ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201803.0100.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: Nietzsche; ethics; herd morality; mediocrity; public life
Online: 14 March 2018 (07:50:44 CET)
Nietzsche is almost always regarded as one of the thinkers who advocate extreme individualism, totally indifferent to or exclusively polemical towards the public human dimension. While this is very difficult to contradict, if we read his texts carefully we can see how his constant celebration of the individual runs parallel to an acute awareness of living in a new era, which he defined as ‘the century of the multitude and the masses’. The herd, conformism, mediocrity, public opinion: a civilisation in which community attempts suffocate all individual inspiration, and which therefore seems to row in the opposite direction. Although Nietzsche often uses collective life merely as a negative pole for more effectively emphasising the individual, his provocative words—pushed to the limits of the inexorable victory of the herd and of the paradoxical impossibility of all that is ‘public’—offer us a direct testimony of the tragic way of life of the man of his time. This provides us with an extremely clear and interesting phenomenological cross-section of the social sphere, as well as a very finely tuned and valuable seismograph for the continual monitoring of our everyday coexistence with and perception of the constantly incumbent dangers of its degeneration.