Study Guide

Friedrich Nietzsche Influences

Arthur Schopenhauer

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: The World as Will and Representation totally changed my life. Schopenhauer gave the human will the lead role in his philosophy, and I later went on to do much the same thing (albeit in a radically different way) with my conception of the "will to power." Though I now realize that most of what Schopenhauer said was poppycock, I have to admit that my own writing wouldn't be the same without him.

Frederick Lange

You should see my copy of Lange's History of Materialism: the cover is falling off, the type is barely legible (because I've written all over the pages)—and the book jacket? Well, that's long gone. You would think that a three volume, 1,000+ page-long history of materialistic philosophy (i.e., philosophy that explains the world in purely natural terms, without resorting to God or the supernatural) would be a boring slog of a read. And you'd be right. But I guess I'm sort of a weird guy.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Oh, Hegel was an influence, all right, but only because I was young and didn't know any better. In fact, I blamed the failure of my first book, The Birth of Tragedy, on a latent Hegelianism I contracted while at school. Hey, all the cool kids were doing it—and from I hear, all the cool kids are doing it again.

Hegel's naive optimism and dense, uninteresting—in other words, German—way of doing philosophy is an all-out assault on the senses, and not in a good way. Plus, what gives with all those nice, clean philosophical systems? Stay far, far away.

The Great Aeschylus, the Noble Sophocles, and That Talentless Hack Euripides

What can I say? I cut my teeth on the plays of Sophocles and Aeschylus, who helped audiences overcome the stifling nature of everyday life by pointing them toward their primal selves in plays like Oedipus the King (yes, that Oedipus—he of the Oedipus complex fame) and Prometheus Bound. At least that was the case until that über-rational blockhead Euripides (you can look him up yourself, because I refuse to link to him) came along and ruined it for everyone. Always trying to rationalize everything, that fool.