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The Joyous Science is a liberating voyage of discovery as Nietzsche's realization that 'God is dead' and his critique of morality, the arts and modernity give way to an exhilarating doctrine of self-emancipation and the concept of eternal recurrence. Here is Nietzsche at his most personal and affirmative; in his words, this is a book of 'exuberance, restlessness, The Joyous Science is a liberating voyage of discovery as Nietzsche's realization that 'God is dead' and his critique of morality, the arts and modernity give way to an exhilarating doctrine of self-emancipation and the concept of eternal recurrence. Here is Nietzsche at his most personal and affirmative; in his words, this is a book of 'exuberance, restlessness, contrariety and April showers'. With its unique voice and style, its playful combination of poetry and prose, and its invigorating quest for self-emancipation, The Joyous Science is a literary tour de force and quite possibly Nietzsche's best book.


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The Joyous Science is a liberating voyage of discovery as Nietzsche's realization that 'God is dead' and his critique of morality, the arts and modernity give way to an exhilarating doctrine of self-emancipation and the concept of eternal recurrence. Here is Nietzsche at his most personal and affirmative; in his words, this is a book of 'exuberance, restlessness, The Joyous Science is a liberating voyage of discovery as Nietzsche's realization that 'God is dead' and his critique of morality, the arts and modernity give way to an exhilarating doctrine of self-emancipation and the concept of eternal recurrence. Here is Nietzsche at his most personal and affirmative; in his words, this is a book of 'exuberance, restlessness, contrariety and April showers'. With its unique voice and style, its playful combination of poetry and prose, and its invigorating quest for self-emancipation, The Joyous Science is a literary tour de force and quite possibly Nietzsche's best book.

30 review for The Joyous Science (Penguin Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Zawn V

    If you read Nietzsche while not in the midst of some variety of emo existential crisis, Nietzsche is hilarious and insightful. If, however, you choose to read Nietzsche in high school in order to be counter-culture, odds are good Nietzsche will temporarily turn you into a horrible, pompous ass. Nietzsche is the first philosopher I ever read; I stole The Gay Science from my cousin's book shelf when I was nine because I wanted to read "what smart people read." Ever since then, Nietzsche and I have If you read Nietzsche while not in the midst of some variety of emo existential crisis, Nietzsche is hilarious and insightful. If, however, you choose to read Nietzsche in high school in order to be counter-culture, odds are good Nietzsche will temporarily turn you into a horrible, pompous ass. Nietzsche is the first philosopher I ever read; I stole The Gay Science from my cousin's book shelf when I was nine because I wanted to read "what smart people read." Ever since then, Nietzsche and I have had a love affair; the problem is that I cannot stand his fans. I imagine this review will not be useful to most people, but if you've encountered the Nietzsche-bots, you know exactly what I am talking about.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Die fröhliche Wissenschaft = The Gay Science, Friedrich Nietzsche The Gay Science or The Joyful Wisdom is a book by Friedrich Nietzsche, first published in 1882 and followed by a second edition, which was published after the completion of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil, in 1887. This substantial expansion includes a fifth book and an appendix of songs. It was noted by Nietzsche to be "the most personal of all [his] books", and contains the greatest number of poems in any of his Die fröhliche Wissenschaft = The Gay Science, Friedrich Nietzsche The Gay Science or The Joyful Wisdom is a book by Friedrich Nietzsche, first published in 1882 and followed by a second edition, which was published after the completion of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil, in 1887. This substantial expansion includes a fifth book and an appendix of songs. It was noted by Nietzsche to be "the most personal of all [his] books", and contains the greatest number of poems in any of his published works. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دوم ماه می سال 2006 میلادی عنوان: جکمت شادان؛ نویسنده: فردریش نیچه؛ مترجمها: جلال آل احمد؛ سعید کامران؛ حامد فولادوند؛ تهران، جامی، 1377؛ شابک: 9645620414؛ چاپ دوم 1380؛ چاپ چهارم 1385؛ پنجم 1388؛ شابک: 978964620414؛ چاپ ششم 1389؛ هفتم 1392؛ موضوع: تاریخ فلسفه آلمان - سده 19 م زندگی میتواند برای آنهایی که در جستجوی دانستن هستند یک تجربه باشد و نه یک وظیفه، جبر، یا فریب. جکمت شادان کتابی‌ ست از «فریدریش نیچه» که در سال 1882 میلادی منتشر شد. این اثر جزء خصوصی ترین نوشته‌ های نیچه به شمار می‌آید زیرا آن را پس از بهبودی از بیماری، نگاشته و به دوشیزه‌ ای به نام «سالومه» تقدیم کرده است. نام آن به توجه نیچه بر زندگی شاعران، و رامشگران جنوب فرانسه، دلالت دارد، که بر اساس عشق، و جوانمردی، و شادی، زندگی می‌کردند. ا. شربیانی

