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The Program of Self-Discipline in The Wanderer and His Shadow

The Program of Self-Discipline in The Wanderer and His Shadow

Chapter:
(p.40) Chapter Two The Program of Self-Discipline in The Wanderer and His Shadow
Source:
The Challenge of Nietzsche
Author(s):
Jeremy Fortier
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226679426.003.0003

The publication of Human, All Too Human constituted Nietzsche’s declaration of independence as an author, thinker, and human being. In this work Nietzsche separated himself from his youthful guiding lights (the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer and the composer Richard Wagner) by establishing his own ideal of the “Free Spirit". But after Nietzsche published the first installment of Human, All Too Human, he added two further installments, and his understanding of what it would take to live as a Free Spirit evolved in the process. In the last of the those installments, The Wanderer and His Shadow, the challenges or limitations of the Free Spirit project become especially evident. Nietzsche shows that the Free Spirit’s admirable independence has to be attained through the adoption of an austere self-discipline (involving what Nietzsche characterizes as a restraining or quieting of the heart) that leaves one cut off from attractive and authentic goods characteristic of wholehearted attachment to broader human community. This chapter also shows that Nietzsche’s reflections in The Wanderer were particularly influenced by his discovery of Xenophon’s Socrates, as an alternative to the more famous Platonic portrait.

Keywords:   Free Spirit, Socrates, Plato, Xenophon, self discipline

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