(006) Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil”, One Paragraph at a Time

I’ve struggled immensely in all my attempts to read and comprehend Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil”. These blog posts are my attempt to better understand this material. I encourage any corrections or criticisms in the comments.

Chapter One: On the Prejudices of Philosophers

Every great philosophy that has emerged consists of not simply rational and logical conclusions, but a confession of the deepest kind on the part of the philosopher. Philosophers involuntarily write an autobiography of their own unconscious impulses, the kinds of traits of personality that comprise who that person is underneath, at the root of what comprises an individual.

It is wise to attempt to understand the prescribed morality that each philosopher works toward at the outset of their work in order to understand how their metaphysical assertions were being led.

A deeper, more innate set of unknown impulses drives philosophers toward the use and misuse of knowledge. The instrument of knowledge is used at the whim of the philosopher’s unconscious impulses, which have already determined the direction they will allow knowledge to take them.

All impulses are compulsions to action, which the ego is all too ready to make a justification for (or on the behalf of) including the impulse that believes itself to be merely an observer of man’s fundamental impulses. The tendency of philosophers to view themselves as lords over their own impulses in service of the pursuit of truth is itself an impulse.

In the case of truly scientific thinkers, of which there are precious few, the impulse to knowledge might actually be genuine and free from the clutches of the rest of the unconscious impulses which comprise a person or a scholar.

Still, the philologist, the mushroom specialist, and the chemist are all human beings that pursue a life based on a myriad of unconscious compulsions, such as a stable family, money, or political favor. The philosopher, on the other hand, is aimed at understanding the fundamental nature of reality. There is nothing impersonal in the work of a philosopher and everything that they put forward is a testimony of who they are at the most fundamental level.

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