NIETZSCHE ON: The Superman


The concept of the Superman is one of the strangest, most fascinating ideas in Philosophy. We find it coined by Friedrich Nietzsche in his book of 1883: Thus Spoke Zarathustra. On first hearing it, we can’t help but think of the action hero Superman, described by his creators as “faster than a speeding bullet”, “more powerful than a locomotive”, and “able to leap tall buildings in a single bound”. These are actually very good starting points. DC Comics were asking themselves what someone would be like who is physically far superior to all current human beings. Nietzsche is asking himself a very similar question; only, he’s interested in psychological qualities. In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche points out that evolution cannot be assumed to have finished. Human beings have evolved from apes, but, what is ape to man? He asks. In some respects, like imagination and science, we are obviously far superior to our ancestors. So how might people of the future be superior to who we are today? Nietzsche’s character, Zarathustra’s, task is to speculate about what the superman – the more advanced person of tomorrow – will be like. Nietzsche wasn’t interested in massively enhanced brain power, an ability to do hugely complex sums in one’s head, or to learn a language in three days. Rather, he was developing a crucial thought experiment: Suppose we were psychologically superior to people of today, what would we actually be like? What is the ideal kind of human being? And he came up with a very surprising and challenging answer – Nietzsche’s strategy for answering his own question was to identify the person he most admired, the person he thought had the best approach to life, and then hone in on the qualities that made this person the way they were. He was particularly impressed by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe whom he regarded as the nearest anyone had yet come to being a superman. He also took some hints from Napoleon, Montaigne, Voltaire, and Julius Cesar. He concluded that Supermen are going to have some wonderful and sometimes unexpected characteristics. They will: make their own values; they will be very independently minded; they won’t ask “what do other people admire?” and follow along – they will carve their own path. Supermen accept that might need to hurt people in the name of great things. They can be selfish in strategic ways. “Greatness” for them will be about the reform of the humanity towards pagan values – – the values of Goethe. Supermen will never be resentful of the success of others; they will accept suffering as a necessary component of good things. They will understand that they’re hard to understand, and therefore, they may often be lonely. They will be gentle to towards the weak, out of consciousness of their own great strength. They will be a little bit wicked around sex by conventional standards. They will not be humble, but rather, delight in their own abilities. They will be interested in the practical application of culture to raise the mentality of society. Nietzsche thought we would be surprised and sometimes a bit shocked by his list. He thought we would be expecting that the super humans of tomorrow would be deeply compassionate, very egalitarian, uninterested in rivalry, and perhaps have ambitions to make breakthroughs in science. But Nietzsche was arguing something else: that maybe being great involve some qualities that were a bit disturbing; and also, that greatness means being interested in the salvation of mankind through culture. The word superman is useful for getting us to think about who we would like to evolve into. Each of us should, under Nietzsche’s guidance, have a sense of what we would like to be if we could be the super version of ourselves. The idea of the Superman helps us to refine our own ambitions.

100 Replies to “NIETZSCHE ON: The Superman

  1. What is good? Everything that heightens the feeling of power in man, the will to power, power itself.

    What is bad? Everything that is born of weakness.

    What is happiness? The feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome.

    Not contentedness but more power; not peace but war; not virtue but fitness (Renaissance virtue, virtù, virtue that is moraline-free). (A 2)
    Nietzsche advocates violence. Anything that makes you stronger as a man is good. Everything that makes you weak is bad. So violence, murder theft is all good according to him

  2. Nietzsche hated women"Woman! One-half of mankind is weak, typically sick, changeable, inconstant… she needs a religion of weakness that glorifies being weak, loving, and being humble as divine: or better, she makes the strong weak–she rules when she succeeds in overcoming the strong… Woman has always conspired with the types of decadence, the priests, against the 'powerful', the 'strong', the men-" (The Will to Power – 864, Second German edition of 1906) (It must be noted, however, that The Will to Power is a gathering of notes and fragments assembled through his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche and others which were never approved by Nietzsche himself to be published.)

