Friedrich Nietzsche
Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005

Astro-Rayological Interpretation & Charts
Images and Physiognomic Interpretation

to Volume 3 Table of Contents


Friedrich Nietzsche-Philosopher: (1844-1890) October 15, 1844, Rocken, Germany, 10:00 AM, LMT. (Source: Sabian Symbols), died August 25, 1900, Weimar, Germany.

(Ascendant the last degree of Scorpio; MC, Virgo with Mars in Virgo conjunct the MC; Venus is also in Virgo, conjunct Chiron; Moon rising in Sagittarius; Mercury in Libra widely conjunct Mars; Jupiter in Pisces conjunct IC, widely conjunct Uranus in Aries; Saturn in Aquarius; Neptune in Aquarius; Pluto in Aries exactly opposed the Sun)

It can be questioned, if the Ascending degree in Scorpio is so close to Sagittarius (and the time of birth so apparently rounded off), why might the Ascendant as well not be Sagittarius. In response to this possibility, it would seem that the very evident Sagittarian energies in Nietzsche's life are well covered by the afflicted Sagittarian Moon.

Many other factors in his life, however, demand (if they are to be understood) the potent presence of Scorpio and hence, the enhancement of the power of Pluto. The birth could have been a little earlier and only a mere three minutes later (before the change into Sagittarius), but Scorpio as an Ascendant will have to be preserved if Nietzsche's character and the deeper meaning of his life are to be revealed.

Friedrich Nietzsche was the most influential German Philosopher since Kant and Hegel. He was , as well, a classical scholar, philosopher, and critic of culture who became one of the most brilliant (the stars Arcturus and Spica conjunct the Sun) and influential of all modern thinkers. His attempts to unmask the motives (the last and critical degree of Scorpio Ascending) that underlie traditional Western religion, morality, and philosophy deeply affected generations of theologians, philosophers, psychologists, poets, novelists, and playwrights.

Nietzsche was not a systematic philosopher (third ray) but rather a moralist (sixth ray) who passionately (sixth ray) rejected (first ray) Western bourgeois civilization. He regarded Christian civilization as decadent (Scorpionic sensitivity to morbidity), and in place of its "slave morality" he looked to the superman, the creator of a new heroic morality that would consciously affirm life (first ray) and its highest values. That superman would represent the highest passion (sixth ray) and creativity (fourth ray) and would live at a level of experience beyond the conventional standards of good and evil. His creative "will to power" (first ray) would set him off from "the herd" of inferior humanity. A high note of idealism and perfectionism rings through these thoughts, and a will to transcend the stultification and corruption of normal life.

Nietzsche was a brilliant and respected philologist, and taught classes in classical philology until 1879, but he longed for far greater expression. Freeing himself from his onerous academic responsibilities, he spent the next ten years in loneliness, writing his major works, including Thus Spake Zarathustra, and Twilight of the Gods. He became insane in 1889; probably due to the effects of latent syphilis, and spent the next eleven years in complete mental darkness until he died on August 25th, 1900.

According to the Tibetan, "the genius of Germany has often in the past been expressed along the line of its fourth ray soul, and through its power Germany has given much of music and philosophy to mankind." (DN 58) Nietzsche's rays are not those usually found in the foremost representatives of Western Philosophy (the third, fifth and second rays). The above quotation from The Destiny of the Nations makes it clear that philosophy can also be found upon the fourth Ray of Harmony Through Conflict, in which case it will not be especially systematic or cogently logical, but, instead, will be rooted in dialectic and conflict and will attempt to utilize the intuition to reconcile the warring opposites-or it will emphasize, in an unbalanced manner, one pole over another. Both such approaches were characteristic of Nietzsche's thought.

It is reasonable to think of Friedrich Nietzsche as possessed of a fourth ray soul, a sixth ray personality, and a first ray mind (with a strong and acute Libran Mercury {the hierarchical ruler of his Scorpio Ascendant} conjunct a Virgoan Mars adding to the sharpness of his mind), probably a sixth ray astral vehicle strongly influenced by the fourth ray, and a rather seventh ray etheric/physical vehicle.

When looking for the conduits and reinforcements for some of these important rays, we find the Scorpio Ascendant transmitting the fourth ray, and the fourth ray Moon placed in Sagittarius, which sign is also a partial conduit for the fourth ray. Mercury, a planet which powerfully transmits the fourth ray is elevated in the tenth house, and placed in Libra (a sign which, though not given as transmitting the fourth ray, has many ambivalent characteristics suggestive of the presence of this ray). In addition it is interesting to note that the proposed ephemeris for the undiscovered planet, Pan-Loki, places it in a close conjunction with the Moon. Pan is said to rule all manner of divisions. Niklas Nihlen, in his book, The Unseen Planets describes it in the following manner:

[Pan-Loki is active]-"Where there will be an identification of Cleavage, and, therefore, an urge to be made whole by the higher synthesizing aspect. The inter-relation of many energies, their fusion and their balancing, plus the final synthesis of two major energies, their fusion and their balancing."

Pan-Loki, therefore, is clearly associated with the fourth ray, and thus with all manner of cleavages, the pain of those cleavages, and their reconciliation. Further channels for the fourth ray in Nietzsche's birth chart are evident in abundance of significant oppositions-an astrological aspect associated with the contest between polarities and their possible reconciliation, fusing and blending. Pluto opposes the Sun; Uranus opposes Mercury; Jupiter opposes Mars.

Neptune, ruler of the fourth or buddhic plane should also be mentioned, for it closely trines the Sun and is placed in the third house which has so much to do with the mode in which mind perceives the world. Neptune in the fourth house enhanced the possibility of buddhic perception (when, in more ordinary cases, it does not simply lead to delusion). Nietzsche's aesthetic sensitivity (associated with the fourth ray) was furthered by this placement.

If, as hypothesized, the soul were upon the fourth ray, Mercury (the main planetary conduit for the fourth ray) would become very important. It is in the prominent tenth house and conjunct the other major ruler of Scorpio, Mars. Nietzsche was known for his powerful (Mars/Mercury), sensitive (Libra) and highly critical (Virgo) mind. By means of this mind, he pursued his vocation (H10). Thus, the two rulers of Scorpio (on three levels-exoteric, esoteric and hierarchical) are not only conjuncted, and both of them conjunct the Virgo MC-Mercury through the expediency of what is called "translation of light".

One might question, should the hierarchical ruler of the Ascendant be utilized in this instance, but for the disciple/initiate it is, in some cases, legitimate. Certainly , Nietzsche, for all his fourth ray instability, was an advanced soul, commanding the respect of some of the foremost thinkers of his age, and of decades to come. His Mercury (already important as the exoteric ruler of his Virgo MC) would be esoterically crucial in his chosen mission of seeing through cultural illusions. In Scorpio it is said: "Let Maya flourish and deception rule". The buddhic function of Mercury associated with Scorpio, dispels illusion (Maya and deception), and would thus be crucially important to the fulfillment of his deeper esoteric calling. That it was placed in the sign Libra, gives it a potent evaluative function, providing illumination through the faculty of comparison.

When considering reinforcements for Nietzsche's passionate sixth ray, we look first to the Sagittarian Moon, and then to the two planets placed in sixth ray Virgo (sixth ray Mars, and Venus-which, too, has its sixth ray component), and thence to Jupiter (a planet with some sixth ray vibrations) placed in Pisces-a sign which transmits both the sixth and second ray as does Virgo. Thus all the signs connected with the sixth ray (Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces) hold important planets . The Moon is the esoteric ruler of the MC and, thus, a veil for either Neptune or Uranus.

In some ways it seems as if both were active. The Moon's Neptune coloration would reinforce the sixth ray Sagittarian potential, making of Nietzsche a philosophical (Sagittarius) visionary (Neptune). The Uranian coloring of the Moon, justifiable because Nietzsche was an advanced soul, would add to his intellectual rebellion against conventional culture and reinforce his iconoclasm. When considering reinforcements for the first ray mind, we recognize that Mercury is conjunct critical Mars in Virgo (a sign containing the potency of first ray Vulcan). In addition, Mercury is ostensibly conjunct the undiscovered planet Morya (a potently first ray planet relating to being, Shamballa and the "Eye of God"). Further, Mercury receives a very close opposition and parallel from Uranus (a planet conveying the first ray from its monadic nature), and Uranus is placed in first ray Aries. Saturn (with its confirmed first ray component) trines Mercury from Aquarius.

As Nietzsche was certainly an initiate of some degree (probably the second), the esoteric ruler of his Libran Sun sign, Uranus, must be considered of importance. This potent Uranus, when related to his powerful Mercury, reinforces his vocation of social revolutionary. The normal ruler of the Sun sign is Venus (in Virgo), giving him an exacting refinement of taste, and conferring, to some extent, his musical abilities-for he was both a composer of songs (in early days) and an accomplished critic of fine music. Uranus, however, contributed to his role as arbiter of human values, based upon an entirely new and revolutionary perspective. Though Libra is, archetypally, the sign of peace, how could peace prevail in the presence of such dynamic, revolutionary and destructive aspects?

