Nietzsche and Me

Prompt: An intellectual experience (course, project, book, discussion, paper, poetry, or research topic in engineering, mathematics, science or other modes of inquiry) that has meant the most to you


In his inspiring work of philosophical allegory, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche proposes the concept of the "Übermensch", or Superman, a human who is completely autonomous and self-directed. When I first stumbled across this concept during my late night summer reading, I realized how topical Nietzsche's abstraction was in the context of my own life. Originally, I interpreted his concept as the desire for a "perfect" human, one at the apex of their health - not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. What I later realized was that Nietzsche was not proposing an impossible ideal and saying, "Good luck trying to achieve this". Instead, he was putting forth a model for us to follow; a model of what we should strive to be. That was the core message that I found so inspiring in Thus Spoke Zarathustra - that we can live a life authentic to ourselves in the pursuit of self-improvement. Later that night when I resumed my reading, I learnt about Nietzsche's thoughts on the nature of struggle. The Superman, he proclaimed, succeeded in everything he did. "Well, isn't that just great," I thought. "How am I supposed to be successful in everything!?" My frustration was short-lived however - I quickly realized that...

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