To say that Friedrich Nietzsche has influenced my thinking would be quite the understatement. Many of my ideas on self-creation have been inspired by his Philosophies, especially his concept of the Übermensch.
The Uberman is a progression of his original idea. But there’s much confusion as to what the Übermensch was all about (especially after the Nazis had their way with it). So let’s explore what Nietzsche had in mind when he first “spoke” of his Philosophy and also review the supreme differences between Nietzsche’s version of the Uberman and my own.
Here are a few of them:
A Spectacular Birth
Nietzsche believed that it should be a woman’s aspiration to give birth to an Übermensch. Like her whole life mission should be to find some premium dude, make the whoopee, and pop out an uberkid. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it’s slightly disempowering to suggest it should be a woman’s life goal. Plus, he’s suggesting that an Übermensch would mainly come about as a result of some miraculous pairing, like say Oprah and Leonardo da Vinci.
I like to think that an Uberman should make an art of himself so that his whole life is an expression of his passion and vivid imagination. This puts more power in your hands. This makes every action of your life that much more important.
Can you dig it?
Giving Oneself to the World
“The time has come for man to set himself a goal. The time has come to plant the seed of his highest hope.” * Friedrich Nietzsche *
It’s hard to know whether or not Nietzsche was speaking about man as a whole society, or the individual man himself; but many believe that he was referring to the latter, and that the Übermensch should create his own goals and morals with no thought to the multitude. The Übermensch would live strictly by his code, and if this created value for others then so be it—but this is not his intent.
While it is true that too many of us (myself included) put an obscene amount of weight on the thoughts and opinions of others, I don’t believe we live solely for ourselves. I think about how many great acts performed by people I’ll never meet have contributed so much to my Life, and I seek to do the same for others. Serving is a beautiful thing. And if you can create the kind of character that others look to as inspiration to create better versions of themselves, think about the domino effect triggered by this act repeated a million-fold…
“Imagine for a moment that each one of us takes only a little more care for each hour of his days, that he demands in it a little more of elegance and intensity; then, multiplying all these minute pressures toward the perfecting and deepening of each life by all the others, calculate for yourselves the gigantic enrichment, the fabulous ennobling which this process would create for human society.” * Jose Ortega y Gasset *
Solitude as a Necessity for Greatness
The Übermensch, according to Nietzsche, would be solitary by nature and necessity. Part of his strength will come from dealing with the masses that call him out for his hermetic tendencies. But is it some coincidence that most of the greatest amongst us have kept to themselves? I find many examples of my heroes that locked themselves up and sought silence, which for them was the ultimate platform for creating masterpieces. Nikola Tesla would spend hours by himself imagining how a radio would work and he eventually created it. Gandhi spent weeks on end quietly fasting with virgins (they didn’t say much either) to test his willpower and transmute his sexual energy into creativity. Michelangelo spent sixteen years upside down as he painted the Sistine Chapel, and well, that came out all right.
“It is difficult to engage in such a struggle as a highly social being. Success and victory normally come at the cost of a degree of solitude.”
And I wholeheartedly agree.
There are many beautiful concepts ingrained in the Uberman that have been inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche. But life isn’t about subscribing to one Philosophy and sticking to it blindly forever. I see it as a banquet, and you take little bits and pieces and put them on your plate. When you’re done with those, you move down a bit and try some of the items you missed on your first go-‘round. In this way you’re living in accordance with Nature, which knows nothing of constancy but only of the great ebb and flow, the natural order of things that keep our world functioning like clockwork. And we flow with it, changing upwards, constantly upwards.