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9: The Wisdom of the Body

This week we’re going heavy on the source material, because this particular set of ideas was fleshed out (no pun intended) in passages spanning multiple works, and for the most part in unpublished notes. As Nietzsche was fond of saying, however, all the main points of his philosophy are covered at one point or another in his Zarathustra — and so this week’s episode takes its name from a passage in Zarathustra, wherein the titular character says “there is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy”. The Nietzschean view of the self is that the body and its instincts are primary, in contrast to the Enlightenment view of the mind as primary. For Nietzsche, the rational consciousness is a narrator which merely gives an after-the-fact explanation. The true person is the body and its unconscious, irrational drives. This view of the self subverts many of our presuppositions about the power of reason, and about man’s free will. Episode art: Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, courtesy of Wikimedia commons.

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A podcast about Nietzsche's ideas, his influences, and those he influenced. Philosophy and cultural commentary through a Nietzschean lens.