It was Nietzsche's role first to destroy, and then assert; many critics do only the first. The destructiveness and potential regenerative urge of his life is signaled by the powerful Scorpio Ascendant (in Scorpio's last and critical degree), and by the special ruler of Scorpio, Pluto in the first ray sign Aries, exactly (within a degree) opposed the Libran Sun. Aries is the only first ray sign in which the major planets are placed, but the two planets thus placed, Pluto and Uranus, are very significant in the chart, for, as stated, Pluto rules Scorpio, and Uranus (another partially first ray planet) is the esoteric ruler of Libra, Nietzsche's Sun sign.

If we look at these two oppositions-Pluto opposed the Sun and Uranus opposed Mercury, we can see Nietzsche's inherent attitude of rebellion. He could not be satisfied with things as they were. He was the iconoclast; the idols must be shattered, especially the "idols of the mind". The fact that his Pisces IC is esoterically and hierarchically ruled by Pluto, adds to his power to undermine the foundation (IC) of cultural vision in decline, contributing to the psychological, philosophical and theological uncertainty, anxiety and moral relativism of the modern age. This Pluto would have been active in Nietzsche's war against religious and philosophical absolutes.

If we look for the psychological roots of this rebellious criticism of conventionality, we will notice that Nietzsche's early home was a stronghold of Lutheran piety, and that his upbringing was strictly Christian. The conventional and pious side of the sign Virgo was at work. Further, Virgo rules "women" in general and the "mother" in particular. It so happens that Nietzsche, after the age of five and the death of his father, was raised exclusively in the company of five women-his mother, his sister, his maternal grandmother and two maiden aunts. Hardly the atmosphere in which to cultivate thoughts of the "superman" -except through compensation!

It should be noted that the planet of wounding, Chiron, is found in Virgo, conjunct Venus (the planet, among other things, of the feminine) again in Virgo-the sign of woman and the mother. The midpoint of these two planets (Chiron and Venus) is square to the Moon (another 'planetary' indicator of the feminine) showing the difficult relations with women characteristic of Nietzsche's life, and perhaps indicating why he should, through compensation, so much emphasize the strength of the masculine polarity and all that was Dionysian and anti-Christian (Christianity and its morality being easily interpreted as a 'soft' or feminine religion). Perhaps second ray Jupiter in the compassionate sign Pisces, conjunct the fourth house cusp of "home" indicates that Nietzsche was protected and sheltered too much by the attentive feminine element at home and longed to break free so that he could 'breathe'.

Nietzsche rebelled against the inherent asceticism of declining Christian civilization. He railed against its implicit life-denial and nihilism. In fact he was protesting against his puritanical, well-behaved upbringing. His protest was passionate and unrelenting (sixth ray personality). In fact he even managed to lose his mind to a sexually transmitted, Scorpionic disease, syphilis. Nietzsche's mastery of classical philology is reinforced by the trine between comparative Mercury in Libra and exacting Saturn in fifth ray Aquarius.

Further, his ascending degree is Scorpio is placed within the Cancerian (or backward looking) decanate. He had great respect for the glory of former civilizations and cultures which compared unfavorably with the sterility of contemporary culture. While Nietzsche may have begun his professional life as a philologist, this discipline could not forever contain the wild, creative fervor which seethed within his nature.

Breaking from this Saturnian, Mercurian discipline, he threw himself into the world of aesthetics (fourth ray) with the writing of his book The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music, in which he argued that Greek tragedy arose out of the fusion of what he termed Apollonian and Dionysian elements-the former representing measure, restraint, harmony, and the latter representing unbridled passion, -and that Socratic rationalism and optimism spelled the death of Greek tragedy. We can see him arguing here against rationalism (third and fifth rays), and for the Dionysian element (fourth and sixth rays). The final sections of this book extol Wagner and rhapsodize on the rebirth of tragedy from the spirit of Wagner's music. In this literary effort we see the blending of the aesthetic fourth ray and the passionate sixth.

Nietzsche's greatest literary contributions occurred during his years of withdrawal (1879-1889). Constant, serious ill health, semi-blindness and pain (note the many squares and oppositions in his chart), and his stultifying university work, forced him to withdraw from his teaching responsibilities, and instead, concentrate upon writing. During this time he published his philosophical and literary masterpiece, Thus Spake Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil, and the Genealogy of Morals.

It is important to note that from 1879-1881 (depending upon the accuracy of the 10:00 AM birth time), the progressed Sun had reached the last degrees of Scorpio, was crossing his late Scorpio Ascendant, and was moving into Sagittarius, during which time he offered the world his most prophetic and philosophically powerful work (prophecy and philosophy are both hallmarks of the Sagittarian energy).

The fact that the progressed Sun had come to the Ascendant and began its progress through the first house, demonstrates an alignment between the energy system of the personality and the will, light and power of the soul. Thus, these years were his most productive. As well, during the early part of this period, transiting Pluto (the reformer and regenerator--already opposing his Sun natally) was continuing to move in opposition to his progressing Sun (as, amazingly, it had since his birth) and was coming to a conjunction of the seventh house cusp. His destructive, regenerative influence on society (H7) would be at its greatest. We see that Nietzsche was, as it were, hunted by Pluto, one of his major ruling planets, so that the urge to destroy and resurrect never left him. He worked ever, its seems, under the "Shadow of Death".

The year 1888 was Nietzsche's final lucid year and witnessed a great outpouring (Jupiter) of his creative power. He wrote: The Case of Wagner; The Twilight of the Idols; The Anti-Christ; Nietzsche Against Wagner; and Ecce Homo. The main astrological correlation is transiting Jupiter crossing the Ascendant, entering Sagittarius (its own sign) and crossing the stellium of planets, asteroids and points to be found in the first house of Nietzsche's chart-either natally or by progression. These planets included his natal Moon and progressed Sun and Mercury. After this brilliant period, insanity, apparently caused by syphilis, descended. The exact diagnosis was "atypical general paralysis caused by dormant tertiary syphilis".

In January of 1889, Nietzsche collapsed in the streets of Turin. His chart shows transiting Uranus conjunct his natal Sun in Libra and opposing natal Pluto in Aries. Further, the Uranus transit was stationary and thus more powerful. Neptune (paralysis and insanity) was transiting conjunct his Descendent and in the same degree. During the next eleven or so years Nietzsche lived in a vegetative state in complete mental darkness, cared for variously by asylums, his mother and his sister. Among the diseases to which the various ray types are prone, fourth ray types can be the victims of insanities. (EH 51)

An analysis of Nietzsche's work shows it falling into three stages. The first stage was characterized by a romantic perspective influenced by Schopenhaur and Wagner. Chart reinforcements for this period consist of the impulsive Sagittarian Moon widely trine natal Uranus in Aries, and the close trine between romantic Neptune (in the third house of mental perception) to the natal Libran Sun. This period saw the creation of such works as The Birth of Tragedy and Untimely Meditations.

The second or middle period extols reason and science and reflects Nietzsche's emancipation from Romanticism. His works such as Human, All Too Human and The Gay Science are written somewhat in the style of the French Aphorists. Astrological reinforcements for this period emphasize Venus and Mars in Virgo and reasonable Mercury in a sign of rational consideration, Libra.

In his mature writings, Nietzsche was fundamentally interested in the origin and function of values. Here we see, especially, the importance of his Libran Sun, ruled by Venus in Virgo (a position of refinement), and his Mercury in Libra. Venus is the planet of values and Libra is the sign of evaluation and assessment.

That he was sharply critical of the values of Western Civilization may be laid to the power of Mars, the exoteric and esoteric ruler of his Scorpio Ascendant in the critical sign Virgo, conjunct Mercury, the exoteric ruler of Virgo, and in the very visible 10th house. The destructive power of Pluto, the 'destroyer", certainly adds to the potency of his criticism. Nietzsche's greatest critiques were leveled against asceticism and "slave morality".

He had no use for what we call the Christian virtues, and viewed them as a conspiracy by the weak (the slaves) against those who were naturally and rightfully powerful and masterful. In these thoughts we sense that Nietzsche is encouraging the rebellion of man's instinctual, subterranean, Dionysian forces against the unitive, solar forces. Scorpio and Pluto are asserting themselves.

