Nietzsche claimed that "we killed God". Thus, as Nietzsche thought, it would result in nihilism.

He also "introduced" an idea of the overman. This question is not about what the overman is. But I'm asking how is the overman different from, say, Kalki or Jesus. They all are the figures which are "yet to come". Isn't the overman simply the idea that gave meaning to Nietzsche's life like Second Coming gives meaning to Christian's life?

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    I suppose that if I get bored of reading and play some piano one could say that the piano is a replacement for the books. But then one can put anything with anything into this relationship. Nietzsche did not think the death of God would "result" in nihilism:"Nihilism is... not only the belief that everything deserves to perish; but one actually puts one's shoulder to the plough; one destroys". Nietzsche's overman is not someone to wait for, but something to bring about. Now, that's different.
    – Conifold
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 9:23
  • @Conifold Nietzsche himself never admitted he is an overman. So, I guess to him it was a figure he might wait for. Regarding "death of God", I mean that with no God to Nietzsche many people "lost" their meaning of life. Maybe I use nihilism not in the sense of Nietzsche himself: the notion of dessert is meaningless to me.
    – rus9384
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 9:33
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    Psychologically, the concept is an apparent narcissistic substitute for God, wherein the source of goodness / object of praise shifts from something bigger or 'other' than the Self to some superior aspect of the more familiar and easily accessible Self. The most influential psychologists of Nietzsche's era, and possibly Schopenhauer as well, might have equated his Übermensch with some analytical term such as super-conscience. medium.com/@brian.cronin.3/…
    – Bread
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 11:23
  • hunter.cuny.edu/jns/reviews/…
    – Bread
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 11:24
  • @Bread Is "super-conscience" supposed to be super-consciousness? Schopenhauer died in 1860, Nietzsche was 16.
    – Conifold
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 18:56

4 Answers 4


The "Über" in Übermensch means : beyond, after, over; not necessarily "super" or "above".

See Keith Ansell-Pearson, Who is the Ubermensch? (1992), page 316 :

For decades now, generations of English-speaking commentators on Nietzsche have wrestled with the problem of how best to translate the word Übermensch. The question which any new reader of Nietzsche wants to ask is: what is meant by the term Übermensch? Is it, for example, the type of being in possession of superhuman powers, the superman of legend, or is it the symbol of the humanity of the future which has overcome the nihilism of the modem epoch and the world-weariness of modem humanity? In Ecce Homo Nietzsche states that the notion of Übermensch is not in any way to be conceived along Darwinian lines or as representing a transcendental ideal of man.

Why I Write Such Good Books, Sect.1 [page 261] : The word "overman," as the designation of a type of supreme achievement, as opposed to "modem" men, to "good" men, to Christians and other nihilists-a word that in the mouth of a Zarathustra, the annihilator of morality, becomes a very pensive word -has been understood almost everywhere with the utmost innocence in the sense of those very values whose opposite Zarathustra was meant to represent-that is, as an "idealistic" type of a higher kind of man, half "saint," half "genius."

Other scholarly oxen have suspected me of Darwinism on that account.

And see

Preface [page 217] : The last thing I should promise would be to "improve" mankind. No new idols are erected by me; let the old ones learn what feet of clay mean. Overthrowing idols (my word for "ideals")-that comes closer to being part of my craft.

  • I know that übermensh is something like "beyond-man". But that's not the question and I explicitly stated it. But I'm simply wondering why did Nietzsche need him? Did he try to make his own life meaningful? Were Nietzsche's values "übermensh is good, it is what I should live my life for"? But then Nietzsche himself would be the one who "created" values for himself. And therefore his purpose, his meaning would be paradoxical.
    – rus9384
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 11:23

“How is the overman different from say kalki or Jesus”. It all depends on how you view Kalki or Jesus. Let’s use Jesus. Do you use Jesus as a substitute for being good or perfect? Do you go to church every Sunday to ask for forgiveness for being imperfect? The overman doesn’t need to follow in that sense. The overman takes responsibility for him/her self. The overman isn’t a replacement for Jesus, but perhaps, in a nietzsche sense, Jesus is an overman. Because Jesus accepts the consequences of his own purpose.

