The idea of the superman in Nietzsche's works is a crucial element as he uses it as a foundation from which to attempt to challenge the ingrained values of society. These values behind what is considered to be good and evil, he asserts, having been founded on the Christian faith serve only to hamper human potential and have no basis on our everyday experiences (486-487, The Portable Nietzsche by Viking Press). His aim is to show us that for society to be able to live up to its true potential we need a new system of values which is more suited to our needs. In rejecting the idea of a God who gives us values changeless and transcendent of the everyday world he gives us superman, a real individual who creates values which are firmly rooted in the everyday changing world. This is someone who, by trusting his own intuitive sense of what is good and evil, succeeds better than any other. It is argued that only by following his example can we hope to improve ourselves and our society.
[...] The superman therefore is the ideal of someone who has mastered the practice of overcoming himself. The source of his strength lies in the cherishing of the same natural desires restricted in Christianity. Sex for him is, great invigoration of the heart", the lust to rule a "gift giving virtue" (in that it allows new ideas and life to ascend to those "pure and lonely self-sufficient heights" which "should not remain lonely and self sufficient eternally"), and selfishness is "blessed, wholesome [and] healthy" (301-302). [...]
[...] For the superman since there is no proof of an afterlife it would then be a fatal mistake to assume it exists only because someone says so. For him, since there is no afterlife, to do anything other than make the most of this life would be unthinkable. Ultimately it all boils down to the nature of belief. You cannot convince someone of the superiority of the superman idea to any other if they already have an unshakable faith in Christianity because the two are mutually exclusive. [...]
[...] Though suffering is at times necessary the superman redeems himself from it in his constant creating. This creating which allows him to overcome himself and through trial thus leads to improvement he calls his "will's joy" (199). So if in order to overcome himself he must create and in creating he feels joy if he is constantly overcoming then with all the resulting joy he experiences, naturally, very little room is left for suffering. Which method best fulfills our needs and which works most effectively in everyday life? [...]
[...] With his doctrine of the superman Nietzsche seeks to give us values that at the same time, create a medium where power is realized and strength flourishes, and define a purpose for life. The superman is someone who in discovering himself (306) also discovers that it is in his best interests to reject any outside notions about values, trusting rather what he finds within himself. He creates his own good and evil, based on that which helps him to succeed or fail. [...]
[...] In this light, "the practice of the church is hostile to life" (487). Not only that but, carrying this view further, the afterworld is seen as a mere contrivance by the founders of the religion, its only purpose to mislead its followers into believing that the adoption of its values is so vital. From this angle the fact that these values promote a weakening and sickening of society shows it to be just as destructive as the nihilism it seeks to replace. [...]
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