Skip to content
February 11, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

Existentialism’s Critique of Fredderick Nietzsche

Fredrick Nietzsche’s writing perplexes many, but its ultimate implications are quite dubious and dehumanizing.  Milan Kundera the existentialist writer (and philosopher) expresses what I think is an excellent critique here:

Critique of Nietzsche:

“In the presence of Esch, values have hidden their faces. Order, loyalty, sacrifice—he cherishes all these words, but exactly what do they represent? Sacrifice for what? Demand what sort of order? He doesn’t know.

If a value has lost its concrete content, what is left of it? A mere empty form; an imperative that goes unheeded and, all the more furious, demands to be heard and obeyed. The less Esch knows what he wants, the more furiously he wants it.

Milan Kundera, Art of the Novel

Critique of Nietzsche:

“The uniform is that which we do not choose, that which is assigned to us; it is the certitude of the universal against the precariousness of the individual. When the values that were once so solid come under challenge and withdraw, heads bowed, he who cannot live without them (without fidelity, family, country, discipline, without love) buttons himself up in the universality of his uniform as if that uniform were the last shred of transcendence that could protect him against the cold of a future in which there will be nothing left to respect.”

Esch: the fanaticism of the era with no God. Because all values have hidden their faces, anything can be considered a value. Justice, order—Esch seeks them now in the trade union struggle, then in religion; today in police power, tomorrow in the mirage of America, where he dreams of emigrating. He could be a terrorist or a repentant terrorist turning in his comrades, or a party militant or a cult member a kamikaze prepared to sacrifice his life. All the passions rampaging through the bloody history of our time are taken up, unmasked, and terrifyingly displayed in Esch’s modest adventure.”

Milan Kundera, Art of the Novel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: