On this, the last day of 2019, I thought I should write a word or two by way of an update.
In recent times, I have been unable to post with the same regularity I usually do. For that, you have my apologies. Happily, this is due to my time being taken up realising the book I am currently writing and which is the subject of this blog. Right now, I have shared the first chapter with a number of individuals to get some feedback. Where they feel it is necessary, I have asked them challenge me on the style, the content, the reasoning, the lack of moral decency - I welcome all of it.
The book now has a title, but I am choosing to keep that under wraps for the time being. As you should know by now, it is a manual of personal development based on the theories of the German iconoclast and philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. I made a decision to write it two and a half years ago, after waiting almost thirty years for someone else to do the job. It is written with absolute sincerity but it is, at the same time, a sort of experiment.
The book will begin with a written introduction to its purpose, its genesis and its methods. Fair warning is given that it packs in a lot of very unforgiving observations and speculations and the contents are not going to be everybody’s cup of tea (nor could they be, on the book’s own terms). It warns the reader that the book will make demands of them - in many, many ways – but it also offers reassurance that no specialist knowledge is required at the outset. This is not a treatise for philosophers, unless perhaps only in that sense in which we are all philosophers. That said, this book could serve as an accessible introduction to Nietzsche’s thought for the uninitiated, though this would be to get the least from it.
Naturally, it also provides a brief but comprehensive biography of Nietzsche himself, dispelling all the usual erroneous misconceptions that have been discredited time and time again e.g. links to the Nazis etc.
The book will be in four distinct parts:
1. On Self-Overcoming.
2. The Very Free Spirit.
3. Great Works.
4. The Golden Laughter of the Gods.
The first chapter of part one examines the human as object. The subsequent chapters of part one cover the human as animal and the human as machine. These perspectives all offer us different opportunities for making transformational change to our lives.
The popular conception of the Nietzschean individual is as some kind of amoral, quasi-Nazi superhero, replete with both an Adonis-like physique and a genius-level intellect but, in truth, the crowning achievement of Nietzschean personal development is the overcoming of that ghastly bane of all thinking people, nihilism, and its replacement with a joyous affirmation of existence, free of need for phony metaphysical compensations.
Nietzsche argued that the contemporary human being exists in an abject state, infected with profound self-loathing, but a cure for this unfortunate condition is conceivable. This book is an attempt to effect that cure through practice. Unlike many other self-help books, it will not offer comfort to its readers by telling them that they are ‘okay’ - that they are good enough as they are. There is no sugar in this medicine. Its starting assumption is that we are all inherently dysfunctional and divided against ourselves and that something immeasurably better can be made of each of us. The reader will be warned that this book is hard and it will become harder as it proceeds. Many, possibly the majority, will not see the treatment through to its conclusion.
I hope to be able to share the book with you in the next year. In the meantime, The Nietzsche Self- Help Project is going to launch a podcast early in 2020 – a place for discussion around self-help, personal development and positive behaviour change based on the thought of Friedrich Nietzsche. I will keep you posted regarding the launch date. Stick with me here on www.nietzscheselfhelp.com, even if posting continues to be slow for a time. Good things are coming.
In the meantime, may I wish you and yours the best for the New Year. Keep living dangerously.
‘For the New Year … Today everyone takes the liberty of expressing his wish and his favourite thought: well, I also mean to tell what I have wished for myself to-day, and what thought first crossed my mind this year … Amor fati: let that henceforth be my love! I do not want to wage war with the ugly. I do not want to accuse, I do not want even to accuse the accusers. Looking aside, let that be my sole negation! And all in all, to sum up: I wish to be at any time hereafter only a yea-sayer !’
Nietzsche, The Gay Science. January 1882