Freud and Nietzsche essay

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Friedrich Nietzsche in his “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” and “Beyond Good and Evil” praises the uniqueness of the superman over the crowd of people, the latter ‘blinded’ by the self-imposed frame of morality, religion, the notions of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, the ‘right’ and the ‘wrong’. Nietzsche appeals to reject the deceitful chains of ethical restrictions in order to give origin to a new kind of person – radical egocentric, who dances throughout his life (praises life in its most extreme manifestations), a Creator with a strong will. According to Nietzsche, all human aspirations, including longing for spirituality are only their will to power. The philosopher endeavores to say that “the force of moral prejudices has penetrated deeply into the most spiritual, and seemingly coldest and most open-minded world, and, as one may imagine, with harmful, obstructionist, and distorting results.” (289 GPT).

On the contrary, Sigmund Freud, in his philosophical treatise, “Civilization and its Discontents”, claims that man possesses a destructive nature and will not come to a stop in his thirst to domineer and suppress the others. That is what Freud states: “The result is that their neighbor is to them not only a possible helper or sexual object, but also a temptation to them to gratify their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without recompense, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him.” (Freud). That is why, in Freud`s judgement, man is ought to be daunted by morality. Man should have fear of something that would bind him and suppress his ignoble desires. Freud is an adherent of human nature`s restraint within culture, as the most exalted among everything, created by men: “Culture has to call up every possible reinforcement in order to erect barriers against the aggressive instincts of men” (Freud).

In spite of the aforecited probable disagreement, Freud would certainly admit that Nietzsche`s conviction about human values is not devoid of meaning. This is what the latter states: “Over each people there hangs a tablet of values. Behold, it is the tablet of its self-mastery;” (292 GPT). Freud, in his place, confirms the ostensibility of human-imposed notions of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ – Freud denies the natural born capability to distinguish between the ‘good’ and the ‘evil’. “What is considered bad often feels good or is otherwise desirable to the ego. For Freud, the only thing "bad" in this sense is the threat of the loss of love.” (Freud).

According to Nietzsche, “the highest evil is part of the highest good, which is creative” (296 GPT). One can draw a parallel between the views on the origins of creativity of Nietzsche and Freud. In search of truth and aspiring death, the human involvement in the abysm of events, which he strives to free himself from, is inevitable. Moving on from one form to the other, he only multiplies inner suffering and escapes from himself. Art, born on the crossroad of contradictions in the conflict, is the only way to resolve this contrariety of personality. The creativity is possible only in the presence of two controversial origins.

In my humble opinion, Freud would certainly remind Nietzsche of libido – the sexual power that leads people`s instincts and the will to live. According to Nietzsche, “Wherever I found life, I found will to power, and even in the will of the servant I found the will to be master.” (294 GPT).  Freud would state that “Civilized society is perpetually menaced with disintegration through this primary hostility of men towards one another. Their interests in their common work would not hold them together; the passions of instinct are stronger than reasoned interests.” (Freud).

The superman, Nietzsche`s child, assumes the character of humanity`s future, the world`s aspiration: “God died: now we want the superman to live.” (297 GPT). The superman is a human that disclaims all the moral principles and liberates himself from deep-rooted preconceptions. Moreover, he dominates over nature and earth, since God is dead. Such desire appears to me as very materialistic approach to human civilization. Freud, would, probably, argue that mankind has made an advance in natural sciences and has “established his control over nature in a way never before imagined” (Freud). But did it bring happiness to humankind? “This newly-won power over space and time, this subjugation of the forces of nature, which is the fulfillment of a longing that goes back thousands of years, has not increased the amount of pleasurable satisfaction which they may expect from life and has not made them feel happier.”, states Freud. 

Freud would probably explain to Nietzsche that the more power man achieves, the more aggressive he becomes, and that people could never become free of their moral burden of the will to power. Thus, “Men have gained control over the forces of nature to such an extent that with their help they would have no difficulty in exterminating one another to the last man. (Freud).
In my judgement, Freud is closer to the Nietzschean philosophy than it appears at first, but there is one more concept that disunites their direction of though. Nietzsche states that “Things has no value until man put them there to self-preservation” (293 GPT). Freud, (while denying human ability to delimit ‘good’ from ‘bad’), has an idea about life`s ‘true’ values: “It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement - that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.”

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