I know this sounds somewhat different than most interpret Neitszche as, or Jesus as, but it is inclusive. Did Jesus not want everyone to be like him and not just follow him? Nieszche argues Jesus, “as a child of god everybody is equal to everybody else”- twilight of the idols”

More reading

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/52263/52263-h/52263-h.htm section 41, etc.

I do realize it seems as though nietszche attacks “Jews”, but I do not feel the attack has anymore relevance than his attacks on German culture or Catholicism. It is merely an observation against people using others or majority’s or hiding behind imperfect ideologies.

Here is some more reading for those who enjoy knowing instead of understanding. http://www.joeledmundanderson.com/nietzsches-ubermensch-vs-jesus-christ/


I think Nietzsche answered this himself in "The Parable of the Madman".

The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him -- you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? [...] God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

"How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? [...] Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us -- for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto."

The madman is a precursor or harbinger of the overman. He says that (all of us) having killed God we must (all of us) take up the mantle of God, because only in that way can the stain of this evil deed be washed away. We can no longer rely on the moral authority of the On-High, but must each of us reach for the moral authority we will thereafter rely on. That reaching is reaching for the overman.


Isn't Nietzsche's overman a replacement for God?

Nietzsche claimed that "we killed God". Thus, as Nietzsche thought, it would result in nihilism.

He also "introduced" an idea of the overman. This question is not about what the overman is. But I'm asking how is the overman different from, say, Kalki or Jesus. They all are the figures which are "yet to come". Isn't the overman simply the idea that gave meaning to Nietzsche's life like Second Coming gives meaning to Christian's life?

Dostoevsky and Nietzsche


The video lecture by Daniel Bonevac under the link above develops the philosophical foundations of Nietzsche's OverMan wherein Dostoevsky is the credited source of the phrase "God is dead." In the lecture Dostoevsky links the concept of Narcissism to the egoistic effort to create one's own values if values are not made with reference to Religion (God) or other sources of social morals.

Apotheosis - Word of the Day


What It Means

1 : elevation to divine status : deification

2 : the perfect example : quintessence

Among the ancient Greeks, it was sometimes thought fitting -- or simply handy, say if you wanted a god somewhere in your bloodline -- to grant someone or other god status. So they created the word "apotheosis," meaning "making into a god." (The prefix "apo-" can mean simply "quite" or "completely," and "theos" is the Greek word for "god.") There's not a lot of Greek-style apotheosizing in the 21st century, but there is hero-worship. Our extended use of "apotheosis" as "elevation to divine status" is the equivalent of "placement on a very high pedestal." Even more common these days is to use "apotheosis" in reference to a perfect example or ultimate form. For example, one might describe a movie as "the apotheosis of the sci-fi movie genre."

Who or What Creates Values - God, Man, or Natural Drives?

In the book of Genesis, God creates the first man and woman, and places them in the garden of delight with the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil at the center of the garden. If they eat only from the tree of life, then they know eternal innocence. But if they eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil then they will surely die! The story also says the man and woman will become like gods - knowing what is good and what is not good!

In the book of Genesis, Abraham "Walks and talks with God, as one friend with another." He builds the first alter to the living God in a grove of trees - the terebinth of Moreh (Hebrew: teacher).

In the Gospels, when some Jewish authorities are trying to discredit Jesus, they ask him which is the greatest commandment in Jewish law? Jesus says, "Love God. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second commandment is like the first. Love your neighbor as yourself." These are the same two precepts expressed by Moses!

The values expressed are to live in the fallen world where knowledge of evil accompanies the knowledge of good; to love the living God as the Creator of life; and to love the Creation. This incorporates the effort to love your neighbor in the land.

