Nietzsche’s History of Western Metaphysics

1. The true world — attainable for the sage, the pious, the virtuous man;
he lives in it, he is it.
(The oldest form of the idea, relatively sensible, simple, and persuasive.
A circumlocution for the sentence, “I, Plato, am the truth.”)

1. Platonic Origin of Western Metaphysics:

– Matter is opposition between the ‘apparent’ and the ‘true’ worlds

– Reason is the trace of the absolute that resides in us, even though we no longer inhabit the true world.

2. The true world — unattainable for now, but promised for the sage, the
pious, the virtuous man (“for the sinner who repents”).
(Progress of the idea: it becomes more subtle, insidious,
incomprehensible — it becomes female, it becomes Christian. )

2. Plato Christianised

– Ascent to the true world is made more widely accessible, compared with in Plato where for the exceptionally gifted philosophers, to see the forms entailed year of study.

– Christianity de-intellectualises Plato, but the true world (heaven) is still a promise, open only to those who exercise slavish humility in the face of a god.

3. The true world — unattainable, indemonstrable, unpromisable; but
the very thought of it — a consolation, an obligation, an imperative.
(At bottom, the old sun, but seen through mist and skepticism. The idea
has become elusive, pale, Nordic, Königsbergian.)

3. Kant as Lapsed Christian

– Though not really pious, Kant continues the view that understanding of the true world requires an extraordinary vision

– The vision creates standards, sets imperatives and protects morality/reason.

4. The true world — unattainable? At any rate, unattained. And being
unattained, also unknown. Consequently, not consoling, redeeming, or obligating:
how could something unknown obligate us?
(Gray morning. The first yawn of reason. The cockcrow of positivism.)

4. Dawn Breaks

– The realisation that metaphysics is not needed, not even for this

– First turn from Plato

5. The “true” world — an idea which is no longer good for anything, not
even obligating — an idea which has become useless and superfluous —
consequently, a refuted idea: let us abolish it!
(Bright day; breakfast; return of bon sens and cheerfulness; Plato’s
embarrassed blush; pandemonium of all free spirits.)

5. Do Not Pity Us

– The Platonic contrast between the apparent and true is destroyed, for they live off each other

– We don’t care that we are living in the ‘superficial’ world, the very term is a hangover from previous distinctions

6. The true world — we have abolished. What world has remained? The
apparent one perhaps? But no! With the true world we have also abolished the
apparent one.
(Noon; moment of the briefest shadow; end of the longest error; high point of humanity; INCIPIT ZARATHUSTRA.)

6. Zarathustra Emerges

– We create and give our lives meaning

– We are human, all-too-human and commit to taking the high with the low


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