  3. Asking a man what enlightened psychology is is like asking a man what paradise is. Ask a hundred men, get a hundred answers. I don't think being a talented, but selfish and self obsessed cunt makes anybody a superman. Strange that a lot of people on Nietzsche's list weren't all that terrible or self obsessed.

  4. Bertrand Russell is much less deluded about Nietzsche's fascist outlook than most
    modern commentators. Nietzsche was and is the enemy of democracy,
    feminism and socialism. I think he actually would have supported
    Mussolini and Hitler if he had lived long enough. His anti-feminism was
    caused by his own awkwardness around women and his unrequited desire for
    them. The whole ubermensch idea is the result of his own self-conceit.
    He was a failed ubermensch himself. He knew that and it drove him mad.
    Christianity may be a slave religion but what is wrong with that? The
    slaves were the down-trodden wretched of the Earth. Christianity teaches
    compassion and forgiveness and love. Nietzsche couldn't accept his own
    self-pity and so he projected ruthlessness as an heroic virtue rather
    than a destructive force. He was the poet laureate of Nazism and the
    holocaust.

  5. English translations of Nietzsche's works are so bad.
    If you really want to study Nietzsche it would be better for you to learn German.

  6. Nietzsche, Regret and Amor Fati

    One of the strangest yet most intriguing aspects of Friedrich Nietzsche’s ideas is his repeated enthusiasm for a concept that he called amor fati (translated from Latin as ‘a love of one’s fate’, or as we might put it, a resolute, enthusiastic acceptance of everything that has happened in one’s life). The person of amor fati doesn’t seek to erase anything of their past, but rather accepts what has occurred, the good and the bad, the mistaken and the wise, with strength and an all-embracing gratitude that borders on a kind of enthusiastic affection. This refusal to regret and retouch the past is heralded as a virtue at many points in Nietzsche’s work. In his book, The Gay Science, written during a period of great personal hardship for the philosopher, Nietzsche writes: I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who makes things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer. And, a few years later, in Ecce Homo Nietzsche writes: My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it… but love it. In most areas of life, most of the time, we do the very opposite. We kick violently against negative events – and do not accept their role in our lives. We do not love and embrace the flow of events. We spend a huge amount of time taking stock of our errors, regretting and lamenting the unfortunate twists of fate – and wishing that things could have gone differently. We are typically mighty opponents of anything that smacks of resignation or fatalism. We want to alter and improve things – ourselves, politics, the economy, the course of history – and part of this means refusing to be passive about the errors, injustices and ugliness of our own and the collective past. Nietzsche himself, in some moods, knows this defiance full well. There is much emphasis in his work on action, initiative and self-assertion. His concept of the Wille zur Macht, or Will to Power embodies just this attitude of vitality and conquest over obstacles. However, it is one of the most beautiful aspects of Nietzsche’s thinking that he is aware that, in order to lead a good life, we need to keep in mind plenty of opposing ideas and marshall them as and when they become relevant. We don’t – in Nietzsche’s eyes – need to be consistent, we need to have the ideas to hand that can salve our wounds. Nietzsche isn’t therefore asking us to choose between glorious fatalism on the one hand or a vigorous willing on the other. He is allowing us to have recourse to either intellectual move depending on the occasion. He wishes our mental toolkit to have more than one set of ideas: to have, as it were, both a hammer and a saw. Certain occasions particularly need the wisdom of a Will driven philosophy; others demand that we know how to accept, embrace and stop fighting the inevitable. In Nietzsche’s own life, there was much that he had tried to change and overcome. He had fled his restrictive family in Germany and escaped to the Swiss Alps; he had tried to get away from the narrowness of academia and become a freelance writer; he had tried to find a wife who could be both a lover and an intellectual soulmate. But a lot in this project of self-creation and self-overcoming had gone terribly wrong. He couldn’t get his parents, especially his mother and sister out of his head. What were, in his eyes, their maddening attitudes and prejudices (anti-semitism in particular) seemed to have spread across the whole of bourgeois Europe. His books sold dismally and he was forced more or less to beg from friends and family in order to keep going. Meanwhile his halting, gauche attempts to seduce women were met by ridicule and rejection. There must have been so many lamentations and regrets running through his mind in his walks across the Upper Engadine and his nights in his modest wooden chalet in Sils Maria: if only I had stuck with an academic career; if only I’d been more confident around certain women; if only I’d written in a more popular style; if only I’d been born in France… It was because such thoughts – and every one of us has our own distinct variety of them – can ultimately be so destructive and soul-sapping that the idea of ‘amor fati’ grew compelling to Nietzsche. Amor fati was the idea that he needed in order to regain sanity after hours of self-recrimination and criticism. It’s the idea we ourselves may need at 4 a.m. finally to quieten a mind that has started gnawing into itself shortly after midnight. It’s an idea with which a troubled spirit can greet the first signs of dawn. At the height of the mood of amor fati, we recognise that things really could not have been otherwise, because everything we are and have done is bound closely together in a web of consequences that began with our birth – and which we are powerless to alter at will. We see that what went right and what went horribly wrong are as one, and we commit ourselves to accepting both, to no longer destructively hoping that things could have been otherwise. We were headed to a degree of catastrophe from the start. We know why we are the desperately imperfect beings we are; and why we had to mess things up as badly as we did. We end up saying, with tears in which there mingle grief and a sort of ecstasy, a large yes to the whole of life, in its absolute horror and occasional moments of awesome beauty. In a letter to a friend written in the summer of 1882, Nietzsche tried to sum up the new spirit of acceptance that he had learnt to lean on to protect him from his agony: ‘I am in a mood of fatalistic ‘surrender to God’ ⎯ I call it amor fati, so much so, that I would be willing to rush into a lion’s jaws’. And that is where, after too much regret, we should learn sometimes to join him.

