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Friedrich Nietzsche

QUESTION: Friedrich Nietzsche - How did he impact Existentialism?


Friedrich Nietzsche was one of the most influential of all modern existentialist and postmodernist thinkers. He is considered the father of Nihilism, which teaches that there is no ultimate meaning to human existence.

Nietzsche was born in 1844 in the Prussian province of Saxony. His father was Carl Ludwig, a Lutheran pastor and teacher. He died in 1900 at the age of 56 insane and infected with syphilis.

His attempt to expose the motives of Western religion and philosophy sent a clear and blunt message to theologians, philosophers, psychologists, and all modern thinkers. His written critiques about human existence, religion, morality, modern culture, and science challenged and questioned the value and objectivity of truth and how life should be interpreted.

Nietzsche’s existential philosophy included such things as;
  • Popularized the idea that God is dead.
  • Insisted that without God, life is meaningless.
  • Was convinced that Christian virtues made weak people. That meekness was a liability.
  • Did not believe in values or truth.
  • Believed that all people should strive to be a superman.
  • Personal power was essential.
  • Logically disputing and discriminating truth from opinion and error was his esteemed virtue.
  • Believed good and evil kept the world as it was and in a state of eternal occurrence.
  • Praised the Greek ideals of Dionysius who exalted life in its most irrational and cruel features, and that the proper task of the superman was to exist beyond and not effected by good and evil.
  • Viewed that freedom and greatness is desiring to love self and life as it is, was, and embracing the fate of what self and life will be in the future to come.
  • Convinced that a person only lives once and then they exist no longer so they must be aggressive in living the short life they have.
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