Tag Archive for 'nietzsche'

The Birth of Tragedy

Having been a casual reader of Nietzsche for the last few years, I was already acquainted with the basic tenets of his philosophy when I picked up The Birth of Tragedy — and I had already unlearned everything Bertrand Russell said about him in his vastly overrated History of Western Philosophy. I started to understand Nietzsche when I started to read his philosophy as an artist’s philosophy.* And, in order to understand his polemical opinions on what is good art and what is bad art, you have to be acquainted with Arthur Schopenhauer’s aesthetics. In fact, I would recommend reading Kant and Schopenhauer before reading Nietzsche.

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Nietzsche and Idiocracy

Idiocracy is now

Idiocracy — about a dystopia 500 years in the future where braindead fools populate the planet and everything is run by corporations — was actually presaged by Friedrich Nietzsche in his philosophical masterpiece, Thus Spake Zarathustra. In it he heralds the dawn of a new philosophical era, the threat of nihilism, and the übermensch. The übermensch — or the man who seeks to surpass himself, to reach his potential — stands diametrically opposite to what Nietzsche calls The Last Man, who is perfectly content with stagnation, whose “herd mentality” makes him most comfortable among equally unambitious people, who is unable to criticize himself, and who therefore cannot grow.

The earth hath then become small, and on it there hoppeth the last man who maketh everything small. His species is ineradicable like that of the ground-flea; the last man liveth longest.

“We have discovered happiness”–say the last men, and blink thereby.

Thus Spake Zarathustra

Idiocracy is not a great movie, but it is a trenchant critique of our society (though about as subtle as using a sledgehammer to drive in a pin).The movie obviously is directed at the United States, where underrated director Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butthead and cult movie Office Space, hails from. But anyone traveling abroad, or surfing the internet, can easily surmise the same thing: that we are already living in a budding idiocracy everywhere on the planet.

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