From time immemorial, philosophers have been known to contemplate on the most complicated problems that other people did not dare to question. Ordinary people found it difficult to ask and discuss these things openly because they did not have the mental potential that was evident in all the famous philosophers. It is the philosophers who have created history by inspiring religions, changing governments, and above all, changing the way other people think of themselves, their surroundings, religion and the governments. Philosophers could use questions and also stories to make their ideas clear in the minds of other people. The contemporary philosophers are who in some ways similar and different from the old philosophers. A comparison of Friedrich Nietzsche to a contemporary philosopher, George Carlin shows their similarities and dissimilarities, thus representing the modern and old philosophers.
George Carlin was an unusual and crude philosopher, and the founder of the modern stand-up comedy. He is seen as an inspiration to modern philosophers. Through his courage, he taught others of the necessity of saying openly what they needed to say despite the possible disapproval by people in the high society. Carlin made these people aware of the fact that the low society actually recognizes them and that they have an ability to draw the attention of masses of people. The ordinary people are capable of elaborating simple stories and ideas which are easy to understand for low society members.
Similar to Nietzsche, Carlin used the most uncomfortable subjects related to religion, political ideas, and sex as the staple in his numerous comedies. He was capable of making an awkward situation amusing to most people. One of his famous works was the seven dirty words, which he listed and presented to his audience (Carlin). George Carlin was among other philosophers who expressed their disappointment on the fact that these words were put out of use. This is very similar to the ideas by Nietzsche, which aimed at morality, claiming that all moral norms were in fact endeavors of different races to remain alive through establishing permanent codes. Thus, the two aimed at disfiguring the very concept of morality by driving the human race away from what is moral. First, Carlin does not see a reason why people are not allowed to use the seven dirty words publicly, which he does without consideration for the young generation (Linder). As if to support this, Nietzsche says that men need to use their master morality as opposed to their slave morality, where good is associated with values set forth by the Christian and Jewish traditions. Similar to Carlin who advocates for the use of dirty words, Nietzsche says that the exceptional people should follow their inner law instead of using slave morality (Nietzsche and Walter). This is what is seen in Carlin when he uses foul language freely without being ashamed of anyone in the community.
The comparison of other ideas of the two philosophers shows that both were critics of religion. As seen earlier, Carlin at one point argued that he was a sun worshipper because he could see what he worshiped. Carlin did ridicule religion by stating that religions bans wearing hats; he stated that he would not like to be in such a group. Similarly, Nietzsche’s idea held that all gods and religions were incomparable to the well-being and life of the efficient and healthy men since their main aim is safeguard of moral codes in opposition to change. Because of this Nietzsche saw all the religious concepts, e.g. the ideas of humility, brotherhood, and self-sacrifice by the Christian as enemies of life. Therefore, all human beings from both the ruling and working class should reject such religions and gods as well as the morality that stems out of them. Thus, they should embrace the primal instinct, which gives room for efficient individuals to distinguish between things that are beneficial and not beneficial to him. Thus, both Carlin and Nietzsche reject Christianity completely. This is very ironical because a study of the life of Nietzsche shows that he was the child of a priest (Nietzsche et al). He grew up and studied in the church and many would have expected him to safeguard the moral principles fostered in him by his family. However, Nietzsche loathed and criticized religion in a manner that had not been seen in that society before.
Using his critical analysis, Nietzsche tried to prove whether the concept of religion was right or wrong. His writings generally use poetry and prose to bring out his philosophical ideas to his readers. The philosopher delved too much in the divine mysteries, which he saw as grotesque lunacy. Because of this, he questions the ideas of its holiness, antiquity, and authority in order to estimate the reasonableness and the actual probability of the divine. In point of fact, Nietzsche was not interested in its divinity, its sacredness or whether it is venerable, but rather interested in its authenticity. Therefore, he worked with the sole purpose to determine whether religion could be considered genuine. And since the philosopher came to a conclusion that religion was only people’s fancy, nothing could stop him from expressing this openly. He did this by disregarding the usual reverence for the divine, which, according to him, was done without the shadow of doubt or without proper inquiry (Copleston). To Nietzsche, words like good or godly seemed to have no meaning at all in his life since he saw them as fiction that had been invented and used by doctrinaires and sophists to prevent free inquiry, which would have routed their fallacies. As opposed to Nietzsche, Carlin does not offer a clear background of his rejection of religion since he actually does not have any, unlike Nietzsche who was brought in a family that was quite religious.
The old philosophers like Nietzsche were far more reputable than the modern philosophers. Nietzsche was well educated and a recognized philosopher in the society despite the fact that his works were controversial. However, George Carlin gives us a good example of the contemporary philosophers, who performs before thousands of people, asking questions that no other person would dare to ask since most of the ordinary people find them too complicated to ask. Through such questions, modern philosophers like Carlin create history and are able to communicate their ideas and ideologies to thousands of people. By means of comic and humor, they are able to jest about the society’s norms by asking why things are the way they are. They do this by pointing out at the obvious that many people are scared to notice or while using humor in order to capture the minds of the large audience at the various places. The modern philosophers aim to open people’s eyes and debunk the common stereotypes.
The analysis of the similarities and differences of the two philosophers raises a question about the old and the modern philosopher, and what the modern philosophers lack when compared with their old counterparts. George Carlin, who is a representative of modern philosophy, was just a stand-up comedian whose ideas are dead. On the other hand, old philosophers had first to seek the validity of a subject matter before reasoning on its authenticity and coming to a certain conclusion. As seen earlier, Nietzsche criticized religion based on what he had seen or faced in the religion and not out of a mere need to amuse an audience like Carlin.
In conclusion, a study of the old and modern philosophers, namely Friedrich Nietzsche and George Carlin shows some notable differences and similarities in the contemporary and old philosophers. This is obvious from their areas of criticism, which in this case is religion and morality. However, a notable difference between the two philosophers is the fact that the works of early philosophers were more studious than those of the modern philosophers.