I am starting to get into Nietzsche's philosophy, through his book "The joyful wisdom"/"the gay science". In the first chapter, "The Teachers of the Object of Existence", he writes:

Whether I look with a good or an evil eye upon men, I find them always at one problem, each and all of them: to do that which conduces to the conservation of the human species.

And after a few lines:

Even the most hurtful man is still perhaps, in respect to the conservation of the race, the most useful of all; for he conserves in himself or by his effect on others, impulses without which mankind might long ago have languished or decayed

The first thing that comes to my mind are people like Hitler and Stalin. Does this idea not ignore their presence? Or am I missing something?

1 Answer 1


Yes. He is just describing Darwinism, which relates to his conception of the Will To Power.

“Out of life’s school of war — what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.” -in Twilight of the Idols

His interest is in engaging with mythic behaviour and language, to reorganise the world like a Biblical prophet or a culture hero. Discussed here: Nietzsche on balancing service to the creation of (or becoming) the Overman and living a life of ones own choosing?

You might like this discussion on his attitudes to dictators and political violence: Would Nietzsche approve of the concept of dictatorship?

And this about the context of his time, and the misappropriation of his work by his sister: Why didn't Nietzsche's work take off in his time?

  • 1
    Ah, I see. I'll go through these. Thanks.
    – Rice Field
    Jul 23, 2023 at 7:10

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