Friedrich Nietzsche: An Age Of Nihilism

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Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was an iconic German philosopher of the 19th century. He had a huge influence on Western philosophy. His major works focused mainly on the meaning of existence, Christianity, atheism, history, morality and nihilism. Nietzsche’s works express a fear that the decline of religion, the rise of atheism, and the absence of a higher moral authority would plunge the world into chaos. The western world had depended on the rule of God for thousands of years — it gave order to society and meaning to life. Without it, Nietzsche writes, society will move into an age of nihilism. Although Nietzsche may have been considered a nihilist by definition, he was critical of it and warned that accepting nihilism would be dangerous.…show more content…
Albert Camus, for example, considered the human need for higher order absurd. He argued that the “death” of God was inconsequential—that humanity had no need of a higher authority or the threat of divine wrath to live a good and moral life. Some other philosophers were less prepared to part with the concept of higher authority and instead tried to imagine an absolute morality that didn’t depend on a supreme being. (The Philosophy index). Nietzsche announced the death of God and drew lines of battle with Christianity as it is a form of nihilism. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? . . . Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it?" (Nietzsche, The Gay Science, p.125). " By “The death of God”, Nietzsche meant that the western world´s final downfall and mass would happen if the western’s world continues to rely on religion as a moral instrument and source of meaning. His controversial ideas grew many critiques as a nihilist and being too literal of human condition. Other interpreters considered that Nietzsche’s attempt to defeat the foreseen rise of nihilism would be useful to the reaffirmation of life but this requires an alternative naturalistic approach human knowledge, principles and…show more content…
The eternal hourglass of existence is turned over again and again—and you with it, speck of dust!’ Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god, and never have I heard anything more divine!’ If this thought were to gain possession of you, it would change you as you are, or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, “do you want this once more and innumerable times more?” would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?” (Nietzsche's The Gay Science, p.341, Walter Kaufmann

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