File spoon-archives/nietzsche.archive/nietzsche_2000/nietzsche.0001, message 17


Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 14:01:11 -0600
Subject: Alcohol and Decadence


At 10:49 AM 1/20/00 -0800, Juan Cruz wrote:
>That's right, even thought Nietzsche despised Christianity he also despised 
>the alcoholic and decadent life. He despised not Christ but the followers of 
>Christ who oppsosed what Christ preached, health, strength, will, love and 
>not what the christians preach which is totally opposite to life

	Like Socrates it is hard to figure out whether Nietzsche despised or
admired Christ one more than the other.  It is like his discussions on free
will and determinism.  Nietzsche never says one is better over the other,
he sits on the fence.  What he does do is look at why people need to strongly 
advocate one over the other or the psychological motivation for their
belief in such concepts.  
	Why did he despise alcohol?
	Because, the main objection to life is that of suffering and once again
this goes back at least to Socrates with their strange equation for
happiness, which is in reaction to suffering.  Suffering is what makes
people not want to live their life.  Presumably, Nietzsche did not object
to alcohol, a glass of wine or a nice cognac would not have been a problem
for him.  Dionysos is the god of rebirth and wine and wine gives rise to a
type of rebirth  It was the manner that the Germans were drinking their
beer in and the way that people were drinking themselves into a stupor.
This manner of drinking was and still is a method of avoiding life.
However, it is necessary to get away from suffering at least when beginning
to affirm life, the magnanimity of the situation is so much that failure
can come at any point. Nietzsche says somewhere in Ecce Homo that this task
is so difficult that it is advisable to use hashish to escape from it.
Perhaps, this is the problem with the higher men in book IV.  But, the main
objection to alcohol is the people that use it to excess to constantly
escape suffering and because they are escaping suffering they are escaping
one of the most important aspects of life.
	What is a decadent?  Nietzsche says that he is the foremost decadent.  He
calls Socrates and Plato decadents. A decadent is one who questions the
value of life.  Is life worth living?  Christ determined that life was not
worth living for itself, but for the afterlife.  Christ's followers also
follow this and they are also decadents.  Nietzsche is a decadent. Ecce
Homo Why I am so Wise section 1&2.  He is a decadent, because he examines
the value of life like Socrates and Christ, whom he admires, and determines
that life is worth living, because suffering can be overcome by embracing
it and by embracing it one gains strength, or power.  Life is worth living
because it is about power.  But, at this point Nietzsche shows that he is
not a decadent, "Very well, I am the opposite of a decadent, I have just
described myself."  Nietzsche is not a decadent, because when he embraces
life he becomes life and questions it's value no more, because he knows the
value of life he is the value of life.  

Daniel J. Dzenkowski






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