A 17 y/o’s views on Nietzsche’s philosophy.
Black Panther. Wonder Woman. Iron Man.
I’ve always aspired to be like them and other superheroes…
& some villains too.
But alas, I was not born with superhuman abilities (super speed, strength, teleportation abilities) and I haven’t had any wild superpower-granting event happen to me yet.
Seeing superhumans in books + movies made me wish I had cool abilities.
I would secretly hope that one day I’d get bitten by a radioactive spider or be called out of class one day because I was being recruited to a real-life version of S.H.I.E.L.D.
As I grew up, I realized this was likely not going to happen.
Superhumans I looked up to as a kid instead empowered me to follow an unconventional pathway and seek ways to obtain powers in another way.
I’m now a seventeen-year-old who has found herself training her abilities in various technology areas.
Along my journey, I stumbled across this program that trains future changemakers. It’s called The Knowledge Society (TKS) and it’s my Olympic-level training towards making an impact.
I think of it as my pre-astronaut and superhuman training.
Now let me get something clear: I’m not a superhero.
I’m far from one.
Currently, I’m learning about how I can use different technologies as tools to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. I’m also working on developing the mindsets, network, knowledge, and other puzzle pieces that help superpower me to do the things I hope to.
I may never be bitten by a radioactive spider but maybe one day you could be bitten by a genetic-engineered spider + get cool abilities. 😉
Any superpowers that I’ll have will come from spending my time right now learning how to leverage different technologies and training mindset, network, etc.
Think Tony Stark creating Iron Man.
I’m guessing if you clicked on this article, it’s because you’re interested in becoming a superhuman as well.
One thing that’s important to know about this idea of being a “superhuman” is that it doesn’t have to be all about physical powers.
When we think of superhumans, what often comes to mind is:
- Super speed 💨
- The ability to fly
- Creating 🔥 like Shego
A lot of sick physical abilities.
Those are all cool and all but what about superhuman abilities in our brain?
For the past week and a half, I’ve started learning about a philosopher named Friedrich Nietzsche. This is something I was challenged to do as part of my training at TKS. Our philosopher focus for our first two weeks of this year was Nietzsche.
Nietzsche was fascinated by the idea of the superhuman.
But his focus wasn’t on the physical powers. It was on the mental ones.
When it comes to working on technologies to create Iron Man suits or to solve problems. The training focus is a lot on mental abilities as well.
What I was most intrigued by from diving into some of Nietzsche’s work is his fascination and ideas around the superhuman.
In this article, I’ll be diving into my current views on his philosophies.
Nietzsche was an existentialist.
Friedrich Nietzsche was a 19th-century philosopher.
He was also an artist and psychologist. He would study various areas, as most philosophers often do.
Nietzsche is often credited as being one of the first psychologist philosophers.
He is one of the precursors to existentialism.
Existentialism is a type of philosophy exploring the nature of existence.
It focuses on the idea that humans are there own free and responsible beings.
As a whole, Friedrich Nietzsche helped pioneer many revolutionary ideas by asking questions about the world. He was one of the first to do this from a psychological standpoint and asked many questions that reevaluated human values.
I like existentialism.
When reading a lot of Nietzsche’s philosophies I found I resonated with a lot of what he explored, specifically in the existentialism realm.
I often find myself existential thinking. I ask questions like:
Are we in a simulation? If we are, what does that mean?
What’s the point of life?
I find myself wondering about these things daily. Likely because I have more of an explorer and scientist curiosity type.
I used to think that existential thinking was a bad thing because there were so many possibilities to explore it seemed pointless to spend so much time contemplating those questions.
That was until I learned about Nietzsche and how as a philosopher he asked many of these seemingly unanswerable questions.
It made me realize that asking questions is how we discover new things and is a good way to gain more perspectives.
Even if there’s no answer to what the point of life is, because I find that question interesting I can explore different pathways of what the answer could be until I find the one that fits for me. 🎉
In the world of Nietzsche, I think this relates a lot to Nihilism.
Nothing can be known.
Nihilism is the belief that nothing can be known or communicated and that all values are baseless.
I know… quite existential.
According to the definition,
“A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destory.”
Nihilism is often associated with being a pessimist and a big skeptic.
From reading that it sounds like it must be hard to enjoy life as a nihilist.
I spent quite some time thinking about nihilism and religion.
I asked myself questions and explored more:
Can you be a nihilist and religious?
How can you be “happy” and be a nihilist?
What are my views on nihilism?
I like parts of nihilism. I like the concept of believing that nothing can be known or communicated and that all values are baseless.
I felt as though being a nihilist was one of the closest classifications I could find to explain my belief system.
No, I’m not a pessimist. I’m not a huge skeptic.
I’m just someone who asks a lot of questions because I’m super curious. 🔍
I don’t believe in one specific religion.
I have beliefs about many things. My opinions are strong but loosely held.
In the aspect of religion, I like to explore many different ones and learn about their beliefs. Then I pick and choose what I think makes the most sense to me based on those different perspectives.
I think this is where nihilism can be useful based on my current knowledge of it.
After learning from Nietzsche, I’ve realized my belief system is most similar to nihilism.
However, I don’t believe anything can be known or communicated so if I gain more perspectives that make me change my mind on it. Then I’ll drop this opinion.
I think that’s the beauty of it.
Nihilism can be a mental model for humans to explore different belief systems and pick + choose puzzle pieces they find that makes the most sense for them.
