“Your God Is Dead And No One Cares!”
Nietzsche’s idea of shocking people into action through ridicule and humour, thereby driving them to create their own sense of authority and morality, is no joking matter when taken to the extreme because it encourages a lack of human compassion. The influence of Nietzsche’s “will to power” and “overman” doctrines bring out positivity because they encourage people to take charge of their lives and try to make themselves into a better and more superior human; however, this emphasis on the “best” is dangerous when it falls into greedy and calculating hands because it turns people into apathetic beings who feel entitled to lord over those whom they deem to be weaker.
According to Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, pity was one of God’s downfalls. Zarathustra says “pity strangled [God]” and that “love of man became his hell, and in the end his death” (260). Releasing the inclination towards pitying others is an essential process for one who wishes to become the perfect “overman”. Pity must be shed to enable one the time to selfishly work on himself, to embody his own “will to power”. This sneer at compassion provides a dangerous excuse for self absorption and a dismissal of others’ needs.
Shedding the morality God has thrust upon mankind will allow humanity to reevaluate good and evil and to “create the world before which you can kneel” (113) so that people may reshape morals and make their own new realities in a new world of perspectivism. On the surface, this sounds like an enlightened plan, one where freedom of choice reigns supreme rather than their choices being bound by religious absurdities that have been mindlessly passed down throughout generations. However, with this newfound freedom from moral restrictions comes a new set of problems where the “overman” wields all of the power over those below his “perfect” status. Without God to counter these manufactured morals there is nothing to stop this hierarchal tyranny.
By killing God, Nietzsche offers humanity a chance to “make right” religious wrongs, but it is only the “best of the best” who are given this opportunity. If “God is a thought that makes crooked all that is straight” (86) then what is the “overman”? Does this promised answer to what is wrong with mankind offer a better life? Perhaps it does to those who have sound minds and bodies to enable them to seize their “will to power”. A better life for mankind cannot be created when people adopt an ideology that states “the greatest evil is necessary for the overman’s best” (288). Some of human history’s bleakest moments have occurred when this ideology has been put into practice. While Nietzsche provides useful ideas, such as laughter as a “cure” and the drive for self perfection, he also provides elitist propaganda that can be harmful to humanity when put into practice.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Trans. Walter Kaufman. Ontario: Penguin, 1978. Print.
Reznor, Trent. 2nd Title taken from “Heresy”. Nine Inch Nails. Interscope Records, 1994. Song.