File spoon-archives/nietzsche.archive/nietzsche_1995/nietzsche_Dec17.95, message 10


Date: Sun, 17 Dec 1995 19:04:14 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: overman questions . . .


On Sat, 16 Dec 1995 V200KG6U-AT-ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu wrote:

> 
> It does seem, at times, as if Nietzsche envisions a new type
> of being who will, in a certain sense, form a class that will
> be 'higher' in relation to us, the very 'last men' of history.
> But ther are certain characteristics of this new type which
> must be taken into account, and these do not suggest either a
> stable or even determinable identity that would give rise to
> an ideology (remember, Nietzsche himself claimed to be the
> last anti-political thinker left in Germany).  The 'superman'
> is said by Nietzsche to build his house beneath Vesuvias (sic?),
> that is, to be one who lives dangerously, who is willing at all
> times to risk everything, including himself.  More to the point,
> though, and the point of this comment that is most 'interpretive'
> on my part, is the relationhip implied between the suprman and
> the notion of eternal recurrence.  The superman is one who affirms,
> who affirms even when there is nothing left to affirm--perhaps
> most of all this--who affirms (to paraphrase Stevens) the nothing
> that is . . .  The highest expression of *this* affirmation is
> the thought of the eternal recurrence insofar as this thought
> is an affirmation of a paradoxically endless finality which comes
> at the end of *everything* (everything here refers to Hegel) . . .
> In this the superman must, then, affirm his own demise, even
> *will* it insofar as the eternal return, or rather the thought
> of return and its affirmation is inscribed as *process*, as
> *will to power*, where 'strictly speaking there is no will as such'.
> 
> Can a class be built from this?  Can there be anything stable 
> enough--illusory or no--which would provide a grounds for
> an ideology?  For politics?  
> 
> Chris Devenney
> Dept. of Comp. Lit.
> SUNY -AT- Buffalo
> 
> 
> 	--- from list nietzsche-AT-jefferson.village.virginia.edu ---
> 
Chris,

Your allusion to Steven's "The Snowman" is remarkably apt, and allows a 
reading to a line which has always struck me as curious. Maybe Stevens was 
a Nietzschean without knowing it.

My take on the uebermensch is somewhat predetermined by Heidegger's 
reading. In --What is called thinking--he maps out the complex 
typology which sends the uebermensch on his way. What I am struck by is 
the "vorgeher" who makes possible the uebermensch. By bridging over 
(ueberbrucken) or straddling both worlds, the uebermensch is summoned.
Now, I don't have the text nearby, isn't Zarathustra the vorgeher (or 
uebergeher) who provides the necessary preparations for moving beyond (to 
the next level of existence)? 

The difficulty I have in interpreting in Zarathustra in light of a 
possible (political) mobilization is the proximity this interpretation 
has to simplistic (not to say dangerous) kinds of national-socialism. 
The later writings clearly operate outside of a political 
intervention. Although, Lacoue-Labarthe's own reading of Nietzsche (I'm 
thinking of History and Mimesis and Musica Ficta, among others) provides 
an explicit political mapping of Nietzsche's historical, aesthetic "project."

Hence, I am of the belief that a Nietzschean politics can be found (It's 
far too easy), yet what kind of politics (as you pointed out) can enclose 
the uebermensch, and where does this reading tend?

Douglas Berman
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
English and Comparative Literature Department


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