The parable of the madman, says:

At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke into pieces and went out. "I have come too early," he said then; "my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars---and yet they have done it themselves.

It has been related further that on the same day the madman forced his way into several churches and there struck up his requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: "What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?"

Excuse me a moment for taking theory so seriously: but what is the Overman to the Madman? What do they share in?

1 Answer 1


The mad man's focus in this aphorism, the atheists, think that the death of God is 'good riddance' and not much else has to change: they can hold on to the other values of rationality, liberalism, equality/democracy, etc.

The mad man tries to make the atheists realize a reevaluation of values is necessary, because our whole set of values is dependent on the idea of God (e.g. humans bestowed with reason by God, equality before God, ethics of pity). Atheism (disbelief in God) thought through results in nihilism (disbelief in all [current] values).

The Übermensch is a possible result of this process of reevaluation: he does not dogmatically believe in a set of values, but plays and experiments with them to find those that make him affirm/love life.

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