Abir Taha’s Nietzsche’s Coming GodTed Sallis
Nietzsche’s Coming God or the Redemption of the Divine
London: Arktos, 2013
Abir Taha, a Lebanese woman described as a “career diplomat,” and who has a philosophy degree from the Sorbonne, has written an interesting book, Nietzsche’s Coming God or the Redemption of the Divine. As the author of the polemic essay on “The Overman High Culture,” I thought a careful reading of Taha’s book would be useful. My overall opinion of the book is that it is very good; however, I do have one major problem with it, which is discussed below.
But before I get to the negatives, I would like to first praise the book for what it gets right. With respect to the core of Nietzsche’s ideas, Taha’s book focuses on his doctrine of the Superman (what I would term “Overman”) and the concepts of “will to power” and “self-overcoming” – the need to reject the fairy tales of Christianity to live for this world, the real (not “apparent”) world, to till the soil from which will spring the Superman/Overman, who will be the “meaning of the earth.” This is, essentially, the message of my essay; humans need to stop worshiping imaginary gods and become godlike themselves. It’s time to grow up and accept responsibility for our future development as a higher form of humanity.
Thus, from Taha’s book:
Indeed, man must choose between the glory of God and his own glory, and man’s glory is embodied by the Superman.
. . . a new dawn that enables men to live life to the fullest, to invent a new meaning, to create their own god, and even to become gods. Or rather God-Men, Supermen.
And, Taha quotes Nietzsche, himself imaging what the Superman would say:
I have for the first time united in myself the just, the hero, the poet, the savant, the soothsayer, the leader; I have extended my vault over all the peoples, I have built columns over which a sky stands – strong enough to carry a sky.
That is excellent, and sums up, in a few words, the underlying ethos of The Overman High Culture. So, I would recommend Taha’s book as a short and reasonably well-reasoned primer on the core of Nietzsche’s philosophy – a core that informs the type of new High Culture that I envisioned in my essay. So far so good. Now on to the negatives.
Perhaps the biggest problem I have with the book is the section describing Nietzsche’s aracial, non-biological notion of a “master race” being purely spiritual in nature, racially heterogeneous people linked together by their “superiority,” a racial individualism opposed to a “bovine nationalism” based on biological race. It is true that much of Nietzsche’s work is consistent with this characterization, so I have no problem with Taha stating the facts on this matter. The problem instead is that this attitude of Nietzsche is presented without critique or a racialist interpretation; in fact, Taha seems to approve of Nietzsche’s “spiritual racism” and his opposition to any sort of ancestry-based, collectivist “bovine nationalism.”
The concept of “race” according to Nietzsche is in fact, as we have seen, a universal and spiritual concept, transcending . . . the biological determinism of racial theorists . . . a world dominated by the master race . . . which transcends . . . biological racism.
And so on and so forth . . . putting forth a trans-national, aracial “spiritual” race of “superior” individuals, who together form a new “race,” eschewing their own “inferior” co-ethnics. To which I answer: NO. This is – what? – a variant of cognitive elitism, in that we rank individuals by some criteria on an aracial basis, and convince them they have no allegiance to their ethny, their genes, their culture, their history. Another maladaptive, racially destructive meme.
I am a racial nationalist and a supporter of a more collectivist national socialism as an organizing principle for White societies. Further, I’m a “biological materialist.” This may pose some problems to someone who supports some of the ideals of a Nietzschean ethos. Thus, the question is: how can Nietzschean ethics be compatible with a more collectivist “bovine nationalism?” This can be viewed from the issue of the context of Nietzsche’s writings in their own time, and, more importantly, how we today can interpret these writings. The first is more of a side-issue, which will be dealt with here with a rather lengthy note. The second issue — that of interpretation — is more important.
How then should be interpret the more individualist and aracial aspects of Nietzsche’s ethos? Contrary to what some racialists, and, particularly, subracialists, believe — the idea that some groups are favored merely by dint of ancestry as automatically superior — Nietzsche rejected the belief that superiority is some sort of racial birthright bestowed upon individuals due to their racial background. Instead, superiority must be earned, on a personal level, by personal deeds and beliefs, and there can be such superior individuals in any ethny.
