April 14, 2009

Morality of the superman (overman) will transcend conventional ideas of good and evil

100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution (complete text) by Richard Carlson
by Rich on Mon 13 Apr 2009 10:28 PM PDT Permanent Link

Sri Aurobindo invest his hope in the individual as the unit of evolutionary selection. In so doing the Aurobindian superman on closer inspection shares many similar traits with the Nietzschean overman. A brief comparison between the way the two construct their concept of the super/overman would be useful here.

Nietzsche's view of human evolution contrast with Sri Aurobindo in that he sees evolution as leading not to the creation of the overman but rather, to the triumph of the herd. He views natural selection as breding inferior forms of life; if humanity is evolving he believes that it is evolving toward a common mediocrity. The creative force facilitating the creation of the overman in Nietzsche's view is not collective human progress but rather, an expression of nature's life force manifesting in individual self-affirmation that he calls “will to power”. The meanings Nietzsche ascribes to this will are complex and stated a bit differently in his various texts, what follows is a brief synopsis of its fourfold variation: [...]

Both Nietzsche's overman and Sri Aurobindo's superman affirm life in the world, both also come into being through the aspirations of extraordinary individuals rather than the by the actions of the masses. Just as Nietzsche champions nature's underlying creative will as the vehicle of transformation that takes man to overman Sri Aurobindo affirm nature's underlying occult action that he calls “nature's yoga ” as that primal evolutionary force driving the transformation of man to superman.

Sri Aurobindo however, develops his ideas on the subject by tracing a genealogy that leads back to ancient India, and so contextualizes it within the tradition of Indian spirituality. By contrast Nietzsche's view of the overman can be traced back to ancient Greece and so he contextualizes the creation of a superior being within the European philosophical tradition. Among other things the move toward Indian spirituality results in Sri Aurobindo developing a concept that is not only of an immanent god in nature but also of a Godhead with a cosmic and transcendental poise. Although Nietzsche views the “will to power” as a metaphysical force underlying the primal forces of nature and claims the "world is the will to power -- and nothing besides" he would disdained the association of this will with a supernatural god. Moreover, Nietzsche views “will to power” purely in terms of its Becoming in the world whereas Sri Aurobindo views natures yoga not only in terms of Becoming but also in terms of Being.

But for these qualitative differences that result largely from their cross cultural encounter, Sri Aurobindo's view mirrors Nietzsche's in conceiving of a metaphysical will/force as driving creation of a new superior being and in suggesting that it is not collective human progress but the extraordinary individual who will facilitate the creation of the superman. Moreover, both Sri Aurobindo and Nietzsche agree that the morality of the superman (overman) will transcend conventional ideas of good and evil therefore, one should not be surprised in their rhetorical styles of affinity. Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Previous: Cybernetics Is An Antihumanism: Advanced Technologies and the Rebellion Against the Human Condition: Metnexus (Global Spiral)

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