By Richard Schmitt
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Additional info for Alienation And Freedom
But there is no hope of that. . And yet—I am sick of myself! . [H]ere the worms of vengefulness and rancor swarm . . ” (Nietzsche 1969:122). Resentment against others conceals self-hatred. So far, too, Nietzsche deepens familiar views of alienation. With his doctrine of the “will to power,” he takes a passing observation of Rousseau’s— namely, that those who manage to resist alienation have a “keen sense of living”—and gives it new depth. Nietzsche shows that those who manage to take a stand against alienation live to make their life and their persons their own.
We have invented happiness” say the last men and they blink. (Nietzsche 1954:129–130) All of this is familiar. The alienated seek pleasure above all, and pleasure for them means living in a crowd, getting along, avoiding stress, effort, conﬂict. A caricature, to be sure, but one that captures familiar traits of everyday life in our world. Here there are no life projects; there is little in life that is terribly important beyond being comfortable. Everyone is the same; there is no individuality, no self.
The hedonist is incapable of doing that if he is consistent; hence hedonism is immoral. Kierkegaard, by contrast, believed that the single-minded pursuit of pleasure alienates. The trouble with a life devoted to the pursuit of pleasure is not primarily that it is immoral—although Kierkegaard believed that, too—but that it leaves one without a clear self-identity. Like Tolstoy, Kierkegaard thought that the pleasure-seeking life is motivated by avoidance of the more serious task of giving meaning to one’s life, having an identity of one’s own, and shaping one’s life to one’s own purposes.
Alienation And Freedom by Richard Schmitt