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Two Opposing Perspectives on Egoism of Nietsche and Kierkegaard - Essay Example

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Two Opposing Perspectives on Egoism of Nietsche and Kierkegaard

Nietzsche, on the other hand, might not have explicitly mentioned the atheistic foundation of his argument in his statement in Gay Science No. 304 but it is clear that he insisted that man should not be controlled by any rule or principle that restrains him from doing what he wants. Apparently, Nietzsche and Kierkegaard also differed in their views when it comes to their treatment of the ego or the individual. For Nietzsche, the individual is supreme and it is only by being so that he frees himself from the clutches of any entity that could hinder his struggle to achieve happiness. Rules that are imposed on him that tend to impede his freedom of movements must, therefore, be removed or repudiated. Kierkegaard, on the other hand, insisted that man should always consider the existence of a higher entity, God. Kierkegaard argued that man is governed by the rules of the Supreme Being and because of this there are limits to his freedom. However, it is necessary to discuss each of the key statements made by both modern philosophers in a more profound manner. The result of such discussion should clarify the opposing perspectives regarding egoism. No. 304 of Nietzsche’s Gay Science is a very explicit statement that describes the author’s personal conviction regarding the primacy of the individual. The last part of the section actually sums up in the most profound manner what he believed in. Nietzsche wrote: “I do not mean to strive with open eyes for my impoverishment; I do not like any of the negative virtues whose very essence is negation and self-renunciation.” (244) The previous sentences that led to this conclusion are highly critical of the set-up wherein man is ruled by laws that mostly pertain to activities or actions that should not be done. This results into an environment or a society in which people are restrained from undertaking efforts that they may deem as beneficial to them individually. Consequently, individuals are also deprived of the chance to live happily according to their respective definitions of it. In the statement, Nietzsche asserts that he does not wish to live under such conditions and that he opposes all rules that results in these. Apparently, Nietzsche does not see the necessity of discussing the bases of the laws or rules which he points out as restrictive and violating of individual freedom. It is also clear that it does not matter whether such rules are secular or borne out of religious beliefs. As long as these explicitly tell man what not to do, then these deserve to be opposed. For Nietzsche, the argument against such restrictions should not be anchored on the cost-benefits analysis for society. It is in the actual effects that these produce on the individual. If such laws impede or hinder the individual, then these are not justified. It does not matter whether these are supposedly important for social order or whether these are for the common good. For Nietzsche, if it is restrictive in essence then it is deplorable. It is quite obvious that he has made the individual as the center for all his arguments, which runs contrary to the perspectives adhered by governments and other power structures in society, whether religious or secular. If his statements are analyzed further, it would definitely appear ...Show more
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Two Opposing Perspectives on Egoism Friedrich Nietzsche’ Gay Science No. 304 and Soren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling are two written works that bear essential disagreements on the aspect of egoism. The points of contention are relevant because these are actually the very same issues that continue to shape man’s perspectives on ethics and moralities…
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