So far I agree with that, and I have always argued that racialism should not be based on ideas of the superiority/inferiority of entire groups, and their ranking on some sort of phenotypic scale of appearance, ability, or what have you. Instead, racialism should be based upon genetic kinship: one supports their group precisely because it is their group; they should not feel the need to justify their ethnoracial activism by any other criteria. Further, contrary to what the “spiritual racists” may believe, race does have a biological basis and this is vitally important; ultimate interests are genetic interests, and humans, as evolved organisms, do have this ultimate interest in biologically adaptive behavior. Where does this lead us? Well, I see nothing in Nietzsche’s ideals that would prevent the “Superman” from exhibiting his superiority by advancing the interests of his ethny. That would seem to be a perfectly acceptable vehicle for proving superiority; indeed, I would argue that any “Superman” who is indifferent — much less supportive! — of his own ethny’s decline, disempowerment, and displacement, is not much of a “Superman” at all. Those who would stand by and see their own kinship group diminished are, instead, Last Men.
With respect to biological race there needs not be any contradiction with the core of Nietzsche’s basic philosophy. Individual striving and overcoming can take place within a racial community. A collectivist national socialist state can provide the organic solidarity a people needs in its competition with others, and provide the required stability for the masses, while allowing – no, promoting! – the unleashed creativity and self-overcoming of superior individuals on the path to greatness. A superior European should have a custodial responsibility for his less fortunate co-ethnics, and not make common cause with “superior” Chinamen or Negroes (an oxymoron?). One should strive to uplift the ethny as a whole, as Nietzsche states, occasionally entire peoples represent a “bull’s-eye” of greatness, not just individuals. It’s entirely possible to fuse collectivist racialism with elitism and hierarchical leadership: the Third Reich did just that.
Further, contrary to the conformism and “hero worship” of the “movement,” it is not necessary to take the totality of a thinker’s work – one can choose what is useful and discard the rest. That goes for Yockey, Salter, anyone – including Nietzsche. Indeed, a careful reading of Zarathustra and other works makes clear that Nietzsche didn’t want to be any sort of blindly followed guru. Remember he wrote that if want to multiply yourself, to seek followers, you should seek zeroes. Thus, one can view Nietzsche as a generator of ideas, some of which are useful building blocks for a superior philosophy for today. One need not dispense with the crucially important concept of biological race in order to realize the Overman. On the contrary, true superiority must take into account natural reality and account for ultimate interests. If we are going to “live for the earth” then we had better take into account worldly realities. Ignoring real race in favor of “spiritualism” is as big a fantasy as the Christian theology of transcendence that Nietzsche so justifiably criticizes.
Some other points: there is the question as to what extent the book The Will to Power (cited liberally throughout Taha’s work) actually describes Nietzsche’s refined thoughts, and how much it is his sister and admirer Gast’s attempt to cobble together Nietzsche’s notes to create a picture — admittedly a picture that I mostly approve of – which really doesn’t reflect the nuances of his thoughts. A somewhat bigger problem is Taha’s emphasis on Nietzsche’s “spirituality” and that he thought we need a new god — a Dionysian one – to replace the monotheistic Christian god whose “death” Nietzsche has reported. Even if this new god is simply a conceptual one – a spiritualized archetype for the Superman – I wouldn’t go in that direction. No more gods!
Curiously, Taha then quotes Nietzsche expressing an opinion similar to my own view:
Dead are all the gods: now we want the Superman to Live! – let this be one day, at the great noontide, our ultimate will . . . That precisely is godliness, that there are gods but no God!
It’s clear (to me at least) that these “gods” are the Overmen, the Supermen, not “real gods,” or “conceptual entities,” or anything else of that sort. I realize that Nietzsche was not always the clearest writer, but, then again, I’m not the one with a degree in philosophy. And, then a criticism of Nietzsche himself: allegedly, he was “horrified” (according to those biographers who wished to “rescue” Nietzsche from accusations of proto-Nazism) that the rightist nationalist parties were using his work, and “quoting him out of context.” Well, if you are afraid of being misquoted and mis-used, it may be a good idea to write with sufficient clarity so that folks don’t need philosophy degrees in order to attempt an understanding of your meaning.
