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Friedrich Nietzsche: biography of a vitalist philosopher

Friedrich Nietzsche: biography of a vitalist philosopher

July 13, 2022

On the Genealogy of Morality, Beyond Good and Evil, Thus spoke Zarathustra... These titles are widely known worldwide due to their deep criticism of the morals and philosophy of their time and their importance in the development of philosophical thought of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is about works of Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher of Prussian origin who in this article we make a brief biography .

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Biography of Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche was born on October 15, 1844 in Röcken, then a Prussian town that is part of Germany today, being the firstborn of three brothers.

Son of Lutheran pastor Carl Ludwig Nietzsche and Franziska Oehler , his first years passed in a religious environment. However, when he was four years old his father would die due to a neurological disease. This loss was joined by his brother shortly after. After these deaths the family composed of Nietzsche, his mother and his sister sisters moved to live with his grandmother and aunts in Naumburg, being protected from the magistrate Bemhard Dächsel. What happened next was a vital trajectory that generated one of the most brilliant minds of his time.


The education of the famous philosopher began in the public school. The schooling of the young man was not easy, since from a young age Nietzsche would suffer from various health problems, including headaches and vision problems . This, coupled with his serious character, often made him mockery among students. In spite of everything, Nietzsche showed a great ability for the letters, which would end up being admitted to the prestigious Schulpforta school. In it he would receive instruction in the world of literature, performing various poetic essays.

In 1864 he would begin the theology degree at the University of Bonn, but a little less than a semester later he would abandon those studies to start the Philology studies, which would continue in Leipzig . During his studies he was inspired by Lange and Schopenhauer, inspiration that would lead the young person to become interested in philosophical reflection. After a brief passage through the military service that would end due to a fall of a horse, he would return to his studies and finish them in 1869.

The University of Basel, in Switzerland, offered to work as a professor of philology even before finishing his degree, an offer he accepted. After his transfer he resigned to the German citizenship. Later he would again serve in the Prussian army, as a stretcher , an experience in which he contracted diseases such as diphtheria that complicated his state of health.

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First publications and beginnings of his philosophical position

Nietzsche published his first books later, receiving harsh criticism from various personalities of the time. During those years, Otto von Bismarck would eventually unite what would be called the German Empire, whose cultural development would later be criticized by Nietzsche. In this time I would make a convulsive friendship with Wagner , which would finally break.

It is at this time that he begins to make a criticism of the prevailing rationalism and a defense of instincts and emotions, making apology of innate and instinctive. His criticism focuses on the culture of reason, static and decadent, which is opposed to biological impulses.

Based on it also criticism of morals and religion appear (focusing specifically on the Judeo-Christian vision and especially in the Church), with values ​​that supposed that the population submitted and was enslaved according to what the weak (those slaves who have no control over their lives and do not follow their strength and instincts) will dictate on the basis of the identification of such values ​​with kindness. The idea of ​​the need to generate new values ​​in which biological imperatives were taken into account would arise, an idea that would end up generating the concept of superman.

Worsening of health and its most tedious stage

The health of Nietzsche, afflicted with various diseases (among which syphilis is speculated), would worsen over time. For this reason he was forced to abandon his position as a teacher in Basel.

Due to his health problems Nietzsche would travel frequently to different cities with a milder climate, despite returning home from time to time to visit his family. This is his most prolific time when it comes to publications and philosophical thinking.He fell in love with Lou Andreas-Salomé and proposed marriage, but was rejected.

This, together with the loss of relationships with old friends such as Wagner, would lead him to an increasingly deeper isolation. It is at this time that he wrote "Thus spoke Zarathustra", and "Beyond good and evil" one of his best known works. However, their publications never had great acceptance by society.

Her sister would marry a well-known writer named Bernhard Förster and it would travel with him to Paraguay, being the ideology and the anti-Semitism of this one reason of repulsion for Nietzsche. In 1887 he published On the Genealogy of Morality, being worse and worse in health. However, his writings began to have increasing success and interest on the part of the general population.

Internment and death

In 89, at forty-four years of age the well-known author suffered a collapse, after which he had to retire. He was admitted to an asylum in Basel with symptoms that nowadays suggest a dementia, possibly derived from syphilis, or a possible brain tumor . His secretary Gast and his friend Overbeck (known and friend since the time in Basel), decided to publish his works "The Antichrist" and "Ecce Homo".

Nietzsche would later be taken by his mother to a clinic in Naumburg and then to his home in 1890. After his death, he moved with his sister, who had returned after becoming a widow, to Weimar. There he died on August 25, 1900 due to pneumonia.

The legacy of Nietzsche

The legacy that Nietzsche has left is invaluable and has had great influence in the world. Aspects such as nihilism or decadence of Western thought and the classic and rational philosophy, the avoidance of Dionysian desires and impulses and the monitoring of the morality of the slaves, the criticism of religion as an instrument of control that makes the population be enslaved and submissive due to the identification of these traits and of suffering as good are elements that, although they may be controversial and difficult to interpret, have aroused the interest of many thinkers and have inspired great works and social and political reinterpretations.

An example of this can be seen in Sigmund Freud, whose works have been influenced by the criticism of rationality and the defense of instinctive and innate forces.

Unfortunately, there have also been interpretations of his works with less benign purposes and consequences. Social criticism, the defense of individualism and identity, ideology and the concept of superman would be distorted and reinterpreted by various figures who would end up using it as a basis for some of the actions and bases of Nazism.

PHILOSOPHY - Nietzsche (July 2022).

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