23 August 2009

The antichrist

I'm reading The Antichrist (well, I mean listening to it being read while I run).  A tough, angry book. I have defended Nietzsche against claims that his writings (after reading Beyond Good and Evil) helped support the Holocaust and the Nazis, saying that people took him out of context. I was completely wrong. He is an anti-Semite, and I was really disappointed by a line that came up talking about the Christian god as a god in the corner, a Jew, and I thought, You've lost me there. The problem with the Christian god is not that the Jews came up with it, asshole.

And I say 'lost' with some caveats: what Nietzsche has to say in this book is, in a lot of ways, agreeable to me, with some things that are very disagreeable. It's a very angry book, and I don't think these things are best addressed in anger. It makes it less about the ideas and more about complaining. Nietzsche's understanding of evolution is also undeveloped, and his solution (of achieving this  Übermensh... I don't know if you call it a level or stage or what) is stupid. There are a lot of problems with the book (at least the first 20 sections I heard this morning). Still, Nietzsche has  fingered the problem, and very much like Beyond Good and Evil I think he provides a very solid starting point for criticism of the concept of god.