A question that I haven’t been able to answer:

Nietzsche despised the herd and mentioned in many essays that we must reevaluate our ethics and the set of moralities Christianity has provided us (not automatically believing that humbleness, forgiveness, turning the other cheek, etc. are virtues.)

One could safely say Nietzsche would respect a person who has examined their values and replaced the ones which made him weak with values that make him powerful, in the will-overcoming sense. My question is: what would Nietzsche say to a person who holds herd moralities, has examined those values, but still thinks that they are good? Or at least that they are the ones that suit his life the most ?

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    Nietschze famously despised his followers, the so-called Nietzscheans; he'd probably call them a herd of Nietzcheans! Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 20:01
  • I agree only partially. Indeed Nietzsche despised his followers, but only the ones that thought of him as a type of savior, a person who has definite concrete answers. Those he would call members of a herd. Nonetheless, he was not completely against anyone who finds his ideas useful. Part of what he wanted is for people, or at least those who are capable of departing from the herd, to see his message and extract the lesson from it. One of the lessons is one's examination of the set of values they live by and whether they've inherited them from their culture or have actually evaluated it.
    – wa7d
    Commented Jul 7, 2018 at 0:20
  • He didn't see himself as a saviour? are you sure? Isn't this why he decided to speak in Zarathrustha voice and ended with pretty much calling himself a kind of a god? Examining the values by which one lives by and how is a very old idea and didn't originate with Nietzsche. Commented Jul 7, 2018 at 1:38
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    @MoziburUllah Give him another chance. Zarathustra is pretty terrible writing, & I don't think really makes sense without a base in where he is coming from. Read Beyond Good & Evil or The Genealogy of Morals. Honestly worth it, even if you disagree with everything. His style is always hyperbolic, grabbing ideas & shaking them for a bit to see what happens. He isn't really fixed on outcomes, so much as a ferociously honest process. In this small way I see him as a kindred spirit to Wittgenstein. Similarly also, ppl are apt to read in what they want, but maybe taking it up is exactly the point.
    – CriglCragl
    Commented Jul 7, 2018 at 2:29
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    @CraiglCraigl: Funnily enough, I was thinking just today that I might try and read a couple more of his books. It's generally the cult like behaviour of his fans that tends to put me off...I guess I shouldn't let them colour my view so much. Commented Jul 7, 2018 at 2:39

3 Answers 3


The problem Nietzsche has with herd mentality is that it is unexamined. If one has examined ones own morality alongside the moral virtues of the herd, concluding that those herd moralities best suit one's life, one is not really following herd morality any longer.

Instead I would say that the individual has chosen a set of moralities that happen to be shared by the herd.

It's a subtle distinction but a major difference and I think for this reason Nietzsche would take no issue with this individual.

  • I see your point and I agree. That was my initial thought but thought I was missing something. Not to go off tangent, but why do you the problem he has with herd mentality IS that it's unexamined? In other words, was he re-stating what Socrates stated? "The unexamined life is not worth living."
    – wa7d
    Commented Jul 7, 2018 at 0:27

I think that is an interesting question. But one I feel Nietzsche didn't really consider. His perspective was very focused on the individual and their dilemmas and power. It seems like he didn't really consider the idea of a conscious culture that could actively support self-overcoming.

Eliezer Yudkowsky says

, “Hey, Eliezer: it’s five years in the future, there’s still no artificial general intelligence, and a great leap forward has occurred in people to deal with these types of systemic issues. How did that happen?” Then my guess would be something like Kickstarter, but much better, that turned out to enable people in large groups to move forward when none of them could move forward individually. Something like the group movements that scientists made without all that much help from the government (although there was help from funders changing their policies) to jump to new journals all at the same time, and get partially away from the Elsevier closed-source journal scam. Maybe there’s something brilliant that Facebook does—with machine learning, even. They get better at showing people things that are solutions to their coordination problems; they’re better at routing those around when they exist, and people learn that these things work and they jump using them simultaneously. And by these means, voters start to elect politicians who are not nincompoops, as opposed to choosing whichever nincompoop on offer is most appealing.

But this is a fairy tale. This is not a prediction. This is, “If you told me that somehow this had gotten significantly better in five years, what happened?” This is me making up what might have happened. https://intelligence.org/2018/02/28/sam-harris-and-eliezer-yudkowsky/


I am not allowed to comment.

However, I am allowed to reply.

But my reply is only a comment.

So, this site enforces some kind of insanity.

Which leads me to Nietzsche. He understood that insanity is the only way to preserve your sanity.

Question is, what of his oeuvre to dismiss as insanity, and what to value?

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