Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Camel, Lion, and Baby

Nietzsche conceives of a metaphor for a spirit "that would bear much" weight (TSZ On the Three Metamorphoses). Every individual is a piece of fate, and many believe they know which direction fate should go. The 'great many' make up the herd. There spirits do not wish to carry, they only would like to see their pastures to become more safe, for a sheep needs saftey. Many carry on this task of making the grasses greener; the socialist spirit would ask, "how could one want things differently!? one would have to be insane or--evil!" But nevertheless, such spirits do come along.

The strong spirit demands to carry much, but finds that what it is given to carry is not enough, it demands only the most difficult. This spirit piles on whatever it can, becoming a Camel. This camel bears the weight of his task, but eventually finds his work meaningless and illusory, he finds himself, in a spiritual desert.

This Camel no longer finds meaning in the values subscribed to him; he is a spirit too strong to take on this task, he no longer wishes to bear the weight of values that do not come from his own. The Camel becomes a Lion, the spirit that fights against these false values in order to find his own place, his own freedom. The Lion is the no-saying spirit, but his role is not only to deny, but to make room for new yeas.

This Lion becomes a Child. What is this child? He is a new beginning. This requires first a forgetting of the old, and then, the start of a new game. He is the beginning of a new wheel, his piece the center of a motion that picks up new pieces along its path, creating a new world along its way.

What is this child one may ask? A laborer? An idol? A hero? A devil?
No! But perhaps he is--the latter!
The laborer is the Camel, the idol the Dragon, the hero the Lion. What this child is, is a God!
The Child is not a great carrier, nor a a struggler. He has suprassed toil, a God does not struggle.
The Ubermensch is like a child playing with blocks, placing the pieces where he woud will his creation. And what could be more devilish, to treat others as a piece? But that is the innocence of the Child. His creation will be built with disregard to protest; the child will grow up, and his value bloom as far as the fertile ground his Lion carved out will allow for it.

Who are these men, capable of finding their creative abilities? They are "only the rarest and most lucky" capable of the "most sublime human joys in which Life celebrates its own glorification" (Will to Power 1051). These men do not just appear, they and "their forbears have lived a long preparatory life leading to this goal, without however, having done so consciously." Not everyone is capable of Supermanhood.

It is a mistake to think of this metaphor as a linear path, it, as other aspects of Nietzsche's philosophy such as the Eternal Return, can be conceived of cyclically. A creator finds he can bear ever more weight, fight an even greater fight, and find new "happy isles" for his soil to grow on. How far can this creator go? Well that depends on the soil that he grew on.

I would like to acknowledge Sauwelios for connecting WTP 1051 with the Metamorphoses.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Ubermensch and the Last Man

The two paramount principles of Nietzschean philosophy are the concepts of the Last Man and the Ubermensch. These two concepts are the human-form archetypes of two fundamentally opposing concepts of the meaning of life, the former being that life's purpose is to indulge in pleasures, with no regard to quality, while at the same time eliminating pain. This path leads to degeneracy, and the Last Man is an individual or a collective that partakes in this path of decay and feels perfectly comfortable in doing so, to the point where any opposition to this feeling on the part of another individual makes that individual fit for "the madhouse" (TSZ prelude section 5) .

The Ubermensch sees value in life in the exact opposite, meaning he acts with disregard to "happiness," in the sense of the Last Man's artificial construct of the term, and leads a life of creation and ascension. This type does not seek out any sort of 'perfection' nor a specific 'virtue,' but does act in direct contrast to the degenerating actions of the Last Men by not partaking in a degenerate lifestyle and thereby seeking out 'quality' pleasures.

Although the Ubermensch and Last Man have opposite views on the meaning of life, they are not, thereby, opposite men. The opposite of the Ubermensch or 'Overman' would have to be rendered in the word Untermensch or 'Underman', a term which never is written in Nietzsche's philosophy, but can be rendered with different terms he uses, such as Chandala. This Untermensch is a type who is physiologically unable to take on "Overmanly" characteristics. Because of his physical disadvantage to the type "man," he must do what he can to drag down man, whether is a conscious actor in this process or not.

The Untermensch may make use of a Slave Morality in order to infect humanity and thereby discourage the formulation of an Ubermensch, which, to them, is a devil. This Slave Morality posits that overmanly characteristics are "Evil," while the characteristics of the Untermensch are all "Good." This Slave Morality was created to counter the Overmanly "Master Morality," or the belief that the "Good" are comprised of the beautiful, intelligent, and physically able, while the "Bad" are comprised of the ugly, stupid, and physically handicapped. A "Master Moralist" believes the maintenance of the "Good" is of the utmost importance, even if it comes at the expense of the "Bad."

The Last Man, thereby, is the type "man" who has been infected by the slave morality of the Untermensch. Christianity has been the most successful morality for creating the type Last Man to date, but in recent times has lost influenced and has been replaced by even more subversive ideologies in some places. The highest formulation of the archetype Ubermensch is the man who pulls mankind out of its collective Last-Man-like tendencies and inspires a Renaissance of Overmanly individuals, thereby creating a new mankind.