On the Genealogy of Morals - Essay III, What is the Meaning of Ascetic Ideals? Summary & Analysis

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Essay III, What is the Meaning of Ascetic Ideals? Summary and Analysis

Nietzsche investigates meaning of ascetic ideals. Ascetic means austere but ascetic ideals have different meanings. For example, they mean nothing to an artist but to a philosopher mean "flair" and to a woman mean seductive fascination. Nietzsche claims a man needs a goal even if he wills nothingness. For example the composer Richard Wagner in old age respects chastity in an ascetic sense. Wagner changes attitude by veering from praise of sensuality that he calls "evangelistic freedom" to its opposite, chastity. This change is normal with anyone who is balanced between animal and angel. Conflict is evident when ruined swine, i.e., animal nature, worships chastity. Wagner sets it to music in "Parsifal" as flippant parody of overcoming unnatural ascetic ideals. Wagner uses Parsifal's humor...

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