Forever Under Construction

Persian Literature & The West – III

Posted in Culture, Greek, Iran, Persia, Persian by homeyra on November 23, 2006

[In a posthumously published fragment, Nietzsche (1844-1900) deplores a lost of a historical opportunity: “It was much more fortunate if Persians became masters of the Greeks, than the very Romans.” In this note Nietzsche reveals, once more, his radical opposition to the Greek metaphysical thought, as developed by Socrates and Plato, which later, by supremacy of the Greek culture inside the Roman Empire, became dominant and then integrated into the other-worldly, ‘nihilistic’, tenets of Christianity. While, in his view, the dominance of the positive outlooks of the Persians toward worldly life and time would have prevented the prevalence of such a sinister event in human history.]

Maybe this same perspective is shared by Cyrus Kar, if you haven’t seen the preview of his movie, here it is.

[Nietzsche is known as a philosopher of culture. His analyses of, and critical views on classical, medieval, and modern European cultures witness his knowledge and profound concern with the historical development of human cultures, specifically their moral systems of valuation. Inquisitive about great Asiatic cultures, i.e. Chinese, Indian, and Persian, … Nietzsche’s curiosity for various historical developments of the human culture produced his unique philosophical understanding of the Oriental cultures and their traditional wisdom in contrast to the modern European culture. Here and there he puts the ‘Asiatic’ wisdom positively in opposition to the modern rationalism which he views despicably.

Nietzsche was a brilliant student of classical philology and later taught it at the University of Basel. His vast knowledge of Greek and Roman languages, cultures, and history is reflected in … innumerable references to them throughout his writings. His studies of the classical philology and deep involvement in Greek and Latin literature introduced him to the ancient Persian culture and history, as an Asiatic culture and imperial power challenging Greek city-states… or fragments fully reflecting his views on Persian people of the ancient times and their culture. He particularly praises their mastery of archery and horsemanship, their imperiousness and belligerency, and their emphasis on the virtue of truthfulness. These virtues positively correspond to the Nietzschean view of the valuable human life.

But Nietzsche’s highest interest and respect for the Persians appears where he speaks about their notion of history and cyclical Eternal Time; a concept that resembles his own concept of the “Eternal Return”, emphasizing on the recurrent temporality of being: “I must pay tribute to Zarathustra, a Persian: Persians were the first who thought of history in its full entirety.”] … to be continued

Source: Nietzche and Persia

See also Part I, Part II

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2 Responses

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  1. Laqueta Lewis said, on December 20, 2006 at 6:30 am

    Some reading you might be interested in:

    The Influence of Nietzsche
    http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/hum_303/nietzsche.html, as well as The perspectives of Nietzsche, http://www.pitt.edu/~wbcurry/nietzsche.html

    Sufi Poetry
    http://wahiduddin.net/sufi/sufi_poetry.htm

    Best,
    Laqueta

  2. homeyra said, on December 20, 2006 at 9:16 am

    Thank you Laqueta for those very interesting links. The first link seems removed, but I found this on WSU’s site.


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