On The Advantage And Disadvantage Of History For Life By Friedrich Nietzsche

"Incidentally, I despise everything which merely instructs me without increasing or immediately enlivening my activity." (Nietzsche, 2006) Unless the value of life or existence brings some value to his life, Nietzsche chose to isolate what was the focus of contempt and antagonism -- History.

Friedrich Nietzsche felt the need to interpret history and knowledge, as his describe as “the garden of knowledge” through his own particular setting. In an attempt to illustrate the pathos of his state, Nietzsche felt it necessary to focus his reprisal on the masses. Even with his ability to assess and evaluate, Nietzsche took the position his work was dated and narrow.  History and culture proved to be a dynamic study that required a contemporary feel that eluded him. In self evaluation as a classical philologist, Nietzsche assumed a humble position that recognized the past impact of the classical Greek philosophy and in comparison to current age, his works paled.


Empirical study of a simple drove of beasts in their natural setting of existence, consuming sustenance, moving about and laying to rests is claimed by Nietzsche as a scene “difficult to witness” by Man. The class of Human Beings takes on the position that he is the benefit of the better of fate.  Man extols the joy of being human with all its trappings, but in truth, observed by Nietzsche, Man is envious of the beast and his simplistic joy, serenity and his ability to enjoy true happiness. In quite honesty, to Nietzsche, Man truly desires to live like the beast without pain and worry. He is not able to “will” forward as the common beast is able to do so.

The conflict arises that about the doubts in him self (Man), the ability to forget and learn from history is not a virtue…to cling to the past as other events still unfold. For the beast, the chain still holds him back no matter how far he attempts to travel. The allegory is apparent, still Man and beast are trapped and restricted by their own forces that surround them.

In essence the beast has but only one choice, unlike Man, it can only be candid in its environment. In observing this closed restricted world, the spiteful choice of denying the true happiness of the beast still rakes at the heart of human. Nietzsche sees Man fighting and resisting the massive dynamic weight of the history as it constantly bears down his total being.

Nietzsche approaches the subject the “happiness” in the mind of the beast.  Not from the position of joy or shared enlightenment, but from the position of stark pessimism. Claiming that the brief amount of joy is only riff in the fabric of sadness or suffering is in along string of continuous episodes of volatile swings between at least two of these emotions.  To be punctuated by boredom, cupidity, and deprivation.


With the necessary tutoring from contemporaries, i.e. the educator, heroes and maternal figures, History is the sole possession to Men whom possess vast ability, action and those who choose the greatest battles.  The simple yet thorny act of “living” appeals upon the service of the past. According to Nietzsche, history serves as the weapon that has severe impact on those left behind in its wake. History acts as an entity that is obtained by those who best weld it.

The heart of historical record remains as the impetus by which the most ambitious and aggressive of man reap from value from it.  To Nietzsche, history must be focused on imitation. Also the interest and the possibility of a repeated instance are of issue. He recognized that history can be subject to fall in peril of being revised or reinterpreted to suit certain interests and agendas.  Less harmful would be the sublime poetic justice given to loftier times. Nietzsche was concerned with a difference between significant history and a mythic fiction. A singular world within the recorded scope of the writer can easily produce another as well.


“History belongs secondly to the man who preserves and honors, to the person who with faith and love looks back in the direction from which he has come, where he has been.” (Nietzsche, 2006)  The condition of Man when faith is lost, (as in ancient history) collapses into an uneasy option. It derives an endless search for originality.

The monotonous required task of understanding what elements keeps Mankind close to those around him that support are familiar. Man would sway from the possible experience and the horrific effects of venturing away it the unknown.  A simple act of walking into a crowd of people would be considered risky. Revisiting the psyche of Nietzsche, what he called the “these bare mountain ridges” was when the most healthy lack of understanding proved to be the most beneficial to the community as a whole.


In direct accordance with Nietzsche’s historical objective, all of man kind and even the smallest of life, utilizes their strength, and desires and relies heavily on knowledge of the past.  As significant history, the masses of intellectuals observing the world with great interest, as a sect seeking even more knowledge are part of his greater scheme of history well preserved. Even sole individuals who seek to only to be satisfied by basic fundamental knowledge, for them an increase of understanding are the primary goal contributes to the purpose of living out the historical setting.  

