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The Will to be God -- draft Bryan Carr

The Will to Be God

In a note published with The Antichrist Nietzsche describes “true goodness, nobility, .greatness of
soul,” as opposed to what he sees as the cunning goodness of Christianity with its sublimated power-
plays. Nietzsche’s ideal is one “which does not give to take, which does not want to promote itself by
being good;” and then he adds: “squandering as the type of true goodness, the wealth of personality as

But can there be, for Nietzsche, a giving that is not done “in order to take?” The philosopher who
finds that the world and humankind reduces to will to power—”and nothing else besides;” who finds
nature and culture alike describable as an agon of forces; when, under what circumstances, would he
be able to point to an act of “true goodness” that was not a disguised attempt at mastery or expression
thereof? When must the genealogist of morals fall silent, unable to critique a given moral act? Is there,
as Erich Heller asks, “a Christian virtue, be it goodness, innocence, chastity, saintliness, or self-
sacrifice, that could not, however much he tried, be interpreted as a compensatory maneuver of the
mind to ‘transvalue’ weakness and frustration?” Heller responds, no; “there cannot be such a virtue.
For virtues are reflected upon by minds; and even the purest virtue will be suspect to a mind filled
with suspicion.” (The Importance of Nietzsche p12). But, the note above indicates, there can be such
virtues, unmotivated by self-promotion (or so interpreted, even by the “suspicious” mind); only there
is, for such goodness, “the wealth of personality as prerequisite.”

To be sure, Heller is not wrong in any simple sense. This prerequisite would for Nietzsche already rule
out any Christian virtues, for, contra Aristotle’s megalopsychia the New Testament specifically
blesses “the poor in spirit,” praises the widow who gives her last mite over the rich who give “out of
their abundance,” and is more optimistic about threading a needle with a camel than about the
prospects of the rich upon the advent of the kingdom of God. This much Nietzsche would have read
with a fury sharpened by disdain for the effects he saw such sentiments as breeding in culture, the
slow will to equality of the tarantulas that resents the one who is powerful, who is remarkable, who
dares to become what he is. This, coupled with the commonly-assumed “otherworldly” orientation of
Christianity and its deprecation of bodily experience (both of which find differing expression in
Platonism, no less infuriating to Nietzsche—though, then again, perhaps somewhat less) made
Christianity in Nietzsche’s eyes the great blight, the great curse, the single most significant source of
the crisis of our age, whose name is Nihilism.

Nihilism, Nietzsche thinks, came and could not fail to come out of Christianity, which he sees as an
unprecedented, and ultimately self-destructive, will to truth, to a pristine spiritual certainty. Why self-
destructive? Nietzsche seems to offer roughly two answers. One: this will to truth was allied in
Christianity with a deep mistrust of this world’s life, and therefore inevitably came to devalue
everything once held in esteem. For the same desire to know the courses of planets also comes to want
to map the human heart; but here, the truth is terrible, for what one finds is not a pure motive to beauty
or goodness, even in the greatest, but—will to power, and that often in convoluted form: “The world
of historical values is dominated by forgery. These great poets…all endowed with souls wishing to
conceal a break…what a torture are all these great artists and altogether higher beings, what a torture
to him who has guessed their true nature.” (B.G.E. 269). In anticipation of Freud but more devastating
in his assessment of what it will mean, Nietzsche shows the disillusionment of the will to truth when it
turns to psychology. Nietzsche is therefore able to ask what the value of truth is; why not, after all,

The Will to be God -- draft Bryan Carr

But the other possible reason for the breaking down of the will to truth is precisely that it is an
unfulfillable desire; that, as the requirements of “good conscience” and honesty continue to insist on
the expansion, modification and supplementation of our perspective, there comes a moment at which
perspective itself is seen as the determining force in our “knowledge”, and that therefore there is no
knowledge immune to being gainsaid:

The most extreme form of nihilism would be the view that every belief, every considering-
something-true, is necessarily false because there simply is no true world.
Thus: a perspectival appearance whose origin lies in us (in so far as we continually need a
narrower, abbreviated, simplified world).
--That it is the measure of strength to what extent we can admit to ourselves, without
perishing, the merely apparent character, the necessity of lies.
To this extent, nihilism, as the denial of a truthful world, might be a divine way of thinking.
(W.P., 15)

