The GAM/DP Theory of Personality and Creativity
by: William A. Therivel, PhD
Vol 1 Vol 2 Vol 3 Vol 4 Vol 5 Vol 6
  HomeContentsAuthorBuy the Books 
-GAM/DP Synopsis
-GAM Introduction
-DP Introduction
-GAM/DP Summary
-Mozart and not Salieri
-Personality Families
-Berlin's Hedgehogs & Foxes
-James Joyce - Fox
-Newton's Personality Styles
-Gifted and Talented
-GAM's Marginal Men
-GAM's Heidegger
-GAM's Nietzsche
-GAM's Nathaniel Hawthorne
-German Ethnopsychology
-Japanese Ethnopsychology
-French Ethnopsychology
-Spanish Ethnopsychology
-Chinese Ethnopsychology
-Argentine Ethnopsychology
-Byzantium's Creativity
-Venice's Creativity
-Chaucer's Griselda
-Western Medicine's Origins
-Individual Growth by Thinking GxAxMxDP
William A. Therivel
William Therivel
found at Amazon
-High Creativity Unmasked
-Studying Power
-Studying National Characters
-Studying National Creativity
Biography of Author

Nietzsche's radiologist personality and his poor health are discussed in
Therivel's GAM/DP Theory of Personality and Creativity.

Nietzsche as GAM Radiologist

The above is the title of chapter 9 of volume 2 of William A. Therivel's The GAM/DP Theory of Personality and Creativity (G stands for genetic endowment, A for assistances of youth, M for misfortunes of youth, DP for division of power, UP for unity of power). For an introduction to the GAM part of the theory click "Introduction to GAM"; for an introduction to the DP part click on "Introduction to DP".
In this website, the reader is also offered a shortcut: The GAM/DP Synopsis and an expanded version, The GAM/DP Summary of volumes 1 through 4.

Hereafter, I report a few pages from this chapter.

I. Introduction

     The GAM theory was supported, as discussed in chapter 26 of volume 1, when it successfully proved-on the basis of Heidegger's personality-that Heidegger had suffered a major physical infirmity of youth. That was a case of predicting a cause from the result. This chapter discusses the forecasting of a major aspect of Friedrich Nietzsche's personality and thinking, from a description of his misfortunes of youth: this time, a prediction of results from a cause.
     Basically, having read of his long and painful physical infirmities of childhood, adolescence and adulthood, I concluded that Nietzsche should have become a GAM radiologist, and, as such, he should have acquired the key characteristic of the radiologists, as listed in table 1 of chapter 3, vol.1: "Keen eye for anything that is sick in people and society."
     Further on, in that same chapter, I said:

In the radiologists, strong physical infirmity, either very painful or humiliating, leaves (even with the best loving assistance) very deep scars, especially by bringing isolation from family members and peers, and making even the dream of a normal life impossible. Persons so afflicted see themselves as sick or deformed, and cannot but look at the others, at life itself, through the lenses of their infirmity. The high level of their GxAxM will make of them first class diagnosticians -- expert 'radiologists.'.... Proust's novels illustrate the working of the radiologist mentality in its diagnostic for what is sick in man, for what is foul behind the most healthy appearances. In Remembrance of Things Past, the characters are either found wanting since the beginning, or are presented as morally healthy first and then proven sick.

     In this chapter I will deal with two separate issues: First, I will explain how I was able to forecast Nietzsche's radiological personality from his misfortunes of youth. Second, I will present a new way of reading Nietzsche, as a self-proclaimed chief physician of humanity who thinks that he has been able to finally diagnose the major infirmities that afflict the world, especially the Western world, and who feels capable of prescribing the right cure.

2. Evidence for GAM: Forecasting personality from misfortunes of youth.

     While working at the preceding chapter, I wondered about an explanation for Nietzsche's fascination with the ancient Greeks, as I thought I had found one for Schiller and Goethe. In this search-as usual-I started with a number of biographies of Nietzsche.
     In Ronald Hayman's Nietzsche -- A critical life (1980/1982), my attention was drawn to the following lines: "When he was twelve he began to have serious trouble with his eyes. He had inherited myopia from his father, and one of his pupils was slightly larger than the other,.. This can be a symptom of syphilis" (p. 24). Remembering James Joyce's eye problems (see chapter 10, vol. 1), I decided to focus on Nietzsche's health, specifically on his eye problems. What I read-see Table 1-convinced me that Nietzsche must have become a GAM radiologist: so strong was his physical infirmity, and starting so early.

