It’s ultimately about who we are.


DKK: I’m fascinated by your attraction to Nietzsche as a student. You wrote your dissertation on him, and I can certainly understand the appeal of his engagement with suffering, as well as the eventual affirmation that you find in his work. But what attraction was there for you in Nietzsche’s wrestling with nihilism and his characterization of the implosion of Christianity?

TR: You know, many people misunderstand this, because they think that I was coming to Nietzsche because he was very critical towards Christianity, and that, as a Muslim, I was very happy when he said, “God is dead.” It’s exactly the opposite, in fact. I read Nietzsche for other reasons. I read everything that was published. I had to do this. I wanted to add to the concept of suffering in Nietzsche’s philosophy, which was Nietzsche as a historian of philosophy. Because he was, as Heidegger said, the last metaphysician. And he took a very strong and critical look at everything which was coming out of the Western tradition. But he was distorting Socrates, Hegel, and even Schopenhauer and other scholars.

more from Tariq Ramadan at The Immanent Frame here.