What can nihilism as “a divine way of thinking” mean, at least this “most extreme” form of nihilism,
this “denial of the truthful world”? All our previous guarantees of validity have fallen away;
Nietzsche’s critique of logic, knowledge, will-to-truth, as is well known, is a naturalistic one and seeks
therefore to account not, like Kant, for how knowledge (synthetic, a priori) is possible , but how it
would have arisen . From The Gay Science to book three (especially) of The Will to Power, Nietzsche
is explicit that our sense of truth depends on mis-perception: “In order that the concept of substance
could originate—which is indispensable for logic although in the strictest sense nothing real
corresponds to it—it was likewise necessary that for a long time one did not see nor perceive the
changes in things.” (G.S. 111); “Logic is bound to the condition: assume there are identical cases…the
will to logical truth can be carried through only after a fundamental falsification of all events is
assumed.” (W.P., 512). This falsification serves an evolutionary need: “The inventive force that
invented categories labored in the service of our needs… for security, for quick understanding on the
basis of signs and sounds, for means of abbreviation… “ (W.P ., 513). And again:

The beings that did not see so precisely had an advantage over those that saw everything ‘in
flux.’ At bottom, every high degree of caution and every skeptical tendency constitute a
danger for life. No living things would have survived if the opposite tendency—to affirm
rather than suspend judgment, to err and make up things rather than wait, to assent rather than
negate, to pass judgment rather than be just—had not been bred to the point where it became
extraordinarily strong.” (G.S ., ibid.)

Later in The Gay Science Nietzsche will explicitly ask whether the will to truth, and also will to
truthfulness, might not be a will to death . And if it were, what would we be to make in light of this of
Nietzsche’s musings on suicide, or his anti-Darwinist contention that a theoretical drive for survival
and adaptation conceived of too passive a life to account for the phenomena of biology?

Nietzsche thus contests the whole Platonic scheme that distinguishes between shadows (appearances)
and “real” forms (light). The process by which one comes to conceive of the forms, Nietzsche
diagnoses precisely a selective and instinctive blindness to nuance and variation, recast (he thinks) as
vision by Plato in the Republic’s parable of the cave. But Nietzsche too is preoccupied with shadows.
In the first passage in which he says that God has died, he mentions a legend: “After Buddha was
dead, his shadow was still shown for centuries in a cave. . . .—And we—we still have to vanquish
[God’s] shadow, too.”

The Will to be God -- draft Bryan Carr

The shadow of God is not only Christian morality, but also grammar, reason, and “the self.” The
continual contesting of these illusions is what comprises the revaluation of values, the thinking
through of the death of God. Here we can begin to see how Nietzsche’s critique is tied together: the
valuations of egalitarianism—Christian or democratic—of moral absolutism, of logic, and of the
cohesive ego, all depend on sameness and equality: of human beings, of ethical choices, of members
of a type, and of the moments and inclinations of our consciousness. Nietzsche asserts against all of
this the priority of difference. His proclamations against political and social egalitarianism (too famous
and too numerous to cite); his contesting of the idea of moral principle (“whoever says, ‘under these
circumstances all men would have had to act likewise’ has not advanced five steps towards self-
knowledge” G. S. 335), and his criticism of the self (“ ‘The subject’ is the fiction that many similar
states in us are the effect of one substratum.” W. P. 485); all these turn back to this theme, or rather
this method of attack. Over and over again, Nietzsche insists on “similar” rather than “same,”
“resembles” rather than “equals.” The formal inconsistency in this does not seem to bother him: when
he goes on, in the section just cited, to say “it is we who first created the ‘similarity’ of these states;
our adjusting them and making them similar is the fact, not the similarity,” he does not ask himself
just who he means by “we.” Nonetheless, there will be a return of the repressed, and in Nietzsche it
announces itself as “return ,” as, again, “the most extreme form of nihilism:” the Eternal Return of the
Same. (WP. 55).

Nietzsche seems to have responded to the experience of the Eternal Return (and it was first of all, for
him, an experience –which is perhaps why his is the first philosophy to take the idea in earnest) with
much the same feeling as typifies human encounter with what seems supernatural: there is
simultaneously attraction and repulsion, as if he were drawn by the idea irresistibly but against his
will. When, in “The Stillest Hour,” the doctrine of the recurrence begins to dawn upon Zarathustra, he
cannot bring himself to speak it, and he becomes “afraid of my own thoughts:” it is a “voiceless voice”
that requires utterance from Zarathustra: “you know it, Zarathustra; but you do not speak.” In language
that (designedly) evokes the passion of Christ, Zarathustra beseeches the voice (his daimonion?) to
release him “from this alone,” for “it is beyond my strength!”

