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Aesthetics and Philosophers

Nietzsche considers life as terrible and tragic, but he also views it as transmuted through art, the work of creative genius. Nietzsche discovers the proper role of art in his study of the Greeks, who also knew that life was tragic and terrible but who never gave in to the pessimism that this might entail. Instead, they transmuted life through art. They did this through two different aesthetics, one Dionysian and the other Apollonian. Modern culture did not affirm life and had given in to the pessimism that Nietzsche wished to avoid. Part of the sterility of modern culture was its dedication to historical learning as a substitute for a living culture (Kaufmann 1-100). Allan Megill rejects much of what Nietzsche has to say about myth and meaning in human life, noting that Nietzsche's approach does not connect with the world as we know it:

There is only one condition under which we would be compelled to adopt Nietzsche's position, or any position resembling it, for our own. If it could be shown that there is an ontological parallel between the world and the work of art, between the world and the "being" of language, then we could inhabit the latter knowing that they correspond to the former (Megill 102).

Nietzsche made the fullest expression of his philosophy in Thus Spake Zarathustra, his most celebrated book, and here he introduced in eloquent poetic prose the concepts of the death of God, the superman, and the will to power. In so doing, Nietzsche vigorously attacked Christianity and democracy as moralities for the "weak herd" as he argued for the "natural aristocracy" of the superman who, driven by the "will to power," celebrates life on earth rather than sanctifying it for some heavenly reward. Such a heroic man of merit has the courage to "live dangerously" and thus rise above the masses, developing his natural capacity for the creative use of passion. Nietzsche examined t


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Aesthetics and Philosophers. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:18, November 25, 2015, from
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