#28 – “We believe in nothing!” The Stakes of Meaninglessness in Nietzsche’s “The Joyful Wisdom”

Scott Hambrick and Karl Schudt discuss Friedrich Nietzsche’s book The Joyful Wisdom, Book 3, which contains his infamous proclamation “God is dead.” Nietzsche is perhaps best known for his writings about nihilism, the rejection of God and moral principles, or of any notion of meaning in life. From the nihilist’s perspective, nothing in the world is real; it’s merely a representation of the real, a concept that hearkens back to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

 

Despite his systematic dismantling of God, religion, and the traditional moral codes of the West, Nietzsche was not an advocate for nihilism but rather viewed it as modern man’s essential challenge: to overcome the sense of despair and meaninglessness.

 

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