Tag Archives: nothingness

Münchhausen, Nietzsche and the swamp of nothingness

Gustave Doré‘s caricature of Münchhausen [1] is one of the illustrations from  Les Aventures du Baron de Münchausen (1862), translated by  Théophile Gautier, fils.

It depicts the baron with a periwig, the socle of the bust bears the words “Mendace veritas,” Latin for “in falsehood, truth.”

It served as an inspiration to Terry Gilliam‘s film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen to style John Neville as the baron [2].

To my surprise, the heroic feat in yesterday’s Tumblr post[3]Baron Münchhausen pulls himself out of a mire by his own hair, is mentioned in Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil:

“The desire for “freedom of will,” […] the desire to bear the entire and ultimate responsibility for one’s actions oneself, […] involves nothing less than […] to pull oneself up into existence by the hair, out of the slough of nothingness. (sich selbst aus dem Sumpf des Nichts an den Haaren ins Dasein zu ziehn).”

See also Bust (sculpture)PeriwigFriedrich Nietzsche and free will.