  3. 5 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    The more mistrust, the more philosophy. How to review Nietzsche? His writing is so rich, so overabundant, so overflowing, that evaluating his works is like trying to drink up a waterfall. I cannot even decide whether Nietzsche was a philosopher, or something else. Perhaps he can be better described as an essayist, a poet, a sage, a neurotic, a raving madman, a prescient visionary? The title hardly matters, I suppose; although without some benchmark of comparison, I am left in the dark for a way The more mistrust, the more philosophy. How to review Nietzsche? His writing is so rich, so overabundant, so overflowing, that evaluating his works is like trying to drink up a waterfall. I cannot even decide whether Nietzsche was a philosopher, or something else. Perhaps he can be better described as an essayist, a poet, a sage, a neurotic, a raving madman, a prescient visionary? The title hardly matters, I suppose; although without some benchmark of comparison, I am left in the dark for a way to measure Nietzsche and his writings. The only way open I can see is to weigh Nietzsche against himself. In the context of his full corpus, The Gay Science is easily one of Nietzsche’s strongest works. It dates from his middle period, after his break with Wagner and his renunciation of Schopenhauer, when he was still developing his most characteristic ideas. Indeed, in this book one finds Nietzsche’s first proclamation that “God is dead,” as well as the first mention of the Eternal Recurrence. Many of Nietzsche’s criticisms of science, humanism, liberalism, and above all morality can be found in nascent form in these pages, to be more fully developed in Beyond Good and Evil and The Genealogy of Morals. Nietzsche’s central project, put briefly, was to set about questioning the fundamental values and assumptions of Western history. Many of these he traces back to Socrates, whom Nietzsche regards with a mix of admiration and horror. In the works of Plato, Socrates is turned into an ideal: he is coldly logical, scorning all sensations and emotions; he holds that our everyday world is less worthy than the world beyond; that art is not a source of knowledge or wisdom, but a mere beguilement of the senses; that contemplation is better than action; that peacefulness is better than passion; that moral behavior leads to happiness. This collection of doctrines, Nietzsche believes, was transformed into Christianity, which added what Nietzsche later referred to as a “slave morality"—the praise of meekness, pity, kindness, gentleness, compassion, common in Christian preaching. Nietzsche struggled for years to extricate himself from this morass, and in the process developed one of his faculties to the utmost perfection: his suspicion. Nietzsche suspected every received idea, automatic impulse, longstanding tradition, comforting thought, pleasant assumption, common opinion. In this way, he hoped to disentangle himself from the spider’s web and to see the world with a new clarity of vision: “If one would like to see our European morality for once as it looks for a distance, and if one would like to measure it against other moralities, past and future, then one has to proceed like a wanderer who wants to know how high the towers in the town are: he leaves the town.” But it is no easy thing to leave one’s entire society and culture behind, and to see it from a distance. Perhaps it can’t be done. Nietzsche tried, first, by isolating himself physically, leading a solitary life away from friends and family, living off his pension from his time in the University of Basel. From this vantage point, Nietzsche started to take aim at Western culture, as he perceived it. This project was obviously not one of system building—at least, not at first—but of assault. Nietzsche aimed to think outside of any system, to dance constantly on shifting ground, taking no assumption as a starting point, mistrustful of all impulses towards conventional opinion. This, I think, is why Nietzsche wrote in aphorisms: he needed to retreat quickly from his forays, so as not to get drawn back into the assumptions he was trying to criticize: “For I approach deep problems like cold baths: quickly into them, and quickly out again.” Nietzsche felt that this job was not only important, but of historical significance. This is because of his famous proclamation that “God is dead”—or, in other words, that the idea of God was no longer taken seriously. Nietzsche meant this not only intellectually, but also aesthetically: “What is not decisive against Christianity is our taste, no longer our reasons.” In other words, the old worldview was not only intellectually bankrupt, but not even pleasing anymore. But the death of God was not an isolated event; it marked a decisive transition in culture. So many of our basic assumptions, about truth, morality, justice, and life, are based on the Christian worldview. Without the support of this worldview, people would begin to see these assumptions as mere prejudices. Indeed, our dependence on Christian assumptions is one of the things that Nietzsche most delighted in pointing out. For example, the idea that truth is more valuable than appearance is a prejudice that originates in the old belief that all truth came from God. The modern idea that every person is equal and deserves the same rights comes from the idea that everyone is equal in the eyes of God. As is well known, Nietzsche eventually called himself Anti-Christ, but his opposition to Christianity had nothing in common with Richard Dawkin’s or Bertrand Russell’s, who both opposed Christianity because it didn’t hold up under logical scrutiny. Rather, Nietzsche found Christianity distasteful because he perceived it as being life-denying. Christianity is a religion that considers humankind inherently sinful, and all bodily pleasures disgraceful; a religion that decries this earthly life ugly and miserable, and places its hopes in the afterlife; a religion that celebrates the virtues of weakness: compassion for the sick, gentleness to your fellows, meekness in the face of an almighty God. All of this, Nietzsche considers to be anti-life—a sick yearning for death. For Nietzsche, Christianity was an attempt by people with weak bodies and unhealthy minds to impose their ailment on the rest of humanity; a system created by feeble and miserable people to drag the rest of humanity down to their level. Against this, Nietzsche proclaims a life-affirming philosophy. What this exactly entails is hard to say, but the fundamental doctrine is amor fati, or love of fate. For Nietzsche, the ideal was to love your life so fully that you could wish to relive it over and over again, endlessly repeating the same actions. This is the famous Eternal Recurrence. Personally, I find it all but impossible to discuss Nietzsche’s ideas without discussing his life and his personality. First, it is worth noting that Nietzsche was a sickly person, suffering from an acutely painful disease (syphilis?) for his whole adult life. Thus the question of philosophy being anti-life or life-affirming was a personal one for Nietzsche; he wanted to rise above his own pain, to resist the urge to denigrate life because of his own suffering, and instead to cultivate a joyful wisdom. Thus his philosophy was deeply personal, and we get a large dose of his personality in his writings. Nietzsche was obviously a profoundly introverted man; indeed, he was so introverted that he often mistook himself for the universe. He was constitutionally incapable of being a good scholar; he could not for a moment put his own prejudices aside and attempt neutrality. Instead, Nietzsche treats the world as a kind of backdrop to his thoughts, paying more attention to his opinions about things than to the things themselves. He has such startling and original opinions that, most often, this is an exhilarating experience; but this also leads Nietzsche into many statements that are obviously absurd and empirically false. What is more, Nietzsche’s profound introversion eventually, and perhaps inevitably, turned into a profound narcissism that blackens his later writings. As I said above, Nietzsche’s strongest and most versatile weapon was his suspicion. Most often, his deep mistrust allowed him to reach striking conclusions. But occasionally his suspicion veers into cynicism, and cynicism is not an attractive quality. The combination of this cynicism and his narcissism sometimes led Nietzsche into stupidity, such as his many idiotic comments about women. These qualities also led Nietzsche to many positions that I, and most others nowadays, consider reactionary in the extreme and elitist beyond measure. He is full of insults for the “herd” of humanity, the rabble, the stupid masses. And his criticisms of conventional morality sometimes led Nietzsche to vicious conclusions: Who will attain anything great if he does not find in himself the strength and the will to inflict great suffering? Being able to suffer is the least thing; weak women and even slaves often achieve virtuosity in that. But not to perish of internal distress and uncertainty when one inflicts great suffering and hears the cry of this suffering—that is great, that belongs to greatness. But as unattractive as Nietzsche’s personality can be, and as unpalatable as some of his conclusions were, I still love his books. Simply as a writer of prose, Nietzsche is in the first class; his prose is fire made articulate. More than that, his books are so full of ideas, so rich, so overabundant, so overflowing; his mind was so nimble, his personality so strange, his conclusions so original, that you cannot help but come away with your brain buzzing with inspiration.

  4. 4 out of 5

    David

    NOT GAY ENOUGH.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jonfaith

    For believe me! — the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is: to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas! Live at war with your peers and yourselves! Be robbers and conquerors as long as you cannot be rulers and possessors, you seekers of knowledge! Soon the age will be past when you could be content to live hidden in forests like shy deer! While this wasn't my point of departure into For believe me! — the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is: to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas! Live at war with your peers and yourselves! Be robbers and conquerors as long as you cannot be rulers and possessors, you seekers of knowledge! Soon the age will be past when you could be content to live hidden in forests like shy deer! While this wasn't my point of departure into Theory, though it should've been. Ideas bubbled and grew fecund in my youthful soul. Pints of Carlsburg and shit food from Hardees nourshed my wretched body, but it was Nietzsche's frisson which propelled me forward.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    "What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you in your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this "What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you in your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again—and you with it, speck of dust!" Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: "You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine!" If this thought gained possession of you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you; the question in each and every thing, "Do you desire this once more, and innumerable times more?" would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight! Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?" Nietzche is a genius.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Summer

