Nietzsche Time!

Okay. Here’s a thought, I’ve been reading a ton of Nietzsche lately and I figured that it would be really cool if I could post a section and analyze it.

The Gay Science
By: Friedrich Nietzsche
Section 155
What we lack.

“We love what is great in nature and have discovered it — because in our heads, great human beings are lacking. It was the other way around for the Greeks; their feeling for nature is different from ours.”

What is he talking about? Don’t worry, I can totally translate. He’s starting off with saying that there is a difference between the people today and the ancients. Today, people value the greatness of things in nature.


Like this mountain. Isn’t it magnificent?

Well, that’s just what Nietzsche’s talking about. He’s saying that today’s people find things like mountains, the ocean, and physically large things to be where greatness is. What of the person who sees these great things? Isn’t that person great too for being able to see this greatness?…Nope. We’re pretty much insignificant.

Nietzsche continues with how everything was in the reverse for the ancients. They viewed not external natural objects as great, but the one natural object each individual has domain over as greatness. One’s body and what one can do with one’s body is great.

Why should we care?

Ariel Ceylan


2 thoughts on “Nietzsche Time!

  1. Hi Ariel, I was just reading through old posts and checking links on Peevish Penman and found one that you wrote for us. Glad to see you’re still writing, blogging and writing about Nietzsche, too.

    I read a lot about him lately. Studied his writing when I was getting a degree in Philosophy. He was a boy with serious issues…syphilis, overly religious parents, gay but usually rejected and rarely loved.

    I often examine a philosopher’s theories from within the context of their biographies. When we read about people’s thoughts, it’s easy to imagine them other than they were in their lives. I think Nietzsche was guilty of that, too. Ancient Athenians appear to be easily famous. There were only 800,000 of them at the time of Plato. A high percentage of these individuals have been read regularly since 300 BCE.

    But, Nietzsche was so desperate for greatness that he was trying to pinpoint the reason he didn’t achieve fame substantially in his lifetime. I disagree with him that the philosophers of ancient Greece weren’t impressed with nature. I also disagree with him in that in the modern era we are now impressed with it, because we lack internal greatness.

    I will agree with Nietzsche though, that the people I know are more likely to see external greatness and fail to marvel at the sublime beauty within themselves. We should all look at the complexity of our living bodies, our unique life story and the product of our creative minds and go…WOW, that’s AWESOME.

  2. Hi Carrie,

    Thanks so much for reading my post and for your thoughtful comment! I greatly appreciate it.

    You touched on quite a bit of topics, which all merit their own comments/objections, if you’ll indulge me.

    While it is true that philosophers often write from their point-of-view, I do think that Nietzsche’s goal was not to merely post his thoughts. He’s trying to come up with a theory that all of life encompasses. His logic is cyclical because he finds that the only logic worth merit is one that cannot escape (there is no outside the Matrix, even the outside is just another layer…). He’s not interested in fame, a good few pieces in Beyond Good and Evil, warn against fame and how they trap free spirits…I find that he already views himself as great and only those who are just as great can understand his writings.

    As per the philosophers of Ancient Greece, Nietzsche actually is quite fond of them. He pokes fun at schools of thought like the Stoics (trying to categorize functions of everyone and everything when nature is free). He pokes fun at the Epicureans (living life solely for pleasure, when it is all about struggle). Actually, Nietzsche is quite fond of the Ancient Greek approach to nature. Nature is free and is wasteful. The goal of life is to expend itself (all life wants to dies). Nietzsche finds that nature (plants, animals, etc) are actually normal, and humans are freaks who think about themselves thinking.

    The concept of loving nature as a current idea is not so much about lacking internal greatness as much as it is about being Human, All Too Human. This is about the concept of the herd animal doing whatever it is commanded, as such the herd animal cares for the earth because of social pressures. Why does the herd animal do this? It is because the herd animal cannot survive without commands. Nietzsche is not saying that everybody on this earth is a herd animal, some people genuinely care for the earth, but these people are the free spirits. The free spirit is the bridge between the humans and the superhumans.

    As per your comment of people being unable to love themselves…I believe that Nietzsche would chalk that up to Master-Slave morality. In the sense that the slaves find the masters to be inherently evil and that anyone who values their own power is displaying traits of a master. The slave hates of the master (of course) and tries to crush the “rising master”.

    I hope this thoroughly confuses you about Nietzsche. And I would love to confuse others on Peevish Penman again.

    Thank you once again, for commenting and for reading my blog. It makes me feel like what I’m doing isn’t worthless.

    Ariel Ceylan

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