From a nationalist view point, Nietzsche, felt that the German populace may have been corrupted by history. He felt that authenticity and the immediacy of German pathos would benefit from this type of thinking.  The thought of “inner life” unharmed. Something to believe and hope for far beyond the anticipated and able express in public!


Given a number of ways the profound influence of a chronological process in history appeared to Nietzsche as a “hostile” setting amid “dangerous” times. Nietzsche wanted here to center on the weak personality existing in modern man. Under this current lack of personal strength, education, even the forgiving applied science of Philosophy suffered demise.  Nietzsche, continued, as will be pointed out that churches, academies, customs, and human cowardice were the catalyst for modern philosophy is political and police-like, restricted to the appearance of learning through the ruling.

To give the understanding of philosophy its due importance in the scheme of things, he felt deeds should have a sudden immediate impact, not a slow well, warning in advance approach.


Even though criticism abound, there was a great deal of narrative from Nietzsche.  He chose to devote a great deal of thought in vocal praised of the strength of the modern person.  The intent is somewhat embedded in a long prose, but it is an apparent. "Objectivity," he felt he had the right to call Mankind (himself included) powerful, in comparison to other people of comparable times and station in life.  “For in such people are united and hidden the highest and rarest virtues, as in a bottomless sea that receives streams from all sides and absorbs them into itself.” (Nietzsche, 2006) Acknowledging the truths that existed, Nietzsche reserved true wrath for mythology. Stilt there is overt reference to the power of history.  It carves out crucial intellectual space. Nietzsche argues for the inevitable futility of the typically modernist tendency to rationalize human existence of history of power. The structure of Nietzsche's argument concerning power also follows the pattern of tacit knowledge. The delineation of the role of power in human affairs constitutes a culmination to the questions put forth earlier.


Nietzsche deconstructs man after the manner of this singular conception of God. The concept of power in Nietzsche's thought points to the continually receding essence of man. In the monotheism of Christianity, Nietzsche sees no qualities or characteristics can be literally applied to God because he is defined as being transcendent and wholly.

Therefore other human must conceptualize him. In Nietzsche, paradoxically, it is only through what is ordinarily taken to be a constructive approach to knowledge. The desire for “action” attained through reliable knowledge.

From a Nietzsche perspective of generalized Christianity's, its strategy for affecting a convergence between willing and doing is too monolithic and therefore counter


Nietzsche bemoans the persistence of medieval thought patterns in the modern world despite the vanguard of historical significance.  In this commentary, Nietzsche points out the fact that modernity still has to be born. The memento mori of the Middle Ages lingers into (and pre-dominates in) the middle to late nineteenth century. For modernity to be born and to eventually prevail, the mysterious mist of tacit or silent knowledge must emerge. To some degree, to support his position, there has to be a "something" and not a blank in the background: something that is susceptible to rational reconstruction and conceptualization even if never fully realized.


Historically speaking, an interesting Nietzsche perspective, it can be examined for its inner logic, for its origins and meanings and for the system of valuations behind it. And therein again the Nietzsche paradox, predicting and recommending, speculating and valuing.  Nietzsche identified them as the activities of philosophers, historically positioned, but struggling to speak beyond their position, so that we can also choose.

Thus providing the opportunity to see them as specimens to be explained, interpreted and brought down to earthly levels by distinct and recognized methods of analysis.

Either way under his mode of thought they would be treated, as generations of readers and students have always done, as biased voices.

Given Nietzsche's appreciation for the "hidden thoughts" of the History, this seems most unlikely. Beyond the fact that he refers to Thucydides' (ancient Greek historian) understanding and not that of the Athenian envoys, Nietzsche also finds that understanding not in the words of the envoys per se, but "in the terrible dialogues." This way of putting things suggests that he really did not appreciate the situation of the envoys' claims in the context of rhetoric and debate and action. Nietzsche, that is, finds in the dialogue as a whole a hidden thought about the perspective character of understanding of justice within his interpretation.


For every human who is an active member of the race. This allegory must structure the environment within ones self answering and supplying the real desires.  The search for honesty, self improvement and more genuine character is the ultimate goal. Nietzsche reminds us that now and then the struggle against the forces that wound us will be constantly repeated, relearned, and imitated.


http://www.mala.bc.ca/~Johnstoi/Nietzsche/history.htm On the Use and Abuse of History for Life Retrieved 12.14.06