Thursday, 11 February 2010

Neitzsche, Paradigms, the rise of the Superman, and its terrifying consequences...

Nietzsche. Say that word enough times and it will be irrelevant, much like most of the words in the English/American language. Repetition is the enemy of coherence..except its also it's brother. Its like Cain and Abel. But a little more pathetic.

Its a sad time when you realise how truly insignificant you are in the grand scheme of things. With recent discoveries showing that there are collections of galaxies billions of miles away with light that is only just reaching us you can realise how ridiculously small you are in almost every sense of the definition of obsolete. This realisation can be taken in one of two ways, the glass half full way, and the glass fucked up way. The former is the standpoint that your very existence is amazing, that your life, however small it may be is a miracle of random connections of a cosmic chain, that your are a small cog in the universe's machine. The latter is when you believe that whatever you do, your existence is completely and utterly futile. You could kill someone. You could kill yourself. Should you? Well that's a question that concerns morality, and with that comes rules, and what use are rules when everything is insignificant?

Its a rocky road to a grisly end, and with the latter being so depressing, why does the former sound so appealing? Well the simple answer is; religion. Religion is best described in this context as a sort of buffer, a shield between the depressing and the sublime. When man looked up at the stars and saw a creepy and longing blackness stretching for what seemed like forever, they had one of two choices. Apply logic and/or reason to this, or go Batshit insane. religion is a safe place, much like a hammock or cocoon. Its somewhere to crawl away and die knowing that the place you are going is warm and fluffy, just like the hammock.

As with the philosophical theory of Nietzsche, things are constantly changing, and the concept of these so called "paradigm shifts" is something that is fascinating. My favorite example of this phenomena is the Phlogiston Theory. Back in the 1600s, the common theory surrounding combustion was that flame gave off a substance called Phlogiston as it burnt, and that if you were cover a fire up, the reason for the the fire extinguishing was the build up of the substance, and the eventual saturation of the flame. Of course, this seems completely and utterly ridiculous in this day an age, and its the sort of monumental change that causes the thought "How could I have been so monumentally stupid? I must be the stupidest person alive."

This sort of change seems to come around every now and then, and its absolutely terrifying when you consider that we may have another change soon that makes us seem just as stupid. This inevitability seems just as sure as the rise of the supermen.

You see, the superman is a very real danger. Every couple of centuries, there is a person who represents a radical step forward in humanity. In intelligence, or physical ability, or a combination of the two. Alexander the Great was there in 300 BC, Newton was another, as was Thomas Edison and Nikolai Tesla, despite their constant feud. Wagner and Nietzsche believed that they were part of this club, and they may have indeed been, but the scary thing is that we have not had a Superman in a couple of generations. What is next? A race of supermen? A singular man or woman that can either destroy of unite our already partially shattered world? Someone really, really tall? A really fast runner, or a really, really fast thinker? I am terrified already.

I personally think that a superman is not what the world needs right now. What we need is the power of human will, we need a united front against the horrors of the world. Is the answer to this religion? Atheism? A combination of the two? Something is definitely awry in the world, but if a man were to stand and try to unite everything, we would probably end up nailing him to a cross shaped object, and it would not be a success.

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