I am currently researching for a paper I have to do in my History of Philosophy Class at SBTS, and I came across a book by George Burma Foster on this famous philosopher simply titled, "Friedrich Nietzsche." It was the first of such books that I have ever read solely on Nietzsche. I have read much about Nietzsche before, but never an entire book on the man. I must say that Foster has written an excellent piece of work on the consequential philosopher.
Foster's outline is simple, it starts with a brief biography of Nietzsche, and each chapter lays out something new concerning Nietzsche's worldview and philosophy. He begins with his influences, mainly Schopenhauer and Wagner, and then moves on to specific issues: political science, war, morality, religion, Jesus, etc. In each chapter, Foster quotes Nietzsche trying to best summarize his views on these critical issues.
But what Foster does is slowly unravel the thin red line that runs through Nietzsche, the Ubermensch. This is Nietzsche's word we commonly translate as "Superman." Darwin primarily dealt with the past and life's origins, Nietzsche was concerned with man's future. Through the process of evolution, culture, and the pursuit of power (minus the stranglehold of Christianity, morality, religion, democracy, socialism, pity, etc. in his view), a new race, species even perhaps, will be "created," that will rise above man. Therefore, life is about struggle and the pursuit of power. The weak must remain weak, while the strong must remain strong and thrive in order for this ideal to come to a reality.
Of all of the books I have read on Nietzsche, Foster does the best developing, tracing, and showing the parallels of what Darwin developed into what Nietzsche thought. It is out of the presupposition of natural selection that life becomes meaningless and without purpose. Morality is no more. There is no such thing as good and evil, but rather the strong vs. the weak.
Though I am a Christian, I have much appreciation for Nietzsche's philosophy. Simply put, he got it right. We must take Nietzsche seriously, because by assuming Darwinian evolution to be true, we end up with Nietzsche, a life without purpose, without morality, without hope, and without pity. It is Nietzsche that gives us men like Napoleon (though Napoleon came before Nietzsche, he nonetheless somewhat idolized the man as a pre-Ubermensch), Hitler, and the like.
Nietzsche is one that reaffirms my Christianity, it does not take it away. One who is afraid of Nietzsche is likely shaky in their faith. The world envisioned by Nietzsche is quickly coming upon us. Starting with Darwin, we will end up with Nietzsche and to understand our culture we must understand that paradigm.
For those interested in Nietzsche, his philosophy, etc., I highly recommend Foster's work. Though it is an old and a hard book to find, it is a great read, with great insight, with great research, and you leave understanding the man. Foster is a fine scholar and a fine writer. Though he affirms much of what Nietzsche had to say, he is still good to read.
To watch the documentary put together by the BBC called, "Human, All Too Human," click here.