The way Nietzsche talks about the last man suggests that they are concerned with making life more bearable, and not much else.

A little poison now and then: that makes for pleasant dreams. And much poison at the end for a pleasant death.

One still works, for work is a pastime. But one is careful lest the pastime should hurt one.

(Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Chapter 5)

But what if, I'm wondering, life was intolerable?

  • Is it any attempt to make life livable (rather than living life) which makes the last man an affront to mankind? Or,
  • Is theirs a particular lack in doing so; and if so what?

Could one read Nietzsche's work as saying that it is the inability to see "power" except in socioeconomic terms that which is making man undesirable?


2 Answers 2


I don't think Nietzsche's last man refuses life. Rather, he accepts the life of a herd animal. No more exceptional human beings.

According to Nietzsche in Genealogy, man will never find life intolerable. Near the end, he said something to the effect that man would rather will nothingness than not will at all. That would at least still be willing.

Efforts to make life livable are not necessarily an affront to humanity. We all try to make life livable. Nietzsche himself tried to make life livable. It's all about what one considers livable, how one goes about living.

Nietzsche laid out values that for him defined how he himself needed to live. For example, in the Antichrist, he said service of the truth is the hardest service. And then there's amor fati, eternal recurrence, be hard, courage, honesty with oneself, etc.

What is making man undesirable are the values of the herd. These prevent great human beings, creators, legislators of new values -- values more conducive to human flourishing and growth.


In an abstract sense, the little man might repeat Himself, as a farcical entity. Could that be something Deleuze meant?

In that case, He has His poison again and again, and it doesn't change Him, it just makes Him more and more satirizable and less an entity -- less differentiated from His own past self. Less will, less free, less anything but Himself.

You must log in to answer this question.