Raskolnikov, ubermensc, and the individual

Raskolnikov was not an ubermensch precisely because he was concerned with being an ubermensch. This may seem a bit strange but it is in the very nature of the ubermensch to not try to be anything. I don’t think Nietzhe himself – great philosopher though he was – fully realized this.

The ubermensch is the ideal of a free man. If a man is trying to be something – that is restricting and determining his behavior based upon a principle that is outside of him – then he is not free. This principle includes such things as Man with a capital “M”.

In fact this is the problem with most ethical theories. They forget that it is only the individual who feels. A collection of individuals does not “feel” in the sense that an individual feels. To suppress the individual for a higher principle is pointless; the “higher principle” doesn’t care that it is being fulfilled.

Ultimately it is the feeling of individuals that validates any ideal or principle no matter how far removed that principle is from the individual. Say there is a striving towards an ordered society committed by a group of devout mathematicians. There rhetoric would say that they are acting because order is better than disorder. They would try to claim that order is the value of worth. But the reason why order is seen as valuable is because certain people would feel a sense of satisfaction at bringing this order about. That they would sit back, look upon the order and say “that is good”. That is to say that “order” would serve as a cause for their satisfaction and their satisfaction – despite their propaganda – is the real reason they were doing anything. It is the satisfaction that gives significance to anything. This satisfaction is caused by different things in different people thus satisfaction is the absolute!


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