A German philosopher of the late nineteenth century. Fredrick Nietszche began his academic career in philology, the study of languages and linguistic systems. He became an admirer of Wagner, with whom he later fell out. Following the publication of 'The Geneology of Morals', his main concern was to reaffirm life in 'the twilight of the idols'.
His phrase 'god is dead, we are all his murderers' was not an attack against religion as such, but against nihilism which believed in nothing on the one hand, and on the churches and christians who had sapped the true value and meaning out of life and religion on the other. Thus he claimed the churches were 'sepulchres', and the nihilists he urged to 'keep holy your highest hope'. That hope he grounded in the act of creation, and affirmed in the idea of 'eternal recurrence' - the ultimate affirmation of life.
These ideas are best outlined in 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra', in particular the sections 'The Tree on the Mountainside' and 'On the Three Metamorphoses'. In this last section he outlines how the human soul begins as 'a camel' wieghted down by loyalty to the old gods, then he must become a 'lion' and denounce them before becoming 'a child' who creates a new value and new meaning for his life.
Nietzsche owed much to Eastern, particularly Buddhist metaphysics, as well, I suspect, as being influenced by William Blake and Wagner. His is the same kind of reaffirming existential mission. His influence on the 20th C. existentialists also mark him out as one of the early 'fathers' of 'postmodernism'.
'But by my love and hope I beseech you; Do not throw away the hero in your soul! Hold holy your highest hope!'
Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
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