Continuing where Thus Spoke Zarathustra left off, Nietzsche's controversial work Beyond Good and Evil is one of the most influential philosophical texts of the 19th century and one of the most controversial works of ideology ever written.
Attacking the notion of morality as nothing more than institutionalised weakness, Nietzsche criticises past philosophers for their unquestioning acceptance of moral precepts. Nietzsche tried to formulate what he called "the philosophy of the future".
Alex Jennings reads this new translation by Ian Johnston.
I won't drone on about the wealth of knowledge in this book. I will say i've listened to it twice since i got it two weeks ago, and i will keep listening to it. I find it very practical.
The narration and production of this book is exceptional. Like any book, it's difficult to read to others, and communicate the nuance. Jennings & McMillan bring this production through with excellence. Even Jennings tone, a slight snear, really plays well, because Nietzsche himself writes with a slight snear.
Contrast this production with one i downloaded from "Librovox". Librovox allows non-professionals to record a book, and upload it. I downloaed Nietzsche's "The Gay Science", and i couldn't get through the first chapters. The narrator couldn't communicate the spirit and intent of the book. This production achieves that.
24 of 25 people found this review helpful
"Beyond Good and Evil" is a well-known classic, so I will not review the work itself.
The narration by Alex Jennings was excellent. He kept my attention throughout with his lively speech.
And, Ian Johnston was more than a translator. He also wrote commentary which is included in this audio. The commentary is excellent: accurate and helpful for understanding Nietzsche's background and ideas.
John Christmas, author of "Democracy Society"
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Great read, great narrator, interesting, thought provoking, and surprisingly funny at times. If you have never read any Nietzsche this is a good one to start with.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
Nietzsche's analysis and critique of false authority, master-slave relationships, herd morality, rationalistic/scientific barriers to living fearlessly are amazing critiques for the time he wrote, and flew in the face of the rationalistic zeitgeist of Kant, Hegel and science.
His critique is very psychological, in that he does not himself present a rationalistic argument for or against his views (although he reveals brilliant thinking), but rather a series of observations/aphorisms which we automatically string together as his "philosophy" (and then wonder what he said). He makes scathing observations of the Jews being the cause of the despised master-slave relationships, and compounded by Christians. For sure, he despises weakness.
Because of his own questioning of human motivation leading to the destructive master-slave devaluation of human, I find myself analyzing his own motivation for his concerns. While his interpretation of women parallels hatred of weakness everywhere, his misogyny, mistrust and devaluation seems embedded in every pore of his being, and explains most of his philosophy as a rant against how his mother (including father) treated him. He describes women as like a cat, they do their own thing, they have claws waiting to strike and are fundamentally manipulative and shallow.
If my impression of Nietzsche's devaluation of human relationships (esp. with women) is accurate (his self/other esteem is relationally absent), then he is blind and in contempt (indignant) of any relational resolution to his existential predicament. His primary target therefore is anyone who presents a threat to him, his thinking, his power/right to live fully.
More interestingly, this theory helps explain the either/or, master/slave position which he takes as the truth of the human condition. Since psyche (which is conditioned by society he states)/people/society/ bad philosophers/scientists/politics/countries are not to be trusted, the first goal is to avoid being a slave of your own weak conscience or that of anyone else's, have the courage to be master of your own soul, and do not be afraid of your passions/instincts/impulses, but let them give you instinctive taste/guidance, power, freedom of will, nobility--not made weak by conscience.
His use of the term "Truth" is almost always stated in some disdainful way against others, especially philosopher metaphysicians who go around telling others what "Truth" is. His effort is to invert this terrible misconception, and restore the meaning of truth as ones own Will to Truth (which becomes Will to Power), the power to be who you are based on your own value. The ultimate truth in life is thus to embrace the value of your own power. He often speaks positively of artists who engage in their expressive, empowered freedom in life (i.e., Wagner).
He states that "all organic functions [including sexuality] could be traced back to this Will to Power" (36)--this is his claim about reality/truth. There are thus two reading of Nietzsche--the amoral, harsh, cynical, heartlessness, and the one that some of us would like to believe: that his thoughts just haven't been developed clearly and that he is more artistic in his nature (and that Santa Claus and Heaven are not in jeopardy). It is not hard to see why his ideas became usable for Hitler's regime. We can thank subsequent philosophers who salvaged his genius out of his darkness.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
would definitely suggest the listen to any nietzshe fan. reader was pretty decent as well
The narration was by far the best part! To be sure, Nietzsche is dynamic and insightful writer, it's just overall imbalance in chapter quality. Like he'd have a deep understanding of social pressures and corrupted morality followed with how "inadequate" women are. Or how logical positivism cancels itself followed by a vague chapter on the German spirit. The aphorisms section was by far the most tedious.
