Übermensch

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Übermensch is a concept from philosophy. The concept is used to describe a human that has outgrown himself or herself, that is no longer burdened by the sorrows of ordinary people. Today, the concept is mainly known from the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche who, in his 1883 book Thus Spoke Zarathustra (German: Also sprach Zarathustra), Nietzsche has his character Zarathustra suggest the Übermensch as a goal for humanity to set for itself. Nietzsche thought that the moral values of the Catholic Church were outdated. For him, an Übermensch is one that is able to develop moral values which are not based on religion, but rather, rooted in Nihilism. When Nietsche used the term, he took most of the ideas from the French philosopher Claude Adrien Helvétius. Helvetius used the term homme supérieur.

The idea itself is much older: Dionysius of Halicarnassus talked about a "hyperanthropos" (hyper: above, anthropos: human) in the first century BC. He lived c. 60 – after 7 BC) and was a Greek historian and teacher of rhetoric.

Lucian used the term, to talk about noblemen, who would be "cut back to their real size" in the realm of the dead. In his Divine Comedy, Dante used the hapax legomenon transhumanar to refer to the Übermensch. Transhumanar is a verb. The writings of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite influenced Dante Pseudo-Dyonysius is an early Christian writer from Syria, who lived in the 6th century. He is not known by name, but used the pen name Dionysius Areopagita. Dionysius Areopagita lived in the 1st century, and was one of the bishops of Athens. Thomas Aquinas, Augustine of Hippo, and Matthew also had similar ideas.

Related pages[change | change source]

  • Untermensch - a term used by many racists to refer to people of what they consider inferior races