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  • Author: Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Published Date: 1886
  • Genre: Philosophy

Beyond Good and Evil is a English translation of German novel by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. It was originally published in 1886 and serves as a sequel to the previous work, “Thus spoke Zarathustra “. However, this volume is characterized by the author’s critical stance on earlier philosophers and their works and his counter arguments and quest for truth. It consists of 296 numbered sections which are further organized into nine parts.

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Summary

Nietzsche is not very welcoming in his views on past and contemporary philosophers. He is of the opinion that they were victims of herd mentality and even created pseudo parameters, based on religion, to judge a human being. He argues that an evil person is not the polar opposite of a good person. He explains that we, as humans, have the same basic impulses; however a person who is termed as evil express them differently, the ones that directly appeal to them.

The author highlights the limitations of those considered to be philosophers and yet, at the same time applauds the defining qualities of the new philosopher; imagination, self-assertion, danger, originality and creation of values. He boldly re-evaluates deeply rooted age old concepts like self-consciousness, truth, knowledge and free will. Instead he recommends a new approach, “will to power “which he believes is the answer to all human behavior. He combines it with his other philosophy of “Perspective of Life.” According to him, it provides us with a broader vision of values that surpasses good and evil. Hence the name, “Beyond good and evil “. Religion and master/ slave relationship forms the backbone of this work as he tries to deconstruct our humanistic beliefs, many of which comes naturally to us.

Beyond Good and Evil challenges all known morals and values that are taught to us since the time we were born. The author does a good job at identifying the loop holes in our assumptions and also ably supports his purported claims. The book is open for interpretation by every individual, as each reader may have a different stance on a particular argument. However, it also needs to be mentioned that the author is not trying to overhaul the old system or act as a savior for evil; on the contrary, he is trying to explain why men become evil and what can be done to enable their return to our society and start believing in greater good.

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