For Nietzsche, religious and philosophical absolutes (rooted in the ascetic world view) had dissolved. Though his personal life (lived strongly under the influence of Virgo, and much conditioned by the piety of those who raised him), was ascetic and largely abstracted from the expression of root instincts, in his writings he championed the opposite-competition, pride and autonomy-the unleashing of the natural strength of the individual, unfettered by the restrictions of the "slave morality" of the weak. One does not have to think too deeply to realize that Nietzsche was rebelling against the barely acknowledged perception of his own weakness.

Nietzsche was the victim of a subtle existential despair and viewed life as essentially and intrinsically meaningless-though not without value. Ordinary human beings invested circumstance with meaning because they (in their weakened moral and intellectual condition) could not tolerate the truth of a fundamental meaninglessness. From these views arose Nietzsche's famous (and much misunderstood) dictum, "God is Dead". For Nietzsche, religious and philosophical absolutes were dead, but there were truer values in need of passionate assertion.

Nietzsche attempted to replace nihilistic meaninglessness with several key concepts: perspectivism, eternal recurrence, the will to power and the superman. Perspectivism is a concept which holds that knowledge is always perspectival, that there are no immaculate perceptions, and that knowledge from no point of view is as incoherent a notion as seeing from no particular vantage point. One can relate this notion to two astrological factors-Sun and Mercury in Libra (a sign which evaluates from a given point of view), and the Sagittarian Moon, ever inclining towards the attainment of a vision. These are two signs much associated with the sense of perspective in both art and life. Libra (the sign of relationship) is necessarily associated with relativism. Things are evaluated depending upon one's vantage point.

According to perspectivism, there is no all-inclusive perspective, which could contain all others and, hence, make reality available as it is in itself. If there is no omnipresent point of view (such as 'God' has been presumed to possess), the determination of reality becomes the task of the perspectivally-limited individual-the tiny human being asserting the value of his own perspectives. A great demand and burden fall upon the human consciousness. It would appear that this philosophy also grew out of a compensation for weakness, and a desire to prove one's own potency, rather than attribute omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence to an absolute deity.

The concept of the "will to power" runs counter to the ascetic ideal implicit in Western Civilization. This concept grows, to a degree, out of the Nietzsche's first ray qualities, and is rooted especially in the Pluto/Sun opposition. Nietzsche believed, "all the supreme values of mankind lack this will-[and] that values which are symptomatic of decline, nihilistic values, are lording it under the holiest names." Here again, it would seem that Nietzsche is doing battle with his own sense of personal impotence (the vulnerability of the fourth and sixth rays).

Nietzsche, who for so many years of his life, was subject to physical and psychological pain and suffering, repudiated the ascetic ideal of Western Civilization which he believed endorses existence as pain and suffering. Nietzsche, a man in whom the feminine virtues were pronounced (Libra planets and its ruler, Venus in Virgo) longed for a life of greater authority, dynamism and masculinity. Thus, he despised the apparent weakness of the Christian World View which demands the suppression of individual power and substitutes in its place, self-effacement for the sake of love, unity and harmonious human relations.

The concept of "eternal recurrence" is a distortion of the "Law of Periodicity" (an immeasurably more optimistic world view). The one who accepts the perspective of eternal recurrence believes that there will be, forever, an infinite repetition, without alteration, of each and every moment one lives. This concept is more than depressing, and Nietzsche on more than one occasion was nearly driven mad by its contemplation. Eternal recurrence is the worst kind of fatalism. It is born of a deep feeling of helplessness rooted in rigid determinism. Presumably, even one's best and most heroic present efforts are but exact repetitions of an infinitude of identical efforts which have preceded them and which will follow.

This is a philosophy of despair and impotence, and it is difficult to understand how it could have lodged so fixedly in Nietzsche's psyche-except that he loved tragedy. The lot of mankind under the doctrine of eternal recurrence was certainly, for the vast majority (including Nietzsche) tragic. According to Nietzsche, the only kind of person who would be strong enough to accept recurrence without self-deception or evasion would be a superhuman being (Übermensch), a superman, whose distance from the ordinary man is greater than the distance between man and ape.

Nietzsche was a brilliant, aesthetically gifted philosopher and acutely sensitive human being-whose life was a torture (fourth ray and sixth ray), both psychologically and physically. For students of the Ageless Wisdom, accustomed to considering discipleship and the life of the initiate in terms of the behavior common to certain rays (the first and second for instance), it may be difficult to recognize an advanced soul upon the fourth ray. The familiar characteristics may not present themselves, and much of negativity may obscure the soul qualities being expressed.

What could the soul be seeking to express in such a brilliant, posthumously influential and tortured life? Nietzsche was a great evaluator and critic of the illusions in which human society is immersed. Speaking in terms of the Ageless Wisdom, he longed for buddhic life beyond mind, for a life of potent and sublime experiences, untrammeled by the strictures imposed by pettiness and small-mindedness. He longed for some transcendent harmony beyond the sordidness and stupidity of the conventional life which confronted him. Thus, it was his task to evaluate, critique and pierce through the many illusions which prevented this higher, greater life, and then to destroy those illusions. Here we see the full spiritual power of the late Scorpio Ascendant and (ever-present) Pluto.

On some deep level, Nietzsche was an advocate of the life aspect-the first aspect of divinity, and its expression. Certainly he displayed the first ray (through aspects of his mind and, to an extent, through his isolative personality), but it would be hard to conceive of him as a first ray soul. What the quality of the monadic ray may be is difficult to determine, but the "will to power" (expressing itself through a sensitive energy system wracked with conflict) has to originate somewhere.

One might suggest this "will to power" was only compensation for real and perceived personal insufficiencies-for severely curtailed physical and emotional expression. Indeed, in Nietzsche's life there were many compensations, but the power and beauty of Nietzsche's writings (he was considered one of the great masters of German prose) might have a still deeper source. Perhaps it was his great frustration to be in touch with that tremendous, liberating spirit-potency and yet be unable to actualized it through his rather delicate personality instrument.

It might be said of Friedrich Nietzsche that he was born posthumously. He, himself, said that this was the fate of some important individuals. Great recognition came to him after his death, and he influenced a wide range of distinguished thinkers-philosophers, psychologists and theologians-all deeply indebted to his thought. Perhaps, after all, he was a true humanist (like so many notable German thinkers, a fourth ray soul). Perhaps his task was to remove an oppressive cultural emphasis upon "God-transcendent" and restore man's faith in "God-immanent"-the power of the divine within, and thus man's faith in himself.

It seems Nietzsche was a visionary, striving towards a state of consciousness which he was never entirely able to achieve. In this respect, it could be said that he failed in personal application. This failure may mean that he did not achieve the relative stability, illumination and deeply-seated joy characteristic of the third degree, but one must be careful not to judge too hastily the quality of the unrevealed interior states of exalted thinkers. Whatever may have been his initiatory status, his profound influence upon twentieth century thought (both for good and for ill) mark him out as a remarkable (if volatile) disciple, pointing the way to what he and others must one day become-real "supermen".

Do the Masters of the Wisdom demand of us any less?


A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.

A great value of antiquity lies in the fact that its writings are the only ones that modern men still read with exactness.

A pair of powerful spectacles has sometimes sufficed to cure a person in love.

A subject for a great poet would be God's boredom after the seventh day of creation.

A woman may very well form a friendship with a man, but for this to endure, it must be assisted by a little physical antipathy.

After coming into contact with a religious man I always feel I must wash my hands.

Ah, women. They make the highs higher and the lows more frequent.

All credibility, all good conscience, all evidence of truth come only from the senses.
(Moon in Sagittarius conjunct North Node. Mars conjunct MC.)

All of life is a dispute over taste and tasting.
(Sun in Libra)

All sciences are now under the obligation to prepare the ground for the future task of the philosopher, which is to solve the problem of value, to determine the true hierarchy of values.
(Saturn in 2nd house square Sun)

All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.
(Scorpio Ascendant. Pluto opposition Sun.)

All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.

All truth is simple... is that not doubly a lie?

Although the most acute judges of the witches and even the witches themselves, were convinced of the guilt of witchery, the guilt nevertheless was non-existent. It is thus with all guilt.

An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris.

And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.
(Libra Sun. Moon in Sagittarius.)

Arrogance on the part of the meritorious is even more offensive to us than the arrogance of those without merit: for merit itself is offensive.

Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest.

Art is the proper task of life.

Art raises its head where creeds relax.
(Venus in 9th house)

At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time.

At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid.
(Scorpio Ascendant)

Believe me! The secret of reaping the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerously!
(Sagittarian Moon. Mars conjunct MC opposition Uranus in Aries.)

Blessed are the forgetful: for they get the better even of their blunders.

Character is determined more by the lack of certain experiences than by those one has had.

Christianity gave Eros poison to drink; he did not die of it but degenerated into vice.

Convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies.

Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!

Does wisdom perhaps appear on the earth as a raven which is inspired by the smell of carrion?

