AW 64

Scruton’s Hegelian style attack on liberalism which distorts the value of freedom. Making it out to be an illegitimate an shallow abstraction.

Apparent parallels between Mencius and Socrates.

Reason = happiness and virtue.
How false is this picture? The idea of virtue may well come across as restraint upon crude appetite, which itself promises happiness. But it does not really promise happiness. Insofar as it detached from the world of culture it may promise more happiness.
But then maybe we could have a different culture without virtue.

When Mencius speaks of the attraction of virtue as like that of gravity, this is in itself suggest the idea of will to power.

The idea of will to power is a repudiation of the idea of unlimited malleability. But isn’t the Ubermensch the teleological terminus, so to speak, evil rather than virtuous? But not in the sense that is criticised socially. Intrinsically the Ubermensch is conceived as good way to be.



BA 163 Schopenhauer as Educator, written when he was still a Schopenhauerian. Germs of Ubermensch ideas. But it cannot be what he means in his maturity,. Looking through the medium of the will to power must change the meaning despite the attachment to his old principle.
No longer is he thinking just of genius. Also there is the problem of the self abnegation, apparent inconsistency.
So what point does this ideal hold?

AS 69& Ubermensch. Having overcome the apparent limitations of the human. The apparent imperfection of the human. The striving for some godlike state of perfection. See this as a myth, like the Buddha myth. Being not content to be merely human, i.e. to live as others. To shed one’s human qualities in some kind of divine ecstasy.
What is this idea of surpassing, this superman ideal?
This idea that what is to succeed must be better than whatever went before. As if a satisfactory happiness has never been possible. As if even Roderic Bogie failed to attain to it. As if there is something to achieve that has not yet been achieved.
Is this nothing but an ideal, like a religious idea, to promote the achievement of affirmation?

311 Thrasymachus and his portrait of the unjust man. Extent to which is wrong. I.e. not a picture of the highest human happiness. But why might it seem to be so? Here again we get the rebellious aspect. What is expressed, a kind of taboo breaking, a resistance to repressive morality.
The unjust man as the Ubermensch. Even the unjust man is a dimension of present desire. I.e. his desirability is the expression of something else. A particular perspective.

322 Berdayev. He sees a sort of bankruptcy in Nietzsche. The Ubermensch. As if in his effort to do whatever he is doing he has had to go beyond humanism into something inhuman. He sees mediaeval society as embarked on a great historical task, that of rising superior to the natural man. But that is not really good sound honest history.

The Ubermensch is the unjust man. He is more a demand than an image of happiness, Thrasymachus himself is in rebellion against a code. Plato shows a way of restoring the code that is convincing up to a point. A code as the expression of power rather than as in subjection to it. Like a way of initiation. Nietzsche gets involved in history. How can history be made exciting? Boehme makes Christianity exciting by identifying the psychological principles that make excitement.

AV 154 Idea of the soldier. “The military school of life”. Soldier as being able to plunder and rape. Attitude of both Hitler and Stalin to rape.
Iago “Put money in thy purse, follow these wars” Killing’ looting and raping. The discipline to which he submits like a means to an ultimate absence of discipline, to unrestrained action. Disciplined for the needs of states. Mercenaries.
But this lack of restraint is far from the Ubermensch. The real beast who imposes his own will on states.

251 The great health, the Ubermensch. Forget them. The idea that the ideal proposed as the Ubermensch or the great health are what offer the ultimate solution to Nietzsche’s problem of overcoming demoralisation. That to overcome slave morality it is not enough to diagnose it and adopt master morality.
This is a psychological way of approaching it, and clearly different from my own.
Richardson, Parkes. The idea that the discovery of will to power does not in itself solve Nietzsche’s problem, but that has to wait until the Ubermensch and Eternal return. Or the great health
Why do some not see mater morality as something to be imitated? This question of terminology, but actually more than that.
One of these views is wrong, one is clearly a misreading, either mine or the others.
Richardson sees will to power as confirmed by facts. But he does not see this in itself as a solution to Nietzsche’s problem.. This itself is a precarious psychological procedure of trying to achieve affirmation. That this fundamental problem, variously expressible as overcoming nihilism, demoralisation, repelling slave morality.

BI 147 Ubermensch as object of inspiration. Something beyond the lion or the king, which is the perfection of the human male. An esoteric image, a myth or a symbol, rich in meaning. The Ubermensch is the ultimate realisation of yourself. Your own triumph, spurning all judgement that obstructs you. So in what sense is it a social ideal? In that one wants magical children, People who have absorbed your own culture.

