This has been an extremely hard month for me. I’ve been depressed. It’s a thing that happens. Don’t worry, it’s getting better. That’s why I’m posting here.
I’ve been watching television, which is something I normally never do, and I’ve been reading Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil. Nietzsche is great! At times the man makes a long of sense; at other times, you’re like, welp, that sounds like fascism. But even when he sounds like fascism, you’re totally allowed to be like, “I disagree with you, Nietzsche, and I think you’re totally wrong,” and he’s like, “Err, that’s okay, I’m just stating my own truth, dude.”
Because the great thing about Nietzsche is that his philosophy is an indictment of traditional moral philosophy. He’s like, you know what? All these philosophers who pretend that you can use reason to figure out a system of morality? They are totally full of bullshit. All they do is decide first upon their philosophy, and then they create this whole big wobbly logical argument to support it. So really, why don’t we just skip the logical argument and instead shoot directly from the hip. I’m gonna sit here and tell you, in pithy, beautiful sentences, exactly what I think about the world, and I’m not gonna support it or argue in favor of it AT ALL, because it’s all just a result of my own intuitions.
Which is really, when you think about it, the only sensible way in which to moralize.
Nietzsche is extremely sexist. There’s a whole huge section in one of the books about how women are only concerned with looks and appearances, and that they shouldn’t bother to try to aim at anything higher than that. Reading it, I was like, “Wow, I wonder what it’s like to be a woman and read this? Does it severely detract from their enjoyment of the text?”
But then in the very next passage, he became extremely racist, spouting off all these generalizations about the East and the Orient and about how these semi-barbaric peoples are this and that. Admittedly, semi-barbaric is almost a compliment when it comes out of Nietzsche’s mouth, but still, it definitely came from a place of severe othering (as if to be like, well, no Indian person could EVER actually be reading and understanding this book).
And that kind of shit happens all the time, not just in nineteenth century literature, but in modern literature as well. And you know what? I simply ignore it. Because those guys were racist, and they were full of shit. So what? I’m capable of taking the good and leaving the bad.