Date of Submission

Fall 2023

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Ruth Zisman

Abstract/Artist's Statement

I argue that metaphors of water and fluidity are essential to both the content and form of Nietzsche’s work. In regards to the content, many important ideas such as a healthy response to the death of God and a philosophy of the future are, at their core, characterized by embracing fluidity. As for the form, just as Zarathustra tells us his teachings have become a river, Nietzsche’s work uses metaphor, aphorism, and poetic language to embody the qualities of dancing water. Consequently, it defies rigid interpretations that would turn it into a system and avoids falling prey to its own critique of calcification and ideology. As for questions of interpretation, the integrity of Nietzsche’s work is best preserved by affirming its fluid nature. Reading him is most authentically and best approached as one would engage with any other river, by swimming or navigating a craft down it and being carried towards the sea; a method carried out by engaging poetically with the metaphors that abound in the texts. In contrast, a flawed approach is to corral the river such that the water becomes still, or to freeze it into ice. These methods (which seek to arrive at a stable, permanent understanding) render analysis possible via the rational mind but turn the work into a pale simulacrum of itself.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

This work is protected by a Creative Commons license. Any use not permitted under that license is prohibited.