Nietzsche Philosophers of the Future

Beyond Good and Evil, written in 1886, is a landmark work of Friedrich Nietzsche that precedes the final and the most intense period of his work, marked by summarizing the philosophical outcome of the previous human history and the foresight of the most important social and spiritual conflicts of the twentieth century. It is no coincidence that the work has a subtitle Philosophy of the future since Nietzsche predicts here the advance of a brand new generation of philosophers. The idea of Superman, as articulated in his earlier work Thus Spoke Zarathustra, is developed in this new essay, where Nietzsche portrays the philosophers of the future who must replace the traditional philosophers and bring human thought to a new level not clouded by dogmatism and prejudices. Nietzsche claims that the philosophers of the future should be beyond good and evil the free spirit and the ability to create values is what distinguishes them from the philosophical laborers who tended to reason the past unlike the philosophers of the future who will speak for the future. Undoubtedly, this new type of philosophers predicted by Nietzsche is more able of finding the truth, because their minds are unprejudiced and opened to different points of view.

Nietzsche begins his work Beyond Good and Evil with a critique of traditional philosophy and science. He reviews the history of philosophy and considers different philosophical systems from Plato and the Stoics to Kant and Spinoza and criticizes them. Nietzsche claims that their truths are nothing but prejudices and the philosophers themselves are dogmatists. He argues that they deluded themselves thinking that their ideas are objective and result from a cold, pure, divinely indifferent dialectic , whereas, in fact, a prejudiced proposition, idea, or suggestion, which is generally their hearts desire abstracted and refined, is defended by them with arguments sought out after the event.

The reason for this delusion is moral judgment, according to Nietzsche. He accuses philosophers in the lack of intellectual integrity and attachment to prejudices. The traditional moral norms adopted by philosophers prevented them from seeing the other side. In confirmation of this idea it is enough to recall some cases from everyday life it is no doubt that every one once faced stubbornness of people whose minds are closed to other points of view because of their strong faith in some sets of values, self-conceived or acquired. As Danto argues, children often uncritically adopt the moral code of their parents that can be far from truth and act accordingly in their adult life (134).

It is worth to examine what Nietzsche means by the word truth, since his understanding is very different from the traditional one. Most of Nietzsches remarks are striking if viewed individually yet, they gain more clarity when put together. Traditionally, an idea or notion believed to be true if it has a universal value and is in accord with reality. Nietzsche, on the contrary, calls to recognize untruth as a condition of life and claims that the falsest opinions  are the most indispensable to us, because life is impossible without a comparison of reality with the purely IMAGINED world (section 4). Thus, the belief that truth is more precious than illusion is no more than a moral prejudice. Illusion rather than truth is needed for life, because it better serves the aim of self-improvement comparing reality with the product of imagination, people will strive to achieve the ideal coined by their thought.

As Rebekah S. Peery rightfully argues, Nietzsche coined an image of the philosophers of the future in his own image and likeness contrary to the dogmatic and non-historical philosophers of the past, the new philosophers should be experimental and historical and share a deep sense of the future as well as the present and the past (154-155). For that, all old conceptions have to be questioned and reassessed.
Thus, Nietzsche calls into question the established notions of morality, of right and wrong, believing that the philosophers should not be dependent on mass tastes and are not bound to adjust themselves to them. Especially, he criticizes Christian morality calling it slave-morality and ascribing restrictive and destructive power to it. According to Nietzsche, morality is indeed a greatest threat posed by Christianity, and all other ideas of Christian thought is no more than support for this core notion, morals of slaves.

Instead, he offers the will to power as an explanation of human behavior. It is not simply a desire to rule, as one might think. This concept is much more complex. In the section 34 of Beyond Good and Evil Nietzsche distinguishes between the world which concerns us and the true world. The conception of the will to power seeks to abolish this distinction the world as will to power is the world which concerns us and the true world simultaneously. The will to power is an interpretation of the world and a fundamental fact at the same time.

