Why Did Nietzsche Think We Are Sick?

Why did Nietzsche think we are sick?

The thought of Nietzsche (1844-1990) was perhaps one of the most revolutionary philosophers, interpreted and manipulated throughout its short history. With him, for many, God died, then a new way of seeing and understanding the world was born. A way that tries to save thought and man from the yoke that has imposed itself as well, as a sophisticated attempt to avoid the worst of his phobias. A phobia of life, and of its freedom.

For Nietzsche, the origin of most of our ills lies in this enlightened Greece, and partly democratic, where the myth was put aside and the logos were worshiped. A reason that makes us insufficient beings, limited and distracted by the shadows that we saw in the cave. Nietzsche suspected this modernity and thought that under this construction was hidden resentment towards life, towards what happens to us and does not please us.

(… and therefore tragedy)

In Greece, we lost Dionysus (life) and we won Apollo (reason). Thus, we remain hypnotized by a perfection that we project outside, and which will always be outside precisely by the way we articulate it: far because we are here, of our own nature. Our condemnation and at the same time our destiny: to transcend the symbolic form and pass to the material form. The only way to reverse this condemnation: death.

If Socrates opened the doors to the possibility of this thought, separating Dionysus (life) from Apollo (reason), it was Plato who situated above the other, thus completing maieutics (part of knowledge, success of reason), and at the same time tragedy. The disclosure of this split and this hierarchy was then the responsibility of Christianity, which spoke of life as a preparation for death or as a valley of tears.

A condemnation whose reward was heaven. A speech that corresponded perfectly to the difficulties experienced by the people, hunted down and ravaged by hunger, pestilence and thirst for hope. Suffer now, then you will have your reward, only if you have suffered enough.

This vision also assumes a moral condemnation of hunger, since the highest deeds can never be its work. Hence the fact that perhaps we have popularized phrases so representative of the acceptation of this condemnation as “there is no evil whereby good does not come”. In fact, this has been the justification that some have used to explain how it is possible that an almighty God motivated by his infinite goodness allows the misfortunes that ravage us. It’s funny is not it ?

To come back to the core of Nietzsche’s thought, this is how we generate a scale of values ​​closer to our faith than to our knowledge. 

For Nietzsche, science was nothing other than the perfect instrument which man had generated to make a hole in the cave and look out. Our hope in establishing it as a paradigm would be that of understanding determinism, destiny, which in a certain way would be written for all. An algorithm where everything matches; yes, the ones most businesses use today to try to predict what our next purchase will be.

Nietzsche faces precisely this thought with his nihilism, on which is based all his “philosophy of the hammer” (or “twilight of the idols”). This is the destructive part of its philosophy, attacking the edifice of traditional knowledge and its manifestations, as well as Western culture and the areas in which it is reflected.

In his nihilism, Nietzsche explains to us why he thinks we are sick and why what happened in Greece meant the birth of tragedy for us. His response represents a Copernican-worthy turning point, comparable to what happened with the Enlightenment and anthropocentrism, but with a very different bent and meaning. Unlike the enlightened, he did not believe that science would save us, but that it was a substitute for religion, although more intelligent and vital in some ways.

A religion which remained a proof of our resentment towards life; and, therefore, our disease and the “repression” of our vital instincts.

Another manifestation of this sickly modernity, apart from religion or science (represented by Nietzsche particularly in mathematics), would be found in language. So just as one would try to reduce life to numbers, so would one also try to reduce it to concepts. Language would also be a fiction, a collective instrument, with which we try to find the truth. A truth that we have determined so that it is classifiable, objectifiable, quantifiable, reducible to concepts, absolute …

The disease understood, what would be the solution for Nietzsche? Investing again in values ​​and allowing the birth of the superman, the very one who would try to live a life good enough to desire to live it again in the same way (eternal restarting). This is really the vitalist part of Nietzsche, his way of transcending surprise and embracing, yes, life.


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