Table 1
Nietzsche's History of Physical Infirmities

Nietzsche was born October 15, 1844
Source &
Page Nr.
His headaches were already bad enough to keep him in bed, and from the age of nine onwards he missed a good deal of school through illness. Between Easter 1854 and 1855 he was absent for five weeks and six days. After starting at the Dom Gymnasium in the autumn of 1855, he missed twenty days of schooling in his first year and thirteen in his second. Then when he was twelve he began to have serious trouble with his eyes. He had inherited myopia from his father, and one of his pupils was lightly larger than the other, a feature he had inherited from his mother. This can be a symptom of syphilis, and it could mean that his father had infected his mother with the disease, and that Fritz acquired it congenitally.
Nietzsche required both reading-glasses and dark glasses to protect his eyes from strong sunlight. In his second letter home he had listed the things he needed: "Above all a strong pair of spectacles - send them to me as quickly as possible."
He continues, however, to figure in the sickness register. The headaches which had started when he first went to school were getting worse. He had a particularly bad attack in mid-January 1861 and again in February, and he was allowed home for two weeks; but the headaches still persisted, and he wrote in his diary: "I must learn to get used to it." There are twenty entries in the sickness register between March 1859 and May 1864 recording his having suffered from rheumatism, catarrh, colds and head congestion, in addition to headaches, while he was at Pforta, the spells of sickness lasting on an average a week.
The medical records of the school contain an entry, recorded in 1862:". . . shortsighted and often plagued by migraine headaches. His father died early of softening of the brain and was begotten in old age [actually when his father was fifty-seven, his mother thirty-five]; the son at a time when the father was already sick [most experts deny this]. As yet no grave signs are visible, but the antecedents require consideration".
"My eyes are obviously becoming worse. Working by lamplight is a great effort and a great strain."
After suffering a great deal of pain in his eyes while dictating the essay, ...
The disturbances began gradually but became frequent from 1873 on. Above all, attacks of violent headaches, together with sensitivity to light, vomiting, a general paralysis-like feeling, and conditions such as those experienced in seasickness more and more often caused him to be bedridden. Several times he was unconscious for prolonged periods (to Eiser, Jan. '80). The nearsightedness from which he suffered since his youth was aggravated by permanent eye trouble; in addition to acute attacks there was constant pain and pressure in his head (to Eiser, Feb., '80). More and more his intellectual existence came to depend upon having others read to him and take his dictation.
These illnesses afflicted him throughout his entire life in varying degrees of severity; improvements and exacerbations alternated irregularly. Thus in 1885 he wrote again of a "rapid diminution of eyesight." On the one hand, the year 1879 was the worst according to his letters ("I experienced 118 days of serious attacks; I did not count the milder ones," to Eiser, Feb. '80); on the other hand, improvements occurred ("and now this remarkable improve- ment! To be sure, it has lasted only five weeks so far." (to Marie Baumgartner, Oct. 20 '79).
"My existence is a fearful burden," Nietzsche wrote to his doctor, Otto Eiser of Frankfurt am Main, in January 1880: "I should have thrown it off long ago ... and yet! continual pain; for many hours of the day a feeling much like seasickness; a semi-paralysis which makes it hard for me to talk, alternating with furious attacks (the last one had me vomiting for three days and nights, I longed for death)."
[Dr. Otto] Eiser arranged a joint consultation in Frankfurt with the ophthalmologist Dr. Otto Kruger. Their verdict was that the headaches were due partly to severe damage sustained by the retinas in both eyes--choroidoretinitis is frequently syphilitic in origin--and partly to "a predisposition in the irritability of the central organ", originating out of excessive mental activity. The patient could not be allowed to read or write for several years.
Period of collapse. Early in January 1889, Nietzsche collapsed in the street in Turin. Carried back to his room, he sent out some mad but meaningful letters and postcards. Overbeck came to take him back to Basel. He spent the last 11 1/2 years of his life first in an asylum, then in his mother's care in Naumburg, and finally in Weimar, where his sister took him after his mother's death (1897). He died in Weimar on August 25, 1900. During this last period he wrote nothing and was incapable of conversation. Informed opinion favours the diagnosis of an atypical general paralysis, which would indicate tertiary syphilis.
In 1899 he was treated by Doctor Vulpius for inflammation of the iris of the left eye. The pigment spots on the front of the lens capsule and the failure of the pupil to react to light made him conclude that the disease was syphilitic.

