Nietzsche always remained Christian, at least emotionally…


From New Humanist:

Nietzsche himself turns out to have been a likable sort of guy. Despite his over-the-top persona as an “antichrist”, he always “remained a Christian”, according to Young, if not theologically then at least “emotionally.” And despite his hatred of slipshod scholarship, he had no truck with the petty pedantry of the “anal-retentive control-freak”. Politically, he was not really an individualist, still less a disagreeable elitist or an apostle of violence: he would have hated the “war on terror” and “mass hysteria” over “the death of Princess Di”, and as an advocate of “soft” power he would have opposed the invasion of Iraq; indeed for all his affectations of belligerence, he would have shunned the “neo-cons” and “supported the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament”.

But what if – like Nietzsche’s radical followers a century ago – we prefer the extremism and outlandishness that lie on the surface of Nietzsche’s writings to the sensible opinions that may be buried beneath them? “Take away the paradox from the philosopher,” as Søren Kierkegaard once said, “and all you are left with is a professor.” What if the mischief is the message? “One wants to be understood when one writes,” as Nietzsche confessed; but “one also wants – quite as certainly – not to be understood.” If an argument looks rough and murky, it may be best to leave it that way, and interpreters who buff it up till they can see their faces in it may be doing their author a disservice. “This might just have been the intention of the author,” Nietzsche continued: “perhaps he did not want to be understood by ‘anyone’.” He was not very interested in the kinds of truths we have to sit on, like hens hoping to hatch an egg: he preferred those that dance in the sunlight and then disappear – “truths of a peculiar shyness and ticklishness,” as he put it, “truths that must be taken by surprise.”

“Antichrist”, Jonathan Rée, New Humanist