Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Book #27

Aphorisms on Love and Hate by Friedrich Nietzsche

This volume contains a selection of Nietzsche's brilliant and challenging aphorisms, examining the pleasures of revenge, the falsity of pity, and the incompatibility of marriage with the philosophical life.

Trying to read the first few pages of this was like a slap in the face. I've never felt so utterly idiotic, so unworldly, and so stupid. I had to slow my reading down to a snail's pace, and chew each word slowly to really ensure I was picking out the correct meaning. I even read some paragraphs out loud to truly cement my understanding. Although I continued this cautionary tread for all fifty-five pages, my initial panic subsided, and I began to really connect with Nietzsche's maxims.

The volume seems a bit haphazardly put together, almost like a book of quotes: Nietzsche on love, Nietzsche on marriage, Nietzsche on tragedy of childhood. This meant a real lack of message, and made me wish I'd started my philosophy journey elsewhere.

My favourite of these aphorisms was the one on twofold kind of equality: "The craving for equality can be expressed either by the wish to draw all others down to one's level (by belittling, excluding, tripping them up) or by the wish to draw oneself up with everyone else (by appreciating, helping, taking pleasure in others' success)." An important one for me.

I enjoyed the first half (power, jealousy, revenge) more than the second half (love, marriage, husbands, wives) as this is where the sexist views began to rear their ugly heads. Despite this, Nietzsche had already mentioned that we're an evolving species of opinion, and customs of the past may seem odd to the people of the present, purely because we're used to better things, and struggle to understand. I'll let him off.

His thoughts are powerful ones to consider, and I'm glad I picked this up. I only wish I had ventured into a real Nietzsche volume before doing so. This is more of a whistle-stop tour of his views on love and hate.


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