     Having concluded that Nietzsche was, indeed, a radiologist, because of his strong, painful, and humiliating physical infirmities of childhood, adolescence and adulthood (together with a high GxA), I felt comfortable in forecasting that his thinking was radiological, and that his works would reveal it. The results of my reading, as reported in Table 2, confirmed my prediction.

Table 2
Nietzsche's Radiological Statements *

Human All Too Human (1878):
Advisor to the ill. Whoever gives an ill man advice gains a feeling of superiority over him, whether the advice is accepted or rejected. For that reason, irritable and proud ill people hate advisors even more than their illness. (p.177)
Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883-85):
Zarathustra is gentle with the sick.Truly, he is not angry at their manner of consolation and ingratitude. May they become convalescents and overcomers and make for themselves a higher body! Neither is Zarathustra angry with the convalescent if he glances tenderly at his illusions and creeps at midnight around the grave of his God: but even his tears still speak to me of sickness and a sick body. There have always been many sickly people among those who invent fables and long for God: they have a raging hate for the enlightened man and for that youngest of virtues which is called honesty. (pp.60-61)
Thus Spoke Zarathustra:
The evil deed is like a boil: it itches and irritates and breaks forth--it speaks honourably. "Behold, I am disease" thus speaks the evil deed; that is its honesty. But the petty thought is like a canker: it creeps and hides and wants to appear nowhere --until the whole body is rotten and withered by little cankers. (p. 113)
Thus Spoke Zarathustra:
And this is the tale of Zarathustra's conversation with the fire-dog:
"The earth" (he said) "has a skin; and this skin has diseases. One of these diseases, for example is called Man." (p. 153)
Beyond Good and Evil (1886):
There is the loveliest false finery available for this disease; and that most of that which appears in the shop windows today as "objectivity", "scientificality", "l'art pour l'art", "pure will-less knowledge" is merely skepticism and will-paralysis dressed up - for this diagnosis of the European sickness I am willing to go bail. Sickness of will is distributed over Europe unequally; it appears most virulently and abundantly where culture has been longest, indigenous it declines according to the extent to which "the barbarian" still - or again - asserts his rights under the loose-fitting garment of Western culture. In present-day France, consequently, as one can as easily deduce as actually see, the will is sickest; (p. 118)
The Genealogy of Morals (1887):
The bad conscience is an illness, there is no doubt about that, but an illness as pregnancy is an illness. Let us seek out the conditions under which this illness has reached its most terrible and most sublime height; we shall see what it really was that thus entered the world. but for that one needs endurance--and first of all we must go back again to an earlier point of view. (p. 88)
The Genealogy of Morals:
All this is interesting, to excess, but also of a gloomy, black, unnerving sadness, so that one must forcibly forbid oneself to gaze too long into these abysses. Here is sickness, beyond any doubt, the most terrible sickness that has ever raged in man; ... There is so much in man that is hideous! - Too long the earth has been a madhouse! (p. 93)
Ecce Homo (1888):
When the least organ in an organism fails, however slightly, to enforce with complete assurance its self-preservation, its "egoism", restitution of its energies--the whole degenerates. The physiologist demands excision of the degenerating part; he denies all solidarity with what degenerates; he is worlds removed from pity for it. (p. 292)
The Case of Wagner (1888):
I place this perspective at the outset: Wagner's art is sick. ... Precisely because nothing is more modern than this total sickness, this lateness and overexcitement of the nervous mechanism, ... Only sick music makes money today; our big theaters subsist on Wagner. (p. 166)
The Twilight of Idols (1889):
A moral code for physicians. - The invalid is a parasite on society. In a certain state it is indecent to go on living. To vegetate on in cowardly dependence on physicians and medicaments after the meaning of life, the right to life, has been lost ought to entail the profound contempt of society. Physicians, in their turn, ought to be the communicators of this contempt - not prescriptions, but every day a fresh dose of disgust with their patients. ... (p. 88)
The Anti-Christ (1895):
These are the blessings of Christianity! - Parasitism as the sole practice of the Church; with its ideal of green-sickness, of "holiness" draining away all blood, all love, all hope for life; the Beyond as the will to deny reality of every kind; the Cross as the badge of recognition for the most subterranean conspiracy there has ever been--a conspiracy against health, beauty, well-constituted- ness, bravery, intellect, benevolence of soul , against life itself ... (p. 186)
The Will to Power (written 1883-88):**
What is inherited is not the sickness but sickliness: the lack of strength to resist the danger of infections, etc., the broken resistance; morally speaking, resignation and meekness in face of the enemy. I have asked myself if all the supreme values of previous philosophy, morality, and religion could not be compared to the values of the weakened, the mentally ill, and neurasthenics: in a milder form, they represent the same ills. (p. 29)
The Will to Power:
To what extent sickliness, owing to the symbiosis of centuries, goes much deeper:
      modern virtue,
      modern spirituality,    } as forms of sickness
      our science              }       (p. 32)
The Will to Power:
The "good man." Or: the hemiplegia of virtue. ... Whence, then, comes the sickness and ideological unnaturalness that rejects this doubleness--that teaches that it is a higher thing to be efficient on only one side? Whence comes the hemiplegia of virtue, the invention of the good man? (pp. 191-92)

