Nietzsche's Revaluation of All Values Essay

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In the nineteenth century, popular philosophy - particularly the Hegelian dialectic - professed that mankind was developing in an upward direction, becoming more angelic as it were. Man's moral laws were more advanced, as support for democracy and equal rights were beginning to become popular. However, Friedrich Nietzsche believed that mankind was entering a downward spiral towards complete decadence. Modern man, with its 'advanced' morality, was, in truth, decaying on the inside. Claims of morality merely masked modern man's decay:

he is veiled behind moral formulas and concepts of decency?. [not] to mask human malice and villainy?. [but] it is precisely as tame animals that we are a shameful sight?. The European disguises himself with
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This guidance must be internal, from man himself: ?is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?? (ibid.) On an interesting side note, Nietzsche seemed to imply, however, that not all men find God unbelievable. The Saint in Zarathustra who says, ?I make songs and sing them, and when I make songs, I laugh, weep, and mutter: thus I praise God? (Z Prologue 2), is spared the news of God?s death because he actually believed. The vast majority of mankind, though, is not like this. They are without God and need to become gods themselves in order to restore value and meaning to their actions. This need is a first indication of the necessity to revaluate all values and create new ones.

Strangely enough, a second sign of the need for revaluation of values comes from Nietzsche?s doctrine of eternal recurrence. This is best described by the demon of the Gay Science:

this life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every sign and everything unutterably small or great in you life will return to you, all in the same succession and sequence. [GS 341]

As Arthur Danto relates, this was Nietzsche?s ?greatest weight? (ibid.), as Nietzsche himself only spoke of it in hushed
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