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Extra resources for Wisdom of One: The Ultimate Existentialist Quote Book

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45 Section 1 ends with the odd combination of pagan allusions from all ages, Judeo-Christian language (covenant, gospel), and references to Schiller and Beethoven. (Note for further reference that Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony gets a special mention, because this is not a ‘pure’ symphony. ) This mishmash of references is deliberate, of course, as Nietzsche is telling us that the Dionysiac drive is universal, to be found underlying all discrete cultures and celebrated in a barely disguised fashion in art.

42 Plato argues that all art is based upon illusion, for art generates images of things which, with respect to the true reality of the ideas, are already mere images. These illusory images are dangerous, insofar as they tempt us further away from truth rather than bringing us closer to it. Nietzsche will argue for a different metaphysical truth to Plato, to be sure, but agrees at least with the narrow point, which is that there is something wrong in taking the image as if it were fundamental or true being.

There are playful references to sex, to the sexes, and to the ‘battle’ of the sexes, throughout this book. Later in his career, for example in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche thematizes these much more clearly, developing an elaborate symbolic vocabulary of sex and gender. There are numerous passages in Nietzsche’s work where gender roles are allocated to make a philosophical point; that is not in doubt. 27 The question is whether the roles are allocated in meaningful ways and what philosophical enquiry gains thereby.

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