Nietzsche reassesses the humanistic belief, showing that even the desire for power, appropriation, and the infliction of pain to weaker is not absolutely reprehensible. Nietzsche argues that something may be true even if it is extremely harmful or dangerous, so only independent and free minds are able to grasp it whereas others will be able to endure only some portions of it (section 39). These free minds are not yet the philosophers of the future but they are already free from the prejudices of the past and foreshadow the philosophy of the future.

Nietzsche called for the advent of the VERY free spirits who would put a conscious goal of improving mankind, whose minds will no longer be stupefied by morality (section 44). He calls this new type of philosophers tempters (section 42), probably, in the sense that they will question all values and dogmas previously regarded immune and even sacred thus shattering social foundations.

However, such a shake is a good treatment of stagnation and inertness. He views traditional morality as a dying tree. In his earlier work Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche says what is falling, that one should also push, and pushes the falling tree of traditional morality. It is immorality as it is understood by the average man, but it is not immoral in reality. It is simply beyond morality, as obeying to the norms that are no longer valid is nonsense. Thus, the philosophers of the future will not be simply immoral in a general sense of the word  they will be beyond morality, beyond good and evil, and this will let them see the truth more clearly.

This detachment from traditional morality will result in absolute absence of dogmatism. The new philosophers, philosophers of the future, will still love their truths but they will remember that their truth is not necessarily a truth for others. Nietzsche argues that most of the philosophers of the past nurtured a secret desire to make their truths the universal truth, and that all kinds of dogmatizing originate from this ambitious desire. The philosophers of the future will see their pride in the opposite they will be disgusted by a thought that their truth may become the truth for everyone that which can be common is always of small value (section 43).

Dogmatizing is the worst sin, according to Nietzsche, and he rejects all systems believing that they are blinders, as Kaufmann rightfully notes (87). Any concept may not get in the way of the progress of thought (Kaufmann 104). Indeed, having once adopted a certain view, most people are reluctant changing it and tend to defend it even if faced with contradictions. That is why excessive systematizing is dangerous, and the flexibility of mind should always be praised.

However, Nietzsches ethical relativism does not mean the absence of responsibility. On the contrary, the philosopher of the future is a man carrying a huge responsibility as he is the one who creates values. Nietzsche mentions the readiness for great responsibilities as one of the most important qualities characteristic of the philosophers of the future (section 213). They have to undertake the responsibilities of commanders and law-givers in the sphere of values creation (section 211), and this is the major difference between them and the so-called philosophical workers.

Philosophical labors like Kant and Hegel had only to to fix and formalize the existing values, invented by someone else and inherited by the philosophers as a matter of fact. They misunderstood the task of philosophy as analyzing and systemizing. This mistake is going to be corrected by the new generation of philosophers, whose major task is innovation and creation of values. Nietzsche could not think of a more important task than developing systems of values that can give meaning to the lives of men. According to him, the new philosophers must be able to bear responsibility for the future of the mankind.

To fulfill this task, they philosophers of the future will have to be critics they will not take any assertions on trust, they will doubt everything and will widely use the method of experiment to find the truth. They will be innovators and they will have to be pitiless in their fight with old prejudices and superstitions, even up to a certain considerable cruelty, which knows how to handle the knife surely and deftly, even when the heart bleeds.

The experiments that the philosophers of the future are going to undertake are totally different from an experiment of pure reason proposed by Kant, who thought that a singular experiment may have a confirmatory effect on the whole worldview. Nietzsche breaks with the idea to solve all with one stroke and calls to view singular experiments on their own, without prescribing them the universal importance.

Thus, the major trait of the philosophers of the future is their ability to create values rather than interpret the given norms. This challenging task will require an absolute rejection of all dogmas and going beyond morality, because traditional morality is nothing but a set of outdated belief that had lost their value long ago. There is a need to free the spirit from the burden of the forcedly imposed moral norms. Nietzsche believes himself to be a free spirit and the forerunner of modern philosophers. His critique of the traditional ways of philosophy is important in terms of drawing attention to the possible deviations and delusions that even the strongest minds can face during their search for truth. In his book Beyond Good and Evil, he seeks to change the notion of good and evil and calls for a reassessment of values.


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