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Why did Nietzsche decide on the title Beyond Good and Evil?

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Introduction

Why did Nietzsche decide on the title 'Beyond Good and Evil?' Nietzsche's 'Beyond Good and Evil' has for many years been an enigma to all but the most dedicated readers and philosophers. It's small wonder, then, that the title is equally cryptic. The scope of the statement is extremely wide, and it is often taken out of context to imply nihilism. I believe that the title represents the meeting point of all Nietzsche's ideas. His ethics, epistemology, metaphysics and aesthetics share the one common ideal of stepping past traditional values and creating something altogether new and dangerous. The title clearly reflects this. To consider the title I believe we must also consider the subtitle: 'Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future.' The book is very much Nietzsche outlining the ideal world in which the Will to Power is recognized as the supreme force of mankind, and all forms of dogmatism and Christian values have been suppressed. ...read more.

Middle

This attitude has bred the 'herds' of Europe which Nietzsche so despises. No, values must be 're-valued' in order to advance man, and break free of the restrictive morals that have put Europe in the state which it is in. This rejection of traditional morals is sometimes misconstrued as nihilism - this is grossly incorrect. In fact, the opposite is true. Going beyond good and evil involves, for Nietzsche, making the most out of man's potential, i.e. exerting the Will to Power to full effect. Only thus can we advance. Throughout the book, the concept of going beyond good and evil is developed further and constantly referenced. It is clear that this forms the main spine of Nietzsche's ideas. We arrive at a conclusion: life itself is Beyond Good and Evil. This, I believe, is the basic message behind the book itself, and also the reason why Nietzsche chose this title specifically. ...read more.

Conclusion

This can be reality through effective use of the arts. So if the will to power, through the arts, has not managed to shape society, then what has? Nietzsche's answer here is simple: theism. Many of the common values we hold have their roots in sacred texts or the preachings of religious believers. Christianity, among other religions, have promoted weakness and piety - something which enforces good and evil has ultimate values and thereby restricts the will to power. This, Nietzsche claims, has led to Europe becoming weak and self-sacrificing - a continent of slaves. Ultimately, it is the religions and their values that we must overcome if we are to go beyond good and evil. Religion managed a re-evaluation of all values many years ago, establishing power and self-interest as evil; whilst pity and meekness were seen to be good. This is something which must be reversed and overcome. This will truly free man from the dogmatic concepts introduced hundreds of years ago and place him beyond good and evil. This was Nietzsche's ultimate goal and, hence, the title of his book. ...read more.

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