Essay on the Philosophy of Nietzsche Theories
Theory of Superman:
Accordingly, Nietzsche holds that, “The Superman is the meaning of the earth.” Superman is the ultimate goal of man. He is the most powerful. At the outset, Nietzsche recognised Superman in the form of powerful people like Napoleon and Caesar but he later changed his opinion and treated it as a race superior to man.
According to Nietzsche, the development of the human race is impossible without awakening the instincts of power and authority and disposing of tendencies like pity, benevolence, sympathy, etc. The real test of any race or individual is its or his power.
Thus the supreme duty is to come into possession of power. Superman develops all his powers. His conduct has a particular style. Love of struggle and danger, power, reason, bravery and pride are his causal qualities.
Criticism of Christianity:
All the institutions which are obstacles in the development of this superman should be exterminated. One such, and the biggest, is Christianity. Christ perfected the morality of slaves. The main reasons for the degeneration of humanity are submissiveness, benevolence, escapism, Christian values, etc. Faith and superstitions are extreme hindrances in thinking. Imaginations of another world detract from the importance of this world.
Pity and sympathy are bad, both for the victim and the victor. Neighborly love is a misspending of energy. Rigour is superior to pity and criticism to flattery. Christ made horses and donkeys members of the same level. Equality is the principle of slaves.
Criticism of Democracy:
Christianity gave birth to and established institutions of slavery like democracy, utilitarianism and socialism. Democracy means effeminacy because it talks of equal rights of man and woman. The equality of democracy makes humanity identical with herd of sheep. Criticism of Hedonism
Contradicting Freud, Nietzsche does not give much importance to sex. According to him the supreme motivating cause is the will to power. Even sex is subordinate to it. The attainment of power necessitates extreme self control.
Man should be a staunch realist. Man wants more power, not more pleasure. Sacrifices have to be made and obstacles overcome for the attainment of power. Pain and struggle add to power. Passions should be sublimated.
Criticism of Romanticism:
Being opposed to all types of sentimentality, Nietzsche criticised Romanticism too. Romanticism is a conglomeration of Egoism and weakness. It looks to the past. What it does not think is that there may be a superman in future more powerful than those in the past.
Master morality and slave morality:
Nietzsche illustrated two classes in society and two kinds of morality prevalent in them—morality of the masters and morality of slaves. The Roman morality was the morality of masters and its qualities were bravery, masculinity and enterprise.
The morality of slaves is exemplified by the Jews. The morality of the masters is the morality of the powerful. The slave morality characterises the weak. “Slave morality is essentially the morality of utility.” The slave morality is responsible for the deterioration of mankind. Its place should be taken by the master morality.
Revaluation of values:
Nietzsche stressed the importance of a revaluation of values. Values should be transformed. Nietzsche was neither antiquarian nor a supporter of new values. It is necessary to judge all values by the criterion of reason, only the successful ones being established.
Rome and Greece progressed because of their ideals, and their downfall was the result of Christian ideals. Man should absolve himself of institutions like hedonism, romanticism and democracy. The aim of mankind is the evolution of the superman, not that of the common man. Qualities which assist in power gaining are superior qualities and the ones to be cultivated.
Relativity of morality:
Thus, Nietzsche treats good and bad as relative. They are not absolute, changing with man’s situation and environment outside which they lack any meaning. As has been said before too, in Nietzsche’s opinion phenomenon is not moral, only their interpretation is moral and this interpretation changes temporally and spatially.
According to Nietzsche the aim of entire humanity in the evolution of a race of superman for which old values will have to be revaluated. It is the duty of every powerful person that he does a revaluation of values in a novel way.
His study revealed to him that the ideals of Rome and Greece were high. There was life in them; reason, enterprise and endurance in them. They emphasized the healthy condition of body, mind and soul.
Education of these three is essential. Christianity transformed this ideal and the result was the dereliction of Europe. Nietzsche did not mean to say that ancient ideals are good in every situation. He realised that they were better suited to the attainment of power but it was his belief that we can improve upon the ancient ideals and achieve the stage of superman.
Beyond good and evil:
It is Nietzsche’s contention that superman is beyond good and evil. Also that all the laws related to entire Ethics, to the present day, have resulted in the propagation of weak and piteous human race. In order that a race of superman may now replace it, Ethics will have to be transformed.
Thus, on the one hand, this dictum of Nietzsche’s serves to disprove old moral laws but, on the other hand it attempts the establishment of a novel morality. But this morality will be constructed only by the supermen themselves.
They are not obliged by any predetermined moral law. According to Nietzsche, no moral law is absolute and unqualified by circumstances. The sole aim of cosmos and the man is the evolution of superman. These supermen are beyond judgments of good and bad. Whatever the superman do is good and whatever he despises is bad.