Reflections on Nietzsche

On Eternal Recurrence, Dimorphism, and Superhumans

How does One become a Superhuman?

“THREE metamorphoses of the spirit do I designate to you: how the spirit becometh a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion at last a child.” (Zarathustra: 1)

Ultimately, through a series of metaphors and symbolic representations, Nietzche conveys that the true path to a superhuman involves throwing off the shackles of societal values and truly becoming a free creature with original, authentic, and unique values. In essence, he questions the validity of absolutes in societal doctrine. These core beliefs can be summarized as existentialism.

The Camel

  • strong spirit
  • harsh life
  • good moral values (i.e. integrity, honor)
  • is scared of the dragon and listens to it
  • a prisoner and slave
  • Make a list of societal qualities and find people you admire and look up to see which qualities they embody. Then work yourself to embody these same qualities.

The Lion

  • Destroys the dragon
  • says no more often than yes, knows what it wants for itself
  • Rebellious, especially against the dragon
  • more access to self-mastery
  • ignores any ‘thou shalts’
  • make a list of everything you think is restricting your freedom
  • think about how to get rid of or lessen the effect of those factors

The Child

  • creation of new values
  • no resentments, forgets the past to create a future
  • very easy access to the flow state
  • doesn’t care about external environment
  • Think about what you want and what makes you come alive, and make time for more of that in your life.

More General Doctrines

Here are three of Nietzsche’s main doctrines and how they intertwine with the transformation to superhuman.

Will to Power

The idea of Will to Power is a vague and ambiguous one. Scholars have interpreted it in different ways. Some interpret it in a biological context. Our neurons might collectively will consciousness to arise and our organs might will themselves to function as they’re supposed to.

Eternal Recurrence

Eternal recurrence is the general idea that events repeat themselves in the exact same details — not once or twice, but for the rest of eternity. This idea is a small variation of an idea also present in Meditations––Aurelius states that each situation in our lives is some variant of the past, and on larger timescales, each year or decade bears striking core resemblance to an earlier time period.

  • Thought experiment to measure happiness: Normally, when we experience a negative event, we’re glad to move on and never have to deal with it again. Phew, glad I’m done with that. If asked ourselves, would we want to leave this same day or year for the rest of eternity, many of us would say no due to the discomfort of these negative experiences. On the other hand, the goal is to become someone who embraces the harmonious totality of the good and the bad and is willing to live each day, year, or even decade for the rest of eternity. The response to this essential question can become a more direct and nuanced way of defining joy. A child would be the one most wanting to experience eternal recurrence.
  • Cosmological interpretation: In this case, Nietzsche quite literally may have meant that events repeat themselves at some higher, course-grained levels (maybe in blocks that represent centuries or even millennia).

Happiness

  • yes: say yes to opportunities when they come your way
  • no: once your start receiving too many opportunities, you might get distracted; say no to what truly doesn’t matter to you
  • a straight line and a goal: once you’ve said your yeses and your no’s, put in the hard and smart work to reach you final goals

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Mukundh Murthy

Innovator passionate about the intersection between structural biology, machine learning, and chemiinformatics. Currently @ 99andbeyond.