Monday, May 08, 2006


It would seem that someone did not get that far beyond good and evil. E.g.
The author of the account of [Nietzsche's] collapse speaks beautifully of Nietzsche’s mind, forever extinguished in 1889: it was born out of music and that it expired in music. The strange desire, so frequent in Germany: to pass away in beauty, was fulfilled for him. .... As the correspondence of his last period reveals, he imagined himself to be either the God Dionysos or the Crucified. In this latter role he caused a public—and in reality humanely beautiful—scandal, which led to his transfer to the asylum for nervous diseases in Turin:
Nietzsche interfered in Turin with a cab driver who was mistreating his horse, as so often happens in Italy. Nietzsche embraced the horse’s neck and prayed that it be beatified in the name of God. Then he collapsed.
(Nietzsche and After
by Robert Rie
Journal of the History of Ideas,
Vol. 13, No. 3. (Jun., 1952) :366)

It is a fitting end to the life of the mind. For all his comical preaching about the Superman in the world of ideas it seems that Nietzsche was always too tender hearted to go beyond good and evil himself, as that is evil.

I've debated whether Nietzsche was a proto-Nazi before. There is a case to be made that he was (many of his ideas were picked up by the Nazis) and a case to be made that he wasn't (he was like an anti-anti-Semite). In the past I would make the case for his proto-Nazi side, yet I can also agree with this:
The tension between Nietzsche’s ideals and his complete impotence explains the collapse. His sentences and catchwords, his formulations, but never his intentions, caused German Nazi misdeeds.
(Ib. :369)

It still seems to me that if your words and formulations are not linked to reality and your intentions, then you are merely a liar. Yet there is in the words, language and ultimately the Word at least a little space for learning a knowledge of good and evil, and then perhaps even going beyond good and evil by grace.

No comments: