Comparing Nietzsche and Schopenhauer's Attitudes Towards Life

3293 Words 14 Pages
Comparing Nietzsche and Schopenhauer's Attitudes Towards Life

ABSTRACT: On the basis of his metaphysics, Schopenhauer was led to advocate quietism and resignation as attitudes toward life. In the course of his career, Nietzsche reversed his estimation of Schopenhauer from initial agreement to final excoriation. In what follows, I examine and assess the grounds on which Nietzsche revised his opinion of Schopenhauer as educator of humanity. I argue that three fundamental issues divide Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. The first concerns the eliminability of human suffering. The second regards the value of sympathy to those who feel rather than are recipients of this sentiment. The third is the value of cultivating indifference to the
…show more content…
I judge a philosopher by whether he is able to serve as an example....[Schopenhauer's] greatness is the fact that he faces the picture of life as a whole in order to interpret it as a whole.... Schopenhauer's philosophy should be interpreted ... by the individual ... in order to gain insight into his own misery, needs and limitations and to know the antidotes and consolations; namely, sacrifice of the ego, submission to the noblest intentions, and above all, justice and mercy. He teaches us how to distinguish between real and apparent advancements of human happiness, how neither becoming rich, nor being respected, nor being learned can raise the individual above his disgust as the valuelessness of his existence, and how the struggle for all these good things is given meaning only by a high and transfiguring goal: to win power in order to come to the help of nature, and to correct her foolishness and clumsiness a little — at first, admittedly, solely for oneself, but eventually for everybody.... This is a struggle which in its deepest and innermost nature leads to resignation. (1)

Contrast that with this mature verdict of Nietzsche's on his early 'educator' to be found in Twilight of the Idols.

Schopenhauer...is for a psychologist a case of the first order: namely, a mendacious attempt of genius to marshal, in aid of a nihilistic total devaluation of life, the very counter-instances, the great self-affirmations of the 'will to
Open Document