Ascetic Priest Essay

561 Words3 Pages
“You will see my point; the ascetic priest, the apparent enemy of life, this denier – precisely he is among the greatest conserving and yes- creating forces of life.” (Third Essay, § 13) At this point in the text, Nietzsche conveys to us the image of the ascetic priest as being a “denier” of life. An ascetic employs a strict measure of personal and spiritual discipline in appearance, attitude, and manner (Webster-Merriam Online Dictionary). “The ascetic ideal springs from the protective instinct of a degenerating life” (Third Essay § 13) Nietzsche says this because even though denying life in order to live the ascetic priest is essentially protecting the most important part, the mind. The ascetic priests reject life, not because what they’re denying is bad, but because in order to achieve this extreme discipline, they need to be in the most moral and favorable condition possible. Not that life is bad, but that the physical pleasures and physical reality are less than divine. The best conditions include those that are free from distraction. While the ascetic priest is essentially denying life, he is actually preserving the life that he cherishes so much. The ascetic priest desires power and believes that “this life is an illusion”. Nietzsche says, in his second essay, the primary objection to ascetic ideals is that ascetic priests must deny the value of this life; he portrays it as a link to the next life, rather than appreciating life as an end in itself. An objection to this claim, being unselfish, caring for the weak, loving one’s neighbor, submitting to “god,” might be better for the health of the community and may even have evolutionary benefits, even though in nature it does seem like the weak get “chosen”. As far as a moral life, they are at the same time a weak people because they have denied life for so long. In the long run the ascetic
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