Film-Philosophy Conference, Film-Philosophy Conference 2012

“Why I am so Clever”; Myopic Philosophy (a video-essay)

Trine Riel


In Nietzsche’s last book philosophy is proposed as a pragmatic and violent form of self-practice. Part sardonic autobiography, part nutritional, hygienic and climatic áskēsis, Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One is presents to its readers (‘my friends (…) you philosophers of the future!’) a strict regime for the free spirit; a call for attention to all those small things which the author, by his own admittance, only late in life discovered to be of the utmost importance.[1]

Deeply inspired by Greek thought, Nietzsche’s eccentric form of Diaite  (defined as a whole way of life; a care of the self in the broadest sense) brings the body and its condition to the forefront of philosophical endeavours. Thinking, in fact, is itself a physical act of great care and courage[2].

A philosophy of dynamism (which to Nietzsche is the only worthy philosophy) must above all strive to be active; lived and hence understood as a material practice which should ultimately be defined in terms of vigour. For Nietzsche, there is therefore no difference between a bad meal and a bad book of academia; both causes indigestion and inertia on all levels and are to be avoided by all means.


This video-essay will explore Nietzsche’s paradoxical combination of pedagogy and antagonism in his attempt to turn philosophy into a matter of lived, bodily experience; a style of life.

As a dramatisation of the traditional mode of academic presentation, the video, by example, proposes a merging of film and philosophy as a performative practice of concept-making.

Rather than understanding the two domains as creating different types of knowledge and affect, art (film) and philosophy can be understood to be one and the same strategic activity:Following Nietzsche, the artist or the philosopher (which is one and the same) is ‘he who creates the new’, that is, The Thinker of the Future.





[1] ‘These small things – nutrition, place, climate, recreation, the whole casuistry of selfishness – are inconceivably more important than everything one has taken to be important so far. Precisely here one must begin to relearn (…) My experiences in regard to these matters have been as bad as they possibly could be; I am surprised that I set myself this question so late in life and that it took me so long to draw "rational” conclusions from these experiences’ (Ecce Homo; Why I am So Clever)

[2] Likewise: ‘The tempo of the body’s functions is closely bound up with the agility or the clumsiness of the spirit; spirit itself is indeed only a form of these organic functions’ (Ibid)










Only abstracts are available on this site

About the Presenter

Trine Riel
Copenhagen University