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The psychology of Nietzsche

May 1, 2018
Priscilla Cain
Core Spirit member since Dec 24, 2020
Reading time 5 min.

Nietzsche also considered himself a first-rate psychologist, going so far as to claim in Ecce Homo, “ That a psychologist without equal speaks from my writings – this is perhaps the first insight gained by a good reader.”

He then goes on the claim that he’s the first philosopher to take part in actual psychology.He might have been on to something, as it is often possible to read his philosophy as psychology and a lot of his philosophical theories can be applied as psychological concepts. While psychologists have generally not credited him beyond the occasional mention, his thoughts foreshadow a few of the most revolutionary ideas in the history of science.

Nietzsche starts his psychology with what was a revolutionary idea; that you cannot hope to know about your mind all of the time.

While that the idea of a man having subconscious ideas, emotions, drives, and repressed memories isn’t shocking to people, the concept that person, “the rational animal” may not have the ability to comprehend how the brain worked at all times could have shocked the thinkers who read Nietzsche.

He also understood that external influences could have significant consequences on the of psyches of people. Hinting that he understands our deeper selves are affected by a lot more variables than meets the eye. He lists among those factors history and culture, together with our upbringings along with a great number of drives.

That we nevertheless have creature drives is a fact we frequently attempt to suppress. But one that Nietzsche saw as a mere fact and one to be managed. Dubbed “ The Beast Within” by Zarathustra, these forces towards aggression and sex were being suppressed by an archaic morality that saw them as wicked. Nietzsche watched this repression as causing potential energy to go to waste. He contended that it had been much superior to understand that we have these primal drives and that is alright, as long as they may be subdued and exploited.

But, what should they be exploited for?

In a world, self-overcoming. Nietzsche was all about personal development, and also his psychology reveals this. Nietzsche seen the brain as a selection of drives. These drives were frequently in direct opposition to one another. It is the duty of the person to arrange these forces to support a single goal.

Even then, nevertheless, Nietzsche views this choice as one drive being more powerful than any other one and doesn’t see us independent of the drives we’re composed of. To arrange yourself is to conquer all your other drives, which can also be portions of the self.

The precise character of Nietzsche’s thoughts is, again, difficult to determine because he had been systematic and frequently made almost contradictory statements. He does praise the man who can build himself up, stating that his favourite proto-Ubermensch Goethe, “ disciplined himself to wholeness, he created himself in Twilight of the Idols.

However, he stated that “ At the bottom of us, really “deep down,” there is, of course, something unteachable, some granite of spiritual fatum of predetermined decision and answer to predetermined selected questions.

A truly strong individual will have the ability to harness their competing drives to help propel them into a singular goal, one that they select for motives which are their own; however they’re affected at some degree by their own inherent character.

Ask yourself if you’re in charge of your own desires. Can you dismiss a single temptation in order to progress towards a bigger goal? If you can not, Dr. Nietzsche would state you’ve yet to conquer some of your desires and they’re derailing your capacity to become what you can be.

While Nietzsche was doubtful of the advantages of self-reflection for the majority of individuals he did see it as a rewarding endeavor for the rare few who lived up to his insanely high standards. If we could make the blasphemy of applying his thoughts to everyone, it may be stated that the beginning point for individual development is to try to know yourself, what drives you have, what potentials you’ve got or deficiency, and which drives you want to nurture or subdue. While, for Nietzsche, there’s a limitation to the understanding of the self we could find this way, it is a place to start.

When it comes to Freud, the jury is still out on how far Nietzsche affected him. While Freud claimed to have not read Nietzsche, this seems unlikely given equally Nietzsche’s popularity and the similarity of many of the thoughts on the subconscious thoughts. The psychologist Ernest Jones, who knew Freud, wrote that Freud both praised Nietzsche and claimed to have never read. It has also been indicated that Freud intentionally prevented reading Nietzsche to stop accusations of plagiarism, others claim he did research Nietzsche and then lied about it.

Carl Jung, a student of Freud, was influenced by Nietzsche when he created his psychological system. However, he did not openly admit that. He did utilize some Nietzschean language in his work and once lectured on Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

The Will to Power was afterwards used as a foundation for the individual psychology of Alfred Adler. Nietzsche’s conception of self-becoming has carried on in spirit, if not in precise shape, in the humanistic psychology of Carl Rogers.

While his position as a philosopher is well understood, Nietzsche’s contributions to psychology tend to be disregarded. His insights into how we’re motivated, how deep our subconscious mind goes, and the way we could become the people we expect to be, are of great use to the individual. While the very fact he went stark raving mad may throw a damper on where a sane man who follows all his secrets may wind up, there can be no doubt that his thoughts might shine a light into the darkness of the minds that he was among the first to seriously explore.

Source: Big Think

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