Most philosophers in the Western tradition thought that reason (or at least the ability to reason) is at the heart of the human constitution. Nietzsche was the first prominent philosophers who disparaged that notion. Like Sigmund Freud after him, Nietzsche argued that reason is but a minor part of the human personality, and that people are actually driven by dark and powerful forces beyond their control. The assumed rational nature of homo sapiens is an illusion, and human civilization a thin veneer over an existence that is dominated by a ruthless struggle for power.
Coppola's film is loosely based on Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness (available on-line through the gutenberg.org project). Conrad's story is one of the numerous modern literary works that gives expression to the vision of the human condition that Nietzsche's work foreshadowed.
Nietzsche: The Darkness of Life
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