Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Nietzsche in 90 Minutes (Philosophers in 90 Minutes series) by Paul Strathern (Publisher: Ivan R. Dee, 1996)

When I took Philosophy in college I had had an interest in making it my major. But I looked to the future and asked around about why one would do such a thing. The biggest answer I received was: "to make the parents mad." But since I paid for my own education (2 Bachelor degrees and one Associates, fyi), I knew the only person I would tick off was myself. Okay, actually it was Sallieae and me paying for the school and Salliemae wants her money back...so I'm still paying, but that's beside the point.

I did take a philosophy course as a requirement, and loved the idea of sitting around thinking and making profound statements. I chose to go the route of Broadcasting / Theatre / Electronics instead (crazy mix there...but it makes sense now). But I do now have time to enjoy a good read and the title of this book "Nietzsche in 90 Minutes"intrigued me. This book is part of a philosophers in 90 minutes series which provides nice information to supplement my autodiadactism.

I chose Nietzsche as my first because he was so misunderstood. He's been credited with the Nazi final solution. But in reality it was Nietzsche's sister that created the pure race Superman that the Nazis took as their goal. After his death Nietzsche's sister re-wrote some of his diaries creating the "Will to Power" publication Hitler used as propaganda. The book has been rewritten since, to create more of what Nietzsche intended.

Basically this book is a quick reference guide. Beginning with a biography the reader learns what formed the man that formed the "will to power" philosophy and later to claim "God is dead." His major concept is the will to power, which he saw as the basic impulse for all our acts. Christianity he saw as a subtle perversion of this concept—thus Nietzsche’s famous pronouncement, “God is dead.”

The book also contains a section featuring cronologies on Nietzsche's life, Nietzsche's Era and Philosophical dates, along with a section with choice quotes.

This book is a great quick reference, but not the end all on Nietzsche. So for a graduate student, hopefully you are looking at more in-depth texts, but for the curious and those seeking some interesting reference 90 minutes is not too much time to waste on understanding a philosopher.

To wrap things up here are some of my favorite Nietzsche quotes:
Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.

I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time.

Without music, life would be a mistake.

What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:08 PM Comments: 0