Friedrich Nietzsche and John Stuart Mill were two ancient philosophers. Their theories led to two of the greatest philosophical views in society. Nietzsche’s theory focuses on human well-being and the good life. He believes that each individual should live their life by accepting the idea that we should not be afraid to live our lives. In his theory, he emphasizes that humans do what they do because they seek survival, power, and meaning. Nietzsche believed the morality of an action should not be determined by its intentions; instead, he believed the unintended actions were a better measure. He is also convinced that human beings should find the meaning of life through a ‘will to power.” The beneficial way to be happy is through self-interest in which every individual is responsible to think for themselves and achieve their individual happiness. Nietzsche’s ideal theory leads to his visionary view that humans should create their own values and not survive on religious values. However, John Stuart Mill’s philosophical belief was on Utilitarianism. His theory was based on the principle that individuals who performed actions that make other people happy are the right thing to do. John Stuart Mill natural philosophy leads him to believe that happiness is pleasurable and void of pain. He argues that happiness can be measured in quality and quantity and that the happiness that has more capability should be weighted more heavily than lesser pleasures. Nietzsche provides a stronger argument on ethics than John Stuart Mill because his theory provides a more efficient way to encourage individuals to think for themselves about what matters in their lives while John Stuart Mill focuses more on society’s happiness.
Nietzsche’s theory of the good life derives from the sense that you are succeeding at whatever you think is important. He believes that we should not focus on Christian rules because he believed they hold people back from being who they are. He also came up with the quote “God is dead”. With god being dead, according to the book, he believes that the Enlightenment had removed the existence of god and that we should be able to live freely and not focus on religion. Religion will make people feel guilty about their incorrect/wrong actions even if they have good intentions. Since Nietzsche focuses more on individual happiness, he believes that we need to accept what happens to us instead of regretting it. He believes that values are human creations that are meant to serve us. Because of everyone’s different moral values, they should create a method to find self-happiness.
Individuals should be able to think for themselves and find ways to be happy. For example, let’s say Jessica is a 13-year-old girl that attends middle school. She is considered different in everyone’s eyes because of her weight, her hair and the way she looks. Every day that she attends school, kids are making fun of her, calling her bad names, making fun of her weight, and also physically and emotionally threatening her. She eventually developed PTSD. With this illness, she often lives in a state of intense and sometimes debilitating anxiety and fear that can interfere with living a normal life. She ends up feeling helpless about the situation and turns to suicide. By killing herself, she will feel relieved and happy. She believed if she committed suicide she would be happy, but that is not the case for the people that care about her. If she continued to live on, she would have stayed miserable and unhappy. The action you take to obtain happiness should affect yourself not the people around you.
John Stewart Mill focused more on how happiness should be measured. He believes that happiness is the sole basis of morality and that people never desire anything but happiness. He believes people that sacrificed their own happiness to make others happy are considered the most noble. Our actions affect the people around us, and we should measure happiness on whether our actions achieve the greatest possible good for the most people. He supports this claim by showing that all the other objects of people’s desire are either means to happiness or included in the definition of happiness. Mill explains at length that the sentiment of justice is actually based on utility and that rights exist only because they are necessary for human happiness. However, I would challenge his theory because happiness should depend on yourself, not anyone else–not everyone has the same way to pursue happiness.
For example, Yan always had a dream to become famous. He believes that going to school will slow him down in achieving his dreams. However, his relatives always pressure him to go to school because they believed that in order to make it and be financially secure he should attend school. Every day that Yan goes to school, he’s not really happy there. His grades dropped and he can’t really focus in school because all he thinks about is becoming a rock star. Yan dropping out of school will make all his family members unhappy, but if Yan stays in school, it will make him miserable. So, what should Yan do? Should he sacrifice his happiness to make everyone else happy? However, Yan’s happiness is not the same happiness as his relatives; this why I would challenge his theory.
If humans have different things that make them happy then I believe you will need to develop what makes you happy and go on from that. Both philosophers Nietzsche and Mill believed that humans need to find happiness; however, their methods were different. Nietzsche emphasized that individuals should think for themselves and also do whatever makes them happy. Mill would criticize Nietzsche on his theory on how an individual should do whatever makes them happy because he believes that happiness should be measured and individuals should act or do what makes other people happy. A question he would have for Nietzsche is what if someone finds joy by doing evil actions. For example kleptomania.
“According to DSM-5, kleptomania is characterized by a repeated inability to resist the urge to steal. People with this condition experience a buildup of tension before the theft and a consequent release of anxiety and tension when committing a theft. Stealing results in feelings of gratification, relief, and even pleasure”. So what if what a person stole something that affected the majority of people’s happiness? For example, One day John went to the park, and he encountered a family celebrating their wedding anniversary. The wife placed her wedding ring on the table. The ring was passed down from generations and was really important to that family. When John had an opportunity he decided to steal the ring. He doesn’t really need it but, by him stealing it will relieve pressure and also grant him pleasure. The ring he stole affected the whole family. A question Mill would suggest to Nietzsche’s is what would one do about this situation? Is better to find your happiness by doing things that make you happy or is it best to preserve your happiness by keeping the majority of people happy?
Fredrich Nietzsche and John Stuart Mill theory’s both have a valid point. They both believe that an individuals need to be happy however, their methods were different. Fredrich Nietzsche theory provided a more concrete way for an individual to be happy. He believes that individuals should do whatever makes them happy they should be responsible to think for themselves and find ways they can be happy. While Mill believes that happiness should be measured. He believes that making majority people happy is the right thing to do. Your Pleasure is not more valuable than anyone else and through utilitarianism they would be a balanced. However, to pursue happiness it should come from what you want to do, not by making others feel better.