Nietzsche was no stranger to controversy as the start of the course rightly points out. Within the first 10 minutes we learn that the philosophies of Nietzsche was easily adapted for the Nazi’s, Nietzsche hated the Jewish religions and Christianity. At times Nietzsche was extremely nationalistic, deplored morality and through it weak for the heard mentality. Nietzsche also adored those who were strong and were honest enough to use their strength to gain power and flaunt their power.
Nietzsche felt European civilisation was dying off due to its constant belief in Christianity and felt that Europe was becoming decadent. Nietzsche wanted the new man, the “Overman” who would not only become man, but over him, this man would not do deny the meaning of the earth, but enjoy it. Nietzsche hated the pseudo talk of Christianity and felt many Christians could not live up to the ideals of Christianity anyway.
The course examines how Nietzsche fell in love with the philosophies of Arthur Schopenhauer and Søren Kierkegaard, but then Nietzsche disagreed with the conclusion of Schopenhauer’s view of “the will”, which Schopenhauer stated that the meaning of the earth is a cruel meaningless place, where our desires consume us and thus as we try to fight “this will”, it is a losing battle and the only way we could challenge “the will” would be through artistic appreciation or through contemplation, but rationally “the will” concludes absurdity and Nihilism will reign supreme. Nietzsche agreed the world was cruel, but felt that there was little wrong with this, we should celebrate it and we should affirm life. Pointless Nihilism is just a form of giving up.
By the way, Nihilism is the idea that life and rationality is so meaningless, so absurd, that life becomes pointless and we ultimately will believe in nothing, perhaps this nothing will even erode belief. We just live to eat, breed and then die.
Nietzsche also disagreed with Kierkegaard’s view of throwing ourselves into a leap of faith to religion. As pointed out earlier in this course, Nietzsche despised religion and felt religion was for the weak masses, who chain the strong so that the weak could be kept safe. Nietzsche felt religion was a lie that denied the true meaning of the earth.
The course has many voice actors narrating how Nietzsche would have talked. There is also a narration for Bertrand Russell, which I found quite funny, because Bertrand was severely dismissive of Nietzsche and his philosophy, you can listen to Bertrand’s criticism here.
We get to listen to Nietzsche’s idea of the overman, his views into morality. We also hear of Nietzsche’s criticism of how philosophy was developing, where Nietzsche felt philosophy was inventing the world, not realizing the world. The course examines and discusses Nietzsche’s friends and how he fell out with some of them. How Nietzsche felt about women and Nietzsche’s view on art, his admiration for Greek culture and then the course moves on to Nietzsche view on art.
What I have mentioned so far is on the two first tapes and there is around two or three more to go. The style of the course makes it easy for the listener to take in Nietzschian philosophy and it’s easy to listen again and again. The break music can be a bit off putting at times though. You will love the voice acting, its just as if Nietzsche was talking to you, trying to persuade you with his arguments. You will not get a lesson like this from many other courses.
Why was Nietzsche so hated by some philosophers and then only to be cherished by later philosophers?
There are a mix of reasons and I hope to at least point a few out.
- Quite a few Christians (although not all Christians) felt Nietzsche was a blasphemer, you can also imagine what the Jews think of Nietzsche.
- Nietzsche was not too fond of women and said pretty horrible things about them, including how to treat women and how he felt they lacked rationality.
- Others questioned Nietzsche ideas of morality. Stating that the results led to the destructive world wars.
- Some major philosophers dismiss Nietzsche because his philosophy did not seem to take the rigid structure philosophy can demand, some philosophers go so far to state Nietzsche as poetic, which is quite true in some regards.
- Nietzsche’s work was easily twisted for Nazi propaganda purposes, especially since Nietzsche despised Jewish religion. There is a good documentary called “Nietzsche and the Nazis” on this subject here.
- Other philosophers felt Nietzsche was too abstract and his solution to Nihilism does not make much sense.
- Some philosophers felt Nietzsche cure for Nihilism was worse than the disease.
- Nietzsche’s disapproval for democracy.
- Nietzsche’s reaffirmation of values clashes against biological values or is a poor misinterpretation of Darwinism.
- His philosophy is aimed at the few, this being the elite and perhaps the individual at the cost of the masses. The mass and perhaps downtrodden is ignored since Nietzsche despises them.
- Some felt that Nietzsche gave birth to Existentialism, although he did not claim to be an existentialist himself, some felt that religion was too stifling and we get a chance to examine how man could perceive himself in the world, even if the world turns out to be cruel.
- Some major philosophers felt that even if Nietzsche’s philosophy was not so well structured, it is still easily understandable and most influential.
- We have quite a few state that Nietzsche’s work was adapted for Nazi use by Nietzsche’s sister (Elisabeth Förster) and that the later version of Nietzsche’s work were not his main world. It is known that Nietzsche fell out with his sister because she married an anti-Semite. He also fell out with the great composer Wagner because of his anti-Semitism.
- Nietzsche would have laughed at the idea of the Germans being a great and noble culture or race. At times Nietzsche would criticise his culture as decadent. Nietzsche can easily be associated with anarchy.
- If your the elite, power hungry or even an artist, you ll love Nietzsche.
- If Nietzsche can influence literary greats like George Bernard Shaw, postmodern and existentialists philosophers (who are hard to please), feminist movements and psychologists, then something must be good. However we need to note that there is a battle to have Nietzsche as someone who recommends an idea, because he is a much sort after icon.
The thing is that “Knowledge products” is a very old course and its highly unlikely that the knowledge products site even sells the course, but many other audio sites might sell them.