Friedrich Nietzsche First Essay Sparknotes

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Nietzsche highlights that there was a universe that existed before man and his intellect, and there will continue to be the same universe, almost entirely unaffected, after man has died out.

The intellect operates out of preservation to deceive man into believing he has an importance in the universe which he simply lacks.

This revolutionary work of his is divided into two main sections.

The first part deals with the question on what is truth?

Man is “immersed in illusions and dreams” because the eyes detect only “forms” but do not seek truth.

Nietzsche describes the establishment of “truth” as a “peace pact” created between individuals because humans are, by necessity, social creatures.Drawing on elements of the Greek mythology he studied in his university years, Nietzsche credits the intuitive man as the source of creativity which in turn allows for the establishment of civilization.Though he acknowledges the intuitive man is susceptible to greater disappointment, Nietzsche proposes that while the intuitive man is vulnerable to deeper suffering, and even more frequent suffering, the rational man will not experience as great or frequent of joys as the intuitive man.The importance of Nietzsche as an author and philosopher is undeniable, and the vast amount of secondary literature on his writings has elevated him to an echelon of few peers.Writing in an age of rapid technological advancement and increased faith in empirical sciences as well as man-made catastrophes such as the Great Depression in the United States, Nietzsche calls into question the merit of these developments.The influence of these works is clearly present in Nietzsche’s dichotomy of the rational man (a Kantian construct) and the intuitive man found in “On Truth and Lies in an Extra-Moral Sense.” The essay is divided into two sections.Nietzsche begins his essay with a brief allegory of the creation of knowledge, which he follows by stating, “One might invent such a fable and still not have illustrated how wretched, how shadowy and flighty, how aimless and arbitrary, the human intellect appears in nature” (1).In many ways his argument reflects the influences which he encountered during his time at the Universities of Bonn and Leipzig where he studied philology, the interpretation of ancient and biblical texts.Other strong influences include John Winckelmann’s History of Art, which lauds ancient Greece as the exemplar of simplicity, rational serenity, and artistic vision, and Arthur Schopenhauer’s atheistic The World as Will and Representation which presents a turbulent world view and rejects religious constraints.Here he discusses the implication of language to our acquisition of knowledge.The second part deals with the dual nature of man, i.e. He establishes that neither rational nor intuitive man is ever successful in their pursuit of knowledge due to our illusion of truth.


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