Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Under-Man

Email conversation with a friend.

You read Nietzsche a lot, right? Kind of want to know your opinion on him overall and what you think his central point was.

Just read The Antichrist because I thought I agreed with the concept, and still do, but the book itself was pretty disappointing / dated / ranting. 

My reply: 

I read him a while back so I don't remember much.

What I like about him is that he is easy to read. His writings have literary quality unlike most of western philosophy that's obtuse and vague where someone just follows their own train of thought without a concern whether other people can understand it. Then it gets so complicated that when other people develop arguments against these ideas their originator can always go for the cheap trick of "you didn't even get it in the first place" but its so densely written that there is little precise that you can get, its really slippery and too few actual arguments in the sea of conceptual garbage. 

I just think that effort to reward ration in western philosophy is disappointing. Most of their truly original ideas could be summarized in 10 pages or less but you have to read hundreds of pages to get to it. 

With Nietzsche, it may be vague but at least its easy to read like Plato. 

I think his central idea was that if one is constrained by conventional morality you are always a slave and your thinking is clouded. He didn't advocate a life of a serial killer or someone else who violates normal morals as a lifestyle, it just that conceptually you have to live beyond them. 

He was against pity, thought that Christianity led to the decay of human freedom. He disliked nationalism because it led to the same herd mentality. The herd is always led and confined by some ideas or right and wrong and it binds the herd together and entraps individual freedom. The idea is not that the individual achieved freedom by being immoral but through dispensing with the "good and evil" mentality all together. He also thought that Christian morality was sadomasochistic because to perfect yourself you always have to suppress your animal spirit. Kind of like laboring hard to make yourself impotent and proclaiming yourself the master when you achieved this feat. 

Basically I like him for his writing style I agree with 80% of his stuff but as a Buddhist I still have a moral code. 

I am against western philosophy generally because in it you are supposed to obtain enlightenment through ideas and conceptual thinking and in Buddhism you achieve enlightenment through training your mind to experience reality in a different (true way) you can use ideas to train the mind but they are supposed to lead to a state of mind as opposed to achieving enlightenment through the right conceptual framework which is what Western philosophy does. 

So I have been really lazy regarding Western thought. 

Them are my thoughts. 

Also don't forget that Nietzsche also ended up embracing a horse on the streets of Italy and going insane (maybe syphilis) and then being used by the Nazis for the bloodiest herd expedition of all time so his philosophy didn't exactly endow him with freedom in the end. 

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