From Aleister Crowley As Guru

The superman in the form of Sanine , or the Master Therion, is someone above all the normal problems of life, powerful, resourceful and superabundantly healthy. Crowley often chose to present himself thus. His life conflicts are described in a context of the noblest idealism. He has no hang-ups, no bitterness, envy or hatred. This is presumably why Symonds says he was surprisingly unintrospective. His nobility, his supermanhood, is preserved by the externalisation of all his problems. He presents himself as a practical and efficient man of action.
There is a paradox in the superman persona. He is the serpent in lion's clothing. The serpent was the subtlest beast of the field. The lion, as king of beasts, represents conventional moral strength. It does not admit to weakness or resentment as elements in its character. The later Goethe projected a leonine image. However the lion is too stupid to become the superman. The superman has grown outside conventional values, and this is how he has mastered them. He has grown outside them because he has rejected them, and he has done this because he has suffered from them. In the process of overcoming this oppression, he has broken the code most thoroughly and comprehensively. Nothing has stood in his way, neither justice, loyalty, nor common decency. If he now dons the mantle of superior virtue, this is because he is able to rationalise the path he has taken in terms of duty to God, or some other externalisation

In contrast to Symonds, Susan Roberts's biography of Crowley, The Magician of the Golden Dawn', is a presentation of the superman persona. In a way, to take that persona at face value diminishes it, reduces to the leonine, cuts him down to size. But it does give a useful perspective. Dali's egomania took a different form. Roberts' biography paradoxically brings Crowley down to earth, it makes him seem less incommensurable with other people. Much of this apparent superiority is due to this presenting as manifestations of mere Saninian strength what was far more likely to be the manifestation of a violent reaction against weakness. The manifestation, be it strength or weakness, has itself the power and mystery of art. There is no art apart from profound discontent with conventional values. The great artist is not some kind of Olympian superadult, giving people superior toys to play with, from his position of serene mature wisdom and insight. He is one trying hard to enjoy himself. It is not that he has surpassed conventional happiness, not that he is so abundant in it that he creates more of it. His strength is not superhuman. He is driven by his discontent, his dissatisfaction with conventional values, ordinary roads to fulfilment and happiness, to remould them, to remake them so they can serve his purposes properly.
The yellow press was of great help to Crowley in promoting a superman image. The building up of a devil figure can produce an object of admiration and identification for those who despise the values of those who create it. The devil is a hate object compounded of insecurities. Symonds' expressed opposition to Crowley is apparently quite fundamental, it seems to be of someone belonging to an opposite camp, like an ideological enemy. The effect, however, is that Symonds with his moralising is like the straight man of a pair of comedians. Conventional newspaper morality sets off Crowley's eccentricity very well. Crowley makes us laugh, and this can be built on. It is a form of illumination.
The reality of people like Crowley is that they react as they do by sheer reflex action. In the process of reacting they are creative. For those who are on his side, he is a solace and an encouragement, his superhuman legend more than his reality. All his actions take on a special heroic quality, as if they are messages, as if everything he does is part of a deliberately created work of art. Usually they just spring from the necessity of his position. Moves of desperation seem like acts of great evil and perversity.

From zarathustra-s-alchemy
The twin pillars of Zarathustra’s message are meant entirely seriously but not to be read entirely literally. The Ubermensch is a symbol open to various applications. In part it is a blasphemous parody of the sacredness that has long dominated the world of spirit. The same goes for the deadly seriousness of the eternal recurrence. Earnestly to treat the doctrine as a test to which his readers are called upon to submit themselves is an unfortunate mistake. These myths are exhilarating because of what they defy and overcome. Eighteenth century materialism had something of this defiant spirit, which tended to get lost in nineteenth century agnosticism.

Here’s from my Misreading Nietzsche:-

Richardson follows Parkes in upholding the central importance of ideals like the Ubermensch, and the Great Health. Taking such a view the demoralising philosophical perplexity does not get solved short of the formulation of such grand ideals.

Though Richardson sees the will to power perspective as confirmed by facts, he does not see this in itself as Nietzsche’s ultimate message. This would apparently emerge from a psychological procedure of trying to achieve affirmation. Nietzsche’s solution as I see it is intellectual and for all time. The discovery itself has overcome nihilism. The alternative view, popular among recent scholars, would see that as only a preliminary step. It turns Nietzsche himself into a potentially sick thinker, with his subjective attitudes and opinions assuming a much greater importance to the essence of his philosophy.

Their suggestion is that that the ideals proposed as the Ubermensch or the great health, are what offer the ultimate solution to Nietzsche’s fundamental problem, which we might still presumably state as overcoming demoralisation, conquering nihilism, and repelling slave morality. It means that to overcome slave morality it is not enough to diagnose it and embrace master morality, but that we further need to adopt a therapeutic strategy derived from some of the many hints and suggestions Nietzsche made about psychology or politics. This is a psychological, even subjective way of looking at Nietzsche’s problem quite different from convicting his opponents of clear error.

The obvious weaknesses of such a solution lies in its instability. It is indeed dangerous. If it is taken as an answer to the original question, then demoralisation is not something that can be got rid of once and for all. It is not like a scientific problem that has been solved, but a psychological or even a political programme which may or may not work. On my view Nietzsche himself solved his problem, and the process of solving it is not something that has to be repeated indefinitely, even though to access it we enter into his state of mind.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License