Saturday, January 19, 2008

God is dead

This startling philosophy (and to a God-fearing person like me, this is almost blasphemous) is one of the pillar stones of the ground breaking and surprisingly insightful work by German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. Since having watched the movie ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ where the brother character is heavily influenced by Nietzsche, I was interested in finding out about him and when I did I couldn’t help but be quite impressed by it.

Take a look at some of his ideas:

The basic one ‘God is dead’

Since Nietzsche’s work is open to multiple interpretations, none of which can claim to be a thoroughly accurate version of what he intended to say, this particular line could be interpreted in many ways. One is the obvious – Nietzsche with his love for ‘aphorisms’ and his ‘Anti-Christ’ polemics could have meant that God is literally dead. But scholars believe that it could mean that the universal view-point is lost. No one views an issue with the ‘big-picture’ mentality any more; every one has their own selfish, narrow-minded outlook towards issues and its resolution is done only for the benefit of oneself; not for the universal good of the society or the world as a whole. No wonder we have so many wars, genocides and hate-crimes. None of us really think of what we are doing to the world; all we are bothered about are our own short-term, thoughtless and self-centric goals. So true!

The will to power

In Nietzsche’s opinion, this will to power is the prime motivation for all our actions and ambitions; contrary to the belief that ‘will to live’ or ‘will to unite with good/God’ or even ‘will to be happy’ could be the motivating factors and I totally agree with him. Nothing motivates like will to dominate; the will to have power, honor & glory. Else why would we be risking our lives, our reputation and many a times the savings of a lifetime for that one elusive prize? Power is all that we seek. And that’s what keeps most of us going, consciously or sub-consciously. So if you think you are not one of those in the rat race for power and authority, think again….you just might realize the painful truth about yourself.

Eternal Recurrences

This one actually takes the whole Hindu philosophy of ‘reincarnation’ to a whole new level. Nietzsche’s idea of ‘eternal recurrences’ is interpreted as the possibility of all of us having to live this same life eternally, time after time and all the reason why we should live it in the most vital way we can.

Now I am not completely convinced that we have the same life over and over again but I do believe that we must live it in the best way we can. And not because we will need to repeat the same again in the next life but because I don’t think we will get the same chances again ever. So actually while agreeing somewhat with Nietzsche on this, I have to partially disagree too. But all said and done, what I am most awed by are Nietzsche’s originality and courage in taking a firm, anti-Christian stand against the reigning beliefs and the philosophies of acknowledged heavy – weights like Plato, Socrates, Kant and Schopenhauer. Man, what guts!!

The irony of his whole life was that it seems that the cause of his death was supposedly ‘his disillusionment and mental maladjustment with his own philosophies’…

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