Jewish laws are supposed to be efforts to implement values in practical social life. The emphasis is on duty under the customs and laws. Jesus interprets the law wherein love cancels a multitude of transgressions of law; and where love of God and neighbor at a minimum means to imitate Jesus who performs the corporal works of mercy. This is not to say that other cultures do not perform acts of kindness, justice, and mercy. But to be like Jesus is to at least perform such works and to have an attitude of justice and mercy. Hebrew scripture describes God as having the attributes of retribution, justice, and mercy alike.

Natural drive theory holds that biological organisms generate values that may come into conflict. The Will to Life and Will to Power seem to be unfounded on any more fundamental religious or secular principle and would therefore seem to imply natural drive theory as the origin of values.

First Knight (1995) - Two Attitudes Toward Power in Life

Text: http://cola.calpoly.edu/~dschwart/engl459b/firstknight/malagant.html

Audio clip: http://cola.calpoly.edu/~dschwart/engl459b/firstknight/audio/might_03.mp3

Malagant: The strong rule the weak. That's how your god made the world.

Arthur: God makes us strong only for a while, so that we can help each other.

Malagant: My god makes me strong so I can live my life!

Arthur's Motto - To Protect and Serve.

Malagant's Motto - The Strong Rule the Weak.

Arthur came, according to legend, and according to legend, he will come again!

Jesus came, according to legend, and according to legend, he will come again!

Hamlet - William Shakespear

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

The Over-Man Creates Values?


  1. What does Nietzsche mean when he says that the noble type of man is "beyond good and evil" and is a creator of values?

The "over-man" is not subject to the morality of the lower-type of meek and common people who speak of good and evil in terms of equality. Since the noble type of man is of the higher-type, he is not subject to the morality of the herd. Morality favors mediocrity; standing beyond good and evil is rising above the herd.

Over-Man has not come yet, according to Nietzsche; and yet according to Nietzsche's concept of "eternal return" it would imply that Over-Man will eventually come again and again and again ...

Baruch Spinoza - Man is to man as God

Man is to man as God.

If man is to man as God, and the Over-Man imitates Jesus, this is one sort of God; and if the Over-Man imitates Arthur, this is another sort of God; and if the Over-Man imitates Malagant, this is a third sort of God.

If the Over-Man makes his own values, and if those values attempt to transcend the dictates of social justice characterized by Nietzsche as "slave morality", then Over-Man strives to become toward fellow man as an unjust God!

If Over-Man chooses values that conform to the ideals of social justice, characterized by Nietzsche as slave morality, then he strives to become toward fellow man as a just God!

Either way the Over-Man cannot transcend the social concepts of good and bad or good and evil because they keep manifesting repeatedly in the drama of human social interactions.

In the Gospels, when they accused Jesus of casting out demons by the hand of Beelzebul (Hebrew: Lord of the Flies) Jesus did not deny it! Instead, he said, "Then by whose hand do your people cast out demons?" They could not say God, because that would be blasphemy; and they could not say by demons, because that would be hypocrisy. In private Jesus told his disciples, "Before you can take the possessions of a strong man (Beelzebul) you must enter into his house and bind the strong man!" Is the Over-Man going to go into the house of the King of Demons and bind the strong man? Or is the Over-Man going to be an avatar of Satan (the Adversary) and Beelzebul (Lord of the Flies) which terrify fellow man?

Early Life Conditioning of Values

In early life we have little or no power, a desire to love, and a need for protection. Then we ought to rationally prefer one sort of god (adult caregiver and role model) over another sort. But if we identify with powerful and unjust god(s) (adults) in early life it might be difficult or impossible to complete the transvaluation of all social values! We are more likely to imitate the powerful unjust god(s) than to repent (think again, introspect) and remember the sincere desire of the former child to know and become like the powerful, just, and merciful god(s)!

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