    Epic Nietzsche. My favorite Nietzsche text (and Nietzsche is my most favorite thinking creature of all time, so this means a lot) - somehow managing to be provocative, meditative, accessible, and entertaining in one stroke! One of those rare books that you can actually pick up, flip to any page, and read, without wondering all that much about what came before. I utilized many ideas presented in this book as jumping off points in my master's thesis, and were it not for the constrictions of time, Epic Nietzsche. My favorite Nietzsche text (and Nietzsche is my most favorite thinking creature of all time, so this means a lot) - somehow managing to be provocative, meditative, accessible, and entertaining in one stroke! One of those rare books that you can actually pick up, flip to any page, and read, without wondering all that much about what came before. I utilized many ideas presented in this book as jumping off points in my master's thesis, and were it not for the constrictions of time, space, and - let's face it - my will, I happily would have drawn on it more. I've read it so many times that my copy is torn, taped, and in a general state of overused disarray, a testimony to its lasting effect on me. The Gay Science has taken me on seriously remote journeys aboard my own 'train of thought', wherein I have found myself fantasizing about my dormant inner ubermensch in all of its crazed dancing and laughing glory. Always a good time. Especially for an aphorism junky.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    384. Having finished the book, the reader had no choice but to read himself. It was not a heroic story, nor a moral one - indeed, he scarcely understood the author's intent in various chapters. Its ending was implicit, if unwritten, yet the reader did not wish to imagine exactly what it would be. Oftentimes it was tedious, not worth reading, and he continued partially from spite, for he did not put a book down easily, and partially from a deeper sense he could not ascribe words to; a vibrancy, 384. Having finished the book, the reader had no choice but to read himself. It was not a heroic story, nor a moral one - indeed, he scarcely understood the author's intent in various chapters. Its ending was implicit, if unwritten, yet the reader did not wish to imagine exactly what it would be. Oftentimes it was tedious, not worth reading, and he continued partially from spite, for he did not put a book down easily, and partially from a deeper sense he could not ascribe words to; a vibrancy, something musical that would arrive and depart from his consciousness at the behest of an obscure whim. And it made him laugh, suddenly and gaily and with honesty, as he sat alone in his room.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Karl Hallbjörnsson

    Best Nietzsche I've read so far. Kaufmann's annotation is extremely informative, insightful and at times quite hilarious. Onwards to Zarathustra, then! Edit: been reading it again this year. I'm convinced that this is N's singular best work. A real masterpiece.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marts (Thinker)

    The Joyful Wisdom or the Gay Science, is to me, a bit different from the other Nietzsche books I've read. The general philosophies of the writer are present yet the volume creates in the reader a sense of power, fulfilment, achievement... Upon all he postulates are reasons to overcome such and conquer. Here he also presents his philosophy, 'God is Dead', as stated in section 108: After Buddha was dead, people showed his shadow for centuries afterwards in a cave,—an immense frightful shadow. God is The Joyful Wisdom or the Gay Science, is to me, a bit different from the other Nietzsche books I've read. The general philosophies of the writer are present yet the volume creates in the reader a sense of power, fulfilment, achievement... Upon all he postulates are reasons to overcome such and conquer. Here he also presents his philosophy, 'God is Dead', as stated in section 108: After Buddha was dead, people showed his shadow for centuries afterwards in a cave,—an immense frightful shadow. God is dead: but as the human race is constituted, there will perhaps be caves for millenniums yet, in which people will show his shadow.—And we—we have still to overcome his shadow! Another such idea presented is that of eternal recurrence, as here stated in section 341: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more' Much poetry also delights the reader...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Terrington

    So far in my philosophical venture into the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, I have read both this work and his Beyond Good and Evil. However, while I gave Beyond Good and Evil 3 stars, I feel that this is a better work academically and so give it the higher 4 star rating. In this The Gay Science, many of Nietzsche's key ideas come together in a much clearer manner, and it is easier to understand his views on concepts I feel he lacks more ignorance (religions for instance). The title of this work So far in my philosophical venture into the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, I have read both this work and his Beyond Good and Evil. However, while I gave Beyond Good and Evil 3 stars, I feel that this is a better work academically and so give it the higher 4 star rating. In this The Gay Science, many of Nietzsche's key ideas come together in a much clearer manner, and it is easier to understand his views on concepts I feel he lacks more ignorance (religions for instance). The title of this work stems from the more traditional meaning of 'gay' - that is for it to purely mean 'happy'. In other words this is Nietzsche's examination at times of how science and rationality has come to be considered an ultimately grave and serious task when he believes it should be a happy task or something to delight in understanding. One thing that I have discovered through reading Nietzsche is that he seems to be someone who has been misinterpreted at times. His statement that 'God is dead', for instance, is a reflection on the fact that in the past Europe had a universal belief in God and now in the current age many people no longer believe in God. His 'will to power' quote was more about the concept of self-determination rather than a concept of war and conquering: the concept that 'what a man can be a man should be.' And further it has often been said that Nietzsche was a nihilist, an Anti-Semitic and a misogynist. The first two can be disproved relatively easily in that in his writings Nietzsche opposes nihilism and writes about humanity as a whole (abhorring racism). His writings on females are...less clear, but on the whole he shows that he respects women at the least. Part of this misinterpretation is to do with the fact that his Nazi sympathising sister re-wrote his articles and notes after his death to side with Anti-Semitic views and potentially more misogynistic views. The other part, I believe, is due to the fact that Nietzsche does write at times in blindly contradictory ways. For instance his theory of 'perspectivism' is one which states that there are multiple perspectives which can be seen to be correct and that multiple perspectives should be examined on any issue - therefore creating a sense of how existentialism works for Nietzsche. However, Nietzsche outright makes a contradictory exception to this, claiming that the 'herd instinct' connected to already established views, is one to be avoided. He uses this to discredit established ways of thinking according to religions, apparently unaccepting of that fact that man could potentially set out to find the Christian God for him or herself, or that there could be a level of spirituality which supersedes established orders. Further, if we were to take Nietzsche to his absolute conclusion, then it would seem that anarchy should reign... There is another reason why Nietzsche is so misunderstood, aside from his convoluted and intricate manner of writing. This is due to the fact that his 'theories' are made in the form of truth claims. Nietzsche comes across as extremely arrogant in his writing, though at times humility does seep back in, with his writing conveyed as fact, rather than thoughts and reflections upon different topics. This makes it hard for the critical reader to truly accept or fully respect Nietzsche, though he has many potent ideas to discuss. Even from my own Christian perspective I accept that Nietzsche was partly right when talking about such ideas as 'God is dead' or the avoidance of following the 'herd instinct' in morality. Yet as I have said before, Nietzsche misses that Christianity could be about more than mere morality or power structures because he only sees the physical abuses of such systems and therefore rejects them entirely. I do believe that God has, sadly, come to appear as dead for much of humanity - though in particular areas his resurrection has become evident - yet I also believe that what Nietzsche cannot comprehend is the spiritual aspect of humanity and that is why religion to him must be entirely rejected.

