra" (1883), Nietzsche regards religion as an alibi facing the human weakness and misfortune. He castigates the ascetic morals of the Churches and rejects God that man has invented to constrain mankind to resignation. However, God being dead, the alienated man releases himself from the burden of the divine transcendence and from its moral and metaphysical requirements. Nevertheless, Nietzsche notes that man, who has killed God, did not draw all the conclusions from this, being satisfied to transform Christianity into humanism or turning to a religious atheism.

The works of Nietzsche is a fight for the protection of man confronted in the Western culture with the danger of weakness and nihilism, produced by Christianity that destroys life by wanting to save it. The permanent effort to overcome pessimism had to transform man into "superman", exceptional being, free of any constraint and who will be able to assume his finite. Because of the shrewdness of his psychological analysises, Nietzsche may be regarded as a precursor of Freud.

From 1879, Nietzsche lives alone and wanders about Italy and the Alps where he finds inspiration for his last works. He sinks into insanity in 1890. After his death, his words, in particular in "Will to Power", have been misrepresented by his sister, who would like to reveal there, wrongly, genesis of nazism.
Bibliography : The Birth of Tragedy (1871), Human, All Too Human (1878-1879), The Gay Science (1882), Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883), Will to Power (1884), Beyond Good and Evil (1886), On the Genealogy of Morals (1887), Twilight of the Idols (1888), The Antichrist(1888), Ecce homo (1888).

Quotes of Friedrich Nietzsche

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