  7. The message wasn’t as practical as portrayed here. It was rather metaphorical for the striving for independence of reliegion, science and value systems.

  8. You're not describing the Superman here, you're describing Higher Men.

    The Superman isn't achievable by living men, the Superman is the highest value and aspiration of mankind as a whole, the Higher Men that you describe here, are the bridges to the Superman.

  9. My biggest critic of this video is that you don't show the definition of slave and the last man wich would both be where most of the population fits, as well as the concept of slave morality vs master morality without which the concept of ubermensch gets lost without the definition of what is not a ubermensch, i saw many ppl saying heroes like batman and superman were ubermensch but as long as they use slave morality as their moral compass that probably won't be correcte

  10. "Beyond good and evil" on the chapter of Prejudices of philosophers, philosopher's philosophy are their unconscious autobiography. They create a complex system, intelligently crafted, to understand what_where_why_how of reality.
    The last part of this vid, is not quite what ubermench was about. Your analysis of ubermench might be a great system to live by, but it's not entirely what an ubermench is.

  11. Psychological superiority is the freedom to live by one’s own moral code. I wonder if Nietzsche meant schizoids or Aspergers. Are those the building blocks for Nietzsche’s Ubermensch?

  12. If you take out God from the equation, there will be nihilism. That demonstrates that humanity is weak. We don’t know how to build our own values separate from the ones given to us by religion. There are rare individuals who possess the ability to create their own moral values and principles. They just need a little encouragement.

  13. To bring about the ubermensch , the human race needs to go through a true enlightening period where more people realize that they can actually think for themselves and be able to genuinely change the world for the better. We all need to break away from the herd and achieve true greatness in our own way.

  14. Not accurate. You explain this through example. You not explain abouy how we erase the morality and become nihilist first. So that we can have a clear vision abouy how we want to to do a particular thing that we want to know better or do better. In my opinion Elon Musk is the new Ubermansch btw😊

  15. There have been 3 ubermensches so far, Archimedes, Newton and Gauss.

    Goethe, Kant, Einstein, Shakespeare, von Neumann etc. are a tier below.

