Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘The Madman,’ ‘The Heaviest Weight’ (1882)
1. Why does the ‘madman’ in Nietzsche’s parable say, “God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him!”(120)? What does he mean? Who is he talking to? And what is he really trying to say?
(Answer the question in your own words. Also find examples in the text).
2. What does the ‘madman’ mean when he says:
“There was never a greater deed – and whoever is born after
us will on account of this deed belong to a higher history
than all history up to now!” (120).
What “deed” is he referring to?
(Find examples in the text to support your answers).
3. If God were to not exist, what would it mean for ethics, as both individuals, and as a society?
How would you conduct your life? Where would your ‘morals’ come from? And in short, how would you define the ethical?
’The Heaviest Weight’
4. What is the heaviest weight? And how would you answer the ‘demon’ in Nietzsche’s parable, if he posed the same question to you? (194).
(Answer in your words, and also find examples in the text to support your points).
5. Finally, how might Nietzsche’s ‘thought experiment’ of the ‘the heaviest weight’ (the ‘eternal return’) change the way that you live your life today?
How might it affect the decisions that you make from now on?
And how might it affect or change your own set of ethics?
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