Thursday, 12 May 2016

Thought 209: Higher Man as Lord and Master


With his claimed death of the Christian God, Nietzsche saw that as signalling a new possibility for what he called 'the higher man' to become Lord and Master, no longer beholden to divine authority and the conscience of the herd concealed within it. 
"You superior humans, this God was your greatest danger.
Only since he has lain the grave have you again been resurrected. Only now does the Great Midday come; only now does the superior human become – lord and master!" 
Heidegger formulated this insight in his philosophical poem The Thinker as Poet (Aus der Erfahrung des Denkens) as follows
"We are too late for the gods and too early for Being.
Being's poem, just begun, is man." 
In other words, God being dead, there is no longer any authority higher than personal conscience, and the higher the conscience, itself governed by level of consciousness, the higher the individual who exercises it.

It was indeed in his polemic On the Genealogy of Morality that Nietzsche foresaw the sovereign individual, fruit of millennia of history, as calling his free will and dominant instinct his conscience
"The proud knowledge of the extraordinary privilege of responsibility, the consciousness of this rare freedom and power over himself and his destiny, has penetrated him to his lowest depths and become an instinct, his dominant instinct – what will he call his dominant instinct, assuming that he needs a word for it? No doubt about the answer: this sovereign human being calls it his conscience..." 
The small insignificant become, in Nietzsche's opinion, but pale imitations of great men offering the necessary resistance for these great men to reach their highest heights in terms of enlightenment and creativity. 
"The masses seem to me to deserve respect in three respects only: first as faded copies of great men produced on poor paper with worn-out plates, then as a force of resistance to great men, finally as instruments in the hands of great men; for the rest, let the Devil and statistics take them!"
And, in his estimation,
"We may venerate the errors of great men as more fruitful than the truths of little men."