Egoism is the very essence of a noble soul.

'Evil men have no songs.' How is it that the Russians have songs?

Existence really is an imperfect tense that never becomes a present.

Experience, as a desire for experience, does not come off. We must not study ourselves while having an experience.

Extreme positions are not succeeded by moderate ones, but by contrary extreme positions.
(Libra Sun)

Faith: not wanting to know what is true.
(Mars conjunct Mercury)

Fanatics are picturesque, mankind would rather see gestures than listen to reasons.

Fear is the mother of morality.

For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.

For the woman, the man is a means: the end is always the child.

God is a thought who makes crooked all that is straight.

Great indebtedness does not make men grateful, but vengeful; and if a little charity is not forgotten, it turns into a gnawing worm.

He that humbleth himself wishes to be exalted.

He who cannot give anything away cannot feel anything either.

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves?

He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how.

He who laughs best today, will also laugh last.

He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.

Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.

I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage.
(Scorpio Ascendant)

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

I do not know what the spirit of a philosopher could more wish to be than a good dancer. For the dance is his ideal, also his fine art, finally also the only kind of piety he knows, his "divine service."

I love those who do not know how to live for today.

I wish to be at any time hereafter only a yea-sayer!

I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance.

Idleness is the parent of psychology.

If a woman possesses manly virtues one should run away from her; and if she does not possess them she runs away from herself.

If there is something to pardon in everything, there is also something to condemn.

If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point.

In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.

In heaven, all the interesting people are missing.

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
(Sun in 11th house)

In large states public education will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad.

In music the passions enjoy themselves.

In the consciousness of the truth he has perceived, man now sees everywhere only the awfulness or the absurdity of existence and loathing seizes him.

Is life not a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves?

Is man one of God's blunders? Or is God one of man's blunders?

It is always consoling to think of suicide: in that way one gets through many a bad night.

It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!

It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.
(Mercury in Libra conjunct Mars)

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.

It says nothing against the ripeness of a spirit that it has a few worms.

Judgments, value judgments concerning life, for or against, can in the last resort never be true: they possess value only as symptoms, they come into consideration only as symptoms - in themselves such judgments are stupidities.

Let us beware of saying that death is the opposite of life. The living being is only a species of the dead, and a very rare species.

Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.

Love matches, so called, have illusion for their father and need for their mother.

Many a man fails as an original thinker simply because his memory is too good.

Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.

Morality is the herd-instinct in the individual.

Necessity is not an established fact, but an interpretation.

No one lies so boldly as the man who is indignant.

Not by wrath does one kill, but by laughter.

Not necessity, not desire - no, the love of power is the demon of men. Let them have everything - health, food, a place to live, entertainment - they are and remain unhappy and low-spirited: for the demon waits and waits and will be satisfied.

Not when truth is dirty, but when it is shallow, does the enlightened man dislike to wade into its waters.

Nothing has been purchased more dearly than the little bit of reason and sense of freedom which now constitutes our pride.

Nothing is beautiful, only man: on this piece of naivete rests all aesthetics, it is the first truth of aesthetics. Let us immediately add its second: nothing is ugly but degenerate man - the domain of aesthetic judgment is therewith defined.

Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood.
(Mercury conjunct Mars)

On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.

Once spirit was God, then it became man, and now it is even becoming mob.

One has to pay dearly for immortality; one has to die several times while one is still alive.

One may sometimes tell a lie, but the grimace that accompanies it tells the truth.

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.

One often contradicts an opinion when what is uncongenial is really the tone in which it was conveyed.

One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly.

Only sick music makes money today.

Our treasure lies in the beehive of our knowledge. We are perpetually on the way thither, being by nature winged insects and honey gatherers of the mind.
(Venus in 9th house)

Out of damp and gloomy days, out of solitude, out of loveless words directed at us, conclusions grow up in us like fungus: one morning they are there, we know not how, and they gaze upon us, morose and gray. Woe to the thinker who is not the gardener but only the soil of the plants that grow in him.

People who have given us their complete confidence believe that they have a right to ours. The inference is false, a gift confers no rights.

Perhaps I know best why it is man alone who laughs; he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter.

Plato was a bore.

Precisely the least, the softest, lightest, a lizard's rustling, a breath, a flash, a moment - a little makes the way of the best happiness.

Shared joys make a friend, not shared sufferings.

Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake one must stay awake all day.

Success has always been a great liar.
(Scorpio Ascendant)

Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.

The "kingdom of Heaven" is a condition of the heart - not something that comes "upon the earth" or "after death."

The aphorism in which I am the first master among Germans, are the forms of "eternity"; my ambition is to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a book - what everyone else does not say in a book.

The best weapon against an enemy is another enemy.

The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.

The doer alone learneth.

The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.

The future influences the present just as much as the past.

The growth of wisdom may be gauged exactly by the diminution of ill temper.

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it.

The lie is a condition of life.

The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.

The most common lie is that which one lies to himself; lying to others is relatively an exception.

The most spiritual human beings, assuming they are the most courageous, also experience by far the most painful tragedies: but it is precisely for this reason that they honor life, because it brings against them its most formidable weapons.

The newspaper reader says: this party will ruin itself if it makes errors like this. My higher politics says: a party which makes errors like this is already finished - it is no longer secure in its instincts.

The press, the machine, the railway, the telegraph are premises whose thousand-year conclusion no one has yet dared to draw.

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

The true man wants two things: danger and play. For that reason he wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything.

The word "Christianity" is already a misunderstanding - in reality there has been only one Christian, and he died on the Cross.

There are no eternal facts, as there are no absolute truths.

There are no facts, only interpretations.

There cannot be a God because if there were one, I could not believe that I was not He.

There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.

There is in general good reason to suppose that in several respects the gods could all benefit from instruction by us human beings. We humans are - more humane.

There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.
(Moon in Sagittarius)

This is the hardest of all: to close the open hand out of love, and keep modest as a giver.

Thoughts are the shadows of our sensations - always darker, emptier, simpler than these.

To exercise power costs effort and demands courage. That is why so many fail to assert rights to which they are perfectly entitled - because a right is a kind of power but they are too lazy or too cowardly to exercise it. The virtues which cloak these faults are called patience and forbearance.

To forget one's purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.

To use the same words is not a sufficient guarantee of understanding; one must use the same words for the same genus of inward experience; ultimately one must have one's experiences in common.

Two great European narcotics, alcohol and Christianity.

Undeserved praise causes more pangs of conscience later than undeserved blame, but probably only for this reason, that our power of judgment are more completely exposed by being over praised than by being unjustly underestimated.

War has always been the grand sagacity of every spirit which has grown too inward and too profound; its curative power lies even in the wounds one receives.

We have art in order not to die of the truth.

We love life, not because we are used to living but because we are used to loving.

We must be physicists in order to be creative since so far codes of values and ideals have been constructed in ignorance of physics or even in contradiction to physics.

What is good? All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man.

What someone is, begins to be revealed when his talent abates, when he stops showing us what he can do.

What then in the last resort are the truths of mankind? They are the irrefutable errors of mankind.

When a hundred men stand together, each of them loses his mind and gets another one.

When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.

When one does away with oneself one does the most estimable thing possible: one thereby almost deserves to live.

When one has a great deal to put into it a day has a hundred pockets.

When one has finished building one's house, one suddenly realizes that in the process one has learned something that one really needed to know in the worst way - before one began.

When one has not had a good father, one must create one.

Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called 'Ego'.

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Wit is the epitaph of an emotion.

Without music, life would be a mistake.

Woman was God's second mistake.

Women are considered deep - why? Because one can never discover any bottom to them. Women are not even shallow.

Women can form a friendship with a man very well; but to preserve it - to that end a slight physical antipathy must probably help.

You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.



Name: Friedrich Nietzsche
Birth: October 15, 1844 (Röcken bei Lützen, Prussian Saxony)
Death: August 25, 1900 (Weimar, Germany)
School/tradition: Continental philosophy, Weimar Classicism; Precursor to Existentialism, Postmodernism, Poststructuralism, Psychoanalysis
Main interests: Aesthetics, Ethics, Ontology, Philosophy of history, Psychology, Value theory
Notable ideas: Apollonian and Dionysian, Death of God, Eternal Recurrence, Herd instinct, Master-Slave Morality, Übermensch, Perspectivism, Will to Power
Influences: Dostoevsky, Emerson, Goethe, Heine, Heraclitus, Kant, Plato, Schiller, Schopenhauer, Stirner, Burckhardt, Wagner
Influenced: Bataille, Camus, Deleuze, Derrida, Foucault, Heidegger, Iqbal, Jaspers, Jung, Rand, Rilke, Sartre, and more
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) (IPA: ['f?i?t??ç 'ni?t??]) was a Prussian-born philosopher. He began his academic career as a philologist and produced critiques of religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy, and science. Nietzsche's works are notable for their style, tending to be more aphoristic and paradoxical than was standard in philosophic treatises. Nietzsche was largely overlooked by his contemporaries during his life, but he received recognition during the first half of the 20th century in German, French, and British intellectual circles. He gained notoriety when the German Nazi Party appropriated him as a forebear, despite Nietzsche's professed opposition to antisemitism and German nationalism. After World War II, Walter Kaufmann embarked on a sustained effort to rehabilitate Nietzsche's reputation in the English-speaking world, and by the second half of the 20th century Nietzsche came to be regarded as a highly significant and influential figure in modern philosophy. Directly and mediately (through Martin Heidegger), Nietzsche influenced existentialism, postmodernism, psychoanalysis, and most subsequent thought.

