"You've (taken a vow of silence) because of Friedrich Nietzsche? ... All right."
This assignment's pretty self-explanatory. First explain what you think Nietzsche is saying, then give your opinion on whether his views have, or at least had, value. Most of you did the blog post setting out a thesis on this very topic; now just develop it into a full-length paper, providing at least one real-world OR fictional example.
While I hate to set any limits on your creative expression in this context, Nietzsche would appreciate that some people need a "push" to begin their pursuit of greatness. In that spirit, here are the requirements:
1.) The page limit (2-4) refers to a paper written in 11 or 12 point font, using a standard typeface and the "normal" margin setting on Word, GoogleDocs, etc. If you cannot come up with a full 2 pages worth of responses to a thinker as controversial as Nietzsche, then you're not yet really thinking about what he's saying. Even today, if you mention the century-old name "Friedrich Nietzsche" to many people, they will react with disgust. That alone is a sign his ideas remain powerful. Confront what he's saying: you and your life are all you have; live greatly.
2.) This is a paper based on what Nietzsche called "perspectivism" - the idea that "the world" is only ever "the world FOR some Subject," a living being who sees things from their own perspective (in Kant's terms, there exists only a multiplicity of phenomenal worlds, no "noumenal world" except the totally impersonal forces described by physics which Schopenhauer and Nietzsche describe as the Cosmic Will to Life/Power). SO YOUR PAPER NEEDS TO BE BASED ON YOUR OWN PERSPECTIVE TO GET A GOOD GRADE. Be original, be opinionated, be offensive even - but back it up, because as sarcastic and playfully malicious as Nietzsche gets, THIS IS STILL PHILOSOPHY, and you have to provide reasons for your subjective views (or explain why such reasons are impossible...)
3.) You must quote Nietzsche at least twice. You cannot quote the one about "whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger" or the "when you gaze into the abyss" one either. You can, however, ask me to see any or all of the quotes we used in our writing and discussion of Nietzsche excerpts last week. You are also free to quote from a second source like this page from Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Nietzsche, as long as you give me the website information (and if you plan on going to college, please get into the habit of doing so in an MLA works cited page, even if it's only one source).
Your goal for this post is to develop and express a perspective on Nietzsche, the "philosopher of Power." Your post will become the basis of a 3-page reaction paper on Nietzsche's thought, due before Xmas break. I will comment on some of the posts if I have a suggestion or idea to add.
In summary, Nietzsche joined aspects of Kant and Schopenhauer with the theories of Evolution and Physics to explain reality in a truly new way. For Nietzsche, "this world is the Will to Power, and nothing else! And you yourself are also the Will to Power, and nothing else!" This means that everything in our universe is a force expressing its power either against or in combination with other forces - electrons, trees, teachers, and countries are all versions or "expressions" of this cosmic force, the Will to Power. Nietzsche encourages us to embrace our power to create new ethical values and live the life we imagine, going beyond anything humanity has been before to reach the status of Overman. In short, evolve beyond your limitations and become something great! That choice to become awesome gives meaning to our lives in this meaningless universe. It's like your own subjective version of Aristotle's concept of the telos, or purpose of something's existence.
To begin, re-watch and take basic notes on the three 8-Bit Philosophy videos about Nietzsche:
-Ontology of Forces: Nietzsche's attack on the Platonic/Christian Dualism
-Epistemology of Perspectives: Nietzsche's critique of the concept of Truth in Science
-Ethics of Self-Overcoming: Nietzsche's challenge to embrace the Eternal Return of your life
Then, if you want, check out this longer video about Nietzsche as well. which describes his life and "advice."
Once you're done with the videos and notes, and you feel like you have a basic grasp on Nietzsche's core viewpoints, think about these ideas, and decide what YOU have to say about them. Do you think he has anything worthwhile to say? Few people end up completely agreeing or disagreeing with his ideas, mainly because he has so many of them! Instead, you can focus on one or two ideas to discuss. Or you can talk about how some of Nietzsche's thinking applies to an activity or field you enjoy. You might even give an explanation of his ideas followed by a point-by-point critique. The goal is to say something both personal and perceptive, meaning it shows understanding of the material while providing insightful commentary about it.
NOTE ON GRADING OF YOUR NIETZSCHE PAPERS: Nietzsche would hate the concept of "grading," yet equally hate the idea of treating everyone's work as "equally good" (as I've said before, once you truly grasp Nietzsche's philosophy you realize it is all about the necessity of conflict, i.e. PARADOX). So I'm going to grade you in a way that is as close to his standards as possible: I will be assigning scores based on how individual, how proudly subjective, how reflective of real struggle with these ideas a paper is. . Was its writing guided by an active, creative will to power bent on expressing a truly original thought? Or was it written reactively, resentfully, as an attempt to just get done with an assignment instead of wrestle with the challenges Nietzsche lays before us?