chapter  16
18 Pages

Fighting Décadence: Nietzsche against Schopenhauer and Wagner

F r i e d r i c h N i e t z s c h e ( 1844-1900) be l ieved that s o m e t h i n g l i k e the

d e a t h - w i s h h a d been d e b i l i t a t i n g W e s t e r n cu l ture at least since Socrates

a n d w a s mani fes ted as d e c a d e n c e . C o m p a r e d w i t h , say, M a x N o r d a u ,

N i e t z s c h e is i m m e a s u r a b l y m o r e i n s i g h t f u l i n t o the c o n d i t i o n he c o n -

d e m n s , a n d so m u c h m o r e percept ive a b o u t its prevalence i n W e s t e r n

t h o u g h t , even o r especia l ly i n those w h o repudia te it - i n c l u d i n g

h imse l f :

It is a self-deception on the part of philosophers and moralists to imagine

that by making war on d e c a d e n c e they therewith elude d e c a d e n c e themselves.