Friedrich Nietzsche Google Doodle
On October 15th 2013 the Google homepage was taken over by a Friedrich Nietzsche Google Doodle celebrating what would have been the 169th birthday of the philosopher. The Friedrich Nietzsche Google Doodle features half of the Google logo in white lettering and the other half in black lettering. The split between the two lettering colours in the Friedrich Nietzsche Google Doodle is formed by a depiction of Nietzsche who represented the second “O” of the Google logo.
The Friedrich Nietzsche Google Doodle depiction of Nietzsche includes his trademark moustache and a geometrically patterned silver brain which moved around inside his head. The Friedrich Nietzsche Google Doodle appeared in most European countries. The animated Friedrich Nietzsche Google Doodle can still be viewed by clicking here.
Nietzsche was born on October 15th 1844 in the village of Röcken, near Leipzig, in the Prussian Province of Saxony, modern day Germany. His father, Carl Ludwig Nietzsche, was a Lutheran pastor who married his wife, Franziska Oehler, the year before Nietzsche’s birth. Nietzsche was born on the same day as the then Prussian King, Friedrich Wilhelm IV’s 49th birthday and was named after him. In later life Nietzsche disowned his middle name Wilhelm. Nietzsche was the oldest of three siblings, his sister, Elizabeth, was born in 1846 and his brother, Ludwig Joseph, was born two years later in 1848.
Following Nietzsche’s father’s death in 1849, which was caused by a brain ailment, the family moved to Naumberg in order to live with Nietzsche’s maternal grandmother. In 1854 Nietzsche began to attend Naumberg’s Domgymnasium, where his talents in language and music were quickly recognised. This recognition resulted in admission to the internationally esteemed boarding school Schulpforta. He studied at Schulpforta between the years 1858 and 1864, whilst here the young Nietzsche began experimenting with composition and poetry.
In 1864 Nietzsche graduated from Schulpforta and gained a place at the University of Bonn, studying theology and classical philology. Much to the distaste of his mother, Nietzsche promptly dropped theology and abandoned his faith after his first semester at the university. Nietzsche’s interest in philosophy began a year later when he discovered the writings of Albert Schopenhauer, who famously wrote “intellect is invisible to the man who has none.” The young scholar was particularly interested in Schopenhauer’s “The World as Will and Representation”. The influence of Schopenhauer on Nietzsche was such that Nietzsche wrote the dedicated essay “Schopenhauer as Educator” which featured in the “Untimely Meditations”.
1867 saw Nietzsche join the Prussian army for military service, where he served for a year of voluntary service with Naumberg’s artillery division. Due to his exceptional horse riding ability, Nietzsche soon gained a reputation as one of the regiment’s best riders. His abilities were also noticed by his commanding officer who predicted that the young Nietzsche would quickly gain the rank of captain. However, Nietzsche’s military career was not to be. During the March of 1868, Nietzsche tore two muscles in the left hand side of his chest whilst attempting to jump onto his horse. The injury left him unable to walk for a number of months.
Following the injury, Nietzsche returned to academia and became professor of classical philology at the University of Basel in Switzerland at the age of 24. The achievement was all the more impressive due to the fact that Nietzsche hadn’t received a teaching certificate nor had he completed a doctorate. To this day, Nietzsche still remains one of the youngest tenured professors of classics. Despite his professorship, Nietzsche served in the Franco-Prussian War which lasted from 1870-1871. He served with the forces of his native Prussia as a medical orderly.
Nietzsche’s written work took on a new direction with the publication of “Human, All Too Human” in 1878. The following year, due to continued illnesses and a notable decline in his health, he resigned from the position at Basel. From an early age Nietzsche suffered from intense migraines, indigestion and bouts of short-sightedness which left him nearly blind.
Following his resignation, Nietzsche lived as a travelling writer in a number of locations. This lifestyle was partly financed by the pension he received from Basil and partly from donations from his friends. During the next ten years he spent many of his summers in the alpine municipality of Sils Maria in Switzerland, whilst he spent the winter months in a number of French and Italian cities, including, Nice, Turin, Rapallo and Genoa.
The publication of Human, All Too Human, in 1878 marked the beginning of Nietzsche’s golden years of productivity. During this period the philosopher published a book, or a significant part of a book, each year.
The first part of “The Gay Science” was published in 1882, in the same year Nietzsche was suffering from intense sleeping problems and took large amounts of opium in an attempt to alleviate the problem. The following year, whilst living in the southern French city of Nice, he began writing his own prescriptions for the sedative chloral hydrate. He signed these prescriptions “Dr. Nietzsche”.
During the years between 1888 and 1900, Nietzsche’s physical and mental health deteriorated drastically. On January 3rd 1889, Nietzsche suffered from a complete mental collapse in Turin. The collapse was followed by Nietzsche sending a number of letters, which have later become known as “The Madness Letters”, or “Wahnbriefe” in German, to his remaining friends. Following the letters, one of Nietzsche’s friends set out to Turin in order to rescue the deranged philosopher and take him to a psychiatric clinic in Basel. Initially his mental illness was diagnosed as tertiary syphilis, however this has been disputed by a number of later commentators.
Between the years 1898 and 1899 he suffered from at least two strokes, which left him partly paralyzed and he was unable to walk or speak. Nietzsche contracted pneumonia during the August of 1900 and as a result suffered another stroke during the night between August 24th and 25th and died around noon on the 25th. He was buried in a plot next to the body of his father at the church in Röcken.
Google have celebrated the achievements of numerous great minds with doodles alongside this Friedrich Nietzsche Google Doodle, including Charles Darwin, Nikola Tesla and Edith Nesbit. Nietzsche’s philosophy lives on to this day, with many of his quotes being used on social media platforms such as Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter. These quotes include:
“Art is the great stimulant of life”
“He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.”
“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”