Friedrich Nietzsche: biography of a vitalist philosopher

The genealogy of morals, beyond good and evil, thus spoke Zarathustra … These titles are widely known throughout the world because of their deep criticism of the morals and philosophy of their time and their importance in the development of philosophical thought of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These are works of Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher of Prussian origin of whom in this article we make a brief biography.

    Biography of Friedrich Nietzsche

    Friedrich Nietzsche was born on October 15, 1844 in Röcken, a locality at that Prussian time that is currently part of Germany, being the firstborn of three brothers.

    Son of Lutheran pastor Carl Ludwig Nietzsche and Franziska OehlerHis early years were spent in a religious setting. However, at the age of four, her father died of a neurological illness. This loss was joined by that of his brother soon after. After these deaths, the family consisting of Nietzsche, his mother and sisters moved to live with his grandmother and aunts in Naumburg, being protected by magistrate Bemhard Dächsel. What happened next was a life trajectory that spawned one of the brightest minds of its time.


    The education of the famous philosopher began in public school. The schooling of the young man was not easy, because from an early age, Nietzsche would suffer from various health problems, among them headaches and vision problems. This, added to its serious nature, made it often the subject of ridicule among students. Despite everything, Nietzsche showed great skill for letters, which would eventually lead to him being admitted to the prestigious school of Schulpforta. In her it would receive instruction in the world of Literature, realizing several poetic tests.

    In 1864 he began his degree in theology at the University of Bonn, but a little less than a semester later would leave these studies to begin those of philology, which would continue in Leipzig. During his studies, he was inspired by Lange and Schopenhauer, an inspiration that eventually led the young man to take an interest in philosophical reflection. After a brief stint through military service that would end due to a fall from a horse, he would return to his studies and finish them in 1869.

    The University of Basel in Switzerland offered him a post as professor of philology before he even finished his studies, an offer he accepted. After his transfer, he renounced German nationality. He would later return to the Prussian army as a porter, An experience in which he contracted diseases such as diphtheria which made his health difficult.

      First publications and beginnings of his philosophical position

      Nietzsche will publish his first books later, receiving harsh criticism from various personalities of the time. During these years, Otto von Bismarck would end up uniting what would be called the German Empire, cultural development would later be criticized by Nietzsche. At this time he would make a tumultuous friendship with Wagner, Which would eventually break.

      It is at this point that he begins to make a critique of dominant rationalism and a defense of instincts and emotions, apologizing for innatism and instinct. His criticism focuses on the culture of reason, static and decadent, which opposes biological impulses.

      Based on that too the criticism of morality and religion appears (Focusing specifically on the Judeo-Christian vision and especially on the Church), with values ​​which meant that the population was submissive and enslaved according to what the weak (those slaves who have no control over their lives and do not follow not their strength and instincts) dictate on the basis because of the identification of these values ​​with kindness. The idea would arise from the need to generate new values ​​in which biological imperatives would be taken into account, an idea which would eventually generate the concept of superman.

      Worsening health and its most tedious phase

      Nietzsche’s health, affected by various illnesses (among which syphilis is assumed), would deteriorate over time. This is why he was forced to quit his teaching post in Basel.

      Due to his health problems, Nietzsche traveled frequently in different cities with milder climates, although he does return home from time to time to visit his family. this is his most prolific period in terms of publications and philosophical thought. He fell in love with Lou Andreas-Salomé and offered to marry him, but was rejected.

      This, along with the loss of relationships with old friends like Wagner, would lead him to deeper and deeper isolation. It was at this time that he wrote “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” and “Beyond Good and Evil” one of his best-known works. However, his publications were never widely accepted by society.

      His sister would marry a well-known writer named Bernhard Förster and would travel with him to Paraguay, being the ideology and anti-Semitism of this ground of repulsion by Nietzsche. In 1887, he published the Genealogy of Morals, his health deteriorated. However, his writings began to gain increasing success and interest from the general population.

      Inside and dead

      In 1989, at the age of forty-four, the well-known author collapsed, after which he had to retire. He was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Basel with symptoms that now suggest dementia. possibly derived from syphilis or a possible brain tumor. His secretary Gast and his friend Overbeck (acquaintance and friend since the time in Basel), decide to publish his works “The Antichrist” and “Ecce Homo”.

      Nietzsche was then taken by her mother to a clinic in Naumburg and later home in 1890. After her death, she moved with her sister, who had returned after becoming a widow, to Weimar. There he died on August 25, 1900 of pneumonia.

      Nietzsche’s legacy

      The legacy that Nietzsche left is of untold value and has had a great influence on the world. Aspects such as nihilism or the decline of Western thought and classical and rational philosophy, the avoidance of Dionysian desires and impulses, and the pursuit of slave morals, the criticism of religion as an instrument of control which makes the population enslaved and submissive due to the identification of these traits and suffering as good are elements which, while they may be controversial and difficult to interpret, have aroused the interest of many thinkers and inspired great social and political works and reinterpretations.

      An example can be seen in Sigmund Freud, whose works have been influenced by the critique of rationality and the defense of instinctive and innate forces.

      Unfortunately, there have also been interpretations of his works with less benign purposes and consequences. Social criticism, the defense of individualism and identity, the ideology and the concept of superman would be distorted and reinterpreted by various personalities who would end up using it as a basis for some of the actions and bases of Nazism.

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