ECCE HOMO BY FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

Chapter 1: Why I am so brilliant

I am without weakness. I am intellectually, morally, and physically impeccable. It is surprising, to say the least, that I am not worshipped like a God.

Chapter 2: Why I am so wise

It takes a man of special genius to be able to think and write the way that I do. My genius, I ought to add, is in my eyebrows.

Chapter 3: Why I write such good reviews

My reviews are witty and perceptive, and boast an intellectual punch that is likely to knock you off your feet; I am able to engage the mind and touch the heart within the space of a single sentence. My reviews are both personal and impersonal. As my old friend Hegel suggested, this coming together of opposing concepts creates something greater than its constituent parts.

Chapter 4: Why Nietzsche is my inferior

Well, he’s dead, for one thing. And I never inspired the Nazis.

Chapter 5: Why this book speaks to me

I’m a bit of a tosser; quite often I am an arrogant tosser. A couple of examples:

1. A while ago I was out for a drink with a group of work colleagues…The good guys never get the girls, opined James as the lady he had his eye on pissed off with another man. I’m a good guy and I get loads, said I.

2. While at university I once spent an Ethics seminar arguing that any pregnant woman under the age of 25 ought to be forced to have an abortion, because, oh I don’t know, just for the hell of it. At a party during that semester a girl came up to me…

Did you really say that all women under 25 should be forced to have an abortion? she said.

Yes.

ì’ve got children and I’m 23.

Good for you.

Are you not going to retract what you said?

No. But I promise to never say anything like that again if you fuck off.

Ah, Friedrich and I: we are comrades in cuntishness.

Chapter 6: Why you ought to read Ecce Homo

If there was ever a philosophy text [of the most profound sort] that one ought to read for the laughs, as well as for the insight, then Ecce Homo is it. I am a philosophy graduate, and, certainly within my field, there are a large number of gruelling humourless monsters, like, for example, Being and Time [which I spent most of my third year studying]. I learnt a lot from those books, don’t get me wrong, but I wouldn’t read them purely for pleasure. You won’t open up Being and Nothingness at random, glance down the page and think ha ha ha, you cheeky bugger, that’s hilarious, but you might when flicking through this text. Neitszche has a novelist’s touch; he appeared to realize that the best way to get one’s ideas across, to motivate people to want to read one’s books, was to be provocative and entertaining. Ecce Homo is his final text and is, in essence, an investigation, an overview, an elucidation, of his previous work; there’s an intimate gather round and let me tell you about all my great ideas. You may have missed them or misunderstood them the first time around, feel to the thing, and for these reasons it is probably the best introduction to one of the greatest philosophers.

As for the controversy surrounding the man, I don’t doubt for one second that he was in earnest with regards to many of his ideas, but I am of the opinion that some of the outrageous things he wrote/said were designed to jab you like a pencil to the small of your back, to wake you up, make you concentrate. To some extent he was saying: don’t just accept the first lazy thought that enters your head, don’t just fall in with popular opinion. Speculate! Be original! And that’s the finest example anyone could set for you.

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One last thing, although I am in no way comparing, in terms of quality or philosophical rigour, a book review to the work of a man of genius, if you find this review irritating then you’ll likely think the same thing of Ecce Homo.  

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