Course: Why Read Nietzsche? Thinking with Dynamite

đź’Ł COURSE: Why Read Nietzsche? Thinking With Dynamite
Glenn Wallis

Four Tuesdays. March 15, 22, 29, April 5, 2022
7-9 PM EST

(See time zone converter if you’re in a different location to make sure you get the time right.)

Explanation of a Course.

Cost: $200. Register Here.

Each session is designed as an independent seminar discussion. So, it is not necessary to have attended the first session.

In our second meeting, we will discuss selections from Twilight of the Idols. In this text, Nietzsche: lays out his general methodology (it involves a hammer); says why “Socrates” (read: the entire Western philosophical tradition) is such a problem; critiques the role of reason in thought; and detonates all of metaphysics (in a few brief sentences).

Sound like a lot? It is! But because of Nietzsche’s highly readable and entertaining style, working through his ideas is actually enjoyable. Please join us!

Here’s the full course description.

I know my fate. One day my name will be associated with the memory of something tremendous — a crisis without equal on earth, the most profound collision of conscience, a decision that was conjured up against everything that had been believed, demanded, hallowed so far. I am no man, I am dynamite! â€” Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo

How did an obscure “German philosopher”—who forfeited his citizenship in the German Bund, who failed to secure his desired position in a university philosophy department, and whose books sold, at best, in the dozens—exert such a profound, far-reaching, and still robust influence on modern thought? 

The answer, I believe, lies in his self-proclaimed status: I am no man. I am dynamite!

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was an explosive social critic, detonating glaring critiques of European morality, culture, and religion. In prose that was at turns entertainingly stylized and devastatingly harsh, Nietzsche blasted out the hidden machinations of the false piety and stultifying conformity that, as we know all-to-clearly in hindsight, were so corrupting to late nineteenth-century European society. (Recall that dynamite, a new invention at the time, was the favorite weapon in the anarchists’ arsenal of propaganda of the deed.)

Nietzsche’s vast corpus on the status of truth, ethics and morality, language, aesthetics, subjectivity, history, nihilism, power, consciousness and the unconscious, culture, anti-metaphysics, and beyond, has exerted a seismic influence on Western intellectual history. His fury at laying bare the repressed motivations of Western culture continues to have a weighty (if not always direct) influence on philosophers, psychologists and psychoanalysts, poets, theologians, playwrights, novelists, and artists.

So, one answer to the opening question is that we are still crawling out from the rubble wrought by Nietzsche’s explosions.

Reading key passages from On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense; Thus Spoke Zarathustra; Twilight of the Idols; Human, All Too Human; and On the Genealogy of Morals, participants will leave this 4-Part Seminar with an understanding of key concepts of Nietzsche’s thought, including: 

  • The death of God
  • The crisis of nihilism
  • The Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy
  • Perspectivism
  • Decadence
  • The eternal return
  • The Ăśbermensch
  • Revaluation of values

Readings accessed on registration.

Facilitator: Glenn Wallis holds a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Harvard University. He is the author of several books, including Cruel Theory/Sublime Practice and Basic Teachings of the Buddha as well as numerous articles, chapters, and essays on various aspects of Buddhism and Western Buddhism in contemporary society. His more recent work, A Critique of Western Buddhism: Ruins of the Buddhist Real, employs the “non-philosophical” approach of François Laruelle. Wallis has taught at Brown University, Bowdoin College, and was tenured at the University of Georgia. He is the founder of the blog Speculative Non-Buddhism and Incite Seminars. His most recent books are An Anarchist’s Manifesto and Non-Buddhist Mysticism: Performing Primitive and Irreducible Presence.

Register here.

Seeker level members will be enrolled automatically. 

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