However, if suffering includes unpleasantries such as the above, then Nietzsche is most likely correct, as most, if not all of man’s inventions have been created in order to abolish slight, or significant problems and discomforts. On the other hand, I think that Nietzsche generalizes, and uses the word ‘improvements’ far too freely. Humanity has not only ‘improved’ the world through inventions, but also through art, culture, knowledge, music, etc. Are we to say that these things are too caused by suffering? This is most certainly not true.
Art and music, for example, are an expression of the creative side of human nature, and I would go so far as to say that they are assisted and inspired by compassion, among various other human emotions that Nietzsche seems to think of as a ‘weakness’. Does he not contradict himself? How can an improvement be caused by a ‘weakness’? Compassion, is basically just like any other emotion, and does not deserve the harsh attack unleashed by Nietzsche. What I mean by this is, every human emotion, no matter how ‘good’ it is thought to be, has the capacity to be used for evil.Order now
For example there are many stories of a man or woman doing horrible things to their partner out of ‘love’, including stalking, or murder, so that they can be together forever. Love can be a great weakness, prone to be used as a tool of blackmail, and making people act without thinking, as if ‘blinded by love’. What then, is so awful about pity and compassion? Another major, reoccurring weakness that I have found in many of Nietzsche’s arguments is his tendency to generalize, assume, and not to make exceptions for his rules. For example, what does he mean by pity and compassion?
It seems to me like he uses it in the context of a person literally offering their assistance to anther. But assistance, too, can have many meanings. By that I mean that you can feel pity or compassion for another human, but helping them does not always have to be the physical assistance to their problem. You can help someone a great deal out of compassion or pity by realizing that helping them would not be beneficial for them in the long run, and keeping out of the problem, ie, assisting them through not helping so that they may learn the error of their ways. Nietzsche incorrectly seems to think that this is always the case.
“Nietzsche, who glories in the triumph of the strong over the weak in the struggle for life,” (Carus, P. pg. 32) puts forward the absurd idea that one will always grow stronger if not assisted by others. I call this idea absurd because this is clearly not true. In actual fact on many occasions this is completely the opposite, a person will grow stronger through the assistance of others. Is a dying man, lying bleeding in the street to benefit from others simply walking past him? Will the assistance of a friend in ‘hooking’ you up for a job consequently make you weaker?
In both cases it can be seen that the life of the assisted will be improved, not hindered. This is my greatest criticism of Nietzsche. The fact that he seems to make all these wild accusations and rules, without really researching all the other possibilities. Although I agree with Nietzsche that compassion, just like any other human emotion should be controlled to an extent, (Depending on the situation) so that it may be used to do good, not evil, I know that if I had to choose somebody to teach me about the values of compassion, I would certainly pick Jesus over Friedrich Nietzsche.