This book is first devoted to Greek lightness for Nietzsche finds in Ancient Greece the pattern for an alleviation which enables to unload one’s drives without denying oneself. The study of Greek culture is thus the starting point of a close analysis of the “human, all-too-human” things, ie an inquiry whose orientation is definitely antimetaphysical, ie antiplatonic, antischopenhauerian and antiwagnerian: Nietzsche first shows that alleviation in religion has a “double face”: on the one hand, religion makes man’s heart heavy with sinfulness; on the other hand it lightens it with the fiction of a merciful God. True alleviation thus consists in freeing oneself from religious lightening, and proclaiming the radical innocence of everything. Nietzsche also criticizes alleviation in art, ie a romantic alleviation. He shows that – like alleviation in religion – it requires a previous heaviness. Therefore he praises a classical art and an aesthetic of lightness. Nietzsche eventually focuses on a philosophical alleviation of life, defined as a freeing of spirit. Such a definition leads him to develop the “doctrine of the closest things”, which consist of the organization of a dietary alleviation of life.
Why hasn’t any philosopher ever been able to bring a certain and final answer to great metaphysical questions, these which for instance ponder the meaning of life ? Do they even have any meaning, isn’t asking them pure insanity ? Wouldn’t a rigorous analysis of the language be enough to make them disappear ? This is what Wittgenstein, in the 20th century, reflects on. Knowing though that he was himself often described as a strange individual, how should we consider his discernment ?
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