Chapter 29: Nietzsche: A Great Freedom or a Great Danger
There is a revival of interest in Nietzsche all over Europe, from both the pre-and post-war generations. Nietzsche’s appeal seems to lie in his views still being contemporary.
Could you please comment?
It is good news.
Friedrich Nietzsche is one of the philosophers with the most potential in the whole world, not only in the West, not only in Germany. His insights are significant for everybody. But he was misunderstood by all his contemporaries.
That’s the usual fate of every genius.
It is almost routine, not an exception but a rule, that the genius is bound to be misunderstood by his contemporaries, for the simple reason that he is far ahead of his time. So there is always a revival after the death of a genius. It may take one hundred years, two hundred years, but a genius always has a revival.
It is unfortunate that by the time people start understanding him, he is no more. And he suffers the misunderstandings all around him his whole life. He lives almost alone, with no communication with his contemporaries; and by the time he is being understood, he is no more. He never comes to know the people who will understand him.
So it was absolutely certain that Friedrich Nietzsche would have a great revival, and his words and his insights would be echoed all over the world - not only in the world of philosophy, but in the world of religion, morality, aesthetics. Whatever he touched, he always brought something absolutely new to it.
And that’s the trouble - because for thousands of years people have understood a thing in a certain way. When a person like Nietzsche turns all the tables - which centuries have founded - and alone, single-handedly, fights against the whole past, it is a very difficult situation - and more so for a Western philosopher who has no understanding of meditation.
He naturally gets very frustrated. It is bound to bring him insanity - the misunderstanding of the people. Everybody misunderstands him. In the world full of millions of people, there is not a single person with whom he can have a heart-to-heart contact, communion. He is in a desert - it drives him mad. That’s what happened with Nietzsche.
He lived a life of immense frustration, because he was giving great insights to the world; and in return - only condemnation. He was bringing new light - and not a single friendly response.. Even his friends were not friendly about his philosophical approaches. That finally drove Nietzsche to madness; he died a madman.