Friedrich Nietzsche is as passionate an admirer as he is a critic, and throughout his sane adult life, he showered generous praises on a number of personalities.
Freidrich Nietzsche’s dominant philosophical spirit and core ideas were often built from and influenced by writers and philosophers that came before him. When he finds such an individual whose creative genius and philosophical insight impressed him, his praises were often effusive.
Although Nietzsche considered Socratism- what he considers to be a fanatical focus on reason and a conception of the world as more orderly than it really is- absurd, Nietzsche saw Socrates as among the most decisive figures of Western thought. He credits Socrates with the reinvigoration of a love for knowledge that was able to redirect humans from the suicidal tendencies that would inevitably have resulted from the chaos and constant wars of ancient times.
Nietzsche acknowledged and admired Socrates’ enormous influence on Western philosophy. He envied Socrates’ capacity for attracting and mesmerizing strong followers. He also admired Socrates’ reluctance to accept discipleship in favor of getting his students to think for themselves- something he was successful at.
Zoroaster is the name of the ancient Persian prophet who founded the religion of Zoroastrianism. Nietzsche credits him with introducing the concept of good and evil into Western morality.
Although Nietzsche advocated a movement away from that kind of moral system, he praised the intellectual honesty and subtlety which influenced Zoroaster’s moral categories and believed that the prophet would have inevitably moved away from them in light of new evidence and more self-examination.
This honest spirit however was lost among the various people and groups who adopted Zoroaster’s moral system and so they lacked the capacity for honest, self-examination.
Baruch Spinoza and Friedrich Nietzsche are not the most similar characters from the outside. Spinoza was a Christian who dedicated his works to God and who wrote in a graceless, academic manner.
However, Nietzsche excuses his dissimilarities with Spinoza as being a consequence of the differences in time, culture, and knowledge from his time and that of Spinoza’s. He identifies Spinoza’s denial of the freedom of the will, teleology, the moral world order, the unegoistic, and evil as admirable sentiments and points of convergences.
Nietzsche has described Spinoza as “the purest sage” and “a genius”. He considered Spinoza’s work as “a passionate history of a soul”.
In Spinoza’s repudiation of pity and celebration of the love of faith, Nietzche identified among other values, an early precursor of the sentiments that would consume Nietzsche and form the fulcrum of his attacks on contemporary religion and morality.
Johan Wolfgang Goethe
Nietzsche practically worships this fine German individual. Goethe’s Renaissance-like unlimited interests and exertions in a wide range of fields appealed to Nietzsche. For Nietzsche, Goethe represented “a magnificent attempt to overcome the eighteenth century by a return to nature, by an ascent to the naturalness of the Renaissance”.
Goethe was known to have championed a new humanism in Germany, inspired romanticism, and then retreated to classicism while producing some of the best literature in the German language. His life, for Nietzsche, was a supreme display of life-affirming instincts. For Nietzsche, Goethe was the closest man could be to his Übermensch or superman.
Nietzsche took a psychological interest in William Shakespeare and admired the playwright’s attempt to probe the fullest depth of human nature. For Nietzsche, Shakespeare masterfully combined the Dionysian and Apollonian spiritual sensibilities to produce potent tragedies that were on the level of the ancient Greek plays.
Nietzsche also seemed to regard Shakespeare as a philosopher of great insight, by having the character Zarathustra in ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’ regard Shakespeare as having greater insight than Plato himself. Nietzsche admired Shakespeare’s ability to problem the tragic dimensions of human experience.
In Shakespeare’s treatment of Brutus in the play ‘Julio Cesar,’ Nietzsche detected a nuanced appreciation for Brutus’s betrayal of Julio Cesar. Shakespeare’s ability to fully represent Brutus’s genuine passion for the ideals of human freedom as represented in the hard decision to go the length of killing a dear friend for its sake attracted huge praise from Nietzsche.
Who were Friedrich Nietzsche’s biggest influences?
Arthur Schopenhauer and Richard Wagner are two figures whose ideas and art shaped Nietzsche’s thoughts and aesthetics for a long time. He was also indebted to the likes of Plato, Socrates, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and many others.
Who did Nietzsche admire the most?
Johan Wolfgang Goethe was the individual Friedrich Nietzsche admired the most. Nietzsche admired the boundless energy with which Van Goethe pursued his wide-ranging interests in literature, philosophy, politics, and many other areas. Nietzsche saw Goethe as the closest approximation of his concept of the Overman.