Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Well here I go trying to make sense of Nietzsche. During class I thought aloud that his ideas of shirking old traditions and habits, thus making the world anew, at this time in the 21st century, seems almost mundane and old hat, that in my reading i encounter a perfectly acceptable contemporary ethos that is rather taken for granted -- and is not at all revolutionary. In homage to Nietzsche I wish to amend that thought with a new one.

I think the metaphors surrounding his ideas have become firmly embedded in our culture, which is clearly a testament to his influence wide and far. We constantly hear talk of people reinventing themselves, for example. However, the actions of giving up what's handed to you and creating something new is what's actually radical because it's so rarely done in practice. Most talk a good game about trying the untried but as the colloquialism goes, "leopards rarely change their spots, they merely hide their flaws and pull in their claws." So, in this respect, Nietzsche really does challenge us to accomplish the supernatural.

No matter what we learn from science and the humanities, as a species we have a remarkable way of returning to familiar pastures. As a general rule, we continue to develop our most fundamental connections in the "old ways" based on the age-old dicta and resist recognizing communities that define themselves by different structures. It's clear what can be re[con]tained, but I wonder how humanity is to evolve with these prohibitions so firmly in place?

1 comment:

Cynthia Haynes said...

I often think Nietzsche hasn't 'sunk in' yet, but your comments make me re-think that. Perhaps in many ways he is still misunderstood, but he has subliminally infected us.