NietzscheBorn on October 15, 1844, and christened as "Friedrich Wilhelm", Nietzsche lived in the small town of Röcken, near Leipzig, in the Prussian province of Saxony. His name comes from King Frederick William IV of Prussia, who turned 49 on the day of Nietzsche's birth. (Nietzsche later dropped his given middle name, "Wilhelm".[1]) Nietzsche's parents, Carl Ludwig (1813–1849), a Lutheran pastor and former teacher, and Franziska Oehler (1826–1897), married in 1843. His sister, Elisabeth, was born in 1846, followed by a brother, Ludwig Joseph, in 1848. Nietzsche's father died from a brain ailment in 1849; his younger brother died in 1850. The family then moved to Naumburg, where they lived with Nietzsche's paternal grandmother and his father's two unmarried sisters. After the death of Nietzsche's grandmother in 1856 the family moved into their own house.

, 1861.During this time the young Nietzsche attended a boys' school and later a private school, where he became friends with Gustav Krug and Wilhelm Pinder, both of whom came from respected families. In 1854 he began to attend the Domgymnasium in Naumburg, but after he showed particular talents in music and language, the internationally-recognized Schulpforta admitted him as a pupil, and there he continued his studies from 1858 to 1864. Here he became friends with Paul Deussen and Carl von Gersdorff. He also found time to work on poems and musical compositions. At Schulpforta, Nietzsche received an important introduction to literature, particularly that of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and for the first time experienced a distance from his family life in a small-town Christian environment.

After graduation in 1864, Nietzsche commenced studies in theology and classical philology at the University of Bonn. For a short time he and Deussen became members of the Burschenschaft Frankonia. After one semester (and to the anger of his mother) he stopped his theological studies and lost his faith.[2] This may have happened in part due to his reading about this time of David Strauss's Life of Jesus, which had a profound effect on the young Nietzsche.[3] Nietzsche then concentrated on studying philology under Professor Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl, whom he followed to the University of Leipzig the next year. There, he became close friends with fellow-student Erwin Rohde. Nietzsche's first philological publications appeared soon after.

, 1868.In 1865, Nietzsche became acquainted with the work of Arthur Schopenhauer, and he read Friedrich Albert Lange's Geschichte des Materialismus in 1866. He found both of these encounters stimulating: they encouraged him to expand his horizons beyond philology and to continue his schooling. In 1867, Nietzsche signed up for one year of voluntary service with the Prussian artillery division in Naumburg. However, a bad riding-accident in March 1868 left him unfit for service. Consequently Nietzsche turned his attention to his studies again, completing them and first meeting with Richard Wagner later that year.

Professor at Basel (1869–1879)

Mid October, 1871. Left to right: Erwin Rohde, Carl von Gersdorff and Friedrich Nietzsche.Due in part to Ritschl's support, Nietzsche received a generous offer to become professor of classical philology at the University of Basel before having completed his doctorate degree or certificate for teaching. After moving to Basel, Nietzsche renounced his Prussian citizenship: for the rest of his life he remained officially stateless. Nevertheless, he served on the Prussian side during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 to 1871 as a medical orderly. In his short time in the military he experienced much, and witnessed the traumatic effects of battle. He also contracted diphtheria and dysentery. On returning to Basel in 1870, Nietzsche observed the establishment of the German Empire and the following era of Otto von Bismarck as an outsider and with a degree of skepticism regarding its genuineness. At the University, he delivered his inaugural lecture, "Homer and Classical Philology". Nietzsche also met Franz Overbeck, a professor of theology, who remained his friend throughout his life. Afrikan Spir, [4] a little-known Russian philosopher and author of Thought and Reality (1873), and his colleague the historian Jacob Burckhardt, whose lectures Nietzsche frequently attended, began to exercise significant influence on Nietzsche during this time.

Nietzsche had already met Richard Wagner in Leipzig in 1868, and (some time later) Wagner's wife Cosima. Nietzsche admired both greatly, and during his time at Basel frequently visited Wagner's house in Tribschen in the Canton of Lucerne. The Wagners brought Nietzsche into their most intimate circle, and enjoyed the attention he gave to the beginning of the Bayreuth Festival Theatre. In 1870, he gave Cosima Wagner the manuscript of 'The Genesis of the Tragic Idea' as a birthday gift. In 1872, Nietzsche published his first book, The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music. However, his classical philological colleagues, including Ritschl, expressed little enthusiasm for the work, in which Nietzsche forewent a precise philological method to employ a style of philosophical speculation. In a polemic, Philology of the Future, Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff dampened the book's reception and increased its notoriety. In response, Rohde (by now a professor in Kiel) and Wagner came to Nietzsche's defense. Nietzsche remarked freely about the isolation he felt within the philological community and attempted to attain a position in philosophy at Basel, though unsuccessfully.

in Basel, ca. 1875.Between 1873 and 1876, Nietzsche published separately four long essays: David Strauss: the Confessor and the Writer, On the Use and Abuse of History for Life, Schopenhauer as Educator, and Richard Wagner in Bayreuth. (These four later appeared in a collected edition under the title, Untimely Meditations.) The four essays shared the orientation of a cultural critique, challenging the developing German culture along lines suggested by Schopenhauer and Wagner. Starting in 1873, Nietzsche also accumulated the notes later posthumously published as Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks. During this time, in the circle of the Wagners, Nietzsche met Malwida von Meysenbug and Hans von Bülow, and also began a friendship with Paul Rée, who in 1876 imminently influenced him in dismissing the pessimism in his early writings. However, his disappointment with the Bayreuth Festival of 1876, where the banality of the shows and the baseness of the public repelled him, caused him in the end to distance himself from Wagner.

With the publication of Human, All Too Human in 1878, a book of aphorisms on subjects ranging from metaphysics to morality and from religion to the sexes, Nietzsche's departure from the philosophy of Wagner and Schopenhauer became evident. Nietzsche's friendship with Deussen and Rohde cooled as well. Nietzsche in this time attempted to find a wife — to no avail. In 1879, after a significant decline in health, Nietzsche had to resign his position at Basel. (Since his childhood, various disruptive illnesses had plagued him — moments of shortsightedness practically to the degree of blindness, migraine headaches, and violent stomach attacks. The 1868 riding accident and diseases in 1870 may have aggravated these persistent conditions, which continued to affect him through his years at Basel, forcing him to take longer and longer holidays until regular work became no longer practical.)

Independent philosopher (1879–1888)
Because his illness drove him to find more compatible climates, Nietzsche traveled frequently, and lived until 1889 as an independent author in different cities. He spent many summers in Sils Maria, near St. Moritz in Switzerland, and many winters in the Italian cities of Genoa, Rapallo, and Turin, and in the French city of Nice. He occasionally returned to Naumburg to visit his family, and especially during this time, he and his sister had repeated periods of conflict and reconciliation. He lived on his pension from Basel, but also received aid from friends. A past student of his, Peter Gast (born Heinrich Köselitz), became a sort of private secretary to Nietzsche. To the end of his life, Gast and Overbeck remained consistently faithful friends. Malwida von Meysenbug remained like a motherly patron even outside the Wagner circle. Soon Nietzsche made contact with the music critic Carl Fuchs. Nietzsche stood at the beginning of his most productive period. Beginning with Human, All Too Human in 1878, Nietzsche would publish one book (or major section of a book) each year until 1888, his last year of writing, during which he completed five.

Lou Salomé, Paul Rée and Nietzsche, 1882.In 1882 Nietzsche published the first part of The Gay Science. That year he also met Lou Salomé through Malwida von Meysenbug and Paul Rée. Nietzsche and Salomé spent the summer together in Tautenburg in Thuringia, often with Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth as chaperon. However, Nietzsche regarded Salomé less as an equal partner than as a gifted student. He fell in love with her and pursued her despite their mutual friend Rée. When he asked to marry her, Salomé refused. Nietzsche's relationship with Rée and Salomé broke up in the winter of 1882/1883, partially due to intrigues conducted by his sister Elisabeth. In the face of renewed fits of illness, in near isolation after a falling-out with his mother and sister regarding Salomé, and plagued by suicidal thoughts, Nietzsche fled to Rapallo, where he wrote the first part of Thus Spoke Zarathustra in only ten days.