  12. 4 out of 5

    P

    The Gay Science § 369: Consider a continually creative person, a ‘mother’ type in the grand sense, one who knows and hears nothing any more except about the pregnancies and deliveries of his spirit, one who simply lacks the time to reflect on himself and his work and to make comparisons, one who no longer has any desire to assert his taste and who simply forgets it, without caring in the least whether it still stands, or lies, or falls – such a person might perhaps eventually produce works that The Gay Science § 369: Consider a continually creative person, a ‘mother’ type in the grand sense, one who knows and hears nothing any more except about the pregnancies and deliveries of his spirit, one who simply lacks the time to reflect on himself and his work and to make comparisons, one who no longer has any desire to assert his taste and who simply forgets it, without caring in the least whether it still stands, or lies, or falls – such a person might perhaps eventually produce works that far excel his own judgment, so that he utters stupidities about them and himself – utters them and believes them. -- Ah yes, Nietzsche, the Great Immoralist. Reading his Genealogy as a bloodshot-eyed college freshman was a formative experience I remember fondly. It bolstered my adolescent aversion to Christianity: Nietzsche gave voice to what I thought I had always suspected: the priests and religious I had grown up with were peddlers of slave ethics! Weakness! Conformity! Metaphysical deception! Finally, I had found an intellectual juggernaut to put in my corner against the religious masses. Except that I didn’t, right? Semesters passed. I started taking upper-level history and philosophy courses. I learned a bit about what scholars do and even thought I wanted to be one. Nietzsche doesn’t argue in the traditional philosophical sense. He doesn’t provide footnotes pointing to verifiable historical events. As I used him in debates and papers, I found that I had to do most of the heavy lifting: arguments needed developing, abstract theories of history needed to come down to earth, as it were. And so I adored Nietzsche, but was too lazy to defend or develop him. And so I learned I didn’t want to do what scholars do. And slowly I realized something else about Nietzsche: for all his outspoken immoralism and distaste for Virtue, there are nonetheless virtues he values: beauty, valor, nobility, skepticism, chaos, violence. As my education progressed, I thought and read a lot about the problem of universals, and came to reject Nietzsche’s metaphysics (or lack thereof) and epistemology on realist grounds (coincidentally, rejecting nominalism is in part why I returned to the Church, or at least became increasingly sympathetic to its claims). Fast-forward a few years. I’ve been reading Die fröliche Wissenschaft in the poopatorium. How does one summarize, let alone “rate”, such a momentous, intimate, brazenly self-contradictory work? At the very least it’s helpful to get at what is meant by gay science: Nietzsche wishes to eradicate the grave solemnity that too often characterizes intellectual pursuits. He laughs in the face of knowledge and virtue and sin. He laughs at the idea that we think we can systematically know anything at all – about the lowest things (e.g. the nature of cause and effect, the very foundation of science), or the highest (God, metaphysics, morality). He’s no Socrates, though, at least not Plato’s Socrates – it’s a tragedy the Greeks came to exalt Reason while reviling experience and emotion. There’s so much here to chew on. Nietzsche’s by turns mad and brilliant and wise and wrong. Maybe I’ll come back to it, but for now, much like the madman himself, I’ll leave this review like a cold bath: quickly in and quickly out again.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Another book that doesn't need a review and probably shouldn't be reviewed by anyone today (one wonders if Nietzsche would look at the terrain of the world today and wonder if his "free spirits" and "philosophers the day after tomorrow" would ever arrive), but here it is! We didn't read this back in the seminar I took in college, focusing more on his other "major" works. But I think I like this one best of all, not only for its levity and joy, but because it contains kernels of all of his major Another book that doesn't need a review and probably shouldn't be reviewed by anyone today (one wonders if Nietzsche would look at the terrain of the world today and wonder if his "free spirits" and "philosophers the day after tomorrow" would ever arrive), but here it is! We didn't read this back in the seminar I took in college, focusing more on his other "major" works. But I think I like this one best of all, not only for its levity and joy, but because it contains kernels of all of his major ideas: the significance of the death of God, amor fati (the eternal recurrence), a revaluation of ethics, a questioning of science that presages much thought of the 20th century on science, and even an incredible passage that foreshadows Wittgenstein's argument against private languages. What really gives this book vitality and life is the fact that it opens and ends with rhymes and songs. When was the last time you read a philosophical work that included poetry by the philosopher? My favorite might be "Fool in Despair," in which Nietzsche sings of writing on the wall of the world, only to have to clean it so that we can "...see the super-sage emit upon the walls sagacious shit." (If you don't think that is funny, then this book is probably not for you.) I do think that much of philosophy is about finding a voice in writing, of developing a style, however cloying or vile or rich or garlicky such a style might be (a Nietzschean idea). And in this book you will hear a diversity of voices from Nietzsche: sometimes mocking, sometimes serious but cruel, sometimes in poor taste, but always dazzling and joyous. (It certainly helps that Walter Kaufmann translates and annotates the work. I don't think people like Walter Kaufmann exist anymore, but so it goes.) If you want a philosophical book to live with, one in which thought dances and walks and joyously lives through the body, this is the one.

  14. 5 out of 5

    John Hamer

    I go back to this book again and again, but I've yet to plumb its depths or exhaust its riches. You don't read Nietzsche the way the pious read holy books; you read him the way tired undergraduates drink Red Bull. Reading Nietzsche is like taking a bolt of lightning to the head; it's like a bucket of ice cold water to the face first thing in the morning. Nietzsche forces you to wake up and think. He can make you mad sometimes. Really mad. He can make you laugh out loud. And he can make you cry.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    This is one of those very-hard-to-categorize books. Poor Fred really did go to the outer limits of what could be possible, what can be thought, how far humans could go morally, aesthetically, etc. Forget the stoned, peach fuzz'd, wild-eyed undergrad or high school kid with bad breath who reads this stuff all day and thinks he's a nascent ubermensch. Nietzsche's the real deal and this is one of the books that sort of shows him stretching himself as far as he can. It's actually almost kind of This is one of those very-hard-to-categorize books. Poor Fred really did go to the outer limits of what could be possible, what can be thought, how far humans could go morally, aesthetically, etc. Forget the stoned, peach fuzz'd, wild-eyed undergrad or high school kid with bad breath who reads this stuff all day and thinks he's a nascent ubermensch. Nietzsche's the real deal and this is one of the books that sort of shows him stretching himself as far as he can. It's actually almost kind of adorable how badly he wants to translate his philosophy of the future into poetry, songs, and music. It's just not his forte. He's sort of doomed to forever advocate for the sublimity of artistic forms he himself doesn't exactly excel in. Not the worst problem in the world- he's still a 19th Century philosopher to be reckoned with, there's absolutely no question about that- but it's still kind of endearing to see him try and be, say, Heine or Holderlin... Also, this book takes a special place in my heart for the fact that a very good friend of mine, a dedicated student of philosophy and history, started reading this in high school because he'd heard of the guy and how influential he was on all his favorite writers, etc, and he had to sort of hide it under his jacket or something because he was scared that people would see the title and assume the worst....

