Friedrich Nietzche was born in Rocken. He spent much of his time alone, reading the Bible. Nietzsche’s father died in 1849. The young man withdrew deeper into religion.
Friedrich received a scholarship to Schulpforta, an elite prepatory school with only 200 students, in October 1858. The scholarship as intended to fund Nietzche’s training for the clergy. His mother, Franziska, and his young sister, Elizabeth, are dedicated to Friedrich’s success, certain of his future.
At the age of 18,Nietzsche lost his faith in traditional religion. His faith received a fatal blow when he found philosophy. In 1865 Nietzsche discovered Schopenhauer’s World as Will and Idea. The work forever challenged Nietzsche’s view of the world. Schopenhauer’s philosophy was rather dark for its time; it became a part of Nietzsche’s world-view was it was well suited to his nature.
It seemed as if Schopenhauer were addressing me personally. I felt his enthusiasm, and seemed to see him before me. Every line cried aloud for renunciation, denial, and resignation.
Nietzche was conscripted into the military at the age of 23. While he had hoped to avoid the draft, he had no such luck. He was not destined to be in the military however, soon falling from a horse. Nietzsche’s shoulder and chest were injured, possibly torn muscles, and he was released from service having not yet complete training. Curiously, Nietzsche continued to idealize the military and its orderly way of life despite not wanting to serve in the army. His respect for the individual gave at times to a need for order.
The University of Basle appointed Nietzsche to a chair when he was 25 years old. As a professor of classical philology, Nietzsche spent days lecturing and analyzing Latin and Greek works. He later recalled this as a most unheroic contribution to mankind, wishing he had pursued a more active and socially valuable career, such as medicine. Nietzsche never was satisfied with his own value.
In 1869, composer Richard Wagner invited Nietzsche to spend a winter holiday with him in Tribschen. Wagner was living with another man’s wife and was not known for his conformity. Somehow, Wagner appealed to Nietzsche’s sense of adventure. Nietzsche was so taken by Wagner that he decided his first book would be a tribute to Wagner’s music. Unfortunately, the writing this work was delayed by war in 1870, when Germany and France went to war
Still romanticizing the life of soldiers, Nietzsche went to volunteer for military service. This time the army refused him due to his poor eyesight, in addition to his weak upper body. Nietzsche found it possible to serve as a medic, allowing him as close to medicine as his nature would ever allow. As he quickly learned, Nietzsche did not like the sight of blood, and the suffering of others made him ill. He eventually fell ill, possibly due to stress, and was sent home.
The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music was published in 1872. With the publication of The Birth...