The canonical example of a higher man is Goethe.

  • How would his art have been better if he had appeared after Nietzsche?

I assume it would entail something dionysian, perhaps a means of externalising his intrinsic value and chaos.

Though the question is complicated by the way that the herd are not meant to admire the higher type, Nietzsche "Callicleanism", I think we could agree that any such creativity is not "petty". But what even does this mean?

  • Would this higher man's creativity be the only means he has to affirm his life?

I think that, then, they would be concerned with a genuinely unifying project, rather than self-serving etc..

  • What do you mean by "dysonian"? Do you refer to Freeman Dyson? If yes, to which of his thoughts? Thanks.
    – Jo Wehler
    Apr 6, 2016 at 7:45
  • oh very droll spelling sorry
    – user6917
    Apr 6, 2016 at 15:19
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    I'd love to answer given that this is a question on Nietzsche, but I haven't a clue what it means for art to be "better", nor do I see the relevance of being before vs. after Nietzsche.
    – commando
    Apr 6, 2016 at 18:20
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    I would definitely describe Nietzsche's project as historical in a certain sense, but I guess I'm just not seeing why his manic proselytizing should prima facie affect the quality of subsequent art, and I wouldn't know how to evaluate that quality anyway. Are you asking whether Goethe may have drawn influence from Nietzsche in this hypothetical temporal inversion, and whether this could have made Goethe's work "better"?
    – commando
    Apr 6, 2016 at 18:38
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    In that case I'd suggest that the question is unanswerable on the basis of a) the subjectivity of art, and b) the difficulty/impossibility in discerning whether and how Goethe would draw influence from such a diversely interpreted author as Nietzsche
    – commando
    Apr 6, 2016 at 20:04

1 Answer 1


Part 4 of Nietzsche, Friedrich: Thus spoke Zarathustra contains a section entitled „The Higher Man“. Here Zarathustra addresses the higher men (paragraph 11):

“Ye creating ones, ye higher men! One is only pregnant with one's own child.”

What sort of creativity do Nietzsche's higher men have?

Because God is dead, there is nothing more in the way of the higher men. Now they can take over the command by surpassing “the petty people”, who “are the Superman's greatest danger!” (paragraph 3).

Hence the creativity of Nietzsche’s higher men is to create Superman, their child.

I'm not yet convinced that Goethe would count as a higher man in the sense of Nietzsche's characterization. The criterion is that higher men create Superman. Hence one can ask whether Goethe's poetic creation Faust was Superman. But I am not sure about the answer.

  • btw "Nietzsche has three favorite examples of “higher” human beings: Goethe, Beethoven, and Nietzsche himself! " it'd be strange if these "favorite examples" were fabrications of the SEP, but honestly i don't feel like trawling thru everything nietzsche had written to argue this point
    – user6917
    Apr 6, 2016 at 15:26
  • do you have a reference for "The criterion is that higher men create Superman". obviously the two terms are closely linked, but i'm not sure it's a "criterion" and without a reference, primary or secondary, to that effect, your answer is an expression of opinion. also, you didn't answer either of my questions, and failed to show that they were based on a false premise
    – user6917
    Apr 6, 2016 at 15:33
  • @Mathemetician Please see the references from my answer concerning my conclusion that higher men shall create SUPERMAN.
    – Jo Wehler
    Apr 6, 2016 at 15:48
  • i think i agree with that point (tho i hadn't thought it quite so elegantly, assuming that the higher men create the overman as their child, not the overman itself), and it's referenced enough, my point would be that you provide no reasons nor support for the claim that it's the criterion of them or their creativity. as such, the answer is incomplete.
    – user6917
    Apr 6, 2016 at 15:53
  • i think that the higher men take on the overman's values, and live through them. you think that the overman is created by the higher man. without a means of deciding, who is right ?
    – user6917
    Apr 6, 2016 at 16:26

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