7 Nietzsche Quotes for Free Thinkers

…and one puzzler

Jean Campbell

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After his death, Frederich Nietzsche’s little sister Elizabeth began to publicize his work but misrepresented the message. Although I wish the man had more sympathy for women, his sister did him no favors.

The two had a convivial relationship until Elizabeth married an anti-Semite. Frederich pulled away — refusing to attend her wedding — then she moved far away and for years there was no contact.

She and her husband, who was deeply bigoted, founded an expat colony in Paraguay but it never thrived. After her husband killed himself, she returned to Germany to find her older brother quite ill and in need of daily care.

She looked after him, and sought to promote his work.

Elizabeth lived to 89, and in her later years joined the Nazi party. Scholars continue to debate the influence she had in promoting Nietzsche as a Nazi sympathizer and supporter, and whether Nietzsche’s original writing had any anti-Semitic leanings all.

Frederich died in 1900 at the age of only 55, after years of suffering from a mental disorder believed to be brought on by syphilis, now considered possibly due to bipolar disorder, meningitis, or some unspecified vascular dementia.

“Nietzsche is Dead”

It was not an easy death. What fame he knew in life was overshadowed by his mental state toward the end. His numerous books, including Beyond Good and Evil, and The Will to Power, are philosophy classics today but he received few accolades while he was alive and lucid.

As a five-year-old child, the boy witnessed his father, a Lutheran pastor, dying from a slow-growing brain tumor. Six months later, his younger brother — only a toddler — also died.

Nietzsche was cursed with a hard-to-spell name but blessed with genius and a sense of humor. He riddled his philosophy with contradictions: he believed we should all strive for greatness, yet promoted some people as greater than others. He didn’t care for women, yet he grew up in a household dominated by females and his mother and sister took care of him in the end.

Nietzsche found his calling young — as a philologist, or “lover of words” — before becoming a…

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Jean Campbell

Writer by day, reader by night, napper by afternoon.