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How Nietzsche isn't a Nihilist, but how his Übermensch addresses Nihilism

So many confuse Nietzsche as a Nihilist. They are WRONG. Nietzsche's predicted the abyss and destruction of values. The fall of Christian values in the twilight of the World Wars. In this prediction, he gave us the gift of overcoming ourselves. The Übermensch.

The lightning crackling from the dark clouds- he carries as a camel the burden of his virtue, he carries as a lion the ferocity against the 1001 scales of dead morals. He carries the childlike joy of creation. And in creation, he saves us from the heavy abyss of Nihilism, that corrodes all value.

So what is Nihilism? The rejection of religious and moral principles on the belief that life is meaningless. Just from a look at the philosophy of Nietzsche, he presents his own moral concepts, mainly the genealogy of morals. The Master morality as the morality of those more beast-like, virile and powerful men. This power extends so far as subjecting people to slavery... bonds for life. In response, almost out of spite, the contrarian morals of kindness, love, charity, sacrifice and martyrdom are presented. The morals of Christ's imitation are excellent examples, as they were subjugated under Roman dominance. And even further, Nietzsche plays in the sandbox of the metaphysical with his notion of the eternal recurrence that you will live out every decision of your life, over and over cyclically. Similar in concept to reincarnation in Eastern religions.

But in the 1880s, Nihilism was not yet a dominant issue, or belief. But that German Spirit of nationalism and warfare were quiet quakes in the ground. Nietzsche, the sharp and brilliant traveller of Europe recognised this, recognised the failing belief in Religion, recognised the failing belief in Governance, the failing belief in Monarchs... and saw the 20th century and the abyss of values and all the pain and death in its wake. He saw to WW1 and saw beyond that an abyss would exist, and be filled by those Nazis, Capitalists, Communists and all sorts of ideologues that carry on even to this day. And in this he devised the ultimate panacea to a man's problems in the face of such an upcoming calamity.

So what is this Übermensch? To understand it we'll read of Zarathustra. "Behold! I shall show you the Last Man.

'What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?' thus asks the Last Man and blinks.

The earth has become small, and upon it hops the Last man, who makes everything small. His race is as inexterminable as the flea; the Last Man lives longest.

'We have discovered happiness' say the Last Men and blink.

No herdsmen and one herd. Everyone wants the same thing, everyone is the same: whoever thinks otherwise goes voluntarily into the madhouse." Thus spoke Zarathustra... And thus presents the foil to the Übermensch. The Last Man... the Üntermensch. Those who do not know a star, the heaviness of responsibility, morality, virtue or values... they have no gravity around them and no weight to their words. They live longest, and in long life, suffer a poor death, demented laying in a hospital bed. They have discovered happiness as a formula, and produce it in surplus... A Soma for their Brave New World. They have no concept of love, for they have never felt its warmth- no concept of creation for they never made their virtues, or their lives... merely followed the herd.

The Übermensch, is the foil to the Üntermensch. Nietzsche does not answer directly what the Übermensch is... instead preferring to riddle and show the many paths and tightropes across to the Übermensch. As Zarathustra speaks... "What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal; what can be loved in man is that he is a going-across and a down-going.

I love him who loves his virtue: for virtue is the will to downfall and an arrow of longing.

I love him who is ashamed when the dice fall in his favour and who then asks: Am I then a cheat? for he wants to perish.

I love him who throws golden words in advance of his deeds and always performs more than he promised: for he wills his own downfall.

I love all those who are like heavy drops falling singly from the dark cloud that hangs over mankind: they prophesy the coming of the lightning and as prophets they perish." And so on and so forth, Zarathustra spoke.

Seeing this, you can see quickly how many different paths there are to this mythical Übermensch. Zarathustra carries on about three metamorphoses of the spirit. The first, the camel, then a lion, and at last a child. To the camel, its embodiment is the strength and endurance of a weight-bearing spirit... the spirit of a star. "What is the heaviest thing, you heroes?

The weight bearing spirit takes upon itself all these heaviest things: like a camel hurrying laden into the desert"

And so the camel, with the spirit of a star, with the heaviest weight of things finds the abyss, the straw that breaks the camels back... both the lightest and heaviest of all... and so begins the second metamorphosis... "But in the loneliest desert the second metamorphosis occurs: the spirit here becomes a lion; it wants to capture freedom and be lord in its own desert.

It seeks here its ultimate lord: it will be an enemy to him..."

"What is the great dragon which the spirit no longer wants to call lord and God? The great dragon is called 'Thou shalt'. But the spirit of the lion says 'I will!'". And in its defiance, the lion secures its freedom, its individualism, but still the heavy weight of the abyss lies upon him, for destroying a thousand years and thousand scales of the Dragon does not lend himself to creation... and so the final metamorphosis... to a child. "Why must the preying lion still become a child? The child is innocence and forgetfulness, a new beginning, a sport, a self-propelling wheel, a first motion, a sacred Yes.

Yes, a sacred Yes is needed, my brothers, for the sport of creation: the spirit now wills its own will, the spirit sundered from the world now wins its own world." In such, one must reach that playful innocence of a child to create new values, to create in the manner of his own will. To create his own virtue. To create something beyond himself- beyond the internal. Indeed, Nietzsche had a true love of such people who would take such a journey, such goats who would climb the mountain to the highest peak, and like Heracles, to delve to the deepest depth... of the Underworld.

It is worth noting, that the Übermensch does not necessarily use Master or Slave morals... for Zarathustra speaks "I love him who chastises his God because he loves his God: for he must perish by the anger of his God"- a deep respect for those martyrs who embody the spirit of the Übermensch in death- and glimpse the flash of the Übermenschen lightning. Of all prophets in most religions, one could say they embody the spirit of the Übermensch, even Jesus Christ whom Nietzsche consider himself as Revelations' Antichrist.

And that is why Nietzsche is not a Nihilist- his belief in the Übermensch, the transvaluation of values. The metamorphoses of the spirit. The eternal recurrence and Amor Fati- all are potent cures against the waste of Nihilism. And Nietzsche's love of all those who make, even just the attempt... clears him of his misanthropy. In short, Nietzsche cared quite deeply and sensitively about the death of God, the abyss of values, and the chaos that would come in its wake- and presented the Übermensch as a foil against- potentially comparable at the highest level, to Plato's Philosopher King.

Published on 2023/11/27

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