Nietzsche's EarthGreat Events, Great Politics

Nietzsche's EarthGreat Events, Great Politics

Gary Shapiro

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780226394459

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Nietzsche’s Earth articulates the sense of his call to be “true to the earth,” exploring its political dimensions. Triangulating Nietzsche between the nineteenth century European world of competing nation states and the changed landscape of more recent times, it argues that this thinker speaks to contemporary themes and questions such as globalization, the so-called end of history, sovereign assumption of emergency powers through states of exception, and the composition of the decisive political body of a diverse, nomadic, and hybrid multitude. The book explores the contrast between two modes of political time: that of the “last humans,” measured out and securitized by debt and insurance, another involving openness to futurity where “philosophers of the future” may vigilantly seize unique opportunities. These discussions put Nietzsche in dialogue with more recent philosophers of the event, including Deleuze, Derrida, Agamben, and Badiou. The study examines Nietzsche’s sketch of a political geoaesthetics of the anthropocene, elucidating Thus Spoke Zarathustra’s celebration of a garden earth. Nietzsche’s Earth concludes by demonstrating that his “philosophy of the Antichrist” should be understood not merely as a challenge to Christian belief but as an immanent critique of traditional political theology, linking the death of God to the fragility of the state. The book constructs a running dialogue between Nietzsche and those thinkers of his time and ours who see the earth through the lenses of a totalizing world-history, on a more or less Hegelian model, involving a hierarchical system of nation-states and an inescapable teleological narrative.