Nietzsche┤s ▄bermensch not suited as a transhumanist ancestor

Hubert Mania (mania@welfen-netz.com)
Sat, 12 Jun 1999 19:28:23 +0200

In the thread about a new transhumanist etymology Andrew Hennessey wrote :

>Adolf Hitler then adopted modern Theosophy and early Neitzsche to
>supplement his own ideas on Social engineering and 'Overmen'
>The 20th century in particular has a long bloody history of wanting to
>breed the right people.
>Any definition of Transhumanism should distance itself from comparisons
with
>the Human Race - in my opinion.

And Spudboy100 found out that :

>The Ubermann was the individual who could
>withstand the knowledge of life's "meaninglessness" and still find joy in
>it. Locked into that Eternal Return, that is. Count me out please!

Nietzsche said, God is dead, the ▄bermensch shall live. He is the sole purpose of the Earth. Those superior humans who have higher aspirations must transcend their nature and "have to perish". Maybe this Nietzschean qoute could function as an ancestorial reference in a preamble to the future "Singularitarian Principles". But for all those who are not willing to be replaced by postsingularitarian AIs and SIs, for all those who share a different view of the posthuman development, Nietzsche`s antidemocratic, antifeminist and elitist thinking doesn`t seem to be an appropiate source to get inspirations from.

When I first visited the transhuman mailing lists and found out that Nietzsche`s "Zarathustra" belonged to the favourite books of many transhumanists, I was puzzled. Though of course all Nietzsche experts agree that he was a superb author, I must strongly object to this opinion. Maybe the English translation of Zarathustra does not display this awkward antiquated language of the German original with the romanticizing fairy tale view and use of animals to show ...what the hell . . . he probably didn`t know it himself. When you are grown up in Germany and read the original in 1999 with only the tiniest amount of transhumanist aesthetics and style in the back of your mind, you cannot continue reading without being annoyed by the sentimental language and the ridiculous use of analogies to picture his utterly confused emotions and his fatalistic world view.

Okay, this is my private opinion on Nietzsche`s Zarathustra. I do understand the continuous search for transhuman ancestors in history, but I think Nietzsche should be counted out in this respect. The announcement of God`s death might have been a revolutionary act in 19th century Germany but his philosophy of the eternal return of the same is deeply rooted in Schopenhauer`s pessimistic approach to life and is IMHO not at all suited to be a transhumanis precursor.

Cheers
Hubert