After severing philosophical ties to Schopenhauer and social ties to Wagner, Nietzsche had few remaining friends. Now, with the new style of Zarathustra, his work became even more alienating and it was received only to the degree required by politeness. Nietzsche recognized this and maintained his solitude, even though he often complained about it. His books were as good as unsold. In 1885, he printed only 40 copies of the fourth part of Zarathustra, and only a fraction of these were distributed among close friends.

In 1886 Nietzsche printed Beyond Good and Evil at his own expense. With this book and with the appearance in 1886–1887 of second editions of his earlier works (The Birth of Tragedy, Human, All Too Human, Daybreak, and The Gay Science), he saw his work completed for the time and hoped that soon a readership would develop. In fact, interest in Nietzsche's thought did increase at this time, even if rather slowly and hardly perceived by him. During these years Nietzsche met Meta von Salis, Carl Spitteler, and also Gottfried Keller. In 1886, his sister Elisabeth married the anti-Semite Bernhard Förster and traveled to Paraguay to found Nueva Germania, a "Germanic" colony, a plan to which Nietzsche responded with laughter. Through correspondence, Nietzsche's relationship with Elisabeth continued on the path of conflict and reconciliation, but she would meet again only after his collapse. He continued to have frequent and painful attacks of illness, which made prolonged work impossible. In 1887, Nietzsche quickly wrote the polemic On the Genealogy of Morals.

During this year Nietzsche encountered Fyodor Dostoevsky's work, which he quickly appropriated.[5] He also exchanged letters with Hippolyte Taine, and then also with Georg Brandes. Brandes, who had started to teach the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard in the 1870s, wrote to Nietzsche asking him to read Kierkegaard, to which Nietzsche replied that he would come to Copenhagen and read Kierkegaard with him. However, before he was able to, he slipped too far into sickness and madness. In the beginning of 1888, in Copenhagen, Brandes delivered one of the first lectures on Nietzsche's philosophy.

In the same year, Nietzsche wrote five books, based on his voluminous notes for the long-planned work, The Will to Power. His health seemed to improve, and he spent the summer in high spirits. In the fall of 1888 his writings and letters began to reveal a higher estimation of his own status and 'fate'. He overestimated the increasing response to his writings, above all, for the recent polemic, The Case of Wagner. On his 44th birthday, after completing The Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist, he decided to write the autobiography Ecce Homo, which presents itself to his readers in order that they "[h]ear me! For I am such and such a person. Above all, do not mistake me for someone else." (Preface, sec. 1, tr. Walter Kaufmann) In December, Nietzsche began a correspondence with August Strindberg, and thought that, short of an international breakthrough, he would attempt to buy back his older writings from the publisher and have them translated into other European languages. Moreover, he planned the publication of the compilation Nietzsche Contra Wagner and of the poems Dionysian Dithyrambs.

Mental breakdown and death (1889–1900)
On January 3, 1889, Nietzsche had a mental collapse. Two policemen approached him after he caused a public disturbance in the streets of Turin. What actually happened remains unknown. The often-repeated tale states that Nietzsche witnessed the whipping of a horse at the other end of the Piazza Carlo Alberto, ran to the horse, threw his arms up around the horse’s neck to protect it, and collapsed to the ground. The first dream-sequence from Dostoyevski's Crime and Punishment has just such a scene in which Raskolnikov witnesses the whipping of a horse around the eyes (Part 1, Chapter 5). (Incidentally, Nietzsche called Dostoyevsky "[t]he only psychologist from whom I have anything to learn."(Twilight of the Idols, Friedrich Nietzsche, 1889, §45).)

In the following few days, he sent short writings to a number of friends (including Cosima Wagner and Jacob Burckhardt), which may indicate potential signs of a breakdown. To his former colleague Burckhardt he wrote: "I have had Caiaphas put in fetters. Also, last year I was crucified by the German doctors in a very drawn-out manner. Wilhelm, Bismarck, and all anti-Semites abolished."[6]

On January 6, 1889, Burckhardt showed the letter he had received from Nietzsche to Overbeck. The following day Overbeck received a similarly revealing letter, and decided that Nietzsche's friends had to bring him back to Basel. Overbeck travelled to Turin and brought Nietzsche to a psychiatric clinic in Basel. By that time, Nietzsche appeared fully in the grip of insanity, and his mother Franziska decided to transfer him to a clinic in Jena under the direction of Otto Binswanger. From November 1889 to February 1890, Julius Langbehn attempted to cure Nietzsche, claiming that the doctors' methods were ineffective to cure Nietzsche's condition. Langbehn assumed progressively greater control of Nietzsche until his secrecy discredited him. In March 1890 Franziska removed Nietzsche from the clinic, and in May 1890 brought him to her home in Naumburg. During this process, Overbeck and Gast contemplated what to do with Nietzsche's unpublished works. In January 1889 they proceeded with the planned release of The Twilight of the Idols, by that time already printed and bound. In February, they ordered a 50-copy private edition of Nietzsche contra Wagner, but the publisher C. G. Naumann secretly printed 100. Overbeck and Gast decided to withhold publishing The Antichrist and Ecce Homo due to their more radical content. Nietzsche's reception and recognition enjoyed their first surge.

A photo by Hans Olde from the photographic series "The Ill Nietzsche", Summer of 1899In 1893 Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth returned from Nueva Germania (Paraguay) after the suicide of her husband. She read and studied Nietzsche's works, and piece by piece took control of them and of their publication. Overbeck eventually suffered dismissal, and Gast finally co-operated. After the death of Franziska in 1897 Nietzsche lived in Weimar, where Elisabeth cared for him and allowed people, including Rudolf Steiner, to visit her uncommunicative brother.

Early commentators frequently diagnosed a syphilitic infection as the cause of the breakdown; however, some of Nietzsche's symptoms seem inconsistent with typical cases of syphilis. Some have diagnosed a form of brain cancer, possibly inherited from his father. While most commentators regard Nietzsche's breakdown as unrelated to his philosophy, some, including Georges Bataille and René Girard, argue for considering his breakdown as a symptom of a psychological maladjustment brought on by his philosophy.

On August 25, 1900 Nietzsche died after contracting pneumonia. At the wish of Elisabeth, he was buried beside his father at the church in Röcken. His friend, Gast, gave his funeral oration, proclaiming: "Holy be your name to all future generations!" [7] (Note that Nietzsche had pointed out in Ecce Homo how he did not wish to be called "holy".)

Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche compiled The Will to Power from notes he had written; and published it posthumously. Since his sister arranged the book, the general consensus holds that it does not reflect Nietzsche's intent, especially because Nietzsche opposed Elisabeth's marriage to an anti-Semite. Indeed, Mazzino Montinari, the editor of Nietzsche's Nachlass, called it a forgery. The content of The Will to Power has given rise to accusations that Nietzsche shared views similar to those of the Nazis.

Key concepts
Main article: Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche
, 1882Of the major philosophers, Nietzsche's work has generated possibly the least consensus among interpreters. Key concepts are readily identifiable, but the meaning of each, let alone the relative significance of each, is hotly contested. Nietzsche famously claimed that God is dead, and this death either results in radical perspectivism or compels one to confront the fact that truth had always been perspectival. Nietzsche is also noted for distinguishing between master and slave moralities, the former arising from a celebration of life, the latter the result of ressentiment at those capable of the former. This distinction is summarized as the difference between "good and bad," on the one hand, and "good and evil," on the other; importantly, the "good" man of the master morality is the "evil" man of the slave morality.

The rise of morality and of moral disputes is thus a matter of psychology; Nietzsche's perspectivism likewise reduces epistemology to psychology. One of the most recurrent themes in Nietzsche's work, therefore, is the Will to Power. At a minimum, Nietzsche claims for the will to power that it describes human behavior more compellingly than Platonic eros, Schopenhauer's Will to Live, or Paul Rée's utilitarian account of morality, among others; to go beyond this would be to engage in the task of an interpreter.

Much of Nietzsche's philosophy has a critical flavor to it; two concepts associated with a more constructive project are the Übermensch (variously translated as superman, superhuman, or overman) and the eternal return (or eternal recurrance). The superhuman is posited as a goal that humanity can achieve for itself, or that an individual can set for himself.

Nietzsche constrasts this Übermensch with the Üntermensch, or last man, which appears to be an exaggerated version of the degraded "goal" that liberal democrats or bourgeois society sets for itself. Both the Übermensch and the eternal return feature heavily in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, though the relation between them is unclear and the subject of intense dispute. Similarly, there are almost as many views regarding the eternal return — at the minimal, definitional level — as there are interpreters of Nietzsche.

