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Nietzsche’s Descent

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Friedrich Nietzsche’s Death

The story often told is this:  Nietzsche was causing a ruckus in the streets of Turin as he made his way to the Piazza Carlo Alberto.  Upon arriving, he found a man whipping a horse.  Nietzsche ran to the horse and threw his arms around it, to protect the animal.  At that moment, he apparently collapsed under the weight of his own philosophical beliefs.

It’s a great story about a man that was so distraught by his own philosophical beliefs that it eventually crushed him.  The only problem is this:  it’s most likely not true.  There is no doubt that Nietzsche collapsed on January 3rd, 1889.  Overbeck, who was immediately notified of what what happened to Nietzsche, logged the incident.  He makes no mention of the horse, only that Nietzsche was in the throes of some kind of madness.


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