Niche Essay

888 words - 4 pages

Ascetic Ideals in America Man is a complicated creature, we all have our own desires and own ideas, and yet at the same time, we seem to be more alike then we would like to admit. Nietzsche analyzes a lot of man's drives and desires and explains them quite well. Nietzsche talks about the "Ascetic Ideal" as a product of Christianity, and talks about its effects on society, and how it can be to path to Nihilism. In America, the ascetic ideal can be a force of unity and preservation that keeps the country and its people happy.The ascetic ideal is a rather simple thing to explain to any person that is acquainted with Christian dogma. It is simple, God created us and thus we were created to serve him. But he is perfect, and we are all naturally sinners. The Ten Commandments spell out the "sins" that we commit. In order to please God and be good Christians, we should seek to live the life of the monk. A life that would keep up as free from sin as possible, and thus good in God's eyes, and worthy to enter the gates of Heaven. So through these teachings, we learn that denying our natural impulses, and doing only what is pure and free from sin is a good thing.The ascetic ideal is in fact a will to nothingness. As Nietzsche states in his third essay, man would rather will nothingness then not will at all. Life is all about the will to power. Nietzsche makes it clear that mans' entire existence is based on this will to power. Humans as a species have instincts and Nietzsche would say that the most basic of them is not what some would say, self-preservation, but the will to power. It is in our human nature to seek to dominate and subjugate things in our environment. We all seek out to have our own property, to have what is ours and no one else's. Nietzsche's writings also show the will to power to be an intrinsic force that is at work with all living things. "essentially appropriation, injury, overpowering of the strange and weaker, suppression, severity, imposition of one's own forms, incorporation and at the least and mildest, exploitation...it is a consequence of the intrinsic will to power which is precisely the will to life." (Beyond Good and Evil #259, p.175) Thus, man must will something and with the rise of Christianity came the will to nothingness. This will no nothingness is the embodiment of the ascetic ideal.One might now ask, what is the effect of this ascetic ideal on man's society? Well, if one is living...

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