What Are The Characteristics Of The Übermensch?

The Übermensch, in Nietzsche’s mind, would be the most diverse living person who attains numerous perspectives towards life. According to Nietzsche, the Übermensch is a goal that humanity should strive for. The way of the Übermensch is a means to avoid a Platonic idealism and Christianity’s other-worldliness. Concerned with an advent of passive nihilism, Nietzsche urges us to find meaning in our earthly existence in Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883):

“A new pride my ego taught me, and this I teach men: no longer to bury one’s head in the sand of heavenly things, but to bear it freely, an earthly head, which creates a meaning for the earth.”

In another passage of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Zarathustra speaks:

“Behold, I teach you the Übermensch. The Übermensch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the Übermensch shall be the meaning of the earth! I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes.”

This makes one wonder what specific features the Nietzschean Übermensch possesses that are so radically different from other human beings. I have had quite some trouble pinpointing these features that characterize the Übermensch. However, I recently came across this excellent description by Richard Schacht from his book Nietzsche (1983) that I would like to share:

“Overflowing vitality and great health; powerful affects and the ability to control and direct them; high spirituality and refinement of sensibility and manners; independence of mind and action; the capacity to befriend and to respect and disdain and deal justly with others as they warrant; intellectual honesty and astuteness; the strength to be undaunted by suffering and disillusionment; persistence in self-overcoming; the resources to undertake and follow through on the most demanding of tasks; and the ability to love and esteem, and above all to create – this configuration of qualities well warrants identification as the consummation of human existence translated back into nature and then transformed beyond it.”

This attentive description is in line with most people’s conception of Nietzsche’s ideal human. Nonetheless, I still wonder whether there are some other characteristics of the Übermensch that Schacht has overlooked here. Two other distinctive attributes of the Übermensch that I could think of is (1) the Übermensch’ power of self-expression, and (2) his attitude towards the acceptance of fate which can be described as Amor Fati and which has culminated in the conception of the ‘Eternal Recurrence’. Are there any others?

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One thought on “What Are The Characteristics Of The Übermensch?

  1. Pingback: From DC to Marvel, which Super Hero is the True Ubermensch | Paul Stears

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