NIETZSCHE AND DEMOCRACY
Epistemology and Morality versus Politics: from the creation of the Superman to the realization of Utopia
I agree with Thomas Mann (1948). Nietzsche is “remote from politics”.
Nevertheless, the demand to investigate the “political philosophy” of Nietzsche springs out from the different attempts (which have been done from time to time) to use his “innocently spiritual” Thought (Thomas Mann, 1948) to support anti-democratic Regime.
Although Schutte (1984) and Detwiler (1990) argue that the Nietzsche’s Thought can justify “highly authoritarian systems of government”, Nietzsche is against any anti-democratic Regime. This is clear, as I wrote supra (above). Nietzsche defends and supports the Individual Freedom. His philosophy is ontological incompatible with any totalitarian Regime. Individual Freedom and authoritarian Regimes cannot co-exist together.
Indeed, according to Montinari (1975): “all’interno di una … democrazia … non puo’ mancare una “dimensione Nietzsche”, la dimensione … della liberta’ di spirito che nasce dalla carica critica, razionale e liberatrice del suo pensiero e che non si stanca mai di rimettere tutto in questione”.
Nietzsche’s Thought was corrupted by Elisabeth Nietzsche Foster (his sister). She made Nietzsche’s Thought be compatible with the German political ideology of Nazism (Montinari, 1975; Wicks, 2004).
But, Nietzsche’s Philosophy was clearly anti-Nazism.
The anti-Nazism of Nietzsche is self-evident from:
- his anti-racism;
- his idea that “the concept of “pure blood” is the opposite of a harmless concept”;
- his anti-anti-Semitism (Duffy M. F. and Mittelman W., 1988);
- the idea of man like a free thinker;
- his ideas about idols;
- etc… .
On the contrary, Hunt (1991) argues that the Nietzsche’s Thought can be interpreted in any possible way, due its ambiguity. So, Nietzsche can appear: anarchist; totalitarian; liberal; etc…; … as Nietzsche expressed himself like a Sphinx (Blondel, 1991). But, Nietzsche does “not hold any of the standard political ideologies” (Hunt, 1991). So, it is meaningless an account such as that one of Ansell-Pearson (1994). The latter attempted: before, proving that “Nietzsche is liberal individualist”; then, explaining “on which he departs from liberalism”!!
This sketch indicates how much Nietzsche’s work was strongly misunderstood.
Paradoxically, Nietzsche predicted this outcome.
“But it would be a complete contradiction of myself if expected ears and hands for my truth already today: that I am not heard today, that no one today knows how to take from me, is not only comprehensible; it even seems to be right” (Ecce Homo, Why I write good book, I).
For these reasons, I agree with Warren (1985) when he says: “… that the Nietzsche’ s thought has entered the cannon of political philosophy in an unsatisfactory manner, and that the relation of Nietzsche and political philosophy needs to be reconceived”. Nevertheless, I do not agree with Warren (1985) on the “strategy for doing” this re-evaluation. Instead of starting from the centrality of the philosophy of power and human agency, I suggest to follow the exegetic criteria, which Nietzsche gave us in Ecce Homo: “Listen to me! For I am thus and thus. For not, above all, confound me with what I am not!!” (Ecce Homo, Prologue).
The mistake to use the concept of Will to Power comes from a “literal application” of this expression without understanding what it means.
Will to Power does not refer to individuals. It refers to the World itself.
As individuals are parts of the World, they participate to Will to Power.
“This world is the will to power — and nothing besides! And you yourselves are also this will to power — and nothing besides! (Nietzsche, Will to Power, 1067).
Will to power is the Dynamical Force that makes World / Existence be. It looks like the concept of Spirit that is used inside the Hermeneutic Philosophy (Gadamer, Heidegger, Betti, etc…). Indeed, according to Davey (1991): “… there is a substantial hermeneutic foundation to his thinking which has, astoundingly, been neglected”.
