Friday, April 19, 2013

My take on Nietzsche by Henry Gassner

Henry Gassner
The Original Truth, and the problem of free will
In the “Twilight of the Idols,” by Friedrich Nietzsche, Nietzsche makes a number of astounding philosophical concepts, as well as pointing out errors in previous philosophical schools of thought.  In the idea that we are human, and we are to meant to live our life for ourselves (somewhat selfishly) without self sacrifice or denunciation, I can see what he means to accomplish but cannot agree with the entire belief.  If we are to be considered the center of our universe as Nietzsche suggests, there is no room for compassion or respect of others.  Nietzsche also states that God is a figment of our imagination and that we owe nothing to anyone for our life.  In that sense I can somewhat agree, that placing the credit of humanity on God is a bit far fetched, however if you do not owe your life to God, you can at least owe your life to your parents, and their parents, and your grandparents’ parents.  Who was the original parent?  I am not trying to argue that we should be forever in debt to our parents, but rather arguing that you cannot take full credit for your existence.  I think it is important to understand where you came from and your blessings in order to fully appreciate your life.  
Another major point made by Nietzsche is that humanity must take charge of their will to life, and their free will.  Again, I can partially accept his statement.  It is important to take everything you learn with a grain of salt, be your own boss, and make decisions for yourself.  On the subject of free will, I believe scientifically we can not have free will.  Does a squirrel have free will?  The squirrel’s brain and the squirrel’s conditioning drive the squirrel to action feeding of desires.  That is how we are.  We may believe that we have the ability to make decisions, but from a scientific standpoint, we ourselves cannot control what our brain decides.  Our brain and its thoughts cannot be controlled by us.  Our genetic makeup, our life experiences, maybe injuries, all cause our brains to think one way or another.  After you make a decision, you may think “that was a good decision,” but it was not you who made the choice it was your brain.

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