History refers to a series of past events mostly in human affairs, or events connected to a particular person or institution. History acts as a significant source of knowledge to the present generations. However, the knowledge provided by the historical event s should not prevent the current generation from being creative to come up with new experiences (Nietzsche, 1874). History is essential, but we need it differently from the way lazy people take it because they cannot come up with new ideas in life. On the Use and Abuse of History for Life by Friedrich Nietzsche, there are different methods through which history makes life meaningful to human beings, that is, the monumental, antiquarianism, and criticism methods (Nietzsche, 1874). On the other hand, Karl Max gives a different perspective through which history presents the true meaning of a meaningful life to human beings.
Types of historical methods as explained by Frydrych Nietzsche on the Use and Abuse of History for Life
The monumental method explains that those who do not have inspiration and motivation in the present often look back at their life history to use it as a driving force, which encourage them to do great things and have aspirations. For example, the method mostly applies to the politicians who aim at reviving greatness for collective. The monumental method provides the true meaning of a meaningful life of a particular selected group in the society especially those who are not able to make new decisions and be creative when developing new ways of solving daily life problems (Nietzsche, 1874). However, the monumental method has drawbacks. The past cannot be replicated in to bring the same effect in the present. What we do when we try to bring the same effect as in historical events is just doing damages to history through distortion. Therefore, was done in history cannot be undone unless people try to focus on their future and make corrections to the bad things they did in the past.
The antiquarian method explains about those people who find the true meaning of the meaning of a meaningful life by looking back into historical events and experience and try to become part of that life. Such people are referred to as conservatives because they look to maintain their beliefs and thoughts about certain experiences in life. They conserve history, that is, the virtues and the values that people in the past used to apply in their lives (Nietzsche, 1874). However, this method is also problematic since people who utilize it are only able to conserve history but not able to embrace the changes in the present life (Nietzsche, 1874). Embracing the changes may be challenging or not preferred in the present life. Therefore, Friedrich explains it through a tree where he says that the generational tree dies from upwards heading back to the roots because conservatives do not know how to generate life. They kill the present by failing to replace the old life with the new life. Such an instance makes it difficult for life to continue normally in our today's society.
For a human being to live a meaningful life, the three Friedrich methods must be applied. Thus, monumentalism and antiquarianism methods cannot bring the whole meaning of a good life without the application of criticism method. Criticism method tries to condemn the past to give significance to the present life (Nietzsche, 1874). However, even if we try to destroy the past, we cannot escape away from it as it is where we are derived from. Friedrich consider that that the past always affect the future unless we come in good terms with it and accept its implications in our current life. Therefore, the criticism method allows us to differentiate between what is right and wrong in history. By being critical, we can generate life rather than just conserving it (Nietzsche, 1874). We are also able to come up with another nature of ourselves, which will be used as the first nature by the next generation. Therefore, according to Frydrych, the true meaning of a meaningful life can only be attained by applying all three types of history.
What it Means to Live a Meaningful Life according to Karl Marx
Karl Marx has a different way of defining the true meaning of a meaningful life where he explains it through materialistic terms. He explains that the meaning of life can only be attained by being able to survive physically. It is essential to think about the meaning of life through economic terms because they give the full structure of human existence through jobs, laws, personal relations, religion, art, and philosophy, among others (Tucker, 2017). Also, Marx explains that history needs us to think about economic rattles with one another. He uses Hegel's model known as the historical materialism theory, to demonstrate how history brings conflict economic conditions of existence. He believes that conflicts result from experiences of the most vulnerable classes in society (Tucker, 2017). Hegel theory is based on the notion of the dialectic with four different meanings: arriving at the truth, debate or dialogue, processing and ascertaining the truth, and proposing change based on the conflict of the forces opposing each other. He saw that every finite concept has its own opposite. To overcome the opposition, the two opposing concepts must be reconciled through a third position. Therefore, the economic condition in which a person lives determines the meaning of their life by defining their financial status, how they think, and the political and social values. He also believes that people in the modern world are defined in terms of what they make and do. Besides, for the society to be free from conflict, it should devoid of repression where everyone is free.
The true meaning of life can be attained by applying Friedrich's three historical methods in "On the Use and Abuse of History for Life". It is correct to look for inspiration from the past evens as well as preserve history. However, when we apply the monumentalism and antiquarianism methods, it is crucial to use critical method too. As a result, we will be in a position to differentiate between good and bad and come up with a second nature of ourselves that will help us generate life instead of just conserving history. Also, it is through the application of the three methods that we can come up with ways to develop and improve economically to have a high standard of living. Therefore, I propose that the true meaning of life, according to Karl Marx, can only be attained by first adopting the three historical methods explained by Friedrich Nietzsche.
Nietzsche, F. (1874). On the use and abuse of history for life.
Tucker, R. C. (2017). Philosophy and myth in Karl Marx. Routledge.
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