Nietzsche is a nineteenth century philosopher from Germany whose work was aimed at challenging the principles of Christianity and predictable morality. His main interest was on the improvement of healthy personal and cultural practices. He strongly believed in the existing realities, creativity, life and power. At the center of his beliefs was the concept of life verification, which requires all life’s principles to be questioned, irrespective of their social prevalence. His nihilistic status came because of his spiritual bother on tradition and he agreed to the title. He related nihilism with modernity as well as with the principle of good values. At some point, his views seemed to disagree with nihilism. The fact that he confirmed life brought about a number of arguments on religious, moral and theoretical ideas. All these brought out the belief that life must be harmonized by religion or morals for it to amount to anything. At some point, Nietzsche’s philosophy is in support of nihilism while in other arguments it seems to oppose it.
Most people have the awareness that philosophical work of Nietzsche is nihilistic. This is a widespread similarity but in reality, it does not completely portray Nietzsche’s school of thought. It is true that he brought about the topic of nihilism in most of his writings but this does not mean that he supported it. It is only because he was concerned with its consequences in the society. In a different view, Nietzsche could be classified as a nihilist since he believed that substance in the religious, social, traditional, ethical and political values never really existed. He denied the notion that these principles had a valid independence and that they enforced binding responsibility on people. In fact, he believed that they could affect the society in a negative way.
One of the reasons why Nietzsche is considered a nihilist is because he believed that the greater part of the society was built on nihilistic morality. He observed that people were no longer keen on the old ways of morality and this made Nietzsche to make a conclusion that “God no longer existed.” This he argued was because of the death in the traditional ways and that the modern values, which came in, had no consideration for God’s existence. Nietzsche regarded this as a positive change, since he believed that the traditional practices particularly those that stemmed from Christianity caused more harm than good to the society. Therefore doing away with their foundation would lead to their collapse, and this to him would be the best thing.
In his concept of will to power, he argues that nihilism is a necessary belief since it is certain, and that it brings about creativity. This kind of nihilism that favors creativity is referred to as pro creativity nihilism. In the affects theory, he goes ahead and asserts that creativity and nihilism are in correspondence with particular sentimental set up. He describes it as uncertain in the sense that it can be an indication of either weaknesses or strengths. He goes further to argue that it is an important stage in the process of re-evaluating values. He classified nihilism as either inactive nihilism, which is portrayed by a weak will power, or active nihilism portrayed by a strong will power. This comes because of disappointment, whereby people experience a sense of unfriendliness from the moral values. They end up losing the establishment of the structure value systems and with nothing else to fill up this space, they are left with disappointment. They end up conceiving the fundamental nature of morality and truth as being self-centered but necessary.
In his unpublished notebooks, he stated that nihilism is a good indication since it works towards eliminating the out of date systems of values to create space for new systems. In its passive form, nihilism brings about a loss in individual authority since it renders all the values, internal and external, as meaningless. This includes the values in the sense of right and wrong, which determines personal influence over one’s actions. When in the state of lack of influence, the inner spirit remains in a state of hopelessness and therefore is inclined to getting rid of any form of responsibility. The will therefore remains weak and it searches for ways of escaping rather than facing the truth.
Active nihilism on the other hand is symbolized by an increase in the spiritual power. This is the strong will power, which is disobedient in nature. Nihilism in this form aims at destroying the remaining traces of the already empty systems of value. In this case, the will power is determined by its ability to recognize the empty systems of value. Nietzsche refers to this as a delightful thinking practice and declares that simplifying the system as well as lying is a necessary component for life. In case of a failure in good sense and reason, a nihilist will readily embrace irrationality and release from logical thinking. The will gains the power to deny any form of power and limitation. This is what he refers to as the free will to power.
At some point however, he diverted from nihilistic belief. This is the point where he failed to agree with the principle that the “death of God” is a complete impossibility since worldwide, nonnatural, and complete principles can never exist without a perfect establishment. On the contrary, he believed that the absence of these specific values does not imply complete absence of values. By refusing to submit to the belief in the specific point of view accredited to the existence of God, Nietzsche was in a position to understand other views of values and make his own conclusion of whether they are true or not. He believed that sin as presented in Christianity is an attempt to act as if the religion is supreme and universal rather than located somewhere in the historical set of incidents and truth-seeking happenings.
He went ahead and stated the uncertainty of nihilism. He alleged that it is a standard experience, which can be an indication of an increase in strength or weakness. He looked far beyond nihilism and came up with a conclusion that the only way to have a thriving culture is to overcome nihilism. In a predictable outlook, Nietzsche is an anti-nihilist since he does not consider all values as being of equal significance. He recognized the imaginary nihilism but denied its practical real meaning. He was against the idea that everything was naturally beautiful just as it is. For example, he believed that beauty was relative to the issues concerning growth and conservation. This he says is ascribed to the fact that man has lost the ability to recognize beauty.
Nietzsche’s opinion on nihilism is difficult since he seems to contradict himself. He gives it a personal approach, emphasizing on both its dangers and its positive effects. This is evident from his statement that “I praise, I do not reproach nihilism’s arrival. I believe it is one of the greatest crises, a moment of the deepest self-reflection of humanity. Whether man recovers from it, whether he becomes master of this crisis, is a question of his strength.” He claims that overcoming nihilism is the only way of providing culture with a strong groundwork to flourish in. This statement contradicts the earlier statement that Nietzsche’s philosophy is nihilistic.
From Nietzsche’s work, nihilism is brought out as a sickness of humans in the modern world, and it is presented as the ultimate cure for this sickness. He presents it as a logical division and just as a force that is passing by in the history of human beings. It has consequences ranging from negative to positive aspects. We can therefore conclude that Nietzsche was a nihilistic theorist but at some point had to go against it to bring out the practicability of human life.