The present writer affirms that the political thought of Nietzsche should be extracted by his moral and epistemological philosophy. The political philosophy of Nietzsche is an indirect consequence of his moral and epistemological ideas.
The difficulty to understand Nietzsche comes from the ambiguity of his discourse. His aphorisms look like Buddhist Zen Koans. Nietzsche used ambiguity as, at the end, “no one can extract from things, books included, more than he already knows. What one has no access to through experience one has no ear for” (Ecce Homo, Why I write good book, I). So, long explanations are useless!!
“Every deep thinker is more afraid of being understood than of being misunderstood. The latter perhaps wounds his vanity; but the former wounds his heart, his sympathy, which always says: “Ah, why would you also have as hard a time of it as I have?”” (Beyond the Good and Evil, 290).
The political idea of Nietzsche is to create a Utopian Society that is composed by free Individuals. As Individuals must be the opposite of lemmings, the Utopian Society has to be the opposite of a flock of sheep.
Nietzsche expressed his anti-authoritarian view, exempli gratia, in On the New Idol (Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, I). The State is described to be an Idol that imposes its Moral Ideal a là Simmonds onto its servants. So, between the Power of the State (Leviathan) and the Simmonds’ Moral Ideal (the Cultural Paradigm that is imposed by the State) there is a strong bond. This is clear from the Nietzsche’s works, even if his Cultural Aspects and Implications have usually been underestimated (Blondel, 1991).
Although some authors have attempted to restrict the interpretation of On the New Idol to some particular types of forms of Government (Sokel, 1983; Strong, 1976), these interpretations “have nothing to do with the text of On a New Idol” (Hunt, 1991).
On the New Idol refers to every State that has not transmuted itself from the flock of Sheep to the Utopian Society. Indeed, sheep/lemmings have always homologated themselves to something that was given to them. On the contrary, a group of free individuals is made by free spirits. This is clear from the literature that has influenced Nietzsche’s work. Exempli gratia, Holderlin (1822; 1994) was one of his preferred writers (Blondel, 1991).
Nietzsche does not want a society of imitators (lemmings).
“Imitators. – A: “What? You want no imitators?” B: “I do not want people to imitate me; I want everyone to set his own example, which is what I do”. A: “Thus –?” (Gay Science, 255)
Nietzsche does not want believers. Believers are servants of idols.
All the conflicts and wickedest things have been the consequence of believers’ determinations. They want to impose their own Moral Ideal (a là Simmonds) onto any other one. The Christian Church gave an example of this with its Holy Inquisition. To save the soul of people from the fire of the Inferno and Satan, Inquisitors created the Hell on the Earth. Like real devils, they enjoyed: to torture and to burn people; to commit any atrocity. They were servants of Satan; they were not ministers of God at all. They betrayed God. They killed Him and His Teaching!!
Nowadays, this is done with the New Profane Inquisition. Psychopathology is used and misused to reload the Hell on the Earth (Epis L., 2011/2015). Its constructs, standard deviations and demand of Homologation, are the new Idols “… in the name of …” new and old forms of abuse, torture and violence, can be done.
The only way to exist from this foolishness is to create Utopia.
The only way to create Utopia is to transmute the Human Being from man to superman.
This is possible only proceeding with the three passages described by Nietzsche: Camel; Lion; Child. Nietzsche’s philosophy has several Alchemical Elements. Indeed, these three passages are a new metaphor for the three Alchemical Stages: Nigredo (the Black Stage Alchemicae Operae); Albedo (the White Stage Alchemicae Operae); Rubedo (the Red Stage Alchemicae Operae). But, I do not know about These Enigmatic Things! So, I cannot tell you about Them. Yet, you may read other writers such as: Zosimus Alchemista (Zosimos of Pannopolis); Maria Prophetissima (Mary the Prophetess; Mary the Jewess); Stephanus Alexandrinus (Stephanos of Alexandria; Stephen of Alexandria); Pseudo-Democritus; Gabir Ibn Hayyan; Senior Zadith; Paolo di Taranto; Basilius Valentinus (Johann Tholde); …; Julius Evola (1931); … and/or someone else, who knows about Them.
