Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Compare and contrast the will to power in the overman and other modalities of the will to power.

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gradesaver has an excellent resource for these themes already prepared.

The Overman

The overman (often translated as "the superman") is the ultimate state of being in which man can achieve total self-mastery. For Zarathustra, the overman is the state toward which he is journeying, as well as the state to which he teaches his disciples to aspire. For Zarathustra, human beings are only one step above animals in terms of biological evolution. The evolution that Zarathustra seeks in the overman, however, is rather a kind of spiritual evolution of self-awareness. Humanity, as Zarathustra sees it, is still tethered to superstitious notions about God and Christianity. Those that have rejected such notions have instead accepted other notions of modern morality and justice - ideas that are just as superstitious and foolish, though for different reasons. The overman rejects these superstitions in favor a true communion with nature and with the self.

The Will to Power

The will to power is the key philosophical theme in Thus Spoke Zarathustra because it is the psychological state at which the overman must arrive if he is to accept the eternal recurrence. The overman must struggle with this will to power because it is what gives his life its ultimate meaning. Other wills cause humanity to live for base desires such as procreation, nourishment, or fear, but the will to power overcomes those states. A person can realize that all that has happened can be willed to happen (and will happen) again; therefore, one can find happiness in life. This notion has often been incorrectly interpreted as a theme that wills humans to dominate others (as it was used by the Nazis during World War II) but Nietzsche himself discredits this interpretation. According to Nietzsche, will and power must be used together so that one can transcend the nature of society, not dominate it.