My belief that it is the Eternal Return that Zarathustra intuits here is contestable, and cannot be
completely argued in the space of this paper; but part of the rationale for it is the echo in the “Second
Dancing Song”—the same words, but differently intoned. There, Life chastises Zarathustra for
“thinking of leaving me soon” (a will to death, or a will to truth?). Zarathustra responds by hesitantly
whispering something—Nietzsche does not say what—into her ear, to which she rejoins: “You know
that, Zarathustra? No one knows that.” Given the context, I infer that Zarathustra has told Life that he
knows that despite his thoughts of dying, he will return. But it is the repetition of the claim to
knowledge—spoken accusatively by the voiceless voice and self-exculpatingly by Zarathustra in “The
Stillest Hour,” then inaudibly by Zarathustra and queryingly by Life in “The Second Dancing Song,”
that establishes both a resonance between the chapters and the connection between knowledge and the

Recall: in contesting the possibility of knowledge, Nietzsche calls “the view that every belief…is
necessarily false” the “most extreme form of nihilism” in The Will to Power 15; in section 55, this
same epithet is applied to the eternal recurrence of all things. What then would be the connection
between the view that everything recurs and the view that there is no true view of the world? What
have these in common—and why could this be “a divine way of thinking?”

The Eternal Return is ambiguous, as is the equivocation on Zarathustra’s knowledge (“You know it!”
vs. “You know that?”). Heidegger calls the teaching of the Eternal Return the “overcoming of

The Will to be God -- draft Bryan Carr

nihilism” (Nietzsche vol 1:446), because seen from a certain perspective it makes every moment
absolutely decisive; but there is also a sense in which the Eternal Return makes every moment utterly
indifferent. Nietzsche never tired of arguing, egalitarianism is the penultimate devaluation of values;
and if there is a perpetual and inescapable recycling, “to the letter,” of each moment, then every
moment is precisely equivalent to every other. No experience is valued by the Recurrence itself more
than any other. The ecstasy of love is on a par with grimacing in constipation, mystical transcendence
with being bored in a lecture or mugged in an alley, as far as the Eternal Return is concerned. One is
always already predestined, in a sense precisely analogous with Calvin’s—only one’s destiny is to this
life. (With the Eternal Return, Nietzsche, always a meditator on tragedy, accomplishes his own
synthesis of character and fate). And, just as in Calvinism, this predestination does not lead to an
abdication of the need to choose well how one lives. This is so even though, thought through, either
predestination is paralyzing: one can only act by forgetting that one’s actions do not matter at all to the
divine, predestining will (in Calvin), or that they matter perpetually and absolutely (in Nietzsche), but
not “to” anyone—even oneself, since there is no self…but then, who is it that recurs?

There is no help citing Nietzsche’s—or Zarathustra’s—justification of the doctrine by joy (“Have you
said yes to a single joy? Then you have also said yes to every woe !”) For joy and woe are radically
equalized by the Eternal Return . That woe had paved the way for joy might justify woe in a
teleological universe, but the Eternal Return is precisely not teleological. Having disdained to use the
impossibility of theodicy to argue for his atheism, Nietzsche will still not escape the pressing need for
a cosmodicy; and here the question of Ivan Karamazov is just as damning. If the Kingdom of Heaven
itself does not justify the single tear of a single child, so it is even with eternally recurring joy and
woe: Nietzsche reproached the ascetics for claiming that joy was cancelled out by suffering, but in the
infernal machine of Recurrence, there is no better case to be made for suffering being cancelled by
joy. In short, from one perspective, one’s response to the “demon” who whispers the Eternal Return ,
one’s apprehension of it as accursed or divine, simply bespeaks one’s attitude towards life anyway—
Eternal Recurrence has no necessary causal relation with one’s “optimism” or “pessimism,” since one
either thinks that joy justifies woe or invalidates it, and does not need the Return to prop up one’s
decision to be a yea-sayer or a nihilist.

