Chapter 18. "∆sthetics as Life's Affirmation" by Frederich Nietzsche

Table of Contents
Ideas of Interest from The Will to Power
The Reading Selection from The Will to Power
Related Ideas
Topics Worth Investigating

Frederich Nietzsche adapted from Projekt Gutenberg-DE

About the author …

Friedrich Nietzsche's (1844-1900) father and grandfathers were Lutheran ministers. Upon the death of his father, he moved to Naumburg an der Saale with his mother, grandmother, two aunts and younger sister. He entered the University of Bonn to study theology and philology but later transferred to the University of Leipzig where he chanced to read Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation and become friends with Richard Wagner. When serving in the Franco-Prussian War, he became ill and continued to suffer from various health problems the remainder of his life. His first book, The Birth of Tragedy contains many of the same themes as in our reading selection—especially the recognition of the amoral, instinctual, but creative Dionysian attitude of Greek culture. He argues that subsequently Western philosophy declined in the wake of the predominantly logical but trancelike Apollonian attitude.

About the work …

The "The Will to Power in Art," written in the 1880's, is one of the papers in his notebooks archived by his sister and published under the title The Will to Power: Attempt at a Revaluation of All Values.[1] In this work, many of the major themes of Nietzsche's philosophy are present: the doctrine of eternal recurrence, the will to power, and revaluation of values. In our reading, Nietzsche sees art as the justification for life through the analysis of its embodiment of desire, love, and, above all, will.

Ideas of Interest from The Will to Power

  1. How does Nietzsche characterize the Apollonian and the Dionysian conditions of art?

  2. Explain Nietzsche's description of the achievement of beauty.

  3. According to Nietzsche, what are some of the ways love transposes values? What does he mean by the transfigurement or revaluation of values?

  4. What is the effect and the essential feature of works of art according to Nietzsche? Why does Nietzsche argue that art cannot be pessimistic?

  5. How does Nietzsche relate romanticism to the Dionysian and the Apollonian conditions of art?

  6. In what ways does Nietzsche think Aristotle and Schopenhauer were mistaken about tragedy?

  7. What is the connection Nietzsche sees between the beautiful and the "Yea-saying" attitude toward life?

  8. On Nietzsche's view, what are some of the ways weak and powerless people understand art?

  9. How does Nietzsche characterize facing the nature of the everyday world with affirmation rather than pessimism? What does he mean by asserting that the justification of the universe's existence is śsthetic?

Notes

[1]

Frederich Nietzsche. "The Will to Power in Art." The Will to Power, 1896. Translated by Anthony M. Ludovici. 1910.