Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness (Part 6) – Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzcshe suggested for us to become like 'Supermen' by using hardship in life to strengthen our 'Will'

Watch the first video of a six part series: Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness (Part 1) – Socrates

This is the 6th and final post featuring a series of documentaries written and presented by popular British philosopher Alain de Botton.

This 6 part series is an entertaining, practical and psychobabble-free self-help course for the philosophically minded.

Here, de Botton, brings us six thinkers who have influenced history, and their ideas about the pursuit of the happy life. Here we have then:

  • Socrates
  • Epicurus
  • Seneca
  • Michel de Montaigne
  • Arthur Schopenhauer
  • Friedrich Nietzsche


Episode 6 of 6: Nietzsche on Hardship

British philosopher Alain De Botton explores Friedrich Nietzsche’s (1844-1900) dictum that any worthwhile achievements in life come from the experience of overcoming hardship. For him, any existence that is too comfortable is worthless, as are the twin refugees of drink or religion.

Click Link To Watch:

You may be also interested to know that this particular series was derived from the book The Consolations of Philosophy, which is a very good read, and was part responsible for encouraging me to pursue philosophy so that I could apply it to my life.


  1. Nietzsche represents to me everything that is wrong with Western philosophy. A world-view based on ideas, and not on actual experience. His concept of happiness seems absurd to me. Certainly, pain is a part of life, and it’s better to accept than deny it, better to bear it than break down under it. But to encourage it, to sanctify it as a means to achieve some grandiose state of greatness or genius seems like absolute madness to me. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with being comfortable or ordinary. It’s as legitimate a choice as being a famous philosopher or ballerina.

  2. Jason Cooper says:

    I don’t think Nietzsche was a bad chap and had, I feel, a good heart – I just think he was a rather lonely and unhappy man. Nietzsche was quite a happy lad before he realised that women can break a heart – he fell in love numerous times and proposed marriage to a couple of women, but could never quite find someone who could truly understand him enough for them to requite his love.

    Obviously, after the very painful experiences of failed relationships and difficulty in finding like-minded friends, his view of life took a turn for the worse. Because of Nietzsche’s failure to secure the happiness and love that he really wanted in life, he then wished nothing but pain for the rest of us who seemed to possess and take for granted all the things he wished to have.

    Although I don’t agree with all of Nietzsche’s philosophy, he did possess an iconoclastic wisdom and wit that teaches us to stare convention and the status quo in the face and laugh at it’s efforts to weaken our ‘Will’ and independence.

    When facing life what;s wrong with having this in mind: “I am a Superman who fears no difficulty nor pain, and instead I use the things than Man fears to strengthen my mind and my willpower”.

    I think that was really what Nietzsche meant in his heart of hearts – I don’t think he ever had any intention to harm or to dominate another who may be weak, because deep down he knew there was nobody else more vulnerable than himself – which proved to be the case with his initial breakdown and descent into insanity.

  3. Jason-of course I’m speaking of his ideas, not his character. In many ways, he was an exemplary individual-sensitive, courageous, independent. And, in addition, a wonderful writer. More than his general philosophy, I’ve always enjoyed his epigrammatic remarks. I wonder if you’ve read any Dostoyevsky. The two, I feel, have a lot in common.

  4. Jason Cooper says:

    I haven’t had the pleasure of reading Dostoyevsky – in fact, you have made me become aware of someone I didn’t know until now – shame on me.

    Can you recommend a book from Dostoyevsky of which I can learn something new from?

    Thanks again, my friend 🙂