Nietzsche’s Unmodern Thinking. Globalization, the End of History, and “Great Events”

In his four Unmodern Observations (Unzeitmässige Betrachtungen) of the 1870s, Nietzsche confronted early philosophical versions of positions more recentlydiscussed under such rubrics as globalization and the end of history. What he intended by marking these essays as “unmodern” or “untimely” was to designatetheir critical stance toward both the philistine self-congratulation of the era and the Hegelian philosophy with which it explained and justified itself. Basic to thisHegelian conception of history is a concept of the world-historical “great event,” a turning point that manifests itself in the world of political states. The Unmodernseries broke off with Nietzsche’s essay on Wagner, where he attempted to articulate his own non-statist version of a great event. The current essay diagnoses theinterruption of this project as a failure to fully abandon Hegelian thinking, and outlines a reading of Nietzsche’s later, more compelling (and unHegelian) conceptof the great event.