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Today's Nietzche - predatory victor and victim

Stephen Hornsby-Smith

I believe it is important to recognize Nietzche' s value to understand today's world. He was courageous, risk taking, ruthless and macho, and witheringly heartless in his condemnation of mediocrity, the banal, and all-encompassing platitudes, vacillation and all things Christian. He was uncharitable to all things that compromised the true meaning of his heroic dictatorial view of human potential, even if it assisted the well-being of the community. He had no time for wasting the greatness of his 'superman' on the benign, the predictable and the universal. he would have hated shopping Malls, supermarkets, multi-nationals as well as political 'bleeding hearts' asking for financial support. He would have championed the outrageous and the rebelliousness of Punk, but would equally have hated with a passion the 'flower power' hippy bohemianism because of its self-indulgence. Instead of harmony he wanted to assert the authentic brutality of the world, by starting a philosophical riot where nature would ditch 'losers' as an inevitable consequence of the rise of the strongest. This wasn't just Darwinism this was a war to impose his defiance against liberalism, capitalism and democracy - in effect, Darwin on steroids. He would have seen Darwin's agonizing when trying to reconcile his Christian values with Origin of Species, as pathetic and spineless - Nietzche hadn't just lost his faith he had reversed St Paul's road to Damascus moment, and set out to destroy Christianity as an impediment to true human triumph. He had 'murdered God' through logic and Grecian rationalism.

Of course his arguments were pounced- upon by his sister who won Hitler's support, but he was neither anti-Semitic nor a would he have countenanced Hitler's egotism that led to the hideous consequences of 'The final solution'. I also think Nietzche would have loathed the indiscriminate cultural destruction of the book burning rituals and a Germany so easily swayed by demagoguery, so easily succumbing to the deferential and the intellectually passive. He certainly would not have forgiven the Nazi's for the way the fortunes of Eastern Europe after the Second World War, divided and manipulated by Stalin.

However, just as Nietzche refused any sentiment, we too must also acknowledge that his radicalism was licensed to extend to a wider social dissent. It is worth noting that his Uber macht (superman) could theoretically apply to the margins of society, as well as those who had inherited rigorous but vital spirits innately capable of defiant resolution. Perhaps his intention was to separate the wheat from the chaff but could include the misunderstood even the pariahs of society who could be most to gain from self-transformation. Therefore, in theory, his appetite for success of the superior being could be more inclusive and more participatory a socially friendly and horizontal a demand than is often thought.

Influenced by Schopenhauer's despair at not being able to justify human existence as meaningful, we can glean and respect Nietzche's self-reliance and cerebral lifestyle to catapult himself into the unknown philosophically, where there were no fellow thinkers who could provide contemporary support in his quest to create a morality that wasn't dependent on 'failed' antiquated discourse as Christianity, as he saw it. But like Kierkegard, he demanded the discipline of accounting for one's life on every level. Kierkegard though seen as an existentialist today, took a Christian context in explaining one's sins in being called to account to God, but I believe Nietzche's autobiographical rejection of God and all that his clerical father' views, mitigates the contempt that some have for the gusto and bravura Nietzche had in deconstructing Christianity. Indeed, I believe that his abandonment of Faith in God led him to be uncommonly self-destructive, violent and belligerent personality, trying desperately to sustain a toweringly contradictory but nevertheless brave warrior spirit, driven to agonizing and then mood swings that took him too close to despair juxtaposed to self-opinionated manias. His dystopian rants nevertheless should persuade us to show the sort of compassion he so despised but clearly needed.

He had run-up quite a tab of unpopularity, and some would demand punishment of him like Mozart's Don Giovanni (who was sent to hell), and it is ironic that to me his ideas have subliminally infected us as well as some of his warnings to us have been authenticated, assimilated and legitimized whilst we have become domesticated and passive to our own ruin. He had sent us an email from the 19th century in despair of our fate of intellectual negligence and wastefulness. Our suffering was to become mindlessly flabby whilst science and technology would induce societal disappearance of any human dynamism. He warned us of the manipulative cynicism that we would ingest, prophesizing the overconsumption literally and metaphorically leading to the will of mankind being cast aside. His personal attack on the status quo would have required us to stand and fight those who stood in the way of human resolve in a society that is controlled, cloned and locked in a prison of virtual reality. He would have been horrified by dependency as well as the intrusion on human privacy. He would have reviled surveillance cameras, TV junkies, TV games, reality TV, and in my realm, the substitution of Painting for unoriginality of a computer programme. In short, he would have hated what has become of the democratic initial intentions of the internet, and would have called us over-indulged in a society that has become obese with choice.

In conclusion, his prophesy wasn't just his terrifyingly acute ideas that challenge any era and his fierce health warning for any philosopher tackling the dark places of the mind that ultimately destroyed him. It was more subversive than he could have imagined - we could all be mollified by sinister technological forces with a hidden agenda hidden from view, that unless we remain vigilant could be hell on earth. We could have plausible deniability in our comfortable western abundance whilst terrible villainy is going on underneath our radar. He provided us with an ultimatum, seek the will to take mastery of your fate or be consumed by a sado-masochistic world of mutual destruction.

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