Twilight of the Idols
Twilight of the Idols
Of The Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche says in Ecce Homo: "If anyone should desire to obtain a rapid sketch of how everything before my time was standing on its head, he should begin reading me in this book. That which is called `Idols' on the title-page is simply the old truth that has been believed in hitherto. In plain English, The Twilight of the Idols means that the old truth is on its last legs."
So the "Twilight of the Idols" serves as a short introduction to the whole of Nietzsche's philosophy.
Friedrich Nietzsche's Twilight of the Idols, or How to Philosophize with a Hammer is a statement of many important aspects of his philosophy. The book's title is a satirical reference to the title of Wagner's opera, Twilight of the Gods. The hammer is a metaphor used by Nietzsche to say that he diagnoses the ill of the idols as a doctor, as a doctor beats the knee of his patient to test his reflex. He hears the hollow resonance of the false gods. His method in Twilight of the Idols is to examine philosophical claims by exposing
the psychological conditions of the philosophers who have proposed them.
"Idols" for Nietzsche are abstract, permanent and self-identical concepts of philosophers. In Nietzsche's view, these concepts are "concept-mummies" since they are deprived of history, change and life. Since philosophers worship them as a sort of idols they could be called "idolators of concepts". The twilight of idols announces the fall of everything that was denying life and its forces.
The first chapter which is known as "Maxims and Arrows," is a series of aphorisms. Nietzsche briefly refers to his new affirmative ideal for the sake of truth and life enhancement. He refers to genealogy, truth, pity, self-analysis and all the different methods and ideals he has used or experienced.
Nietzsche's main concern is that he wants to affirm life, rather than deny it. He wants to say "Yes" to life, and thus is strongly opposed to any philosophy that proposes the denial of the `will to life.' Thus what he calls is the `revaluation of values.' Nietzsche's philosophy is not systematic. His style is forceful, incisive, and concise. He rejects any attempt to create a philosophical system. He says that the will to create a system reflects a lack of integrity on the part of the philosopher.
For Nietzsche, man defines himself by the `will to life.' The `will to life' is what affirms human identity. He says that decisive action affirms the `will to life' and indecisiveness or moral questioning denies it.
According to Nietzsche compromise and equivocation represent a form of intellectual dishonesty. Man must say either "yes' or "no" to life, there is no middle path. Man is like a tightrope-walker, who either stands on a rope or falls off. If man...