“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
Although many people automatically associate Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) with the statement “God is dead,” a line first published in Nietzsche’s The Gay Science, the great German philosopher was actually pretty optimistic about things, as evidenced by his love of music and the above quote, which comes from Twilight of the Idols (and, no, this wasn’t the prequel to the modern Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer).
Over his lifetime, Nietzsche wrote on pretty much every important subject in the world. And while a lot of people mistakenly think of him as an angry pessimist, I believe he was merely ahead of his time and interested not in turning a blind eye to reality, but to – as he described it – “Philosophizing with a hammer.”
Nietzsche sought to deconstruct our closely held beliefs and value systems, especially the corruption and flawed nature inherent in all human beings. What made him an optimist, however, was his faith that mankind could overcome these “defects.” In fact, in Nietzsche’s later years he “became increasingly preoccupied with the creative powers of the individual to overcome social, cultural, and moral contexts in pursuit of new values and aesthetic health.”
Interestingly, one of the most influential figures on Nietzsche’s writing was another titan of German philosophy, Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860). I say interesting because Schopenhauer also shared a profound love and respect for music, once stating, “The effect of music is so very much more powerful and penetrating than is that of the other arts, for these others speak only of the shadow, but music of the essence.”