In Friedrich Nietzsche’s novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra, he frequently refers to something called the overman. But what is this overman? In the original German it is spelled Ubermensch, which can also be translated as superman or super human. Nonetheless, the overman is portrayed as Nietzsche’s idea of the perfect person. A perfect person that he feels we should all strive to become.
The main idea portrayed by Nietzsche in the book is that we all should abandon the ideas morality presented by Christianity, and develop our own views on morality. He not only wants people to develop a new basis of morality but also a new way of thinking about morality. Nietzsche believes that the correct form of morality is what he calls the overman. Thus in Nietzsche’s grand plan for the overman, in the end its principles would come to take the place of Christian morality.
Nietzsche refers to his new way of thinking as the overman. He most likely calls it this because he feels he is overcoming humanity and the overmen will preside over the rest of the population that has not adopted the ways of the overman. Morality has long been the foundation of human existence. Everyone is always preoccupied with the decision to decide what is right and what is wrong. Thus, Nietzsche feels by rethinking and retooling morality he is overcoming humanity. He believes the overman approach to life is the only approach worth taking.
Then what is this radical idea of the overman? Overall it is Friedrich Nietzsche’s goal for the human race. In order to achieve this ambitious goal Nietzsche says we must complete a sort of self-overcoming. Moreover we must overcome our past ideals of morality and accepted new ideas. But, the goal of becoming the overman is not an ordinary goal. When most people think of goals they think of beating a high score or losing weight, but the goal of becoming the overman is much less quantifiable. When on the path of achieving an ordinary goal it is easy to track your progress, but in the goal of becoming the overman it is not. However there are no reference points to track your progress in this goal. Because this goal is completely abstract, it is impossible to determine if and when the goal is fulfilled. Some many argue the goal cannot be achieved, for it is impossible to be perfect or the ideal person. No matter how hard you try to overcome your past standards of morality, your conscience will override your decisions with its instinct of what is right and what is wrong. But if for some reason one does achieve the status of overman, their lives would be dramatically altered. When a normal goal is achieved the person’s actions create improvements in their quest for the goal. However in the goal of becoming the overman, the improvements you make dictate your actions. The overman’s overall goal of being is to evaluate and question morality in the lives of all people.
But all goals are bound by restrictions. Goals such as being the best bowler have noticeable restrictions. The maximum score one can receive is three hundred. Thus the bowler is restricted from becoming any better. Such is the case for anyone trying to achieve overman status. Logic tells us that it is impossible to achieve perfection, and it is nearly impossible to override your conscience. The process of developing one’s conscience is a matter of nurture that takes quite a long time through childhood and adolescence. It is not something that is easily manipulated after it has been formed.
Nietzsche intends for the goal of the overman to be an opportunity to pursue our desires, not to stop once the goal is complete. He also intends for the goal to be complex, it should open many pathways for us to satisfy our desires. Also the goal is producing these pathways to explore other goals and desires. The overman is not a single man it is society in general as Nietzsche intended it. There can also be many types of overman fro not everyone’s...
Cited: Fennell, J. "NIETZSCHE CONTRA "SELF-REFORMULATION"" Studies in Philosophy & Education 24.2 (2005): 85. Http://connection.ebscohost.com. Web. 12 Dec. 2012.
Jonas, Mark E. "A (R)evaluation of Nietzsche’s Anti-democratic Pedagogy: The Overman, Perspectivism, and Self-overcoming." Studies in Philosophy & Education 28.2 (2009): 153-69. Microsoft Academic Search. Web. 12 Dec. 2012.
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