Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Monday, October 05, 2015

What Does Not Kill Me Makes Me Stronger

Many of us are familiar with the name Freidrich Nietzsche, who was a very influential philosopher. We come across quotes everywhere. Few of us are actually familiar with him work and thoughts.

At the Art of Manliness is a two part series which presents his biography and the basics of his way of thinking. Below is a little of his biography. The full post  may be read here.

“What does not kill me makes me stronger.”
“Eternal recurrence.”
“God is dead.”
Even if you don’t know much about philosophy, you’ve likely heard these terms and phrases before, as well as the name of their originator: Friedrich Nietzsche.
Few thinkers had as much of an influence on the culture and ideas of modernity than Nietzsche did. And yet few people — even if they throw around his quotes or his name — know very much about his philosophy.
Christians often have a knee-jerk revulsion to the man who referred to himself as an “immoralist” and the “anti-Christ,” and see his views as incompatible with faith, and thus not worth studying.
The less religious, who feel in Nietzsche they might find a sympathetic comrade, are yet frequently stymied in reading and understanding his sometimes seemingly inscrutable texts.
Yet both groups would be well served by giving Nietzsche another look. In fact, the study of his philosophy can be beneficial to men of any creed or background.
Nietzsche does challenge those of faith, but in a way that can prompt a hard, much-needed, and ultimately strengthening examination of the true depth of one’s professed commitment.
And he is undoubtedly difficult to understand, but those who make the effort to dig out his meaning are rewarded with insight on how life can be lived more fully.
So too, scholars of Nietzsche glean not just a richer understanding of his philosophy itself, but of the wider culture and the landscape of modernity (and postmodernity) as well.
Once you become aware of his ideas, you start seeing his influence everywhere. If you’re a fan of Theodore Roosevelt’s ideas of the “strenuous life” and “daring mighty deeds,” then you have Nietzsche to thank. Roosevelt was a big fan of the Prussian philosopher’s writings, and scholars believe they greatly influenced TR’s worldview. The work of one of my favorite writers, Jack London, was also infused with Nietzschean axioms. London’s quest to uncover his own “philosophy towards life” and his love of the “spirit of romance and adventure” has Nietzsche’s fingerprints all over it.
If you’ve always wanted to understand more about Nietzsche and his philosophy, but haven’t known where to start or been too intimidated to dive in, this two-part series is for you. My goal with it is two-fold: First, to provide you with a very basic understanding of Nietzsche so that you have a reference point to start from whenever you encounter him in your literary or intellectual wanderings. And second, to inspire you to begin your own study of this regally-mustachioed philosopher.
In this first article, I will offer a short biography of Nietzsche’s life in a semi-bare-bones, timeline fashion; rest assured that concepts only mentioned here in passing will be fleshed out next time. Knowing a little about Nietzsche’s life helps to provide context for the development of his philosophy.
At the end of the article, I then outline a few reading notes that must be kept in mind whenever you study’s Nietzsche’s writings. Unless you approach his philosophy in a certain way, it’s easy to misunderstand him.

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