Friday, June 17, 2011

Aimless Reading: The N's, Part 8 (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Nietzsche, Friedrich
The Birth of Tragedy & The Genealogy of Morals

I am not sure where I bought this. Definitely in New York, but beyond that I have no clue. I think it was during college, or soon thereafter. I never read Nietzsche as an undergraduate. It was well nigh impossible at a Jesuit university to find a philosophy class that included 'atheistic' philosophers on the reading list.

We read lots of Plato and Aristotle, some Kant and Hume and Berkeley and Descartes, but Hegel, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Wittgenstein, etc., anyone who threatened our religious view of the universe was taught very sparingly and with great skepticism, if not downright hostility.

The question that was put to us again and again was, "How can their be a moral order without a final authority?" The implicit answer was always, "There cannot be. Therefore, God. Don't bother reading the rest of that stuff, it will poison your mind and make you think abortion is ok."

from The Geneaology of Morals

We knowers are unknown to ourselves, and for a good reason: how can we ever hope to find what we have never looked for? There is a sound adage which runs: "Where a man's treasure lies, there lies his heart." Our treasure lies in the beehives of knowledge. We are perpetually on our way thither, being by nature winged insects and honey gatherers of the mind. The only thing that lies close to our heart is the desire to bring something home to the hive. As of the rest of life–so-called "experience"–who among us is serious enough for that? Or has time enough? When it comes to such matters, out heart is simply not in it.

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