Nietzsche: No, I'm not.
Kid: Dude, that's not cool.
Nietzsche: Hey, kid, watch out what you say about my will-to-power.
Kid: Uhhhh. OK.
Nietzsche: Damn kids.That's how the conversation would go. Is Nietzsche cool? Well, if you call a highly sophisticated philologist with a penchant for Ancient Greek Philosophy cool, then I guess Nietzsche is cool.
Is Nietzsche Misunderstood?The professor, who was a very quiet man, a little intimidating, and spoke in a low, almost condescending tone interrupted the guy. "Don't think you understand Nietzsche without reading him. Reading Nietzsche is not cool."
Nietzsche is highly misunderstood. I read Nietzsche's The Gay Science (no, not that "gay," but gay in the old-fashioned way meaning "happy") for the first time in a philosophy seminar back in my college days. We read the Walter Kaufmann translation (the one I still refer to). I remember at the start of the seminar one guy who was especially excited to be reading Nietzsche as if he were to embark upon an expedition in cow tipping while on acid. "Dude, Nietzsche is all about 'God is Dead.' I totally dig that, man." The guy wanted us all to know he was a nihilist: he cut his forearms for show and he wore stark black; which was OK with me, considering black was a decent choice of color to absorb heat in the Winter.
Nietzsche and Teen Angst
|Dwayne (Paul Dano) reads Thus Spoke Zarathustra|
The MadmanIt is true that Nietzsche mentions "God is dead" bit in the Gay Science. The book is written as a series of witty, short anecdotal chapters, with an appendix of verse at the end. "The God is dead" piece is paragraph 125, "The Mad Man." The story is simple. A man races through the streets of a city in broad daylight carrying a torch, proclaiming "I seek God! I seek God!" The atheists - "the many who do not believe in God" - stand around and laugh at the madman. "Is he lost?" they ask. The madman gets right up in the faces of the atheists and asks them, "Whither is god?" The atheist continues to laugh but the madman continues, "piercing them "with his glances." The madman makes a claim that the reason God is dead is that we've killed him. "I shall tell you. We have killed him--you and I. All of us are his murderers." The madman goes on for a few paragraphs about how we killed God.