Dear readers, tonight with us is one of history’s most famous philosophers – if the not the most famous of them all. He was a philosopher, cultural critic, poet, philologist, Latin, and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on Western philosophy and modern intellectual history.
He’s here to tell us about his seminal work about religion and god – and what happened to him after death.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I grew up in a small German Village named Rocken with my family. It was pleasant. My Dad was kind of a hero in the village, being the pastor. Then he suddenly died when I was six. Six months after that, my little brother died. I couldn’t understand what was happening to my family at the time, but it did seem to be a glimpse into the chaos that was life.
After that, we had to leave Rocken because the house was paid for by the church. So, my mom took my sister and I to Naumberg. We lived with two of my aunts and Grandma. That is, until I was sent to boarding school.
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
Toys? Hahaha, who has time for toys? My favorite items as a child were pens and paper. I always knew that I would be an intellectual of some kind.
As for cherished memories, I suppose there is one that I would call ironic and amusing. My baptismal prayer included a line from Luke 1 and asked the question, “What child is this?” Of course, the answer that many people now know, is that I am the one who will question the validity of religion. Later in my own writing you will see that I called myself the Antichrist. But probably not in the way that you would normally think of antichrists.
What do you do now?
Currently I am the CEO for Heaven Inc. I know, it’s an ironic job to hold, given my feelings on religion. But my life really is filled with irony. My job is to make sure that Heaven’s call center runs smoothly. It hasn’t, though.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
Oh my, it wasn’t good. We were losing money at the corporation, so I had to fire someone. I chose God. He’s not a very good rep. But then the Norse Gods left, who were the security team at Heaven Inc. Then, for some reason, Jean Paul Sartre left the board of directors. I needed the Norsemen and Sartre back, so I made a deal with an ancient God to retrieve them. His name was Mazda. Let me tell you something, never make a deal with a god that you know nothing about. It’s bound to end poorly.
What did you first think when you first met Mazda?
What did I think? I thought that he was going to kill me. We were in a supply room when we met and he towered a full two feet over me. His breath nearly killed me. His voice rattled my insides. And then he kept muttering on about brining balance to the world and killing the Norsemen – about how they smelled like hillbillies. I thought he was insane.
What is the worst thing about working at Heaven Inc.?
The worst thing is working with a group of philosophers and thinkers. They bicker at each other non-stop. Then you bring a guy like Descartes to the table and he keeps saying things like, “How do I know that you even exist? You could just be figments of my imagination.” That’s not useful, you know. It’s hard to run a business when you have to convince your board members that what they see is reality.
What is the best thing about it?
Having some control over the world’s religion. While there is a mess to clean up after firing God, it’s nice that I now have a chance to set it right. I haven’t yet. But I will.
Any romantic involvement?
You should know better than to ask me this question! But for the sake of your readers I will.
My only love, an intellectual woman named Lou Salome, ran off with my only friend, Paul Ree. The three of us spent a lot of time together. I asked Lou to marry me on more than one occasion but she refused, saying she never wanted to be with just one man. Then she turned around and ran off with him.
I was so distraught that I allowed myself one night of fun. Just one. I went to a brothel. That’s how I ended up with syphilis. Did you know that? One night. Screw romantic involvements.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
My favorite drink is water. End of story. My favorite color is grey. It’s the color that is the abyss of life. And who needs a pastime? I am Friedrich Nietzsche and don’t have time for such childish things.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
People think that I collapsed because I saw a man whipping a horse in Italy. This is utter crap. Don’t believe a word of it. I really collapsed because of the weight of my own philosophy. My work was so important and meaningful to me that I couldn’t handle it any more. Well, that and my health was incredibly poor and I was insane. But I’m pretty sure that it was because of the philosophy thing.
Now, I’d like to thank you for this interview. It has been a thorough interruption to my day. If you don’t mind, I have more important things to do.
Dylan Callens grew up in Delhi, Ontario. From a young age, he was always interested in writing; however, in high school, his interests were focused more towards music. He dreamed of being famous in a heavy metal band named Nothing Sacred. Unfortunately, the band wasn’t all that good, so fame and fortune never transpired. With such a heavy demand for philosophers in the workplace, Dylan decided to attend teacher’s college. He continues to live and teach in Sudbury, Ontario.
You can find Nietzsche on the pages of Operation Cosmic Teapot.
We will be taking a short break from interviews over the next two weeks (though other fun posts are still planned!). Join us next year when we will be hosting a woman whose music moved heaven and earth. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right), via Twitter, or like our Facebook page to be notified when the next interview is posted.