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In his book Thus spoke Zarathustra Nietzsche talks about the worst kind of man, "the last man" who is the direct opposite of the ubermensch. Somewhere the last men use the phrase "We invented happiness." What do they mean by that?

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  • All I can see is a strand of straw, swaying side ta side in the still air. Goodbye Kansas, I love ya ta death!!
    – Hudjefa
    May 17, 2023 at 7:15

4 Answers 4

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Basically, it means that the last man is deluding himself.

“What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?” the last man asks, and he blinks....

“We have invented happiness,” say the last men, and they blink. They have left the regions where it was hard to live, for one needs warmth.

They ask questions and forget them because finding answers, and the answers, are uncomfortable, they claim to have invented happiness, they avoid unpleasant matters. Thus they put comfort and ignorance ahead of everything, and they call the result happiness.

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  • Nietzsche repudiates the unconditional will to truth insofar as it recommends the rejection of ‘semblance, meaning error, deception, simulation, delusion, self- delusion’ (GS: 344). Such rejection is hostile to life, the stuff of which is ‘semblance, art, deception, points of view, and the necessity of perspectives and error’ (BT Attempt at Self-Criticism: 5)
    – user63148
    Nov 9, 2022 at 0:46
  • I agree with your second paragraph, and it may be in the spirit of Nietzsche. I originally misread it as claiming that they have answers and are made uncomfortable by them. I imagine the "last man" would rather trick others into thinking they have answers, the perfect life etc..
    – user63148
    Nov 9, 2022 at 0:58
  • also, forgetfulness is a great thing, for Nietzsche. So, I find your answer incomplete and strange, even if it is not completely wrong or abhorrent. I mean "consummate" nihilism is IIRC in some way helpful, but then Nietzsche wouldn't call himself a nihilist, so it probably signals, again, the impossibility of some projects, how the overman must perish. though Nietzsche found the last man to be an irritant, I think, so I suppose the overman perishes through love, though that isn't pity
    – user63148
    Nov 9, 2022 at 1:32
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Passively accepting your fate is the worst thing that can happen to an individual (love is creative or least reactive); the last men are passive nihilists that accept their fate because their fate it to be happy (wouldn't you?), but it's ironic because their happiness is not as good as it can get.

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No, I get it at last. The last man thinks that happiness is all that matters, unlike the awful contingencies (ironic) of virtue.

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Alas! there cometh the time when man will no longer launch the arrow of his longing beyond man—and the string of his bow will have unlearned to whizz! I tell you: one must still have chaos in one, to give birth to a dancing star. I tell you: ye have still chaos in you. Alas! There cometh the time when man will no longer give birth to any star. Alas! There cometh the time of the most despicable man, who can no longer despise himself. Lo! I show you THE LAST MAN.

You can see the last man as the resolution of the longing of man

The Myth of Sisyphus is far from having a skeptical conclusion. In response to the lure of suicide, Camus counsels an intensely conscious and active non-resolution. Rejecting any hope of resolving the strain is also to reject despair. Indeed, it is possible, within and against these limits, to speak of happiness. “Happiness and the absurd are two sons of the same earth. They are inseparable”

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/camus/

into a form of self love, even-though Nietzsche clearly wanted some of us to love ourselves in some particular way. I suppose the last man loves himself because his ego is calm and untroubled, he has his needs met by petty polity. The self love of the overman is autonomous and, above all, meaningful

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10848770.2020.1839209

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  • i mean, what do i know?
    – user63148
    Nov 9, 2022 at 1:38

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