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Environmental Ethics

Volume 26, Issue 3, Fall 2004

Adrian Del Caro
Pages 307-321

Nietzschean Considerations on the Environment

The superhuman (Übermensch) is a human being attuned to his or her environment in such a way that human and environment function as a whole, in keeping with Zarathustra’s prophecy that the superhuman is the meaning of the Earth. Nietzsche’s rhetorical embrace of the Earth in Thus Spoke Zarathustra is actually grounded in the works of the 1870s, in particular Human, All Too Human, which does not receive its due in critical engagement but which requires serious critical revisitation if the ecological Nietzsche is to be heard above his own rhetoric. When Nietzsche’s writings are considered from the standpoint of ecology, it emerges that the phrase “the superhuman shall be the meaning of the Earth” is not so much focused on a debatable vision of future humanity, but instead addresses strategies for inhabiting our finite Earth in a spirit of creativity, partnership, and meaningful daily interaction. The hotly debated doctrine of will to power, for example, undergoes clarification and grounding when subjected to ecological standards, resulting in a will to empowerment whose beneficiaries are not only humans who assume proper stewardship of the Earth, but all Earthly life forms insofar as the meaning of Earth must include them.

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