  16. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    While certain parts of this book are overtly misogynistic and anti-Semitic, I appreciate some of his writings on artistic creation and seeking knowledge. The best part of my experience with this book was the looks I would get from other people while I was reading it on the train. People don't quite know what to do with someone who reads Nietzsche in his or her spare time.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bogdan Raț

    I think this is the only place in Nietzche's work where he explicitly says "In my opinion..." or "I believe that..." Really liked the tone and language he used here. I enjoyed some of his poems aswell.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shyam

    Why, then, have I never yet encountered anyone , not even in books, who approached morality in this personal way and who knew morality as a problem, and this problem as his own distress, torment, voluptuousness, and passion? It is clear that up to now, morality has been no problem at all but rather that on which, after all mistrust, discord, and contradiction, one could agree—the hallowed place of peace where thinkers took a rest from themselves, took a deep breath, and felt revived. I see no Why, then, have I never yet encountered anyone , not even in books, who approached morality in this personal way and who knew morality as a problem, and this problem as his own distress, torment, voluptuousness, and passion? It is clear that up to now, morality has been no problem at all but rather that on which, after all mistrust, discord, and contradiction, one could agree—the hallowed place of peace where thinkers took a rest from themselves, took a deep breath, and felt revived. I see no one who has ventured a critique of moral valuations; I miss even the slightest attempts of scientific curiosity, of the coddled, experimental imagination of psychologists and historians that easily anticipates a problem and seizes it in flight without knowing what it has caught. (5.345) The passion that overcomes the noble one is a singularity . . . the use of a rare and singular standard and almost a madness; the feeling of heat in things that feel cold to everyone else; a hitting upon the values for which the scale has not yet been invented. (1.55) __________ One day, and probably soon, we will need some recognition of what is missing primarily in our big cities: quiet and wide, expansive places for reflection—places with long, high-celinged arcades for bas or all-too-sunny weather, where no shouts or noise from carriages can penetrate and where refined manners would prohibit even priests from praying aloud: a whole complex of buildings and sites that would give expression to the sublimity to contemplation and of stepping aside. (4.280) . . . read the moral books of antiquity, e.g. those of Seneca or Epictetus . . . (3.122) __________ One day, and probably soon, we will need some recognition of what is missing primarily in our big cities: quiet and wide, expansive places for reflection—places with long, high-celinged arcades for bas or all-too-sunny weather, where no shouts or noise from carriages can penetrate and where refined manners would prohibit even priests from praying aloud: a whole complex of buildings and sites that would give expression to the sublimity to contemplation and of stepping aside. (4.280) Possession usually diminishes the possession. (1.14) To grow tired of a possession is to grow tired of ourselves. (1.14) The most industrious age—our own—doesn’t know how to make anything of all its industriousness except and money except still more money and still more industriousness; for more genius is required to spend than to acquire. (1.21) One will recall that the emperor Augustus became indiscreet against himself with his last words: he let his mask fall for the first time when he made it clear that he had worms a mask and acted a comedy— he had played the father of the fatherland and the wisdom on the throne well enough to create the proper illusion. Plaudite amici, comoedia finita est! The thought of the dying Nero—quails artifex perero!—was also the thought of the dying Augustus: actor’s vanity! Actor’s prolixity! And truly the opposite of the dying Socrates! But Tiberius died silently, this most tormented of all self-tormentors—he was genuine and no actor! What might have passed through his mind at the end? Maybe this: ‘Life—that is a long death. What a fool I was to shorten so many lives! Was I made to be a benefactor? I should have given them eternal life: that way, I could have seen them die forever. (1.36) Love forgives the beloved even his lust. (2.62) Now there is certainly something to be said for the exception, provided it never wants to become the rule. (2.76) Precisely to want to get away from usefulness for once—that is what has elevated humanity; that is what has inspired it to morality and art. (2.84) Mystical explanations are considered deep; the truth is, they are not even shallow. (3.126) . . . ready to burst into a hundredfold splendour of blossoms. (3.148) Those who know they are deep strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem deep to the crowd strive for obscurity. For the crowd takes everything whose ground it cannot see to be deep: it is so timid and so reluctant to go into the water. (3.173) The most perfidious way of damaging a cause is deliberately to defend it with faulty arguments. (3.191) With a very loud voice in one’s throat one is almost incapable of thinking subtle things. (3.216) I do not love people who have to explode like bombs in order to have any effect whatsoever and in whose presence one is always in danger of suddenly losing one’s hearing—or more. (3.218) Some reach their peak as characters, but their spirit is not adequate for this height, while with others it is the other way around. (3.235) What we do is never understood but always merely praised and reproached. (3.264) What is the seal of having become free?—No longer to be ashamed before oneself. (3.275) To me the most intolerable, the truly terrible, would of course ba a life entirely without habits, a life that continually demanded improvisation. (4.295) To have refined senses and a refined taste; to be accustomed to the exquisite and most excellent things of the spirit . . . (4.302) Live in seclusion so that you are able to live for yourself! Live in ignorance of what seems most important to your age! (4.338) . . . spreading a Homeric light and splendour over all things. (5.370)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Miquixote

    One of the great philosophical works. Do yourself a favor and realize right off the bat that it's quite unimportant whether you agree with him or not. He will challenge you and he will get you thinking. Nietzsche can certainly be seen as too individualistic, too violent, too aristocratic, too condescending of democratic principles, too disrespectful of the little people, and only respectful of the individual 's will to power. That is his strength and his weakness. Should we write him off as so One of the great philosophical works. Do yourself a favor and realize right off the bat that it's quite unimportant whether you agree with him or not. He will challenge you and he will get you thinking. Nietzsche can certainly be seen as too individualistic, too violent, too aristocratic, too condescending of democratic principles, too disrespectful of the little people, and only respectful of the individual 's will to power. That is his strength and his weakness. Should we write him off as so many have done? Should we glorify him as at least as many have done? What of his Marxist and Christian herds? In Nietzsche’s opinion, the individual must be respected above the group; the distinguishing factor between the herd collective and the collective that respects individuals. Marxist and Christian experiments have been too paternalistic, too authoritarian. Religion and communism fail because of the ‘herd mentality’ and the ‘ressentiment’ weakness’. An authoritarian-led community or collective is not his answer to our individual and collective ‘un-gayness’. Interestingly, many anarchists have also been foremost critics of the authoritarian tendency. And have been admirable in that they have tried to toe the line between the individual and the collective. Several big-name anarchists have admitted inspiration from Nietzsche (eg. Emma Goldman), even claiming he was an individualist-anarchist (although Nietzsche hated the anarchists of his day, claiming they were ‘the worst kind of ressenters’). But an individual without community is lost. Perhaps this is even the dilemma of our time. Community, tribe, or nucleus maintain our sanity, make us less lonely, support us when we're down but shouldn't make us co-dependent as the individual spirit often provides much-needed initiative, the moving forward, the creativity, the walking away from stagnant situations. But the individual without community would snap like dried wood, and burn up everything around it. Can there be some type of compromise? A lot of people think that there's a crossroads happening right now and that if there isn't a compromise between individualism and collectivism then it could just be apocalypse time. Trump style, Putin style, religious Extremists' style, nuclear war style, environmental destruction style. What would Nietzsche have to say about that? Is asking for a type of symbiosis too utopian? Perhaps there are too many extreme coinciding stresses on Harmony right now for us to manage without some fantastic new attempt at a superior ‘ubermensch’ harmony of harmonies. But how harmonize when we must realize that our greatest thinkers didn't seem to know how? Is our infatuation with apocalyptic scenarios these days simply an unconscious urge for the return of community, or negatively: the herd? Can competition and cooperation compete and/or cooperate enough to allow the survival of our planet, of our species? Should we be war mongering chimpanzees or should we be peace loving Bonobos? Is Mutual Aid necessarily mutually exclusive of respecting individual rights and needs? Was Karl Marx right that class war is inevitable and Nietzsche right that we don't deserve power unless we have the will to take it? Can the rugged individualist realize he can't do it alone? Can we compete nicely? Can we cooperate with the necessary fire in our blood to defeat the enemy (which is ourselves)? Or must we continue to fight each other to grow? Is there not a way that the competitive spirit inside of us can mingle with the cooperative spirit (that is also equally inside of us) to create a situation where both competition and cooperation can thrive? Does moral resentment make another world war inevitable? Does the competitive spirit make environmental destruction imminent? Or more pointedly in reference to the content of this work: is the authentic gay science only the individualistic way or can it involve cooperative competition? Why not create a meritocracy where the ones who work harder get rewarded more but we never leave anyone or the earth behind? Some conclusions concerning the above: 1. Everybody demonstrates some type or types of Will to power, even if not admittedly by adherents. For example: Not wanting any ideology is in itself an ideology. Even Christian or political herd mentality is a type of will to power (ideological).The question remains how to acknowledge the will to power without abusing it? Can it be done? Since you can't reject the will to power outright (impossible, and the worst kind of herd mentality) should you allow a modicum of will to power through ideology (like pacifism) or inversely through violence (self-defense)? The gay science was one of the great attempts at this will to power without corruption. So Nietzsche is correct that the will to power is necessary to change the world. But does individualism really lead to gayness, considering the social side inherent in humanity? The latest studies on psychology would certainly say no and that community is essential. Is individualism less corrupting than collectivism? Hofstede's studies on collectivist societies show strong bias towards authoritarianism in collectivist societies. The complete failure of authoritarian communism (Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Castro, etc.) has thrown us flailing into the abyss of our extreme individualism. The only answer must be a dialectic between the collective and the individual. The will to power must simply be a true meritocracy without destruction of the weak. For even the weak have the will to power, if less capably. The weak can be enabled. The will to power must be nurtured through competition AND cooperation. There can't be one without the other anyway. Competition and cooperation are a dialectic, not a dichotomy. But Nietzsche was right, the herd mentality is not the answer, however mutual aid can be (if it balances it with healthy competition). We must call the bluff that collectivism and individualism are at odds. No more paternalism, loneliness, or pills. Just real democracy respecting the meek, feeding the poor, saving the environment. But yes, rewarding (within reason, the current inequality is shameful) those who put in more effort. Until then the collectives will still be authoritarian and the individuals far too rugged, and they will continue to be at odds.

