About God – 9

June 30, 2010


Friedrich Nietzsche’s ‘Superman’ 

(Kindly read earlier post in this series: https://rajeevne.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/about-god-1/ )

Nietzsche (1844 -1900) was termed as ‘a child of Darwin and brother of Bismarck, having a soul of a girl under an armor of a warrior’. Influence of Schopenhauer and Plato is evident in his writings. If you like Ayn Rand, it is possible that you will like Nietzsche.

The most acclaimed of his books that he wrote in 1883 – Thus Spake Zarathustra – is about a pupil Zarathustra, Superman his God and a new religious principle – Eternal Recurrence. Zarathustra and his theory were obscure in the book Thus Spake Zarathustra. Therefore, Nietzsche spent most of his later works on its explanation.

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An individual succumbs to faith, the sweet poison, some day in his life. While on his quest, Zarathustra meets such ‘Wise Men’ in a (Plato’s) cave. They have gathered to understand and then propagate his religion. Zarathustra goes out of the cave briefly and comes back to find them lighting incense sticks to a Donkey, their new God, who has created a world in his own image.

Zarathustra, he himself says, is most pious, longs for belief, and pities people like him who know that all the old Gods are dead and the new God is still in diapers and cradle. Then he announces that the new God is Superman.

The Zarathustra’s gospel and his commandments go as follows:

> All the Gods are dead, in a joyful ending, saying ‘is it not godliness that there are Gods, but there is no God?’

> Remain rooted to earth, and do not believe those who speak of super-terrestrial hopes, the sweet poison.

> He who is creator (who is Good), must destroy everything to pieces. He is thus also evil. Highest Good therefore also has Highest Evil.

> What is good about a man is that he is a Bridge. He is a Transition and Destruction.

> Morality does not lie in Kindness, but in Strength. Human effort therefore should be diverted to producing finer and stronger individuals.

> Not mankind should be our Goal, but the Superman. To create those, 

  • Deliberate/ Selective breeding and careful nurture (Plato) is necessary to combat Natural Selection. Because nature is biased against perfect species, she prefers the average, not the best.
  • When a man is in love he should not be allowed to make decisions about his life. The love should be treated as legal obstacle to marriage, and best should marry the best.
  • Those will be considered fit for marriage who are sound in body and soul, who propagate upwards (Oordhwa Reta?) to ensure that the offspring is better than themselves, victorious, self-subduer, commander of senses, master of virtues, and not out of animal instincts, necessity or discord.
  • Without good birth, nobility is impossible. To nurture these special children born out of selective breeding, the training should include severe schooling, few comforts, many responsibilities, sufferance in silence, training in obeying and commanding, no freedom for indulgence and finally training to laugh heartily.

> Energy, intelligence and pride are the attributes of Supermen. The Supermen will work tirelessly. They will be unified by a great purpose. They will be hard upon themselves, hard upon others and will do anything to achieve that (except betraying a friend).

> Superman is not yet born. We have to prepare for him by

  • Not expecting anything beyond our capacity,
  • Not becoming virtuous beyond our capacity,
  • Not demanding that which is not probable,
  • Understanding that our best goal is Work (Bhagwad Geeta?), and not happiness.

> Every one of us can become a Superman. Let us be great or at least the servants of the great. From the lonely ones of today, a group will be born and from that a superman.

> The possible combinations of reality are limited, and time, eternal. Therefore, all things will return, in precise detail (religion of Eternal Recurrence).

At the end, a voice prompts him to ‘speak your Word, and break into pieces.’

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The explanations and definitions supporting his Superman theory go as follows:

> In Roman philosophy, virtues (courage, manhood etc) were paramount. This was feudal, aristocratic. In Asian and Jewish philosophy, subjugation (of will) to attain humility was important, the sense of right and wrong was central, Christianity is bourgeois, democratic and therefore worst.

> For Jesus every man is of equal worth, has an equal right. This principle led to progressive equalization and vulgarization in terms of decadence and descending life, the final stage of decay being revering the Pity, instead of sympathy, and the Self- sacrifice. ‘Visiting the sick is the orgasm of superiority’, therefore behind all morality and reason is the secret wish to Rule.

Man is the cruelest of animals. We watch bull fights or drama or anything divine, to satisfy our refined cruelty. We invented hell because it was our heaven on earth.

Love (even for Truth) is a desire for possession; courtship is combat and mating, mastery.

> Philosophy is a shining mirror, in which we see reflection of our own desires, prejudice, idea or suggestion. These underground desires breed our thoughts. Strong men seldom conceal their desires. Desire is their justification. They are not affected by Ethics, Pity or Guilt.

> Instinct is the most intelligent of all intelligences. Conscience is secondary (since it is destined to fade or be superseded by automatism). All unused instincts are turned inwards. This internalization is the first form which we started calling mind/soul.

Formula for decay is that the virtues for the herd (sheep) start affecting the leaders. However, the Good virtues of the Weak as also the Evil of the Strong are required for the society.

Life is a struggle, in which the fittest survive; strength is therefore ultimate virtue, weakness the fault. Live dangerously, send your ships to unknown territories, live in a state of war and remember to disbelieve.

> The best thing in a man is Strength of Will, Power and permanent Passion. There is no development without almost criminal demolition of precedents and order. We should therefore become more Evil than Good.

Pessimism is a sign of decay, optimism superficiality. In youth, people produce mythology and poetry, in decadence Philosophy and Logic. Therefore, best of all is not to be born, to be nothing. Second best is to die early.

Morality and theology need to be rebuilt in terms of evolution. Function of life is not the betterment of the masses, (consisting of individuals that are worthless types) but creating Geniuses, superior personalities.

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Although his Zarathustra is popular, Nietzsche’s other views nobody today much likes (particularly after Hitler). His views on polity are admired. In every history book on philosophy, Nietzsche occupies a large volume of pages.

His views on women, which he thought were inferior to men, a means for breeding are best forgotten.

What I am not, that for me is God and Virtue, he says.

He criticized every European nation in the beginning, but came up with an idea of European Union later, in which the best from every state would be chosen – Intergrowth between German and Slav, The rule by Philosophers (as advised by Plato), Finance managed by Jews, Strong Governance by Russians (slavs), Armed forces and Organization by Germany, Criticism and arts (clarity of thought and precision) by French, Aristocracy by Italians since the finest and most vigorous. He thought that English are worst because they are chiefly traders and have allowed democracy. English had no place/ lowly place in the Union.

He was a staunch supporter of Bismarck and strong critique of democracy. He felt that in democracy, everyone is free to do what he/she wants, there is lapse of coherence and coordination and there is chaos, liberty without responsibility, profound mediocrity and hatred for excellence. He felt that this means doom for the society as also for the great men because everybody starts to resemble everybody, even sexes lose their identity. Democracy is bad because it breeds feminism, then socialism and then anarchism.

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Like other philosophers, he was a loner, had failed love, had a rift with his musician friend Wagner, had apoplexy in later years and was admitted to asylum in the end. His views should be taken in this context. He died early in 1900.

(P.S. – All quotes are by Nietzsche. Quick reference: History of Philosophy by Will Durant , Thus Spake Zarathustra by Nietzsche)

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