Main article: List of works by Friedrich Nietzsche

The Birth of Tragedy
Main article: The Birth of Tragedy
Nietzsche published his first book in 1872 as The Birth of Tragedy, Out of the Spirit of Music (Die Geburt der Tragödie aus dem Geiste der Musik) and reissued it in 1886 as The Birth of Tragedy, Or: Hellenism and Pessimism (Die Geburt der Tragödie, Oder: Griechentum und Pessimismus). The later edition contained a prefatory essay, An Attempt at Self-Criticism, wherein Nietzsche commented on this very early work.

In contrast to the typically Enlightenment view of ancient Greek culture as noble, simple, elegant and grandiose,[8] Nietzsche characterizes it as a conflict between two distinct tendencies - the Apollonian and Dionysian. The Apollonian in culture he sees as the principium individuationis (principle of individuation) with its refinement, sobriety and emphasis on superficial appearance, whereby man separates himself from the undifferentiated immediacy of nature. Immersion into that same wholeness characterizes the Dionysian, recognizable by intoxication, irrationality and inhumanity; this shows the influence of Schopenhauer's view that non-rational forces underlie human creativity. Nietzsche describes how from Socrates onward the Apollonian had dominated Western thought, and raises German Romanticism (especially Richard Wagner) as a possible re-introduction of the Dionysian to the salvation of European culture.

Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf criticised The Birth of Tragedy heavily. By 1886, Nietzsche himself had reservations about the work, referring to it as "an impossible book . . . badly written, ponderous, embarrassing, image-mad and image-confused, sentimental, saccharine to the point of effeminacy, uneven in tempo, [and] without the will to logical cleanliness."

Untimely Meditations
Main article: Untimely Meditations
Started in 1873 and completed in 1876, this work comprises a collection of four (out of a projected 13) essays concerning the contemporary condition of European, especially German, culture.

David Strauss: der Bekenner und der Schriftsteller, 1873 (David Strauss: the Confessor and the Writer) attacks David Strauss's The Old and the New Faith: A Confession (1871) which Nietzsche holds up as an example of the German thought of the time. He paints Strauss's "New Faith" - scientifically-determined universal mechanism based on the progression of history - as a vulgar reading of history in the service of a degenerate culture, polemically attacking not only the book but also Strauss as a Philistine of pseudo-culture.
Vom Nutzen und Nachtheil der Historie für das Leben, 1874 (On the Use and Abuse of History for Life) offers — instead of the prevailing view of "knowledge as an end in itself" — an alternative way of reading history, one where living life becomes the primary concern; along with a description of how this might improve the health of a society. It also introduced an attack against the basic precepts of classic humanism. In this essay, Nietzsche attacks both the historicism of man (the idea that man is created through history) and the idea that one can possibly have an objective concept of man, since a major aspect of man resides in his subjectivity. Nietzsche expands the idea that the essence of man dwells not inside of him, but rather above him, in the following essay, "Schopenhauer als Erzieher" ("Schopenhauer as Educator").
Schopenhauer als Erzieher, 1874 (Schopenhauer as Educator) describes how the philosophic genius of Schopenhauer might bring on a resurgence of German culture. Nietzsche gives special attention to Schopenhauer's individualism, honesty and steadfastness as well as his cheerfulness, despite Schopenhauer's noted pessimism.
Richard Wagner in Bayreuth, 1876 investigates Richard Wagner's psychology — less flatteringly than Nietzsche's friendship with his subject might suggest. Nietzsche considered not publishing it because of this, and eventually settled on drafts that criticized the musician less than they might have done. Nonetheless this essay foreshadows the imminent split between the two.

Human, All Too Human
Main article: Human, All Too Human
Nietzsche supplemented the original edition of this work, first published in 1878, with a second part in 1879: Mixed Opinions and Maxims (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche), and a third part in 1880: The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten). The three parts appeared together in 1886 as Human, All Too Human, A Book for Free Spirits (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches, Ein Buch für freie Geister). This book represents the beginning of Nietzsche's "middle period", with a break from German Romanticism and from Wagner and with a definite positivist slant. Note the style: reluctant to construct a systemic philosophy, Nietzsche composed these works as a series of several hundred aphorisms, either single lines or one or two pages. This book comprises more a collection of debunkings of unwarranted assumptions than an interpretation, though it offers some elements of Nietzsche's thought in his arguments: he uses his perspectivism and the idea of the will to power as explanatory devices, though the latter remains less developed than in his later thought.

In Daybreak: Reflections on Moral Prejudices (Morgenröte. Gedanken über die moralischen Vorurteile, 1881), Nietzsche de-emphasizes the role of hedonism as a motivator and accentuates the role of a "feeling of power". His relativism, both moral and cultural, and his critique of Christianity also reaches greater maturity. With this aphoristic book in its clear, calm and intimate style Nietzsche seems to invite a particular experience, rather than showing concern with persuading his readers to accept any point of view. He would develop many of the ideas advanced here more fully in later books.

The Gay Science
Main article: The Gay Science
The Gay Science (Die fröhliche Wissenschaft, 1882), the largest and most comprehensive of Nietzsche's middle-period books, continues the aphoristic style and contains more poetry than any other of his works. It has central themes of a joyful affirmation of life and of an immersion in a light-hearted scholarship that takes aesthetic pleasure in life (the title refers to the Provençal phrase for the craft of poetry). As an example, Nietzsche offers the doctrine of eternal recurrence, which ranks one's life as the sole consideration when evaluating how one should act. This contrasts with the Christian view of an afterlife which emphasizes later reward at the cost of one's immediate happiness. The Gay Science has however perhaps become best known for the statement "God is dead", which forms part of Nietzsche's naturalistic and aesthetic alternative to traditional religion.

Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Main article: Thus Spoke Zarathustra
A break with his middle-period works, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, A Book for All and None (Also Sprach Zarathustra, Ein Buch für Alle und Keinen, 1883 - 1885) became Nietzsche's best-known book and the one he considered the most important.[9] Noteworthy for its format, it comprises a philosophical work of fiction whose style often lightheartedly imitates that of the New Testament and of the Platonic dialogues, at times resembling Pre-Socratic works in tone and in its use of natural phenomena as rhetorical and explanatory devices. It also features frequent references to the Western literary and philosophical traditions, implicitly offering an interpretation of these traditions and of their problems. Nietzsche achieves all of this through the character of Zarathustra (referring to the historic figure behind Zoroastrianism) who makes speeches on philosophic topics as he moves along a loose plotline marking his development and the reception of his ideas. One can view this characteristic (following the genre of the bildungsroman) as an inline commentary on Zarathustra (and Nietzsche's) philosophy. All this, along with the book's ambiguity and paradoxical nature, has helped its eventual enthusiastic reception by the reading public, but has frustrated academic attempts at analysis (as Nietzsche may have intended); and Thus Spoke Zarathustra remained for long unpopular as a topic for scholars (especially those in the Anglo-American analytic tradition), until the second half of the twentieth century brought widespread interest in Nietzsche and his unconventional style that does not distinguish between philosophy and literature. [10] It offers formulations of eternal recurrence and of the will to power; and Nietzsche for the first time speaks of the Übermensch: themes that would dominate his books from this point onwards.

Beyond Good and Evil
Main article: Beyond Good and Evil
Of the four "late-period" writings of Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Jenseits von Gut und Böse. Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft, 1886) most closely resembles the aphoristic style of his middle period. Therein he identifies the qualities of genuine philosophers: imagination, self-assertion, danger, originality and the "creation of values" - all else he considers incidental. Continuing from this he contests some key pre-suppositions such as "self-consciousness", "knowledge", "truth" and "free will" as used by some of the great representatives of the philosophic tradition. Instead of these traditional analyses, which Nietzsche paints as insufficient, he offers the will to power as an explanatory device, being part of his "perspective of life" which he regards as "beyond good and evil", denying a universal morality for all human beings. The master and slave moralities feature prominently as Nietzsche re-evaluates deeply-held humanistic beliefs, portraying even domination, appropriation and injury to the weak as not universally objectionable. A tone of moral relativism and perspectivism dominates throughout.