  20. 4 out of 5

    David

    Rather than laying out a point and following it with arguments and counter arguments, Nietzsche makes declarations about the world and leaves you to argue for or against him. Even though this book is full of intentional contradictions it does cause the reader to think more about the world around them. However it fails to make a point. Normal philosophy desires to find a conclusion, and from this conclusion the reader is left to think about what was said, but this book only says things to think Rather than laying out a point and following it with arguments and counter arguments, Nietzsche makes declarations about the world and leaves you to argue for or against him. Even though this book is full of intentional contradictions it does cause the reader to think more about the world around them. However it fails to make a point. Normal philosophy desires to find a conclusion, and from this conclusion the reader is left to think about what was said, but this book only says things to think about. In some ways this is good, if you are just getting into philosophy and you want to read something that is easy to understand. But I would not call this a classic philosophical book. Other than Nietzsche's constant frustration with morality and general detest of organized religion, no argument is present. This is not a book that challenges the reader intellectually, and is only good to make them think about the world around them.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Aung Sett Kyaw Min

    This was not an easy book to digest, you have to be in a certain physiological state, of a certain digestion, which is precisely one of the significant points that Nietzsche raises in book 5. Against the prejudice of the scholars that the books are deep, contemplative products of reason/consciousness and that thinking is a heavy activity that weighs you down, plagues your head like a leaden helmet, and makes you sit down in your study, Nietzsche presents us with the notion of "gay science", of This was not an easy book to digest, you have to be in a certain physiological state, of a certain digestion, which is precisely one of the significant points that Nietzsche raises in book 5. Against the prejudice of the scholars that the books are deep, contemplative products of reason/consciousness and that thinking is a heavy activity that weighs you down, plagues your head like a leaden helmet, and makes you sit down in your study, Nietzsche presents us with the notion of "gay science", of thinking as mischievous (schadenfroh) dance. As in dance, you have to be light on your feet and stay on the surface. You have to think with your feet. You dip only your toes in a pond, you don't mingle with everyone, you have no faith in unconditional Yeses and Nos...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    I have a spent a year studying this book and after all that effort I feel at once that I know less and that my life has been enriched - interesting; not unlike reading Kierkegaard and his pseudonyms. If you want the challenge of reading a difficult book rich in ideas, filled with images, and vibrant in its lust for life - then, read this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kit

    5 stars, but only if you skip the poetry.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Blair

