Educating pain

Olivier A. (2002)


In times in which we ask ourselves how political cruelty and torments can be forgotten, Nietzsche's pleadoyer for pain to serve the purpose of education, surprises. What might sound like a mere provocation, rather lies at the heart of the Nietzschcan philosophy. As is pointed out, Nietzsche's contention that pain is the most powerful aid to mnemonics, originates from his philosophy of pain as the main condition of all forms of creation. The title "educating (bilden) pain" expresses Nietzsche's advocacy of an education towards pain as the dynamo of creation. In this paper I explore how Nietzsche's notion of pain is linked to two concepts of Bildung. In the first part I investigate the relation between pain and "Bildung" in the sense of "creation", and in the second part I link this to the relation between pain and "Bildung" in the sense of "education". By these means, I try to answer the question: how far can pain, which is seen as the condition of creation, be linked to conditions of education.

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