All these criticisms aside, Nietzsche was a great and revolutionary thinker, with an ethos for a new world. I agree with Taha that Nietzsche was far more than a nihilist. That’s what his camel-lion-child analogy was about: the camel as the beast of burden the traditional paradigms, the defiant lion – a nihilist – smashing the tablets and the idols and saying No!, and the child building afresh and saying Yes! And Taha has written a fine book (albeit with the caveats listed), recommended reading for anyone who believes that The Overman High Culture should be the future of the West. Although be warned that the last one-third of the book is somewhat repetitive. Even though it is a slim volume, it could have profited by some further editing. It gets to the point that the author is hammering the reader with the same ideas over and over again. Yes, I know, Nietzsche believed in the “eternal recurrence” but that meme doesn’t need to be demonstrated on a page-by-page basis in this book, by eternally recurring memes repeated over and over again.
In summary: a biologically aware Nietzschean ethos is as important as a biologically aware Yockeyism. Conversely, biological materialism bereft of High Culture and self-overcoming is sterile zoology. We need all these components in order to build a better tomorrow.
1. The negative aspects of Nietzsche’s writings I believe to be in large part determined by historic context. By negative, I mean his hyper-individualism, hostility to the state, hostility to anti-Semitism, and a hostility to his German ethny, a hostility manifested in a (somewhat ludicrous) attempt to deny his own German ancestry in favor of a Polish ethnic background.
Nietzsche was a man of the latter half of the 19th century, a period of Civilization for the West, a period before the bloodletting of World Wars and the collapse of Western power. Hence, individualist attacks on the state, on mass movements, etc. was, at that time, not the same as what one would consider today, where the hedonistic and atomized White man is at the mercy of more collectivist opponents. The somewhat vulgar German jingoism of his time, and the perhaps (prematurely) extreme anti-Semitism of some of his contemporaries, no doubt informed some of Nietzsche’s philosemitism and his Teutonophobia. One is hard-pressed to believe that Nietzsche would view today’s situation and state his opinions in quite the same way. After all, today we see: European man on the road to extinction, individualism merging with conformity to bring us to the Last Man, an obviously Jewish element in Western decline, Germany infested with Turks and other aliens, Germans and other Europeans being displaced and replaced within their own homelands.
Now, some things that have occurred since Nietzsche’s death would have led him to reinforce certain beliefs. Hostility to Christianity would be emphasized, as that death cult leads White men to open their nations’ borders to invasion. His call to be a “Good European” and a reasonable opposition to extreme narrow nationalism would be underscored by the tragedy of the World Wars and the self-immolation of Western Man. The numbing conformity of political correctness would refocus the importance on a defiant individualism, BUT now this individualism would be harnessed in the service of People, Nation, and a new raciocultural State. And I think his animus toward anti-Semitism would shift more in the direction of an animus toward those responsible for many of the problems faced by the West today. Those who mindlessly quote Nietzsche on anti-Semitism and the State, without considering that he wrote at a time when the West essentially ruled the world – those people are short-sighted to the point of mendacity. And, any case, as stated above in the main text, one is not obligated to accept ALL facets of a writer’s views simply because one agrees with certain main points. Indeed, there are things in On Genetic Interests and in Imperium that I find myself in significant disagreement with, but that does not in any way diminish the important of the work of Salter and Yockey for my own worldview, and, I think, the importance for the future of our race and civilization.
That said, the opposite is true as well in that one should not distort the views of Nietzsche even as we understand the context in which those views were expressed. He was not an anti-Semitic Germanophile, not a fascist, and not an embryonic Nazi. Even my hypothetical opinions of what Nietzsche possibly would think today should not be misconstrued as an assertion of certainty. While I believe that his opinions on certain subjects would have changed, in the end the only certainty is what he believed and wrote during his own time. And for us that must suffice.
2. One wishes the same can occur in the “movement” — a “movement” full of camels, regurgitating the same flotsam and jetsam for decades, the warmed-over Güntherism, the predictable memes and historical fictions, the obsessions and ethnic fetishes, the fixations and conspiracy theories, the hero worship and shallow thinking, the sour stench of endless failure. We need some lions to smash “movement” stupidity, followed by fresh-thinking children to create something better.
