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

I’ve struggled 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 Two: The Free Spirit

Nietzsche published these words at the age of 42.

In youth, we are quick to make positive and negative judgments and throw ourselves into certainty about things because we lack the art of nuance. Later in life, at some point, we will be forced to repent for having made such judgments.

A young person in their naivety has the freedom to simply reach other people’s conclusions rather than crafting their own like a “real artist”. This tendency causes young people to be “befooled and abused” and easily swept up in other people’s agendas.

Young people are often prone to zealousness and anger, which gets channeled at certain ideas and things. You could describe this as ideological possession to a certain extent.

But as time passes and children grow up, their view of the world becomes tested by reality itself. When a person grows up to find that reality doesn’t align with their inevitably naive conclusions about the world, one can expect to become disillusioned. Youthful blindness is something everyone has to overcome, it’s not something that happens voluntarily, but causes great pain and can cause one to cast suspicion and remorse upon one’s self.

As we grow older we begin to mistrust and doubt our own sentiments and enthusiasm. Our conscience begins to seem dangerous to us as if it is getting in the way of our ability to be honest with ourselves. We begin taking sides against “youth”, only to realize that this whole process was “youth” all along.

There seems to be a kind of cyclical nature to growing up, both in terms of age and also the refinement of our ideas. What do you think Nietzsche is getting at here? Does this resonate with you?

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UX/UI Designer w/ coding chops. Interested in psychology, philosophy, technology, and cryptocurrency.