The Idol and Modernity in Nietzsche and Marion

Mat Messerschmidt
Ph.D. Candidate, The Committee on Social Thought
The Idol and Modernity in Nietzsche and Marion
Respondent: Xinyue Zhang
Ph.D. Student, Committee on Social Thought
This paper (this chapter) explores the meaning of modernity for Nietzsche, arguing that modernity is, for him, a crisis that involves a kind of physiological overload or overstimulation. The real catastrophe of modernity, however, lies not in this overload itself, but in the modern idols that serve to protect us against utter overwhelming. Referring to Jean-Luc Marion’s phenomenological treatment of idolatry, I investigate the meaning of the word “idols” in the phrase “Twilight of the Idols,” arguing that the idol serves as a buffer against the event of Becoming, and that the last man is the individual who, through the idolatrous survival mechanisms of modernity, evades Becoming entirely, threatening to sever humanity from the source of its vitality permanently.
The paper may be accessed here.
Tuesday, February 8th, 12:30 PM, Swift 200
Hosted by the Philosophy of Religions Workshop at the University of Chicago.


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