Thus Spake Zarathustra, Ecce Homo
[Friedrich Nietzsche, Superman, Zarathustra, philosophy]
philosophy, biography

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Friedrich Nietzsche and
his philosophy of the Superman


  Between the very many interventions of his sister Elisabeth and also given the misrepresentations of his work that are associated with the Nazi Era it is difficult to get a true picture of Friedrich Nietzsche and his philosophical legacy.

   He began to actually write Thus Spake Zarathustra in February of 1883 but the germ of the idea behind it had been developing in his mind for some eighteen months. In Ecce Homo it is related how the idea occured to him in August 1881 and remained in gestation. When he came to actually write based upon his initial idea Nietzsche felt that he was actually inspired - as one of the most intriguing quotes from Ecce Homo suggests:-

   "One hears but one does not seek; one takes - one does not ask who gives; a thought flashes up like lightning, it comes of necessity and unfalteringly formed"

   His fundamental contention was that traditional values (represented primarily by Christianity) had lost their power in the lives of individuals. He expressed this in his proclamation "God is dead." 

   Since God is dead Neitzsche sees the necessity for the emergence of the Übermensch, the Superman or overman, who is to replace God.
   The first of the quotes attributed to Zarathustra is:-

   "I teach you the Superman. Man is something that should be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?
   All creatures hitherto have created something beyond themselves: and do you want to be the ebb of the great tide, and return to the animals rather than overcome man?
   What is the ape to men? A laughing stock or a painful embarassment. And just so shall man be to the Superman: a laughing stock or a painful embarassment".

   The context in which Supermen are to be judged to be such is implied by Neitzsche's previous works. He maintained that all human behavior is motivated by the will to power. In its positive sense, the will to power is not simply power over others, but the power over oneself that is necessary for creativity. Supermen are those who have overcome man - i.e. the individual self - and subliminated the will to power into a momentous creativity. 

   Supermen are creators of a "master morality" that reflects the strength and independence of one who is liberated from all values, except those that he deems valid.  Such power is manifested in independence, creativity, and originality.

   Nietzsche saw the Superman as the answer to the nihilistic rejection of all religious and moral principles that would be consequent on a widespread acceptance that God is dead. The Superman being the exemplar of true humanity.

   Although he explicitly denied that any Supermen had yet arisen, he mentions several individuals who could serve as models. Among these models he lists Socrates, Jesus, Julius Caesar, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Napoleon.

   Nietzsche's philosophical concepts were often concerned with areas that came within the interest of the emerging school of Existentialism and came to the particular notice of numerous thinkers, writers, and theologians who were themselves broadly interested in Existentialism. Amongst these are Karl Jaspers, Martin Heidegger, Martin Buber, Paul Tillich,  Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre. 


Introductory quotations
Nietzsche quotation
God is dead
Spirituality & the wider world

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" is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose
flower and fruitage is the world..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


It is widely known that Plato, pupil of and close friend to Socrates, accepted that Human Beings have a " Tripartite Soul " where individual Human Psychology is composed of three aspects - Wisdom-Rationality, Spirited-Will and Appetite-Desire.

What is less widely appreciated is that such major World Faiths as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism see "Spirituality" as being relative to "Desire" and to "Wrath".

For Indisputable Wisdoms about Human Nature
please visit our Human Nature - Tripartite Soul page