Everyone’s talking about values, morals, right and wrong, good and bad.
But is there even an all-encompassing objective truth out there? Is it at all possible to find the ultimate code of living? I think not, but that won’t stop me writing about it. It also didn’t stop this guy:
Say hello to my favourite philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. A Dollar/Pound/Euro for every time you spell his name wrong please. Modern forensic scientists have recently confirmed that his brain was indeed situated in his moustache. Moving on, Nietzsche is here to tell us that there is no objective truth. He is an advocate of radical perspectivism, which is to say that NO perspective (that includes religions, moral codes of individuals and moral codes of entire societies as opposed to other societies) is objectively true, but some may be more correct than others.
Nietzsche is important here because he dismissed ‘good and evil’ in his creatively named book, Beyond Good and Evil. He believed that modern Christian values had been distorted over the years to form the background morality of ‘Victorian civilisation’, which is to say, life in the 1800’s in Europe and beyond. Basically, the morals we inherit as we grow up are not a very accurate mirror of what the original teachings of Jesus Christ were. Nietzsche was called many dirty names for stating his opinion rather brusquely in the phrase ‘God is dead, because we have killed him’. ‘Atheist’, ‘nihilist’, ‘fatalist’ and ‘moustachio-man’ were among those dirty names, although none of them were true (except for one). Nietzsche was in fact a big fan of Jesus Christ himself, although he was disillusioned with what Christianity had become over the years. He despised all of the apostles and rejected everything that came from them, which is to say, modern Christianity of every kind.
He thus attempted to break away from all societal morals in order to break away from Christian morals because, as I have pointed out, they are essentially the same thing. After he successfully managed that, he was left with nothing but a clean slate with which to construct a new standard of morals.
For the record, Nietzsche never intended for these new revised morals to belong to everyone. He was quite happy with most of the population remaining in favour of traditional morals, a crowd he referred to as ‘the herd’, while the odd enlightened individual would reconfigure his sense of self worth to guide humanity to new heights through introspective wisdom. He labelled this enlightened individual the Over-man, or the Ubermensch. But, he believed both perspectives were true and necessary in the world. If we were all enlightened individuals, well, then what?
Sadly, 30 years after his death, Nietzsche’s surviving sister marketed his ideas to the Nazi’s, and you can imagine they had a field day with this Ubermensch business after warping a few words like ‘individual’ into ‘Aryan’ or something of the like. Nietzsche himself despised nationalism, as he believed it killed perspective, and even went so far as to deny his German descent as nationalism grew more popular in Germany.
The moral of the story here is that truth is subjective. Nobody’s way of life is correct entirely. With that mindset, we can all live in a truly tolerant and individualist society, one which I believe is closer to us every decade, despite the rampant crazies that try and ultimately will fail to turn the whole world to what they believe is the ‘only correct path’.
A Christian, A Buddhist, A Muslim, a Jew and an Atheist walk into a bar……
And have a drink together.
Now doesn’t that sound lovely?
Articles I think relate to mine in some way:
- Speaking of Nietzsche (jopiresobrien2.wordpress.com)
- 5 Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (entrepreneur.com)