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
This book needs to be studied and discussed. It is no easy listen to whilst commuting to work. I would not recommend it as entertainment.
What do you think your next listen will be?
Something totally different, perhaps light entertainment like a Flashman book or the new narrated book by Dustin Hoffman, 'Being There'.
Have you listened to any of Alex Jennings and Roy McMillan ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I don't think so, but they are excellent in their performance from this book.
Was Beyond Good and Evil worth the listening time?
I am not smart enough to appreciate it. Would need to spend more time discussing and studying it to get the benefit from it. I understand the Nazi used Nietzeche to back up their weird ideas, so if you like to study that part of history, it might be a good resource. For me, it was unfortunately a waste of time.
Any additional comments?
Interesting, nothing like the communist manifesto, or the great thinkers from the age of enlightenment but important as it did have an influence on the 20th Century. Not my 'cup-of-tea'.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
It's Friedrich Nietzsche at his most cogent and pungent; I believe his eventual madness is becoming manifest here. On the other hand, his astringent honesty, even when he is wrong, is a pleasing contrast to the intellectual bankruptcy of current academic discourse. Listen and listen again and try not to see the abyss staring back.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Definitely worth listening to, if only to see what the fuss is all about. I really wanted to find out exactly what he had against god - but I remain confused.
What could Friedrich Nietzsche have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
He could have outlined a proposition, presented arguments to support it, argued against contrary arguments, and then made a killer conclusion. Sadly, he did none of these.
Which scene was your favorite?
Could you see Beyond Good and Evil being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?
Oh dear dog, no. Maybe Monty Python could do a satire of it - but it already satirises itself, so they'd have precious little to do.
Any additional comments?
This book is written entirely as a series of numbered aphorisms, none appearing to have any relationship to any of the others. In each case I understood every word, understood the grammar and syntax, yet when it finished I had no idea at all what it was about. He remained completely and utterly inaccessible (to me).
Boy! Those Prussians sure didn't like the Jews, did they! I see where Adolf got it from.
This audiobook was well-presented and read in a pleasant voice - yet Nietzche's prose remains thick and turgic beyond the point of incomprehensibility.
4 of 12 people found this review helpful
I'm not sure what I expected from Nietzsche, but it most certainly wasn't a constantly contradictory, self-pitying diatribe about how all of the problems in the world are everyone elses fault and how Nietzsche, himself, is some sort of advance guard for a super-awesome totally kick-ass mega race of philosopher kings who need to be put in charge of everything because they are our superiors and we are just herd animals waiting to be led by them!
Nietzsche take perfectly logical presumptions- like "there is no singular morality"- and twists them into value judgments- like "there is no singular morality, therefore some morality must be superior morality and some inferior morality, and the inferior people who have inferior morality must subjugate themselves to the superior". WTF?!
In the end, Nietzsche falls prey to the brier patch of the small minded- the absolute. If a man is not one way, he must then be the absolute opposite, if a man does not completely believe one thing, he must completely believe the absolute opposite, if a man is not a master, then he must be a slave. And all the while condemning this very act in others.
Over and over again, Nietzsche takes reasonable, and sometimes very wise, ideas and twists them to fuel his own self-gratification and sense of superiority.
It is important to read Nietzsche to understand the kind of childlike thinking that we must avoid in ourselves. Of course, if Nietzsche wrote this as a satire and is laughing at us from the grave (like Machiavelli), then I take all of this back. If that is the case the man has done us the great favor of giving us a glimpse into our own, darkest nature.
21 of 60 people found this review helpful
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
I came into this book as a complete philosophical novice, and I must say I've had an awful lot of difficulty grappling with the verbosity and name dropping of Nietzsche.
I've had some moments of lucidity where I think I've benefited from listening to Beyond Good and Evil, but mostly it has been impenetrable.
So if you're looking to dip your toe into western philosophy, I'd recommend looking for something more gentle to start with!
Has Beyond Good and Evil put you off other books in this genre?
Certainly not. But I'll be looking for a more broad introduction to the genre next.
What about Alex Jennings and Roy McMillan ’s performance did you like?
The narrator's sharp, snide intonations of Nietzsche's put downs and humiliations of other philosophies really help bring things to life.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful