April 22, 2013 · 7:00 PM
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What did Nietzsche have in mind when proposing the Übermensch? To investigate this, we'll discuss the various challenges of modernity for which Nietzsche meant the Übermensch to be a solution.
Nietzsche was philosophically active from[masked]; "Also Sprach Zarathustra" (So spoke Zarathustra) was originally published in several parts starting in 1883. Zarathustra, its protagonist, borrows his name from the German translation of "Zoroaster", the central figure in an ancient religion predating Judaism; Nietzsche saw modernity as having departed from what made life worth living, and early in his philosophical career saw a return to classic virtues (as he saw them) as a solution.
This primary source will be our focus for this meetup. It's a philosophical hero story of sorts, where Zarathustra wanders the earth preaching and gathering people around him who have interesting faults and who represent failed approaches to dealing with the emptiness of modern life; readers will find it similar in some ways to Canterbury Tales and in others to Jesus of the Christian Bible, but with a fairly different message. We'll also cover the topics of ressentiment, the death of God, and Nietzsche's idea of nihilism as both a failure of the final man (in an early form) and as a transition for the Übermensch.
Read as much of the reading as you wish and come with plenty of ideas. I hope to provide some of the background for the wordplay (in German) that's important to understand the work.
A basic translation is available here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1998
Penn State has put up a better edition here: http://www2.hn.psu.edu/faculty/jmanis/nietsche/tszarath.pdf
If you don't mind spending a bit of money, Walter Kaufmann's translation of "Also Sprach" is better and does a good job providing background for the allegories and wordplay.
This is an alternative meetup, but I expect those who sign up for it to actually commit. No refunds are offered except for cancellations a week or more before the event.