In one of his most famous books, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche spoke of the Übermensch (translation: Superman. Literal translation: Overman).
The Overman, in Nietzsche’s description, is a man who has overcome himself psychologically. Where comic hero Superman is far superior to others physically, the Overman is far superior to others psychologically.
His mindset and values are his alone meaning the Overman has overcome his biggest friend and foe: himself.
It was Nietzsche belief that humans evolved from apes to become a far superior species, both intellectually and creatively, and therefore we are still on a path of growth and evolution. In other words, we are an ever-evolving species incrementally improving after each generation.
Given that Nietzsche died in 1900 his idea of the Overman was based on the culture of that time and while human nature hasn’t changed in that time the external environment and culture have.
What would today’s Overman look like? What skills would he possess in today’s more politically correct digital age?
The overman is well travelled
“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
Given the ease of international travel today the Overman will have a firm grasp and understanding of global history, customs and cultures. Indeed he will have visited as many of the countries on earth has he possibly can learning about their history, culture and people.
He weaves this understanding into his communication when dealing with others and adapts to whatever environment he is in with little hesitation. He understands these social constructs for what they are and can distance himself from them at any time.
He travels alone regularly to new places always with the hunger to have a greater understanding of the world around him.
Success is judged internally
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.”
The Overman seeks no validation from outside sources. Success is judged all from within. He’s aware of the social conditioning that takes place within groups and is hesitant to join them for free will and thinking for himself is the ultimate goal.
He can momentarily accept appreciation from other people and institutions but ultimately it is what he thinks about it is what matters to him.
The overman will have dealt (or be dealing) with his inner demons
“You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.”
He understands that humans are all fatally flawed including himself and will continually wrestle his inner demons for he understands that the chaos can be tamed.
The more he fights the more he wins but that is not to say the wins are not painful.
He will have accepted his own death and knows that life brings resentment, failure, rejection, hardship, defeat yet he does not fear any of them and indeed welcomes them for that is how he overcomes.,
He will treat and respect his body as a finely tuned vessel carrying him through life
“Body am I entirely, and nothing else; and soul is only a word for something about the body.”
The Overman knows the body and the mind are connected. He understands that eating crappy food and doing little to no exercise will deteriorate the body.
To be in the best position in life requires a fully functioning strong and agile body. To achieve this requires hard work and a dedication to fuelling it with good food and adequate rest.
If not bad genes will be expressed and the brain won’t create new neurons in order for the mind to learn and grow.
The Overman knows that, in order to be the best that he can be, he must eat the most nutrient dense foods which are supplemented with a varied exercise routine of lifting, sprinting and walking and lots of adequate rest.
His body is his most prized possession. It will carry him through this world and a strong body means a strong mindset and will.
His goal is longevity rather than vanity.
He will have overcome his animalistic tendencies
“Man is the cruellest animal.”
He will make no apologies for his wants and needs as a male of the species, but whenever it benefits him to suppress his animalistic tendencies by allowing his rational brain to take control he can.
He can suppress emotions such as anger, frustration, lust and so on when he needs to but, equally, he can express them for his own gain whenever the situation requires him to.
He will engage in play but it won’t be his purpose
“The true man wants two things: danger and play. For that reason he wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything.”
Today’s world offers the Overman an abundance of hedonistic entertainment options. Bars, clubs, TV, video games, booze, recreational drugs, porn, comfort food, cheap friends and cheaper girls.
The Overman will won’t indulge in such ‘pleasures’ for they are a slippery slope and do not contribute to his growth and development. Instead his play time will be spent in travel, learning and honing his skills.
He realises that play and downtime is an important part of rest and recovery but hedonism will play a little role in his life for he has a greater mission and purpose.
He will possess material items but they will not possess him
“Necessity is not an established fact, but an interpretation.”
He will own material items as a means to living in today’s civilised society but he will have no emotional attachment to them and will be willing to let go of them at any time. His most prized possessions are his mind, body and will.
His body stripped is all he came into this world with and he understands that it is ultimately all he truly owns that has genuine value.
He will seek truth in life
“People don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.”
No matter how painful or how much it goes against his general worldview, the modern day Overman will seek the truth in all that he does. Despite the anguish it may cause him he ultimately knows that the truth will set him free.
The Overman will go beyond the half-truth narratives told in the mainstream media with the aim to discover his own truth.
He will seek solitude
“My presence doesn’t depend on the absence of people; on the contrary, I hate who steals my solitude without, in exchange, offering me true company.”
He enjoys his time alone being with his thoughts, allowing them to run free for his mind is his own and he has no regrets about the past or anxieties for the future.
His alone time will allow him space to reflect on the past, plan for the future and appreciate the present.
He will acquire wisdom by being a man of action
“There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.”
He will be a man of action. He understands that there is only so much knowledge and wisdom to be gleaned from literature and a true understanding comes from being and doing.
He will put himself in situations where he has an opportunity to learn through experience. He will seek situations that are both difficult and demanding but where deep wisdom is acquired.