Nietzsche’s Übermensch and Gur-tuh (Goethe)

Nietzsche explicitly names a few people in “Will to Power” that he thinks rank among the greatest human beings that have ever lived, and he puts them in this category for traits very similar to those that he ascribes to an Übermensch:

Übermensch: The ideal superior man of the future who could rise above conventional Christian morality to create and impose his own values, originally described by Nietzsche in “Thus Spake Zarathustra”.


Caesar (Julius)



Leonardo da Vinci 

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Goethe—…a grand attempt to overcome the eighteenth century through a return to nature, through a going-up to the naturalness of the Renaissance, a kind of self-overcoming on the part of that century…

He did not sever himself from life, he placed himself within it…and took as much as possible upon himself, above himself, within himself. 

What he aspired to was totality; he strove against the separation of reason, sensibility, emotion, will…; he disciplined himself to a whole, he created himself… 

Goethe conceived of a strong, highly cultured human being who, keeping himself in check and having reverence for himself, dares to allow himself the whole compass and wealth of naturalness, who is strong enough for this freedom; a man of tolerance, not out of weakness but out of strength, because he knows how to employ to his advantage what would destroy an average nature; a man to whom nothing is forbidden, except it be weakness, whether that weakness be called vice or virtue… 

A spirit thus emancipated stands in the middle of the universe with a joyful and trusting fatalism, in the faith that only what is separate and individual may be rejected, that in the totality everything is redeemed and affirmed—he no longer denies… 

But such a faith is the highest of all possible faiths: I have baptised it with the name Dionysus.”

-Frederick Nietzsche, on Goethe

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