Archive for the ‘Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche’ Category

Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche a review

Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche

Some of us of a certain age and with a certain sense of humour have a great affection for Monty Python’s Flying Circus. There is a sketch in one episode featuring a fictional, (hopefully fictional) Australian University and the induction of a new member of staff. For the sake of simplicity and to avoid confusion everyone on the teaching staff has to be called Bruce. Having established the protocol with the new staff member they go on to sing the Philosopher’s Drinking Song. It starts with; “Aristotle, Aristotle, was a bugger for the bottle and was very rarely sober”, the lyrics continue through a list of philosophers and their supposed drinking habits. At a certain point, Nietzsche gets a mention, “There’s nothing Nietzsche couldn’t teach yer about the raising of the wrist.”

I was looking through some books on the local supermarket’s charity shelf; you take a book and leave a donation, there among the books was Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, in remarkably good condition I handed over 50p and took it home. A week or so ago I listened to part of a lecture my daughter was watching on Zoom, she is studying for a PhD and due to the Covid problems most lectures are online. As her broadband was being unreliable at the time she watched it at our house, one point the lecturer made was that a thesis should be clearly structured and easy to read.

I wish Neitzsche had been given this advice or if he had been, followed it. To say it was badly written would be an understatement. It rambled, digressed and seemed full of contradictions often within the same paragraph, some of these paragraphs consisted of one long rambling sentence several lines long. As a philosopher, a man of ideas you would think he would want his thoughts to be accessible, not so Nietzsche.

This is a translation from the original German and has one assumed been edited; that a translator couldn’t make it any more readable speaks volumes; it was obviously beyond their comprehension too.

Whereas most scientists willing credit those who have gone before them, Newton said. that he was able to see further as he was able to stand on the shoulders of giants. Not so, Nietzsche, he has no one’s shoulders to stand on apparently and if they were there, no need to stand on them, such is his arrogance. He dismisses Darwin’s work without a shred of evidence, it doesn’t fit in with his view of the world. Supposedly as a “man of reason” he seems to seriously fall short in that department, unresearched theories are asserted as fact without any evidence to support them for example, he dismisses Socialism without any reasoned argument.

He was blatantly a misogynist, a supporter of a master race and a ruling elite, again without any research to support his assertions. Although it is fair to say that he was in many respects racist, he wasn’t, certainly if this book is a reflection on his views anti-Semitic.

There is much within the book that gave ammunition to those of the National Socialist movement in 1930s Germany, Hitler probably read out sections of this book in some of his speeches.

I wish in many respects I hadn’t wasted my time reading this book.

This is, without doubt, the worst book I have ever read, a fellow reviewer on Amazon summed it up in one word, “Nonsense.”

I couldn’t disagree with that at all.

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