Friedrich Nietzsche's "life feeds on life" idea was too much for me when I was struggling to free myself from Catholicism.
I succeeded, but for years didn't happen to see any of his work.
After I'd plunged into and been strengthened by hardball politics, I sought out his work and agreed with much of what he'd said. Some say he was Europe's first existentialist.
He achieved infamy with xians with his "God is dead" line.
He wrote in a more religious time than ours, and when I saw that he'd had a madman say those words, I wondered if his "ubermann" was an ideal he hoped to reach.
Attacked by xians for those words, he could say "A madman said them. Do you believe madmen"?
Was he protecting himself?
Sometimes being a "madman" is relative. Believers think we're madmen for not believing in their deity or his son. As for the "god is dead" line, to me, it's merely absurd, referring to something as dead that never lived in the first place.
Still, ol' Fred has his moments, don't he? [grin!]
Nice! Thanks for getting me to pick up my Nietzsche reader by Penguin Books.
I think Nietzsche was much smarter than the self proclaimed "exian" standard bearers of his time, or our own.
Here are two gems from that book found in the appendix "Maxims and Reflections:"
To one who is praised.- So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.
Not to assert one's rights.- To exercise power costs effort and demands courage. That is why so many fail to assert rights to which they are perfectly entitled - because a right is a kind of power but they are too lazy or cowardly to exercise it. The virtues which cloak these faults are patience and forbearance.
Of course, there are life enhancing limits to everything, a concept which may may have eluded Nietzsche in the end. Given this caveat, there are some good maxims there.
Think about the medieval concept of the king's fool. The fool can say things that the king needs to hear, but no one else has the freedom to say. Nietzshe's madman is the court jester to a society held in religion's thrall.