Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

Marx and Nietzsche

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In these paragraphs Marx takes into consideration the first ‘illusion of German Ideology’ and questions it validity. German philosophy based its premises about human consciousness on idealism whereas Marx develops it from the material existence of humans.  He says that ‘[t]he premises from which we begin are not arbitrary ones, not dogmas, but real premises…’ (Marx, p. 311), these premises are based on “the real individuals, their activity and the material conditions under which they live” (p. 311) whereas German premises does not originate from human existence but is a production of mental exercise.

Marxian method is historical materialism but it does not mean that it is not based on premises but unlike German premises, it is based on real life. So Marx says; ‘In direct contrast to German philosophy which descends from heaven to earth, here we ascend from earth to heaven. That is to say, we do not set out from what men say, imagine, conceive, nor from men as narrated, thought of, imagined, conceived, in order to arrive at men in the flesh. We set out from real, active men, and on the basis of their real life-process we demonstrate the development of the ideological reflexes and echoes of this life-process.’ (Marx, p. 315)

Marx is of the view that primarily human beings are productive as they must develop a system of production to comply with their means of subsistence and only hence they can satisfy their material needs. This necessity generates a chain reaction i.e. new needs and new production. And these productive forces and processes develop the social existence of human being. So it is the material life that determines the social life of humans. So materialism directs the social and hence the human consciousness. “Consciousness is, therefore, from the very beginning a social product, and remains so as long as men exist at all.” (Marx, p. 317)

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According to Nietzsche, Greek Tragedy was evolved from the traditional chorus that was innovative and original drama evolved from Greek ritualism.---Nietzsche refutes  Aristotelian theory pertaining to origin of Greek tragedy and rests his premises on the theory of Schiller. Schiller theory is of the view that chorus is a living wall that has enveloped the Greek tragedy in order to detach itself from the real world and its realities. And thus it has retained its poetic autonomy and saved itself from naturalism. "The satyr, as the dionysian chorist, lives in a religiously acknowledged reality under the sanction of myth and cult." (Nietzsche, p. 322) Chorus, an epitome of myth and cult of religions becomes the basic of Greek Tragedy in opposition to naturalism prevailing in the contemporary intellectual world. The tragedy chorus replicates this natural occurrence in an artistic way.

Nietzsche illustrates that tragedy as an art form is valuable for humanity. In contrast to Schopenhauer, Nietzsche demonstrates that tragedy as the art form of corporeal recognition and approval of pathos and miseries of life and exulting in these harsh realities adoration of pre-destination. Apollonian and Dionysian differences on Tragedy stem from their intellectual differentiations and practical manifestation of this form of art. Nietzsche is of the view that tragedy is endangered when music is discarded. To Nietzsche, Apollonian music was "Doric architecture in sonic mode” but Dionysian music was of supreme kind with poignant power of sound and melodious current. Nietzsche further points out the differences between the Dionysos and Socrates thematic expression. Overall, Nietzsche considers tragedy as beautiful fusion and manifestation of Dionysian astuteness and Apollonian art.

Marx and Nietzsche essay

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