On the Genealogy of Morals
Main article: On the Genealogy of Morals
The three essays that make up On the Genealogy of Morals, A Polemic (Zur Genealogie der Moral, Eine Streitschrift, 1887) represent the last of Nietzsche's works before his flurry of activity in 1888. Each essay comprises a series of paragraphs (like the longer aphorisms of some of his books) that discusses the details of his moral relativism, especially of how the will to power influences perspectives, and appears more unproblematically philosophical in style and tone than many of his books and all of those written afterwards. For these reasons this book has become a popular topic for scholarly analysis. [11]

'Good and Evil', 'Good and Bad'" continues Nietzsche's discussion of the Master-Slave Morality, maintaining that the slave morality (which labels "good" and "evil" compared to the less judgmental and more masterful "good" and "bad") arises from a denial of life — as opposed to the vitalism of the master morality. Nietzsche identifies ressentiment as the driving force of the slave morality.
'Guilt', 'Bad Conscience', and Related Matters investigates the sources of conscience, especially "bad conscience", and names cruelty as the base of punishment and self-punishment.[12] Cruelty as punishment of others provides gratification because thereby one imposes one's will over another; cruelty to oneself happens through "bad conscience", whereby one punishes oneself because of not holding to a self-imposed standard of dependability. In this way Nietzsche characterizes altruistic, "selfless", behavior as immense cruelty to oneself by imposing another's will over oneself, an explanation he offers for Christianity and monotheism in general.
What Do Ascetic Ideals Mean? continues the theme. Nietzsche describes how such a paradoxical action as asceticism might serve the interests of life: through asceticism one can attain mastery over oneself. In this way one can express both ressentiment and the will to power. Nietzsche describes the morality of the ascetic priest as characterized by Christianity as one where, finding oneself in pain, one places the blame for the pain on oneself and thereby attempts and attains mastery over the world,[13] a tactic that Nietzsche places behind secular science as well as behind religion.

The Case of Wagner
Main article: The Case of Wagner
In his first book of a highly productive year, The Case of Wagner, A Musician's Problem (Der Fall Wagner, Ein Musikanten-Problem, May - August 1888), Nietzsche launches into a devastating and unbridled attack upon the figure of Richard Wagner. While he recognizes Wagner's music as an immense cultural achievement, he also characterizes it as the product of decadence and nihilism and thereby of sickness. The book shows Nietzsche as a capable music-critic, and provides the setting for some of his further reflections on the nature of art and on its relationship to the future health of humanity.

The Twilight of the Idols
Main article: The Twilight of the Idols
The title of this highly polemical book, Twilight of the Idols, or How One Philosophizes with a Hammer (Götzen-Dämmerung, oder Wie man mit dem Hammer philosophiert, August-September 1888), word-plays upon Wagner's opera, The Twilight of the Gods (Die Götterdämmerung). In this short work, written in the flurry of his last productive year, Nietzsche re-iterates and elaborates some of the criticisms of major philosophic figures (Socrates, Plato, Kant and the Christian tradition). He establishes early on in the section The Problem of Socrates that nobody can estimate the value of life and that any judgment concerning it only reveals the judging person's life-denying or life-affirming tendencies. He attempts to portray philosophers from Socrates onwards as (in his own term) "decadents" who employ dialectics as a tool for self-preservation while the authority of tradition breaks down. He also criticizes the German culture of his day as unsophisticated, and shoots some disapproving arrows at key French, British, and Italian cultural figures. In contrast to all these alleged representatives of cultural decadence, Nietzsche applauds Caesar, Napoleon, Goethe, Dostoevsky, Thucydides and the Sophists as healthier and stronger types. The book states the transvaluation of all values as Nietzsche's final and most important project, and gives a view of antiquity wherein the Romans for once take precedence over the ancient Greeks.

The Antichrist
Main article: The Antichrist (book)
In one of his best-known and most contentious works, The Antichrist, Curse on Christianity (Der Antichrist. Fluch auf das Christentum, September 1888), Nietzsche launches into a polemic, hyperbolic attack on the morals of Christianity — the view of Nietzsche as an enthusiastic attacker of Christianity largely arises from this book. Therein he elaborates on his criticisms of Christianity which had occurred in his earlier works, but now using a sarcastic tone, expressing a disgust over the way the slave-morality corrupted noble values in ancient Rome. He frames certain elements of the religion — the Gospels, Paul, the martyrs, priests and the crusades — as creations of ressentiment for the upholding of the unhealthy at the cost of stronger sentiments. Even in this extreme denunciation Nietzsche does not begrudge some respect to the figure of Jesus and some Christian elements, but this book abandons the relatively even-handed (if inflammatory) analysis of his earlier criticisms for outright polemic — Nietzsche proposes an "Anti-Christian" morality for the future: the transvaluation of all values.

Ecce Homo
Main article: Ecce Homo (book)
Though Ecce Homo, How One Becomes What One Is (Ecce Homo, Wie man wird, was man ist, October to November 1888) appears as a curiously-styled autobiography (with sections entitled "Why I Am So Clever", "Why I Am So Wise", "Why I Write Such Good Books") it offers much more of a history of Nietzsche's ideas than of the man himself, highlighting Nietzsche's project of genealogical analysis as well as de-emphasizing the splits between philosophy and literature, personality and philosophy, and body and mind. The author does this by tying certain qualities of his thought with idiosyncrasies of his physical person, as well as extremely candid remarks occasionally made throughout his half-joking self-adulation (a mockery of Socratic humility). After this self-description, wherein Nietzsche proclaims the goodness of everything that has happened to him (including his father's early death and his near-blindness — an example of amor fati) — he offers brief insights into all of his works, concluding with the section "Why I Am A Destiny", calmly laying out the principles he places at the center of his project: eternal recurrence and the transvaluation of all values.

Nietzsche Contra Wagner
Main article: Nietzsche Contra Wagner
A selection of passages concerning Wagner and art in general which Nietzsche extracted from his works from the period 1878 to 1887 appears in Nietzsche Contra Wagner, Out of the Files of a Psychologist (Nietzsche contra Wagner, Aktenstücke eines Psychologen, December 1888). The passages serve as a background for the comparison Nietzsche would make between his own aesthetics and those of Wagner and his description of how Wagner became corrupted through Christianity, Aryanism, and anti-semitism.

The Unpublished Notebooks
Main article: The Will to Power
Nietzsche's nachlass contains an immense amount of material and discusses at great length the issues around which Nietzsche's philosophy revolves [14]. Nietzsche's sister, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, who acted as executrix of his literary estate, arranged these pieces for publication as The Will to Power.

Later investigation would reveal that Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche had included material extremely selectively and that she gave these excerpts an order different to that of the author, leading to the current opinion of her manuscript as a revisionist corruption bringing her brother's text in line with her own beliefs, which he vehemently opposed. On the strength of this manuscript, Elisabeth later fostered sympathy for her brother's works among the Nazis, and her revisionism forms the cornerstone of the defense of Nietzsche against the charges of fascism and anti-semitism.

However, since their first publication in the 1960s it has gradually become clear that the Unpublished Notebooks form an indispensable[citation needed] part of Nietzsche's philosophy:

Together with the published titles they form a literary continuum;
They lack the self-censorship which publishing requires;
They contain additional topics that do not appear in the published titles (space/time/eugenics...);
They provide material for a better understanding of concepts like nihilism, Eternal Return, the Übermensch... which would otherwise remain unclear;
They shed light on Nietzsche's political, social and cultural intentions.

Nietzsche's influence and reception
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Nietzsche's reception has proved a rather confused and complex affair. Many Germans eventually discovered his appeals for greater individualism and personality development in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, but responded to those appeals in diverging ways. He had some following among left-wing Germans in the 1890s; in 1894–95, German conservatives wanted to ban his work as subversive. By the First World War, however, he had acquired a reputation as a source of right-wing German militarism. The Dreyfus Affair provides another example of his reception: the French anti-semitic Right labelled the Jewish and Leftist intellectuals who defended Alfred Dreyfus as "Nietzscheans".

During the interbellum, certain Nazis employed a highly selective reading of Nietzsche's work to advance their ideology, notably Alfred Baeumler in his reading of The Will to Power. The era of Nazi rule (1933 – 1945) saw Nietzsche's writings widely studied in German (and, after 1938, Austrian) schools and universities. The Nazis viewed Nietzsche as one of their "founding fathers". Although there exist few — if any — similarities between Nietzsche's political views and Nazism, phrases like "the will to power" became common in Nazi circles. The wide popularity of Nietzsche among Nazis stemmed in part from the endeavors of his sister, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, the editor of Nietzsche's work after his 1889 breakdown, and an eventual Nazi sympathizer. Nietzsche himself thoroughly disapproved of his sister's anti-Semitic views; in a letter to her he wrote:

You have committed one of the greatest stupidities—for yourself and for me! Your association with an anti-Semitic chief expresses a foreignness to my whole way of life which fills me again and again with ire or melancholy. … It is a matter of honor with me to be absolutely clean and unequivocal in relation to anti-Semitism, namely, opposed to it, as I am in my writings. I have recently been persecuted with letters and Anti-Semitic Correspondence Sheets. My disgust with this party (which would like the benefit of my name only too well) is as pronounced as possible.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, Letter to His Sister, Christmas 1887



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