Monday, April 27, 2009

Blogging Nietzsche

The Guardian online has an excellent site where various experts provide infomed comment on philosophy texts. Giles Fraser has written comments on Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals, Julian Baggini on Hume's views on religion, and currently Mary Midgeley is commenting on Hobbes' Leviathan. Check this out.


  1. Yes, I would like to flag up this comment of Nietzsche by Giles Fraser:

    He wants to do away with the need for others in his heroic act of self-creation. But what he never understands is that the creative energy necessary for self-creation can only come through interaction with that which is outside of oneself. Self-creation is bound up with the other. Self-creation requires reciprocity. Tragically, Nietzsche is so locked up in himself, he is cut off from the sources of creativity. Holed up in his "azure isolation", the dream of Zarathustra withers to a pathetic and empty death.

    My comment rests with the idea that 'being locked in oneself' can mean two things. One in which we consider ourselves an object and one in which we consider ourselves as a subjective 'other'. As an object we know this self in terms of preferences, likes and dislikes, presentation and appearances. This is our object/self that sets goals and feels pride. The other self which I called a subjective 'other' is harder to explain. It is permanent, constant, always available, above comparison, powerless, inert, and cannot act, but is closer than our skin. I think this is the very self that Nietzsche means, but the road trip towards it cannot be navigated by speculative commentators some years after the words were written. So, if I were Fraser, I would think twice before I made a comment like so: 'Nietzsche is so locked up in himself, he is cut off from the sources of creativity.'

  2. I agree, and I'm a little surprised by Giles' remarks here, which I suspect is indicative of his own career as the Vicar of Putney: i.e. the need for interaction with the community. As Nietzsche would say, Giles is betraying/displaying his own 'personal biography'. Zarathustra may spend ten years in solitude, but he then feels the need to 'go down' and 'interact'.