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action heroes Frederick Nietzsche

Born: 1844.  Rocken, Germany
Died: 1900.  Weimar, Germany
Major Works: The Gay Science (1882),
Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883-1885),
Beyond Good & Evil (1886),
On the Genealogy of Morals (1887),

MAJOR IDEAS

       Self deception is a particularly destructive characteristic of
West Culture.
       Life is The Will To Power; our natural desire is to dominate and
reshape the world to fit our own preferences and assert our personal
strength to the fullest degree possible.
       Struggle, through which individuals achieve a degree of power
commensurate with their abilities, is the basic fact of human existence.
       Ideals of human equality perpetuate mediocrity -- a truth that has
been distorted and concealed by modern value systems.
       Christian morality, which identifies goodness with meekness and
servility is the prime culprit in creating a cultural climate that thwarts
the drive for excellence and self realization
       God is dead; a new era of human creativity and achievement is at
hand. -- Great Thinkers In The Western World. By: Ian P. McGreal, 1992



PREFACE

Much information is available on Mr. Friedrich Nietzsche, including many
books that he wrote himself, during his philosophical career.  I took this
as a good sign I would find a fountain of enlightened material produced by
the man.  I've had to go through a bit of my own philosophical meditations
to put my own value judgements aside, and truly look for the contributions
Nietzsche gave to philosophy.  Much of my understanding came only after I
had a grasp of Neitzsche's history; therefore, I encourage you to read-up
on his history before diving into his philosophy (see Appendix I).  The
modern Westerner might disagree with every aspect of his philosophy, but
there are many things one must unfortunately admit are true (only if you
put your morality aside).  So, from here, I will present his contributions
to philosophy, and do my best to delete my own opinions, other than to say
that he was not the chosen topic of this paper out of any admiration.

THE PHILOSOPHY OF FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

Sometimes philosophy is called "timeless," implying that it's
lessons are of value to any generation.  This may be hard to see in
Nietzsche's work; but, we are assured that it was appropriate thought for
his time.  However, even Nietzsche's critics admit that his words hold an
undeniable truth, as hard as it is to accept.  Perhaps this is why his
work is timeless, and has survived 150 years in print.

Christianity "God is Dead!" announced Zarathustra (better known
as Zoroaster), in Neitzsche's proudest book, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
(1883-1885).  Unlike many philosophers, Nietzsche never tried to prove or
disprove the existence of God, just that belief in God can create
sickness; and to convince that highest achievements in human life depend
on elimination of God.  Whether God existed had no relevance in his goal.
Proclamation of the death of God was a fundamental ingredient in the
revaluation of values Nietzsche advocated.

       "Nothing has done more than Christianity to entrench the morality of mediocrity in
human consciousness."

       "Christian love extols qualities of weakness; it causes guilt.  Charity is just teaching
hatred and revenge directed toward nobility."

       "Belief in God is a tool to bring submission to the individual of noble character."

-- F. Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra.


Hero Morality Nietzsche had an ideal world in mind, with an ideal
government and an ideal God: the "Overman" or
"Superman."  These Gods were a product of natural selection, or
social Darwinism.  He felt, very strongly, that any kind of moral
limitations upon man would only stand in the way of The Overman.
"The Will To Power," his strongest teaching, meant that The
Overman should and would do anything possible to gain power, control and
strength.  If one showed the smallest bit of weakness or morality, he
would be killed by the stronger Overman, and taken over.  Thus, the
advancement of The Master Race (Nietzsche's "Master Race" will
be discussed later).

       "Not mankind, but superman is the goal.  The very last thing a sensible man would
undertake would be to improve mankind: mankind does not improve, it doesn't even exist -
- it is an abstraction."

       "... his superman as the individual rising precariously out of the mire of mass
mediocrity, and owing his existence more to deliberate breeding and careful nurture than to
the hazards of natural selection."

Master Race Nietzsche is often referred to as a pre-Nazi thinker, by his
idealism of The Master Race.  He was, in fact, a prime influence on the
writing of Hitler's highest men, and quoted in Hitler's speeches. ... more

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Odyssey: the Journey of  a Hero

Odyssey: The Journey of a Hero

The Heros Journey is never an easy one.  This particular journey, as detailed in Homers The Odyssey, is one of struggle, loss, heartache, pain, growth and triumph.  It is comprised of many steps that Odysseus has to overcome and battle through in order to achieve his final goal of reaching his home and his loved ones.  From the Call to Adventure to the Freedom or Gift of living, Odysseus conquered them all.  The story begins in the middle of the story, as many of the oral Greek traditions did, with the Journey of Telemachus to find his father.  Although Telemachus has not yet met his father, it is almost as if they are journeying together, where the end of both of their journeys results in being reunited.  Telemachus journeys from being a boy to becoming a man, while out in the sea Odysseus is battling Poseidon to return to the home that wife that he loves and the home he has left behind.  

The first step in any heros journey is the Call to Adventure, or the seperation from the pack.  For Odysseus this call happened while he was on Calypsos Island.  Up on Olympus Athena had convinced Zeus of her case and Hermes was dispatched to free Odysseus from Calypsos grasp.  Odysseus was settled here for quite some time and had no way of escape until Calypso was forced by the gods to let him go.  This is where his journey begins.  At first Odysseus is very skeptical of this freedom and thinks that it is a trick by Calypso, which is the denial stage that follows the call to adventure.  This stage seperates Odysseus once agaian from what has become familiar to him.  He is called to journey alone once again to gain what it is that he has wanted for so long.  For Telemachus his call came due to the perils he was facing in his own home with suitors competing for his mothers love.  They started to eat him out of house and home and began to disrespect his mother.  Before this Telemachus had stayed quiet, and had not taken action.  Telemachus got summoned to branch out from his mother and his home to venture out on a journey of his own.  It was now his time to become a man.

In every journey the hero also has a mentor.  In this story Athena, the gray-eyed goddess of wisdom, has taken on this role for both Odysseus and Telemachus.  Athena was by Odysseus side as a guide for much of the beginning of his Journey.  Athena also is a guide to Odysseus when hes not even aware of her, with her pleas to Zeus on Mount Olympus.  When Odysseus was trapped on Calypsos island it was Athena who was pleading with the gods for him to be allowed to leave that place.  Athena acts as a source of inspiration and the object of many pleas throughout this epic.  While in Ithaca Athena took the guise of the old man Mentes.   It was under this guise that Athena went to Telemachus and made him realize that it was his time to start his journey.  Athena/Mentes gathered men for Telemachus to journey with and even accompanied him upon his journey.  Athena/Mentes acted as a guide for Telemachus prodding him in every situation on how to step up and be a man.  

The First threshold is the beginning of the pro-active part of the heros journey.  This is the first of the trials, usually less tiring or arduous than the others.  Odysseus began his journey when leaving Calypsos island.  He conquered his skepticism and denial and realized that it was time for him to leave, for him to finally try to get to his home.  As he hits the open sea, Poseidon who has not forgotten his grudge for Odysseus due to events past spots him.  Poseidon unleashes his rage unto Odysseus and manipulates the sea almost to the point of drowning Odysseus.  So Odysseus survives and this begins his true journey home where his drive and will are going to have to conquer the tests that Poseidon has set before ... more

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