Friedrich Nietzsche

Lawrence and Friedrich Nietzsche :

In this paper, I won't stick to only one topic. I will compare different topics, such as happiness and life between two romantic writers, D. H. Lawrence and Friedrich Nietzsche from D. H. Lawrence's You touched me and Friedrich Nietzsche’s The use and abuse of history taken from The twilight of the Idols. I will start talking about life and happiness by giving my own little definition of each of these two terms.


Life : one word, many meanings. Life: one word, one precious thing. We see life in a total different way by the two writers. Life, in D. H. Lawrence's You touched me, is one, short and precious thing. We see life through the eyes of a dying father and his two daughters, who loves their father a lot and an adopted son enrolled in the army. The father continuously fights his disease, battling to stay alive. We see life as a fragile, vulnerable thing. It can also vanish unexpectedly. What I mean by "life can also vanish unexpectedly" is that you never know when something terrible could happen to you and see it taken away.

Friedrich Nietzsche explains us a lot more his perception of life. Unfortunately, I didn't understand most of the things he meant, but I will explain what I think I understood. Nietzshe describes life with the help of a man and a beast. The beast always forgets what he wants to say and what he said. This behaviour is also called forgetfulness. He (Nietzshe) claims that [life in any true sense is absolutely impossible without forgetfulness]. He also says something about death. [And when death brings at last the desired forgetfulness, it abolishes life and being together, and sets the seal on the knowledge that "being" is merely a continual "has been", a thing that lives by denying and destroying and contradicting itself]. He also mentions a universal law about living things. [A living thing can only be healthy, strong and productive within a certain horizon: if it be incapable of drawing one round itself, or too selfish to lose its own view in another's, it will come to an untimely end.]


Happiness: everybody's ultimate goal. Unfortunately, happiness is very hard goal to reach.

D. H. Lawrence demonstrate the failure of reaching happiness through money and other goods. Emmie and Matilda were two girls of a rich man. But these two girls were not quite happy. They couldn't get married because they were expecting too much of men. Their (Matilda and Emmie) minds were based on money or valuable goods, restricting them from a lot of things. Hadrian was not a rich kid but he seemed to be happy the way he was. He wanted freedom and that's how he was happy. The two girls were captives of their rich lives. Hadrian understood that happiness wasn't about money, but about other superficial things, such as freedom and love. When Matilda touched Hadrian, Hadrian suddenly fell in love with her. He wanted to marry her now to be happy, not for her money, even though he didn't dislike the idea of the father that if Matilda wouldn't marry Hadrian, everything that the father had would go to Hadrian when he (the father) dies. The father also understood that happiness wasn't in the money. So, as we can see, what D. H. Lawrence is trying to tell us is that happiness is not about being rich, but more about freedom.

Friedrich Nietzshe got a more complex view of happiness. Actually, since it's pretty complex and I can't explain it well, I will site an extract from The use and abuse of history.

[If happiness and the chase for new happiness keep alive in any sense the will to live, no philosophy has perhaps more truth than the cynic's: for beast's happiness, like that of the perfect cynic, is the visible proof of the truth of cynicism. The smallest pleasure, if it be only continuous and make one happy, is incomparably a greater happiness than the more intensive pleasure that comes as an episode, a wild freak, a mad interval between ennui, desire, and privation. But in the smallest and greatest happiness there is always one thing that makes it happiness: the power of forgetting, or, in more learned phrase, the capacity of feeling "unhistorically" throughout its duration. One who cannot leave himself behind on the threshold of the moment and forget the past, who cannot stand on a single point, like a goddess of victory, without fear or giddiness, will never know what happiness is; and, worse still, will never do anything to make others happy. The extreme case would be the man without any power to forget, who is condemned to see "becoming" everywhere. Such a man believes no more in himself or his own existence, he sees everything fly past in an eternal succession, and loses himself in the stream of becoming. At last, like the logical disciple of Heraclitus, he will hardly dare to raise his finger.]


In conclusion, D. H. Lawrence's point of view about life and happiness seems to be quite different of Friedrich Nietzshe's perception. Although Nietsche's perception was more complex to understand, it seems that Nietzsche has a more correct view of life and happiness.

BIBLIOGRAPHY : Lawrence and Friedrich Nietzsche : Lawrence and Friedrich Nietzsche

D.H Lawrence, You touched me, from The complete stories volume two, 1920

Friedrich Nietzsche The use and abuse of history from The twilight of the Idols.

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