Nietzsche I feel was often acting out the wisdom of Christ, facing the whole world angrily, as if he had found the moneychangers in the temple. Indeed he loved to hate all ‘counterfeiters’. He also hated intellectual corruption, manipulation and lies; he abhorred pettiness, meanness, envy and vengefulness; he loathed mediocrity. Though he could be defensive, blunt, obsessive, and quick to take offense, Nietzsche combined a high, austere intellect with a boundless religious need and a striking sweetness of heart. He was endlessly self-questioning and self-critical.
…The retreat into mind and solitude magnified every common perception Nietzsche had of the foolishness of life, the incongruous judgments, the misunderstandings, the sheer intellectual impurity of the whole martyrous thing, and what came out on the page was laughing contempt and chuckling malice. Wasn’t it clear the world was all dressed up with lies and tricks, nothing but tromperie, all its order fake and deceptive? It would take an idealist to fight it, and an ascetic to withdraw from it.
…Nietzsche turned to color and music because of the absence of a suitable response to the death of God. Color replaced sense and meaning. Color and music were what life had to offer. They were the original tragic vision. Life was a goat-dance performed to the accompaniment of pan-pipes. The actors wore masks and walked on stilts. All life was like that, a ‘serious joke’, or ought to be seen as such; yet most people took it with a seriousness Nietzsche could only laugh at; seriousness which was without foundation and sapped energy. That energy might be better directed into celebrating the rite of existence.
What Nietzsche feared was the growth of a civilization in which individuals lacked the strength to convert the fear and the threat of the irrational into a force for positive living. What he wanted to see was joyous human self-affirmation despite and in the face of an absence of absolute values and fixed answers.