Nietzsche’s Olympian Synthesis

Understanding the role Tradition could or should play in the modern era is a central topic in the study of philosophy. Today, in a world where God is almost, but not quite dead, how can we translate traditional beliefs into an appropriate form suitable for the people of the present age? To answer this question we must examine the nature of spiritual experience itself and look at different approaches to the divine in antiquity. Surprisingly one of the best starting points to developing a rapport with Tradition suitable to the modern West emerges not from Traditional texts themselves, but from Nietzsche. Despite Nietzsche’s overt denunciation of Christianity and the often proclaimed consequence of the ‘Death of God’, Nietzsche’s work penetrates very deeply into the core of religious philosophy and this area of his thought is usually misrepresented. Much of Nietzsche’s writing can be seen not as wishing to break Tradition, but instead wishing to reinvigorate it by introducing elements of what he believed was a stronger and model for religious belief – a vital form of spiritual thought that would prevent cultural decay.

Much of Nietzsche’s misinterpretation arises from confusing his rejection of the Christian Tradition with a rejection of Tradition itself; which was not the case. Other more obscure references suggest that Nietzsche himself did not believe that society was ready to embrace the ‘Death of God’, and this is cited in one of his most pieces of writing, the Parable of the Madman.

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