Johann Gottfried Herder o hudbě a nacionalismu
D. C. Stephenson and the Fall of the Second Klan
Scott Howard’s The Plot Against Humanity
Východ a Západ – gordický uzel: kniha Ernsta Jüngera Der gordische Knoten
Reviewing the Unreviewable
Buddha a Führer: Mladý Emil Cioran o Německu
The Machiavellian Method
I don’t think the Übermensch is a very grown-up idea. And this thing about Man becoming God is so 19th century… and it failed miserably in the 20th. It’s a curse on mankind: man is neither God nor Beast, but he becomes a beast when he tries to be God.
>And, then a criticism of Nietzsche himself: allegedly, he was “horrified” (according to >those biographers who wished to “rescue” Nietzsche from accusations of proto-Nazism) >that the rightist nationalist parties were using his work, and “quoting him out of >context.
I don’t think so – during Nietzsche’s lifetime there were no “rightist nationalist parties using his work”.
A few years ago I read a article on The Guardian about growing European hostility to immigrants, the I most remember about the article is that Europeans need too follow their Christian heritage and accept the Immigrants and reject Nationalism as being “Pagan and Barbaric”.
This book is just another episode in the evaluation of Nietzsche as Individualist ans self-creator. I completely agree with Mr. Sallis’s objection.
Nietzsche s comments about individualism should be taken only in contrast to the mindlessness of Christianity. They in no way apply to his evaluation of culture and race, which are themselves staunchly anti-liberal and therefore anti-individual. Nietzsche spoke highly of Jews only in reference to their racial cunning, donned as ‘spiritualism’ and chastised Germany because of its modern failure to properly free itself of Christianism. Anti-Semitism in N’s time was fundamentally Christian, which is why he opposed it. Elsewhere he perfectly understood the sinister Jewish moral revolt, which underlines everything h ever said. Indeed he was amongst the very first to introduce this new non-Christian form on anti-Semitism.
The vision of Nietzsche that thou dos’t see, is my vision’s greatest enemy…
There is so much to say about this, just a few remarks: it is never really clear in Nietzsche what the Übermensch is actually supposed to be like and in which sense he would be able to replace God or at least become a being that is able to live without God or any metaphysical backing (which means one has to confront a very brutal and terrible view of life, that can easily drive you to despair).
This idea remains in the realm of poetic evocation and it draws a lot of its power precisely by being non-precise. I’d rather think of him as a sort of evolutionary mutation, just like the star child in “Space Odyssey” (and nobody knows what is going to happen next either when that movie ends). And there are a few hints in Nietzsche’s work that point into this direction (forget about Cesare Borgia and blonde beasts…).
The Übermensch would be something born out of the utmost despair, the utmost crisis, the utmost pain, the utmost self-overcoming, maybe even self-denial… when apes were to mutate into men, they became sick, melancholic, neurotic, suffered inexplicable pains of a mysterious transformations, were torn from the inside, because something new was to be born. (I’m only figuratively and speculatively speaking, as I was not there and have no idea what happened and why.)
The Superman or Overman would be something we can neither imagine nor “achieve” by trying hard. People have always tried hard since the beginning of time, and a few exceptional individuals had exceptional results. But they didn’t change or surpass the species; they stayed men, and eventually they died and turned to dust.
It is misleading to conceive the Übermensch as some Ayn-Rand-like hero etc. (Ayn Rand never grew up either.) In such a sense there have always been creative and conquering men on this earth who were “God-like”, yet they would rise and fall like Napoleon, or would be stricken by live-long deep melancholy and misery like Michelangelo. The God-like men are those that suffer the greatest tragedies – that is the wisdom of Homer and the Attic Tragedy and Shakespeare: Man’s Glory is fleeting, ridiculous, fragile… “Look at my works ye mighty and despair”. The Gods will always laugh at us. And the all-too-human never ceases, even in the greatest of men (so with Nietzsche). In fact it is often a major driving force: it is not at all the healthiest people, both mentally and physically, that achieve the greatest and most extraordinary things.
