|The Sign In My Backyard.|
Time for another blog post. It has been a weird last couple of months and I say that without remorse. But I had been asking for someone to send me a sign that I was on the right path. So, in the last few days I've found myself thinking about Nietzche's book Thus Spoke Zarathustra. This act itself seems to have lead to my sign. It's amazing that Nietzche predicted my becoming a Übermensch so long ago. It's a sign from the past. Something like the one in my backyard that I stole but not quite.
Let me explain. For those of you who haven't read the book, or tried but couldn't get through it, I'll give you a bit of a background (and I won't give away the ending). Suffice to say a it's a dense and esoteric treatise on philosophy and morality. The book stars a character coincidentally called Zarathustra, who in real life was an ancient Persian prophet who was the first to preach that the universe is engaged in a fundamental struggle between good and evil (which had a profound effect on the moral set up of both the Christian and Jewish faiths). This concept of good versus evil thing, of course, lead to all sorts of messes in today's modern world. So, Nietzsche names his character Zarathustra because as he puts it, “Zarathustra created this most calamitous error, morality; consequently, he must also be the first to recognize it.” In short, Nietzsche reinvents Zarathustra in order to correct the philosophical mistakes he felt the prophet made. It's like the first "what if" scenario in literary history.
He creates the concept of the Übermensch (roughly translated as "overman"– sometimes “superman” but should really be referred to without the male connotation) as his ideal of a creative, independent, spiritual genius. It's the final step in an evolution of humanity from the ape (I've met a few) through to man (meaning that not as a male thing) to overman. An overman is very sexy, highly intelligent (like readers of this blog) and he or she has his own morality, self directed and suited only to him or her.
In order for one to become a full overman one has to create their own values. You cannot subscribe to those thousands of peoples with their thousand different conceptions of good and evil: a conception of good that expresses the goals they hope to achieve. So, I looked, and voila, I have unknowingly been doing this for very many years. Alas, THE SIGN.
But I'm not totally 'there' yet. I must still remind myself to suffer. Suffering is evidently as essential to becoming an overman as ketchup is to french fries. And change is essential. The new Zarathustra asserts that life and wisdom are like dancing women: constantly changing, always seductive. Those who have a healthy attitude toward life and truth enjoy their constantly changing nature. People who see truth as fixed, which is what religion and politics would have us believe, have sadly grown tired of life. I'm okay with change, and have the laundry to prove it. And if I must I can put up with the dancing women thing.
The best part, and the one that convinced me I'm on the verge of overman status, is that Nietzsche states that only the most original in society can rise above the masses and shine. Therefore, an artist has a better chance to hit overman status than a political or religious leader.
So move over: I am about to arrive. I have seen the sign. Now leave me alone. I have a mountain cave to disappear to for quite a while and there is a dance floor to be installed.