The superman is what I descried in the first chapter. So, I will not long more on this topic. Yet, I want to tell something about the view of Thiele.
I disagree with the “heroic individualism” presented by Thiele (1990).
“The Hero has the fate of Tantalus, whose reach is insufficient and whose efforts unending. For the fruit of his struggle is unattainable: he is a mortal who seeks immortality, a man who desires to be a god. But as he reaches for what he cannot grasp, he also grows in power, and therefore welcomes the temptation to overstep his limits. Unaware or contemptuous of the boundaries of human life, the hero is forever in state of transgression. He is hubristic, and he both suffers and glories in his struggles to be more than he is fated to be”.
Thiele (1990) has completely misinterpreted the concept of hero of Nietzsche. On the contrary, Thiele (1990) described the ideal of the romantic hero, exempli gratia, that one, which was used by Byron (1841) in his Childe Harold’s pilgrimage.
The superman is a different kind of hero.
- overcomes his old nature of follower;
- transcends duality and the antinomy between egoistic and un-egoistic, reaching the Unity;
- goes “beyond the Good and Evil” to obtain the condition describe by Alexander Pope in An Essay an Man: “Self-love and Social are the same”.
Nietzsche does not desire to be god. Nietzsche does not want to create a new idol. He wants to be a Child (Thus Spake Zarathustra, I, I) as I explained supra (above).
“…“Dead are all the gods: now do we desire the Superman to live” – let this be our final will at the great noontide!” (Thus Spake Zarathustra, XX, III).
The Child is a creator of his own values. The Child has awareness. The Child reaches the Unity that has been described by Alexander Pope with his masterpiece: An Essay on Man.
“Nothing is foreign: Parts relate to whole:
One all-extending all-preserving Soul;
Connects each being, greatest with the least;
Made Beasts in aid of Man, and Man of Beast;
All serv’d, all serving! Nothing stands alone;
The chain holds on, and where it ends, unknown”.
Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man.
Nietzsche expressed this interdipende (exempli gratia) with these words: “Thou great star! What would be thy happiness if thou hadst not those for whom thou shiniest!” (Thus Spake Zarathustra, Zarathustra’s Prologue).
The aim of superman is: to find himself … “…find yourself…” (Thus Spake Zarathustra); to be free from any others … “… become what you are” (Thus Spake Zarathustra). It is not to dominate the other persons, but to allow them to be also free.
The aim of superman is to be genuine: “Are you genuine? Or just a play-actor? A representative? Or the actual thing represented? – Ultimately you are even just an imitation play-actor …” (Twilight of the Idols, Maxims and Barbs, XXXVIII).
The aim of superman is to go beyond the duality good and evil: “Good and evil are the prejudice of God” (Gay Science, 259).
For all these reasons, I disagree with Thiele (1990).
“To say it again, little of “ill will” can be shown in my life; neither would I be able to speak of barely a single case of “literally ill will”. On the other hand all too much of pure folly!” (Ecce Homo, Why I write good books, I).
This pure folly is: the pure folly of creating a better human being; the pure folly to create a Utopian Society.
A Society where the Human Being has transmuted: “All … passions in … virtues, and all … devils (in) angels” (Thus Spake Zarathustra, I, V). A Society where “the noble man also helps the unfortunate, but not – scarcely – out of pity, but rather than from an impulse generated by superabundance of power” (Beyond Good and Evil, 260).
A New Hope: from a flock of sheep to a “group” of Free Individuals
The individuals, who are able to pass through the three stages (Camel; Lion; Child), arrive to transmute themselves from men to super-men.
