Page:Thus Spake Zarathustra - Thomas Common - 1917.djvu/14

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INTRODUCTION

Even among the Greeks, it was the individuals that counted.

"The Greeks are interesting and extremely important because they reared such a vast number of great individuals. How was this possible? The question is one which ought to be studied.

"I am interested only in the relations of a people to the rearing of the individual man, and among the Greeks the conditions were unusually favourable for the development of the individual; not by any means owing to the goodness of the people, but because of the struggles of their evil instincts.

"With the help of favorable measures great individuals might be reared who would be both different from and higher than those who heretofore have owed their existence to mere chance. Here we may still be hopeful: in the rearing of exceptional men."

The notion of rearing the Superman is only a new form of an ideal Nietzsche already had in his youth, that "the object of mankind should lie in its highest individuals" (or, as he writes in "Schopenhauer as Educator": "Mankind ought constantly to be striving to produce great men—this and nothing else is its duty."). But the ideals he most revered in those days are no longer held to be the highest types of men. No, around this future ideal of a coming humanity—the Superman—the poet spread the veil of becoming. Who can tell to what glorious heights man can still ascend? That is why, after having tested the worth of our noblest ideal—that of the Saviour, in the light of the new valuations, the poet cries with passionate emphasis in "Zarathustra":

"Never yet hath there been a Superman. Naked have I seen both of them, the greatest and the smallest man:—

"All-too-similar are they still to each other. Verily even the greatest found I—all-too-human!"—