In October of 1844 in the German town of Röken bei Lützen, Friedrich Nietzsche was born to Karl and Franziska Nietzsche.  After his father’s death in 1849, Nietzsche’s family moved to Naumburg an der Saale, where he later attended his first-rate boarding school, Schulpforta.  Nietzsche later attended the University of Bonn with a focus in philology, and finished his education at the University of Leipzig in 1865.  He was offered a professorial position in Switzerland at the University of Basel in 1859, where he spent most of his time at work.  At the end of his career with the university in 1880, Nietzsche began a nomadic life, wandering throughout Europe.  It was during this time where he published his most famous and notorious works.  Suddenly in January of 1889, Nietzsche suffered a mental break from which he was never able to recover, and spent his remaining years in his hometown until his death in 1900.

Nietzsche’s most prolific piece of work is Also Sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra), and is considered by Nietzsche himself to be his masterpiece.  It is set up to parallel the events of the Bible, where the hermit Zarathustra (the Christ-like figure) descends from the mountains to explain what he has learned to humanity.  The two major themes of the manifesto are that “God is dead” and the rise of the “übermensch” (superhuman).  He says that God was simply a tool used by mankind to explain the unknown and the supernatural, but with the rise of technology and science, the questions that couldn’t be known before can be answered with reason and logic.  Because of this, the illusion of protection that is provided by God is shattered, and the purpose that God serves is no longer required.  The übermensch refers to the people that will be the first to make this realization, and they will be the forerunners that drive humanity for progression and success.

Nietzsche’s works were intended to inspire hope, power, and freedom for those who read them.  Although his works were twisted by Nazis and Italian Fascists, he encouraged free thought that would drive humanity to a higher level of clarity and peace.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900)

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nietzsche/


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