  16. I envy people daily and it makes me depressed that I don't have their life and I'm sure they would envy someone else others get what they want then they don't want it anymore this is how the contradiction of humanity goes.i think part of the answer is gratitude and acceptance

  17. I am still amazed at the degree of abstract intellectual ability of (NIETZSCHE). Congratulations The School os life on producing quality content! Brazil!

  18. When you're an illiterate plebe who can't catch nietzsche's sarcasm when it's spelled out in front of you 😂
    You probably think socrates' crime was religious 😂
    Your videos are all off. Read more, dood

  19. Anyone who believes suffering is necessary for good things will live a life of suffering. We create our own reality through our beliefs. There really is no other rule.

  20. If you want to know what a superman is just take a look at myself..

    Everything opposite of what i am. Thats the superhuman.

  21. Just as a waterfall grows slower and more lightly suspended as it plunges down, so the great man of action tends to act with greater calmness than his tempestuous desires prior to the deed would lead one to expect.

  22. If we talk about philosophy then it's not the superman who should be considered Ubermensch but it's the BATMAN…..! 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

  23. All the Batfans saying that Batman is the Overman are making me cringe, Lex Luthor is meant to be the Overman in DC, Batman doesn’t exactly fit

  24. That's another bad German degenerate anti-religious philosophy endorsing violence and cruelty in the name of reason.

  25. The Superman won’t really be kind towards all weak, he will help those who are part of your his group or that want to become somewhat like him. The concept of the Superman is the negation of the slave morality, which is in essence a perpetuation and glorification of weakness.

  26. Isso implicaria dizer que a ideia de "Super-homem" seria apenas um gatilho para a reformulação ou reflexão de nossos valores e objetivos?

  27. And yet people still say that Nietzsche and his idea of the "Übermensch" (superman) practically allowed the rise of nazi ideology. It seems that Neitzsche's actual idea of the Übermensch is somewhat different from what the nazis proposed. Am I wrong about this?

  28. Nietzsche helping the weak?! Never heard of that, he was against the juidaic-Christian values. The whole idea of the super men is to exclude the weak.

  29. since the übermensch is supposed to overcome mankind in its current state, becoming a super-version of the human is missing the goal and big time.

  30. The dragon: The God of the traditional society we live in is the mind. The mind must be transcended to attain true freedom through realizing we are consciousness itself. Consciousness has no boundaries like the mind does it is infinite. The mind not united with consciousness has no power. Consciousness is the power source for the mind. The last man's mind is not free and is atrophied and enslaved because it is not connected to or empowered by consciousness.
    It's taken almost 100,000 thousand years of learning and acquiring knowledge of reality for us to get to this point that we learn that the mind is not the ultimate power for us and not the true source of life. The mind of man must fulfill it's 100,000 year quest for knowledge until the truth is finally revealed through knowledge. Then it's ultimate purpose will have been finally fulfilled. Then we will go beyond the realm of the mind. We will live in true reality not just the ones we once perceived was real. We will know the truth beyond the visible. And then we will attain power for ourselves and for developing new technology and ai from the learning that the universe is made of quantum fields which is consciousness. We will realize we are that power of consciousness in the universe. The power of consciousness will fuel and empower life and the mind to work better and in concert and union with reality for the betterment of all mankind. There will be no more separation created by the illusion of ego anymore. We will see things as they truly are not just as we are. Because then we will finally be in harmony with things as they truly are and "all that is now hidden will be revealed." Just as it says the book of Matthew in the Bible. "Now we see but a dim Reflection, but then we will see face to face." Corinthians. Then through all our striving to attain we will have transcended beyond just the mind. We will evolve from mindkind to Godkind. Then we will become the full embodiment of the uberman.

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