How Nietzsche Predicted Everything We're Seeing Now
"To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering"
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."—Freidrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
In the 1800s, Friedrich Nietzsche, society’s first edgelord, began writing about things that we are only now beginning to understand. He talked about the idea of believing in an "absolute," and how people would become nostalgic for it in a world without Christianity or religion.
Nietzsche predicted that nothing would be able to fill the void left behind by religion, and instead of believing in a God, we'd turn toward believing in authoritative figures and politicians and that would lead to the rise of dictators.
Across 15 books he predicted:
The decline of Europe (The Antichrist)
The rise of communism (The Will to Power)
Predicted the decline of Christianity (and contributed to it)
Predicted the current period of hedonism and nihilism (Thus Spoke Zarathustra)
Nietzsche was one of the first people to truly understand modernity and the human condition; and while his predictions were pessimistic, they were also accurate.
Here's what he believed would happen to humanity.
"God is Dead"
"God is Dead" is only part of the quote, the full statement is "God is dead, and we have killed him." This is probably Nietzsche's most famous saying, but it's also one of the most misunderstood.
Nietzsche isn't saying that God doesn't exist, he's saying that humanity has killed the idea of God. We used to believe in something absolute, something that was unchanging and perfect. But now that science and technology have permeated every aspect of our lives, we no longer need to believe in God because we can explain everything without him.
Who the fuck needs God when we have flat-screen TVs, iPhones, and Tinder?
This is stupid for a number of reasons according to Nietzsche.
First, without God, we have no basis for morality. Morality itself was birthed out of philosophy and religion, and without it, we are nothing more than animals. A life without rules doesn't make you freer according to Nietzsche. It actually makes life more limiting because the sheer amount of possibilities is paralyzing. As it turns out discipline = freedom.
Second, the absence of God has led to a sense of nihilism, or the belief that nothing has meaning. One of the most staggering examples of this is the mainstream rise of Adult Swim’s "Rick and Morty.” This misanthropic, nihilistic comedy mocks the idea of progress and meaning, and has frequent fourth-wall breaks. In fact, some of America’s favorite shows now are dystopian and apocalyptic:
It’s not so troubling that these shows exist, but that they appeal to an increasing amount of people. They are no longer niche.
Genealogy of Morals
Slaves and masters. This is the basis of Nietzsche's morality, and it's something that he talks about in his book "Genealogy of Morals."
This is probably Nietzsche's most controversial work, and it's where he really starts to develop his ideas about the master-slave relationship.
Nietzsche argues that at a societal level conquers and winners are a pure manifestation of a "will to power". Conquered people, however, have a subverted will to power, otherwise known as slave ethics. They also outnumber the masters.
Throughout history, Nietzsche argues that slave morality has overtaken master morality because it's more palatable to the masses. In this sense, slaves invert the values of the master in order to make themselves feel good and to get revenge on the masters.
The most common way we see this today is through virtue-signaling.
The same people who virtue-signal are usually the ones who also lack any power or agency to make any real change. They think it’s their way to get back at the ones with real power, but really it’s just pissing in the ocean and feeling good about it.
This isn’t to say that slaves or masters are good or bad, just that slaves have no power and masters do. And, as indicative of the widening wealth inequality in America it seems it’s much easier to be a slave than a master in today’s society.
Your Humanity is Conditional
In "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" Nietzsche talks about how most atheists are full of shit. At least believers in God can tell you exactly why they follow strict guidelines: Why they don't have sex or why they don't live more adventurous lives.
Atheists on the other hand say they don't believe in God, but that doesn't affect their lives one bit. In fact, it makes it worse.
They replace their belief in God with politics, economics, hedonism, and other things that have nothing to do with their actual lives.
Modernity isn’t an end, it’s a fork in the road, and you have two options: “Slave” and “Superman”. For some reason, people keep going left, the easy way. Other people just stand there, staring at the signposts, and never get a clue. Dude, the sign says fucking “SUPERMAN”. They just don’t get it.
Nietzche believed that your humanity is conditional. Many of us will never put two and two together and adventure, critical think, and build on top of the morals of religion. Many of us could become “superman” but we deny it, passively. Until we’re dead.
But as he once famously said: “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.” So go and live, now and forever!