Nietzsche on Human Nobility

Nietzsche speaks of the idea of vornehmheit or human nobility. That it is not within knowledge per se. Knowledge is not something one can have like a detached thing that one possesses, but rather the knowing subject has to live his knowledge, it becomes associated to how much truth one can endure.

The nobility in human beings resides in putting oneself at a distance from people and things: to have a sense of differences in rank between people and strive for higher distinction.

He speaks of โ€œthe pathos of distanceโ€, which refers to a differentiation between the ordinary and the noble types of man, a chasm separating the great from the mediocre. Nietzsche is concerned with issues of not just individual decadence, but also of cultural decadence. He is concerned with life-affirming great individuals, not merely for their own sake, but for the rejuvenation and flourishing of culture.

However, Nietzsche does not intend to elevate all of humanity. His intent is to elevate those who can be elevated. He is fine with the herd staying the herd, but he wishes to seduce people away from the herd and expects the herd to hate him.

The Herd

What most interested Nietzsche throughout his entire intellectual career can be summarised in the form of the question โ€œhow are we to live?โ€, or more poignantly โ€œhow are we to endure life?โ€

He conceives life as a chaotic process without any stability or direction. And that we have no reason to believe in such a thing as value of life, insofar as these terms imply the idea of an objective purpose of life.

Human life is value oriented in its very essence, without adherence to some set of values or other, human life would be virtually impossible. So, if there are no values out there and we cannot live without values, then there must be some value-creating capacity within ourselves which is responsible for the values we cherish, and which organise our lives.

The noble and brave types creates values. He honours everything he sees in himself: this sort of morality is self-glorifying. A faith in yourself, a pride in yourself and a fundamental hostility and irony with respect to selflessness belong to a noble morality.

Nietzsche stated that the modern man would have to create his own values and morals in a world void of religion and belief, while avoiding the risk of falling into nihilism, the belief that life is meaningless, devoid of any value structure.


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Greatest Philosophers In History | Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche’s main concepts on living life revolve around self-overcoming, amor fati, perspectivism, human nobility, the will to power, the eternal recurrence, and the overman.

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Published by Eternalised - Philosophy

Eternalised is a Philosophical Entertainer in pursuit of meaning. A mix of Existentialism, Stoicism, Buddhism, Taoism, Jungian Psychology and Classical Greek Philosophy.

8 thoughts on “Nietzsche on Human Nobility

  1. Nietzsche had a lot of great ideas and insights, it is just a shame that ideas like this about there being the noble class and the herd were misappopriated by fascists like Hitler. (The herd being an analogy for the Jews, gays, gypsies and whoever else he considered to be undesirable)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No worries. Yep, after his mental breakdown that would consume the last 11 years of his life, his sister, Elisabeth assumed the role of editor of his unpublished works and manuscripts, to fit her own views which were heavily associated with Nazism. This is why Nietzsche has been misrepresented as a predecessor to Nazism.

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  2. That is really terrible, poor guy. I guess that’s the thing, you can give birth to great ideas and put them out in the world, but someone else may misrepresent or twist them or change them to suit their own agenda. This person could even be your own sister. It sounds like a massive betrayal!

    Liked by 1 person

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