This means two things. On one hand, they transmute themselves. On the other hand, they transmute the Society whose they are members. As they are not any more lemmings, Society is not any more a flock of sheep.Society transmutes itself from a flock of sheep to a group of free Individuals, who are able to co-exist and to collaborate in their own (very strong) differences. So, a true Democracy will begin.
As I wrote supra (above), no democracy (at all) can exist among flocks of sheep. Since they are enslaved by homologation, only Tyranny exists.
It does not matter the form and/or the name that has been given to this tyranny. It does not matter the reason “… in the name of …” Homologation is demanded.
Flocks of sheep are always dominated by a Totalitarian Regime. They ask for homologation. They ask for idols. They are not able to live in a different way.
On the contrary, Utopia is made by Free Individuals.
So, you have to choose: do you want to be a lemming/sheep or a Free Individual?
Do you want to stay in a flock of sheep or to create Utopia?
Only you, by yourself, can decide. Only you, by yourself, can free yourself. No God, No Bodhisattwa, No other one else, can help you in this.
It is Time for a New Hope. It is Time for a New Era / Epoch.
It is Time for who is ready.
 Thomas Mann (1947), Nietzsche’s Philosophy in the Light of Contemporary Events, Washington: Library of Congress
 “ Inside a Democracy … a “Nietzsche’s dimension” cannot miss. It is the dimension of the “freedom of Spirit” that comes from the critical, rational and liberating, power of his thought, which re-put everything under re-examination without getting tired”.
 Elisabeth Nietzsche Foster and her husband Bernhard Foster were both Nazis. They lived in Paraguay. When, they came in Germany to take care Friedrich Nietzsche, Elisabeth used the philosophy of her brother to elevate her position in the Nazis Society. In Paraguay, Elisabeth and her husband worked actively “to establish an Arian, anti-Semitic German Colony called” Nueva Germania (Wicks R. 2004). This is how the Nietzsche’s Thought was made compatible with the nationalism of Hitler and Mussolini (Wicks R. 2004).
 Sokel (1983) restricts the application of on the New Idol only to “ossified bureaucratised State”; whereas Strong (1976), only to “nationalistic States”.
 Holderlin (1822; 1994) in the Hyperion wrote: “… The person who wants the State to be a school for morality has no idea how much he is sinning. None the less, wanting the State to be his heaven, man has created a hell. The State is a rough walnut shell covering life, nothing more. It is the wall of the garden in which men grow flowers and fruits. But what use is the garden wall if the soil is dry?”.
These ideas are present in the On the New Idol of Nietzsche.
 “The propositions over which everybody is in fundamental agreement – not to speak of everybody’s philosophers, the moralists and other hollow-heads and cabbage-heads – appear with me as naïve blunders: for example that belief that “un-egoistic” and “egoistic” are antithesis, while the ego itself is merely a “higher swindle”, an “ideal”. There are neither egoistic nor un-egoistic actions: both concepts are psychologically nonsense!” (Ecce Homo, Why I write good books, V).
“What makes one heroic? – To approach at the same time one’s highest suffering and one’s highest hope” (The Gay Science, 268).
 The concept of unity is so clear, so evident, obvious, in his writing: “An “idea” – the antithesis Dionysian and Apollonian – translated into metaphysic; history itself as the evolution of this “idea”; in tragedy this antithesis elevate to unity; from this perspective things which had never before caught sight of one another suddenly confronted with one another, illuminated by one another and comprehended…” (Ecce Homo, The birth of Tragedy, I).
 “Three metamorphoses of the spirit have I designated to you: how the spirit become a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion a child”
“But tell me, my brethren, what the child can do, which even the lion could not do? Why hath the preying lion still to become a child?
Innocence is the child, and forgetfulness, a new beginning, a game, a self-rolling wheel, a first movement, a holy Yea.
Aye, for the game of creating, my brethen, there is needed a holy Yea unto life: its own will, willeth now the spirit; his own world winneth the world’ outcast” …