    The Will to Truth “The ‘will to truth’ is more than, ‘I will not allow myself to be deceived,’ it must be ‘I will not deceive, not even myself.’ Thus we have reached the realm of morality.” Here, the truth is willed into existence as a stream of consciousness, unsullied by any editor or second thought. One chapter amounts to a Happy New Year greeting from Genoa. Sometimes the chapters trail off into… [I guess he went out to think in the open air. Whatever, publish it anyway.] Maybe it is best read The Will to Truth “The ‘will to truth’ is more than, ‘I will not allow myself to be deceived,’ it must be ‘I will not deceive, not even myself.’ Thus we have reached the realm of morality.” Here, the truth is willed into existence as a stream of consciousness, unsullied by any editor or second thought. One chapter amounts to a Happy New Year greeting from Genoa. Sometimes the chapters trail off into… [I guess he went out to think in the open air. Whatever, publish it anyway.] Maybe it is best read the spirit it was written: open it at random and read until it stops making sense. No need to worry about missing the context. But the stream is sprinkled with gems, and the effort is worthwhile. This book is supposed to be the best summary of his thinking. Ignore the title, as the modern meaning of “gay” is the one topic this wide-ranging mind chooses to ignore. I will let Nietzsche do most of the talking. Oh, Brave New Age Despite his will, I think some self-deception slips through: “We do not belong to those who only get their thoughts from books, or at the prompting of books. It is our custom to think in the open air, walking, leaping, climbing, or dancing on lonesome mountains by preference, or close to the sea, where even the paths become thoughtful. Our first question concerning the value of a book, a man, or a piece of music is: Can it walk? Or still better: Can it dance? We seldom read; we do not read the worse for that.” That’s nice, Dr. Nietzsche, but you seem to have forgotten that you have a sound classical education, and have thoroughly read and understood all the major philosophers. You did not achieve that by leaping in the open air, it took years of hard work. Indeed, you point out that accomplishment has a price: “Look at our friends again with whom we have spent our youth, after they have taken possession of their science: Alas! how they themselves are now for ever occupied and possessed by their science! Grown into their nook, crumpled into unrecognizability, constrained, deprived of their equilibrium, emaciated and angular everywhere.” I do have to ask, who do you think pays for that nice pension you got after only ten years of service, that lets you dance on those lonesome mountains? But to be fair, he then heaps scorn on the easy alternative: “But you want to have it otherwise, more reasonable, above all more convenient - is it not so, my dear contemporaries? Very well! But then instead of the craftsman and expert, you will get the literary man, the versatile ‘many-sided’ litterateur, the shop keeper of the intellect and the porter of culture, who is really nothing but ‘represents’ almost everything.” Nietzsche seeks the space beyond the scholar and the charlatan. And those select few who seek apparently reside beyond the necessity of work. The Vice of Selflessness “We rejoice in all men, who like ourselves love danger, war and adventure, who do not make compromises, nor let themselves be captured, conciliated and stunted; we count ourselves among the conquerors; we ponder over the need of a new order of things. Is it not obvious that with all this we must feel ill at ease in an age which claims the honour of being the most humane, gentle and just that the sun has ever seen?” I am reminded of the voice of Ayn Rand animating her larger than life characters proclaiming the virtue of selfishness. The difference is that those lonesome mountains are there to be turned into material rather than spiritual wealth. I imagine her absorbing this line: “Selflessness has no value either in heaven or on earth; the great problems all demand great love, and it is only the strong, well-rounded, secure spirits, those who have a solid basis, that are qualified for them.” But here Nietzsche is exploring the nature of morality, not selling us a simplistic answer. He complains that morality is a “hallowed place of peace, where thinkers could obtain rest even from themselves,” meaning that no one really questions it deeply. It takes a strong mind willing to step outside conventional morality (or “beyond good and evil”) to explore it. Morality is more than opinion or revelation - it has consequences: “The worth of a medicine to a sick person is altogether independent of the question whether he has a scientific opinion about medicine, or merely thinks about it as an old wife would do… Thus, no one until now has tested the value of that most celebrated of all medicines, called morality.” Is He Crazy to Question Morality? “Incipient insanity has hovered, and hovers continually over mankind as its greatest danger.” That turned out to be personally true for Nietzsche himself. But here he means something very different: “It is not truth and certainty that is the antithesis of the world of the insane, but the universality and all-obligatoriness of a belief, in short, non-voluntariness in forming opinions. And the greatest labour of human beings until now has been to agree with one another regarding a number of things, and to impose upon themselves a law of agreement - indifferent whether these things are true or false. This is the discipline of the mind which has preserved mankind.” Here we have the very definition of conservative thinking, that it is insane to disrupt the mutual agreement that keeps society functioning, coming from the guy who also said: “What must all collapse now that this belief had been undermined, because so much was built upon it, so much rested on it, and had become one with it: for example, our entire European morality. This lengthy, vast and uninterrupted process of crumbling, destruction, ruin and overthrow which is now imminent: who has realised it sufficiently to-day to have to stand up as the teacher and herald of such a tremendous logic of terror, as the prophet of a period of gloom and eclipse, the like of which has probably never taken place on earth before.” That is a lot more exciting. How do we reconcile these two opposing visions? “Virtuous stupidity is needed in order that the faithful of the great collective belief may remain with one another and dance their dance further. We others are the exceptions and the danger - we eternally need protection! Well, there can actually be something said in favour of the exceptions provided that they never want to become the rule.” Revolution is fine as long it is confined to the exceptions. Just don’t put these people in charge. This master of the one-liner sums it all up as: “Philosophy is for the elites. For the masses, there's religion.” How the Religion of Slaves Gave Us Freedom One can see that the author of “The Antichrist” is no fan of Christianity. Clearly his vision of an alternative derives from the hard work he did studying the classical literature. “Natures such as the apostle Paul have an evil eye for the passions; they learn to know only the filthy, the distorting, and the heart breaking in them. Their ideal aim, therefore, is the annihilation of the passions; in the divine they see complete purification from passion. The Greeks directed their ideal aim precisely to the passions, and loved, elevated, embellished and deified them: in passion they evidently not only felt themselves happier, but also purer and diviner than otherwise.” In general, “All preachers of morality, as also all theologians, have a bad habit in common: all of them try to persuade man that he is very ill, and that a severe, final, radical cure is necessary.” [I could add political revolutionaries to his list.] But the almighty God of morality has a curious weakness: “‘Only when you repent is God gracious to you’ - that would arouse the laughter or the wrath of a Greek: he would say, ‘Slaves may have such sentiments.’ Here a mighty being, an almighty being, and yet a revengeful being, is presupposed; his power is so great that no injury whatever can be done to him, except in the point of honour.” Can there even be an almighty God of Love? “If God had wanted to become an object of love, he would first of all have had to forgo judging and justice: even a gracious judge is no object of love.” Perhaps there is a cure: “Buddha says: ‘Do not flatter your benefactor!’ Let one repeat this saying in a Christian church - it immediately purifies the air of all Christianity.” Yet credit is given when it is due: “But what I have in view will now be understood, namely, that it is always a metaphysical belief on which our belief in science rests, and that even we knowing ones of today, the godless and anti-metaphysical, still take our fire from the conflagration kindled by a belief a millennium old, the Christian belief, which was also the belief of Plato, that God is truth, that the truth is divine.” But that was the source of its undoing: “One sees what has really gained the victory over the Christian God - Christian morality itself, the conception of veracity, taken ever more strictly, the confessional subtlety of the Christian conscience, translated and sublimated to the scientific conscience, to intellectual purity at any price.” The Virtue of Suffering Trigger Warning: The following may be hurtful for those concerned with victimhood. “When I think of the desire to do something, how it continually tickles and stimulates millions of young Europeans, who cannot endure themselves and all their ennui, I conceive that there must be a desire in them to suffer something, in order to derive from their suffering a worthy motive for acting, for doing something. Distress is necessary! Hence the cry of the politicians, hence the many false, trumped-up, exaggerated ‘states of distress’ of all possible kinds, and the blind readiness to believe in them. This young world desires that there should arrive or appear from the outside, not happiness, but misfortune; and their imagination is already busy beforehand to form a monster out of it, so that they may afterwards be able to fight with a monster.” I see this is a guy who does not shy away from microaggression. I am surprised he does not connect the origin of this attitude with the suffering of Jesus on the cross. While he is often verbose, he can also hit the nail on head with a single phrase. Thus for those supposedly good intentions, “When we see anyone suffering, we willingly utilise the opportunity then afforded to take possession of him.” Think about that one. We even take advantage of our own perceived victimhood to fight the conjured monster. And all this was written so long ago. Not much changes, it just gets recycled. “Man's Attribute is Will; Woman's Attribute is Willingness” Like him or not, this man can turn a phrase. Does this one come from the will to truth or the will to power? I suggest the former; he is only reporting the news as he sees it in his time. While often so insightful, this time he fails to see the implication when he tells us that, “Man creates for himself the ideal of woman, and woman moulds herself according to this ideal.” Men have moulded those women that he sees for generations. He is acutely aware that his society is changing under his feet, but cannot imagine that women will join in the moulding process will accompany the coming change. It also escapes his notice that men are moulded as well. Thus perhaps we should forgive him for the following advice: “Woman wants to be taken and accepted as a possession, she wishes to be merged in the conceptions of ‘possession’ and ‘possessed’; consequently she wants one who takes, who does not offer and give himself away.” Personally, as one who does offer, that statement triggers uncomfortable feelings. But are you going to tell me there is no truth to it, never mind what you or I want to believe? He is not here to make us feel good. Do You Wonder Why They Fought the First World War? “I greet all the signs indicating that a more manly and warlike age is commencing, which will, above all, bring heroism again into honour! For it has to prepare the way for a yet higher age, and gather the force which the latter will one day require, the age which will carry heroism into knowledge, and wage war for the sake of ideas and their consequences.” Here is an unfortunate legacy of the classics, where war is a celebration of individual heroism in sanitized accounts of ancient battles. If only he could have witnessed man reduced to a mindless cog in a vast killing machine. When we ask what made them do it, look no further than this pathetic romanticism from the very one who was in the best position to challenge it. Maybe Everyone Should Eventually Read Nietzsche Anticipating his critics, he tells us, “It is by no means an objection to a book when someone finds it unintelligible.” But some of this book is not only intelligible but also insightful. For example, long before Freud, he writes: “For a very long time conscious thinking was regarded as the only thinking: it is now only that the truth dawns upon us that the greater part of our intellectual activity goes on unconsciously and unfelt by us.” I don’t know how this review can fairly represent what he wrote when every time I re-read him I get something more. In a sense there is nothing really new to be found here, because everyone you read has read Nietzsche. But the original stimulates us to think again. Try it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Crito

