Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher who founded many aspects of modern philosophy. Nietzsche is mostly known for his phrase, ‘God is Dead,’ and the idea that human-beings must seek suffering because it leads to personal fulfillment.
Nietzsche’s ideas are interesting to the Seekers of Knowledge. I gathered seven of his thought-provoking ideas which I thought I should share with you.
Here are they:
- Christianity Was Created by the Weak
Nietzsche believed Christianity was created by weak people to justify their lack of money and power since it praised poor conditions and promised good things to the meek.
I believe Nietzsche’s interpretation of Christianity was wrong because he didn’t understand the true meaning of some Biblical terms. For example, he thought the term ‘meek’ meant ‘to be poor and helpless.’ But according to many Christian philosophers, being ‘meek’ means “having faith in God and realizing God’s will.”
- The Ideal Human Being
According to Nietzsche, the ideal man goes his own way and uses his creativity to help the society. This man creates his own values and avoids living in accordance with the crowd’s values. He also welcomes everything that comes into his life believing that everything is meant for his good.
- Suffering Is Necessary For Human Excellence
“It’s out of the deepest depth that the highest must come to its height.” – Nietzsche
Nietzsche believed suffering was necessary for our excellence that he wished suffering upon his closest people. As he put it, “To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities. I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished. I have no pity for them.”
Although I never wish bad things to happen to my loved ones, I agree with Nietzsche’s idea because sometimes suffering leads to human excellence as it makes people to take action. Many successful people decided to go after their dreams after undergoing a series of unimaginable difficulties.
- People Create Excuses to Cope With Their Misfortunes
Nietzsche saw that many people created excuses that helped them live with their misfortunes.
I believe Nietzsche would be surprised that we still do so in the 21st century since many people have justifications for their misfortunes. For instance, some people believe they can’t live a comfortable life because they came from poor family backgrounds. Others think they can’t follow their dreams because they don’t have time and money.
- What Will Happen When ‘God Dies?’
Nietzsche prophesied the current condition of the modern society through his idea of ‘God’s Death.’ According to him, the belief in a Higher Power made medieval people to find life meaningful. He knew the modern society will find life meaningless because science will make people doubt God’s existence.
Nietzsche was right because today many people find life meaningless since they don’t believe in a Higher Power that created them to fulfill a certain purpose. The belief that God created us for a reason made medieval people to find life meaningful and less stressful.
- Why You Must Separate Yourself From The Masses
Today, people conform to the masses thinking that any beliefs or values accepted by many people are right. Little do they know that the masses prevent them from self-actualizing since they have a negative perception towards factors that promote self-actualization. For instance, the masses hate solitude and the creation of independent values.
- If You Need Lots of Pleasure, You Must Experience Displeasure
Nietzsche believed it was impossible to live a life full of pleasure if you don’t want to experience displeasures. He wrote, ‘What if pleasure and displeasure were so tied together that whoever wanted to have as much as possible of one must also have as much as possible of the other. You have a choice in life: either as little displeasure as possible, painlessness in brief or as much displeasure as possible as the price for an abundance of subtle pleasures and joys.’
Nietzsche was right because people must go through discomfort for them to get what they want. For instance, for an individual to achieve success, she must work hard and risk a lot, and for one to enjoy the benefits of a relationship, she must be willing to experience its dark side. Nothing good comes easy.
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Discussing Arthur Schopenhauer’s Shocking Thoughts on Romantic Love
According to Merriam Webster, romantic love is ‘attraction based on sexual desire, or affection felt by admiration.’ Most of us believe we fall in love because we are attracted to each other and want to be together all the time. However, Arthur Schopenhauer, the most pessimistic philosopher, had different and shocking thoughts on love.
Arthur Schopenhauer’s Thoughts On Love
Schopenhauer believed love has nothing to do with the present moment because it makes people
For as he wrote, ‘Love is of such high import, because it has nothing to do with the woe of the present individual. It has to secure the existence and special nature of the human race in future times,’ and this is the reason why most lovers ensure their children have a good future.
Furthermore, Schopenhauer argued that love is our sexual instinct wearing the mask of passion and romance. This sexual instinct deceives people that they love each other so that they have sex and accomplish nature’s greatest goal – procreation.
Schopenhauer thus believed that love is only advantageous to nature even though people believe it’s beneficial to them. He argued that nature makes us attracted to qualities such as strength or beauty because it wants the best for the human species.
To prove that love is nature attempting to attain its goals, Schopenhauer provided an example of how a man’s love for his woman decreases after a while and the man gets attracted to other women so that he spreads his seed to many women and ensure the survival of the human species. He also supported his argument by claiming that a woman’s love is constant because ‘nature compels her intuitively and unconsciously to take care of the supporter and protector of the future offspring.’
In summary, Arthur Schopenhauer believed love is life’s way of ensuring that the ‘human species is unharmed by death.’
Schopenhauer’s thoughts on love are true to some extent because romantic love usually results in sexual intercourse. Besides this, romantic love makes parents cooperate in enabling their child to have a bright future hence securing the human race.
However, this does not mean that love is an illusion. Love is real and it’s the greatest gift from Infinite Intelligence because the feeling of loving someone or being loved reduces stress, makes people happier, and enables them to take good care of themselves. Moreover, sometimes love inspires people, especially men, to pursue success so that they provide everything their spouse needs.
Anyway, what are your thoughts on love? Do you believe Schopenhauer was right? Is it true that love is an illusion and life’s way of ensuring that procreation takes place? You are welcome to express your ideas on Schopenhauer’s thoughts on love in the comment box below.
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Epictetus on How to Unite with God/Infinite Intelligence.
Many mystics and spiritual leaders believe the main goal of life is to unite with God/Infinite Intelligence. They believe uniting with God makes life blissful and brings higher wisdom and knowledge to an individual. For this reason, I researched on what great thinkers thought on how to unite with The Creator and I stumbled upon Epictetus’ idea.
According to Epictetus, you unite with God when you make God’s will your will. As he put it ‘A person who reasons well, understands and considers, that if he joins himself to God, he shall go safely through his journey. ‘How do you mean join himself to God?’ That whatever is the will of God may be his will too, that whatever is not the will of God, may not be his.’ (John Bonforte, Philosophy of Epictetus)
Epictetus thus trusted that accepting God’s will results in unity with God. According to him, you accept God’s will when you detach from everything since God subjected everything to change. You realize that nothing you have is permanent and you stop idolizing your material possessions.
Epictetus also believed that to accept God’s will, you must avoid feeling sad when something bad happens to your possessions because doing so is resisting God’s will. Feeling bad when something happens to your possessions shows that you want to retain forever what God made temporary. The Stoic philosopher wanted us to thankfully receive whatever the universe gives us, and let it go without regrets when the universe takes it back.
Furthermore, he believed you make God’s will your will when you place your ‘pursuits under the direction of God’ and accept whatever life throws at you. For as he wrote, ‘Say to yourself, ‘I have placed my pursuits under the direction of God. Is it his will that I should have a fever? It is my will too. Is it his will that I should obtain anything? It is my will too.’ Epictetus trusted God so much that he believed that whatever the God allowed to happen was good.
He believed God controlled everything including our experiences and possessions. He trusted that God determined what happens to us and what we can amass in this world.
To sum up, Epictetus believed that understanding that nothing is permanent and accepting whatever happens leads to unity with God.
‘Conduct me, O God, and thou, O destiny. Wherever your decrees have fixed my lot. I follow cheerfully.’ – Epictetus (John Bonforte, Philosophy of Epictetus)
Bonforte, J. (1955). Philosophy of Epictetus. New York: The Philosphical Library
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