I feel like digressing. My purpose in doing these “Best Bits” is to create something I believe should, and doesn’t yet, exist. It is to create an easy to remember encapsulation of those aspects of famous philosophies most relevant to the lives of ordinary people.
Anyway, on to Friedrich Nietzsche’s best bits:
- We should each strive to create for ourselves the kind of life we would not mind
repeating over and over again. This is what we should take out of Nietzsche’s idea of Eternal Recurrence. When evaluating a future course of action ask yourself if you would want this in your “do over” life, if one were to exist.
- Nietzsche’s will to power depends upon a desire to improve and to move forward, and is highly individualistic, as opposed to the humility and submission advocated by certain religions. Having this will to power helps to deter exploitation.
- His Ubermensch, loosely translated as Superman, was meant to be the ultimate aspiration of every man. Ultimately we are each responsible to create our own life’s meaning, and Nietzsche created an exemplar model of how this may look. The main point is that we do it ourselves, for our own lives, especially by rising above the herd mentality of others. If your values come uncritically from others, it’s time to at least begin critically examining them.
- Nietzsche’s idea that God is dead was not presented as something good or bad, but as an observation, the point being that people create values based on themselves. Since there’s no omnipotent father figure looking out for our needs, we better do our best to help ourselves.
- Probably my favorite of Nietzsche’s many quotes and aphorisms, (here slightly paraphrased): “If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” Sure, it benefits mankind to critically examine bad stuff, but take care not to dwell, and make sure not to forget the positive in life too. Our worry itself too easily makes things worse. Our worries deepen the abyss. Even when things seem bad, at least you’re alive, and it helps everybody not to forget to focus some on that.
- If you want more information, many others are out there to help you. Many others, with much more.