Another idea of the Übermensch as being stronger, tougher, healthier, more beautiful, more intelligent, more creative than the men who preceded him, strikes me as rather silly and banal, especially if taken to a collective level… such as in the idea of “breeding” supermen (something for Hollywood and comic book Nazis, really). One thing one can be for sure that Nietzsche never thought for a second that his Supermen would have any interest in advancing any collectivist interests, racial, ethnic, class or otherwise, which he despised.
I can’t believe in a God I myself have consciously created. That contradicts the very idea of God. Neither can I “invent” meaning. The trick doesn’t work. In order for meaning to be meaningful, I must find it, it must seem objectively meaningful to me. Neither can I, or anyone else, choose to become a God. I might even be able to “live life to the fullest” (oh dear, what a lame phrase), precisely because I believe in a God and a religion. Etc. I really think these are helpless, speculative clichés, and they are not even new in any way. The whole history of modernity consists in trying to “invent” meanings, to “create” Gods…
So Man has in a certain way tried to become God by the means of technology and did achieve this aim to a certain extent. But all his atom bombs and aeroplanes and electrictiy and space rockets and smartphones can’t improve him morally or spiritually or save him from his doom, and the doom he brought on this planet… that is the point when Heidegger said “Only a God can save us.” (I must say I’m quite surprised of books like that of Ms. Tahas… it seems to me that people who write them have missed world history.)
And Goethe knew too, in his famous play about an Übermensch (thusly called mockingly by a spirit he invokes):
Student (Reading Mephistopheles’ Latin inscription which means: ‘You’ll be like God, acquainted with good and evil’.):
Eritis sicut Deus, scientes bonum et malum.
Just follow the ancient text, and my mother the snake, too:
And then your likeness to God will surely frighten you!
If you decide to live without God at least have the decency not to think of yourself as one. That is actually a typically democratic (gnostic) thought. It is aristocratic to submit to a higher being. And I argue that you can’t remove God or Gods without erecting another idol, whether you are aware of it or not. (The religion of “race” as an end within itself is one of those idols.) Man is a metaphysical, a theological, a philosophical animal.
I’d rather have a dry and cold view on the limitations of Man… what T.E. Hulme called the “classical view” of Man, the emphasis on Original Sin.
If Petronius had merely said that Nietzsche should coming with a warning label it would have been one thing – he should come with a warning label – but Petronius instead chose to defiantly parade his ‘slave morality’ before readers, and that should not go unanswered.
The simplest refutation of the purportedly ‘classical’ view Petronius defends is that striving to be godlike beats striving to be Christlike. The mind of man inspires more awe than does the hand of God. It is in the striving towards and veneration of ever greater excellences that life is indeed ‘lived to the fullest.’
Death is died to the fullest also. For what the Nietzschean leaves behind when he passes on matters more than what he carries with him. The latter could be more than some enigmatic ‘essence’ or it could be less, but the Nietzschean is prepared to brave that contingency when the time comes – rather than spend his days quivering in anticipation of it. A man’s trembling core can know no greater courage.
Thanks, I have heard this before… everytime a certain type of self-identified Nietzschean gets his rhetorics questioned but doesn’t really get the point, it must be “slave morality”. I’ll have the wisdom of Sophocles and Shakespeare instead…
It never occured to me that N. should come with a “warning label”. Why? Whom do you want to warn, and from what exactly? By what authority do you think you can pin warning labels on philosophers? Now that sort of thinking seems a bit slave morality-ish to me…
>Death is died to the fullest also. For what the Nietzschean leaves behind when he passes >on matters more than what he carries with him.
One doesn’t have to be a “Nietzschean” for that at all. In fact most “Nietzscheans” leave nothing behind at all, they just love grandiose talk. One can have all sorts of believes to live a heroic live, to leave something valuable or lasting or great behind or to “live life to the fullest” (which still is far, far from turning you into a “God” in any way).
Also, I see no objective measure of how things that were left behind “matter” – to whom, for what, for what purpose, for how long? Men strive for immortality in one way or another, but what will really be left, we can hardly decide. That should be left to… God?
And death is death – if you manage “to die it to the fullest” (whatever that may be), you’ll be lucky, but no decision of your own can really influence on how miserably or unsatisfied or rotten or failed you will die. Death will always be “to the fullest”, but life never, not with 17 years, not with 70… Nietzsche’s own prolonged death was anything but “godlike” in that respect…
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