Out of Time: Nietzsche on History

Episode 49 · June 19th, 2019 · 1 hr 22 mins

About this Episode

In his essay "On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life," Nietzsche attacks the notion that humans are totally determined by the historical forces that shape their physical and mental environment. Where other philosophers like Plato saw virtue in remembering eternal truths that earthly existence had wiped from our memories, Nietzsche extolled the virtues of forgetting, of becoming "untimely" and creating a zone where something new could arise. For Nietzsche, history was useful only if it served Life. Because we live in an age which constantly reifies history (through movies, news, social media, etc.) while also tricking us into thinking we somehow exist outside of history, the essay remains as relevant today as it was when Nietzsche wrote it a century and a half ago.


Nietzsche, "On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life" in Untimely Meditations
Epic Rap Battles of History: Eastern Philosophers vs Western Philosophers
Ernest Newman, Life of Wagner
Alexander Nehamas, Nietzsche: Life as Literature
Alfred Korzybski, Manhood of Humanity
Michael Foucault, "What is Englightenment?"
Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
James Carse, Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility
P. J. O’Rourke, American writer
Richard Pryor, American comedian