* For the text, please refer to the references. Italics are in the originals.
** First published by his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche in 1901, revised and enlarged in 1910-11.

III. Nietzsche as Radiologist philosopher

A GAM radiologist who is a philosopher will develop a radiological philosophy, and indeed, this is the case with Nietzsche. Being used to seeing himself sick from the earliest age, being used to asking constantly the help of a physician, the radiologist sees the world as sick, in need of a physician. Gradually, thanks also to his high GxA, Nietzsche felt that he was that physician the world needed, that he was the great observer who finally had understood how sick humanity was. He saw himself as the great doctor who not only had made the right diagnosis, but could prescribe the right cure. In his own words from The Will to Power:

Part 1: Diagnosis

A physiologist interested in a disease and an invalid who claims to be cured of it do not have identical interests. Let us suppose that the disease is morality--for it is a disease--and that we Europeans are the invalids: what subtle torment and difficulties would arise if we Europeans were at the same time inquisitive spectators and physiologists! Would we then really desire to be free of morality? Would we want to be ? Quite apart from the question whether we could be, Whether we could be 'cured.' (1967, pp. 155-6).

The 'improvement of man,' regarded as a whole, e.g., the undeniable softening, humanizing, mellowing of the European within the last millennium--is it perhaps the result of the long hidden and mysterious suffering and failure, abstinence, stunning? Has 'illness' made the European 'better'? Or, in other words; is our morality--our modern sensitive European morality, which may be compared with the morality of the Chinese--the expression of a physiological regression? (ib., p. 212)

Morality as the supreme value, in all phases of philosophy (even among the skeptics). Result: this world is good for nothing, there must be a 'real world.'...
Question: why did life, physiological well-constitutedness everywhere succumb? Why was there no affirmative philosophy, no affirmative religion?... The strong and the weak: the healthy and the sick; the exception and the rule. There is no doubt who is the stronger--... The declining instincts have become master over the ascending instincts--The will to nothingness has become master over the will to life! (ib. , p. 216-7).

The cure

My innovations-Further development of pessimism: intellectual pessimism; critique of morality, disintegration of the last consolation. Knowledge of the signs of decay; Veils with illusion every firm action; culture isolates, is unjust and therefore strong.
1. My endeavor is to oppose decay and increasing weakness of personality. I sought a new center .... (ib., p. 224)

Let us abolish the real world: and to be able to do this we first have to abolish the supreme value hitherto, morality-- It suffices to demonstrate that even morality is immoral, in the sense in which immorality has always been condemned. If the tyranny of former values is broken in this way, if we have abolished the 'real world,' then a new order of values must follow of its own accord.(ib., p. 254)
  Website Design & Hosting by: (3N5)