Born in on this day in in the Prussian province of Röcken, now Germany, philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) was a prolific writer whose works were unread in his time. Brilliant and driven, he slipped into madness eleven years before an early death at 56.
"I am no man. I am dynamite," said Nietzsche, the son of Lutheran minister who studied theology and piano before turning to philosophy.
The enigmatic writer observed: "Faith is not wanting to know what is true."
Nietzsche believed life was "a testing ground for thought" and saw suffering as "the ultimate emancipator of spirit."
He celebrated the accomplishments of those leaders he called "secure, highly individualistic artists on earth... The ideal übermensch, overman-- Socrates, Jesus, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Goethe, Julius Caesar, and Napoleon."
"There are no facts," Nietzsche wrote, "only interpretations."
To him, tragedy gave man nobility, power, and heroism. His theories, born from chaos and spirit, were twisted and misinterpreted by Adolph Hitler who manipulated the philosophy of the ideal overman to create the "superman" elite who would rule the world.
Nietzsche's words inspired Existentialism, Freud, Jung, theologians, and literature. After his death, his philosophy took on a life that shook the world. Provocatively proclaiming "God is dead," Nietzsche believed the highest virtue was man's positive self-creation.
"Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves," he wrote, "The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude."
More Friedrich NIETZSCHE Quotations
God vibrates in every dancing star!