Another example I would give of this is advice.
Lots of people give us advice.
Do we have to take all that advice?
No. We don’t.
It’s up to us to pick and choose what makes the most sense for ourselves.
I think this model is useful for not only identifying one’s values, but also for figuring out what the meaning of life is.
Through a nihilist’s perspective, there is no meaning to life. Everything is meaningless.
That sounds demotivating at first but I’m a very optimistic person so I thought this sounds like an opportunistic situation.
Could you be a nihilist and be an optimist?
I did some internet digging and learned about optimistic nihilism.
It was essentially the same view I had as using nihilism as a tool to figure things out for ourselves.
Optimist nihilists know that everything is meaningless and that there isn’t a meaning of life.
They take this as an opportunity to find or create their own meaning.
This goes back to the definition of existentialism. Humans are own free and responsible beings. It’s in our control to create our own meaning.
Nihilism and superhumans? ⚡
You might be wondering. What does this philosophy have to do with superhumans?
Nihilism is a useful model that Nietzsche believes “superhumans” would use.
They ask a lot of questions and figure out what values they want to have for themselves.
Additionally, Nietzsche used his nihilist perspective to figure out his ideas around the superhuman. 😎
Before I explain some of these ideas. Let’s learn a bit more about why Nietzsche was so interested in the superhuman.
Humans are evolving. 🐒
At least we think we’ve been evolving? We can’t be 100% sure. But that’s another debate. 😅
Charles Darwin developed the theory of evolution by natural selection.
Humans evolved from monkeys.
Nietzsche believed that we’re still evolving.
Hierarchy wise humans are usually placed above the monkeys we evolved from.
So after us whatever evolves from humans could be placed above us on the hierarchy.
Nietzsche referred to this being as Übermensch or the superman. ⚡
He spent a lot of time exploring what traits the superman would have.
People often explore the physical traits I wrote about earlier. The idea of super strength, super speed, flying, etc. humans through pop culture.
Nietzsche was always interested in the psychological side.
He went about his exploration by looking at the people he admired the most and seeing what traits they have. 💡
Learning this led to me further internalizing the idea that the people you surround yourself with shapes you.
If you want to be an astronaut, you might want to surround yourself with more people who want to be astronauts, are ambitious, or have been astronauts.
Now finding some of these people may seem tricky.
They don’t need to be your best friend.
Thanks to the internet we have so many resources available. It’s crazy!
If I want to be more like Elon Musk, I can listen to podcasts, read stories, etc. to learn from him.
This is exactly the approach Nietzsche took to come up with a formula for superhumans.
🔑Takeaway — if you aspire to be more like someone (e.g., a “superhuman”) look for the traits in those you look up to or in that area.
After exploring the traits he admired in others, Nietzsche identified different areas that a superhuman would be good at psychologically.
A formula for superhumans.
Based on some of the areas I resonated with that a superhuman would excel at, this is a formula for superhumans:
1. They are selfish strategically.
Superhumans are selfish sometimes and that’s okay.
I know the word selfish has quite a negative connotation around it but it’s important to be selfish sometimes.
For example, if you’re always helping others and never helping yourself. I think this is a good time to be selfish. Focus on taking your own advice, prioritizing your mental health…. You’ll be able to help others more if you’re “selfish” and spend some time helping yourself. It’s a win-win-scenario. 🎉
2. They make their own values.
Superhumans do what makes the most sense for themselves.
They don’t spend much time worrying about what others think or are doing on there pathways. They’re not trying to fit in.
They forge their own pathway, make their own values, and find their own meaning. They know that they’re in control of their life.
3. They won’t be resentful of the success of others.
I heard this quote recently:
The success of others, doesn’t take away from your own.
This goes back to the making your own values point.
If you want to be a “superhuman” you have to understand that everyone is on there own unique pathway. The success of someone doesn’t mean that your successes don’t matter.
Focus on working on being a better version of yourself.
Celebrate other’s success! There’s only upside from doing this.
4. They accept suffering is necessary for good things.
There’s always going to be roadblocks and hard times.
Superhumans know this and can use it to their advantage.
They know and accept that suffering is necessary for good things.
This can be used as a motivator to keep pushing during hard times to get to the good ones.
My Action Items From My Nietzsche Deep Dives:
If you like these, try them out too. But remember — choose what makes the most sense to you.
- Be more intentional about surrounding myself with people I admire. Identify what traits they have that I hope to and start training those traits.
- Work on making my own values.
- Using nihilism as a model to question things and consider different perspectives. Strong opinions, loosely held.
- Celebrate the success of others. 🎉
- Be selfish strategically.
- Remember that suffering is necessary to good things. Practice resiliency.
After two weeks of exploring, I’ve begun to start forming some views on Nietzsche’s philosophy. Forming views and learning philosophy is something brand new to me. I’m training it.
Going back to superhumans. If you’re someone who aspires to be more superhuman, start figuring out what skills you want to train (e.g., mindsets, technologies, etc.) and start training them.
You might not have the ability to fly (yet).
However, you may become the person who makes that ability possible if you start training your psychological superpowers now.
Who knows? The next “superhuman” could be reading this right now.
That’s a wrap for my first-ever philosophy article. 🎬 I had a lot of fun exploring philosophy for the first time! I still have so many questions to explore from Nietzsche and may change my opinions in the future.
Until the next story!