    It's nice to catch Nietzsche in a good mood. Although this is critical period Neet, it's certainly transitional, he's palpably getting inspired towards Zarathustra, both in the open question of where critical philosophy leads to, and in his infectious style. I should say this is a scattered collection of various thoughts rather than having a singular focus, which I suppose goes with his theme of joining a wild chaotic dance which incorporates its stumbles, but it still helps to read this It's nice to catch Nietzsche in a good mood. Although this is critical period Neet, it's certainly transitional, he's palpably getting inspired towards Zarathustra, both in the open question of where critical philosophy leads to, and in his infectious style. I should say this is a scattered collection of various thoughts rather than having a singular focus, which I suppose goes with his theme of joining a wild chaotic dance which incorporates its stumbles, but it still helps to read this sporadically rather than straight through. I've come around on his type of philosophy after he correctly called me out on using philosophy as therapy, something which I've freely admitted to but never explored the implications of. It's a unique kind of complacency he's concerned with, and it took a while to catch that thread.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mack Hayden

    Another great read from one of the most mischaracterized thinkers I know. This one is notable for how many key, famous concepts of his it lays out: eternal recurrence, amor fati, God is dead, etc. But again, the greatest delight in reading Nietzsche is that his strengths as a wrecking ball are surpassed by his full throated affirmation of life. His is not a gloomy philosophy, although it certainly would look that way to someone clinging on to the traditions he attacks with such mischievous vigor Another great read from one of the most mischaracterized thinkers I know. This one is notable for how many key, famous concepts of his it lays out: eternal recurrence, amor fati, God is dead, etc. But again, the greatest delight in reading Nietzsche is that his strengths as a wrecking ball are surpassed by his full throated affirmation of life. His is not a gloomy philosophy, although it certainly would look that way to someone clinging on to the traditions he attacks with such mischievous vigor and determination. Instead, it really is a gay science, a joyful wisdom. It’s been weird that reading him has made me a more positive person overall, but defying expectations is what he’s best at. Out of all the Nietzsche I’ve read so far, this is probably what I’d recommend the highest as an introduction to his thought.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kyle van Oosterum

    Nietzsche's excess is a forgivable fault since it is balanced out by his wisdom. "The Gay Science" is overflowing with a staggering 383 aphorisms, some tainted by a maudlin tone and others teeming with joyfulness. He discusses multifarious issues and thoughts reflectively and intimately. His prologue is composed of some highly personal poems and it all escalates from there. To Nietzsche, all moral sentiments and ideas are hogwash and he blatantly claims: "Morality is the herd-instinct in the Nietzsche's excess is a forgivable fault since it is balanced out by his wisdom. "The Gay Science" is overflowing with a staggering 383 aphorisms, some tainted by a maudlin tone and others teeming with joyfulness. He discusses multifarious issues and thoughts reflectively and intimately. His prologue is composed of some highly personal poems and it all escalates from there. To Nietzsche, all moral sentiments and ideas are hogwash and he blatantly claims: "Morality is the herd-instinct in the individual." Morality is just an element of human conformity to civilization and there is essentially no objective good. He also analyzes the role of science in that it rids us of pain, but it equally rids us of pleasure. Knowledge must serve us rather than us serve it. Perhaps the boldest declaration in all of philosophy goes to Nietzsche: "God is dead. God remains dead. We have killed him." He is not some die-hard atheist. He is lamenting over the gap that religion will leave in our culture if it were to disappear, and how science is the new, rigidly dogmatic 'religion' that we worship. Culture will effervesce into nothingness just as it came into our world. Not to outdo himself though, he mentions quite rightfully that the Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad, has made the world ugly and bad. In other words, their concept of original sin has made our world sinful. This is in stark contrast with some of the powerfully motivational aphorisms that are found in Book 4. Nietzsche wants "Amor fati", the love of one's fate to be acknowledged in every individual to make them more appreciative of their lives. He tells us that we should "build our lives on the slopes of Vesuvius", in other words, make our lives explosive and extraordinary. In this way we will find our own personal providence and be our own übermensch. In the vein of excessive writing (for which I apologize), I would like to leave you with this thought-experiment to gauge your vitality: "What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy, and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence? -- even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, a speck of dust!' Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.'"

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    I read this book during slack time in medic school—probably not the wisest choice, but I did manage to convince a few hecklers to read it and to give it a try. They all reported good results with the few sections they read. The book, to me, serves as a revaluation of how one could live his life—the invention of a pesudo Zorba the Buddha: completely in love with life, fascinated that he exists at all, yet completely happy to accept that he can only know Life in relation to his own Life. It is, I read this book during slack time in medic school—probably not the wisest choice, but I did manage to convince a few hecklers to read it and to give it a try. They all reported good results with the few sections they read. The book, to me, serves as a revaluation of how one could live his life—the invention of a pesudo Zorba the Buddha: completely in love with life, fascinated that he exists at all, yet completely happy to accept that he can only know Life in relation to his own Life. It is, however, full of a bunch of tracts that have nothing at all to do with the core of the work itself, and have implications only in relation to the rest of Nietzsche's work, both what he had written at this time, and what he had yet to write.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Nomen-Mutatio

    "Who will sing a song for us, a morning song, so sunny, so light, so fledged that it will not chase away the blues but invite them instead to join in the singing and dancing?" ("Wer singt uns ein Lied, ein Vormittagslied, so sonnig, so leicht, so flügge, dass es die Grillen nicht verscheucht,—dass es die Grillen vielmehr einlädt, mit zu singen, mit zu tanzen?") -Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Book Five, section 383

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    Nietzsche at his best- his most fun, probing, quoteable, lucid, and aphoristic book(if my memory serves me well), and among the least psychotic- any pretentious and self-important 19-year old ought to love this book, the silly mustache notwithstanding. When they get older, though they'll be a bit embarrassed, they should continue to love it; after all, there's quite a bit to be said for being self-important and 19.

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