John Gray:

The adolescent quality of BAP’s ideal is a point of contrast with his intellectual mentor Nietzsche. Whatever his other personal limitations – aside from the commercial sex from which he contracted syphilis as a student, Nietzsche was practically an incel – the philosopher did have a direct acquaintance with war. A medical orderly in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), he contracted diphtheria and dysentery on the battlefield, permanently weakening his already uncertain health. The experience confirmed his lifelong hostility to militarism, and when he glorifies war it is most often a mental conflict to which he is referring.

Nietzsche regarded the civilisation around him as thoroughly decadent, but he was well aware that he was a living example of that condition. When he wrote of superhuman inner strength, it was as someone who suspected he was incurably spiritually diseased. Here the contrast with BAP is particularly instructive.

As I said to Douglas some time ago, regarding Emil Cioran’s aphorisms, I’ve never been impressed with any of Nietzsche’s epigones. From Foucault to Bronze Age Pervert, they all seem to have taken away all the wrong lessons and inspirations. I don’t mean it arrogantly, as if I’m the only reader who truly understood the man. I just mean, I look at Nietzsche’s writings, which I feel reasonably familiar with, and I look at what his most celebrated followers have made of them, and I’m puzzled by the apparent disconnect I see there.