On the other hand, there is more than one sense of “justification” of woe. If joy “compensates” for
woe, qualitatively speaking, that is, inherently, that is one thing; if joy “rewards” woe—like a wage, or
a culmination, in other words teleologically—that is something else. And it is in this sense that Eternal
Recurrence is not irrelevant. One who thinks, and feels deeply, that joy by its very existence suffices
to outweigh woe may not be moved to change his or her mind upon hearing the demon’s suggestion;
but the one for whom woe is justified by virtue of having led to joy may well reconsider. Not only is
there the question of the woe that did not so culminate, for others, but there is all the difference in the
world between the triumph of Hillary atop Everest, and—Sisyphus. Moreover, the perspective that
already sees woe as invalidating joy, or canceling it out, will find no reason to reconsider its opinion
with eternal recurrence. No reason—but perhaps a motive . It may be this which Nietzsche sought to
provide, particularly since for Nietzsche, one continually suspects, reasons are only cleverly disguised
motives. “Reasons” speak to the intellect, motives to the will; and what Nietzsche seeks is the will that
would not be rendered immobile by the thought of the Recurrence—the Overman.

This strength of will is directly related to the death of God. When the ugliest man discusses the death
of God with Zarathustra, it is precisely the all-seeing, all-determining surveillance of God that
emerges as the impetus behind the murder of God: “The God who saw everything, even man: this god
had to die! Man could not endure that such a witness should live.” (Z ., iv, 7). Nietzsche does not raise

The Will to be God -- draft Bryan Carr

the question as to whether strength for such a life might not be bred just as he hopes to breed strength
to live in the face of the Return. Even if such a project were possible, the death of God is a foregone
conclusion; it is now rather a question of how we shall live now.

How shall we comfort ourselves, murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest
of all the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood
off us? . . Is not this deed too great for us? Must we not become gods ourselves simply to
appear worthy of it? (G.S.125)

This notion of becoming god is not found explicitly, so far as I know, anywhere else in Nietzsche.
Tthe closest is Z 24: “If there were God, how could I bear not to be God?” which leads directly to
“therefore there is no God.” (“Q.E.D.,” I murmured to myself when I first wrote this; but naturally
Nietzsche would respond, “What have I to do with proofs?” in the same spirit that he said “What have
I to do with refutations?” (G.M. prologue)). The case can nonetheless be made that this auto-
deification is in some manner central to him. I am aware of the dangers of extrapolating too much
meaning front an isolated phrase of a writer, a danger that Nietzsche’s aphoristic style makes even
more pressing; in self-defense I can only point to the example of two interpreters of Nietzsche who
similarly attribute pivotal significance to phrases that occur only once: Heidegger, who points to the
self-description of Nietzsche’s project as the “reversal of Platonism;” and Kaufmann in his translation
of The Gay Science, who notes, regarding section 283 where Nietzsche enjoins his readers to “live
dangerously,” that the formulation “is found in only this one place in Nietzsche’s works, but the idea
is one of his central motifs.” In fact the spirit of both these phrases play a role in the development of
the Overman, the one who lives dangerously par excellence but who also has transcended the need for
a “true” world such as Plato claims to afford—and this not by the blindness that was called for early in
the history of life, but by strength, the measure of which is “to what extent we can admit to ourselves,
without perishing, the merely apparent character” of our beliefs. It is true that the Overman is
distinguished from a god, (e.g. in Z . 24), but the form of this denial speaks against the content, for
everywhere Nietzsche presupposes the Biblical tone in order to contest it. Much more could be said
regarding this. More to the point is that the Overman, who can withstand both the thought of Eternal
recurrence and the “merely apparent character” of truth, does so by virtue of his will, to be sure, but a
will that is, in its manifestation as thought, “a divine way of thinking.”

Thus the will and the intellect of the Overman; and his values? He “does not give to take,” he “does
not want to promote himself by being good; squandering [is] the type of [his] goodness.” In
identifying himself with the Eternal Return , in willing it, he attains the greatness of soul which is a
prerequisite. For only a god can truly move beyond the economic kind of morality Nietzsche
proscribes against; Aristotle’s ethical man holding to the mean certainly has not, but neither has the
one who squanders based on abundance--if one can afford to squander, it is not really squandering.
The question remains: can Nietzsche think of a virtue that truly moves beyond the will to power,
“from a restricted to an open economy,” as Bataille would say? What can Nietzsche make of kenosis,
the self-emptying of God? Self-emptying for him is self-destruction, ergo sickness; and his disdain for
altruism—or its pretension—is well known; self-interest and self-love he extols against love of
neighbor at the expense of self. There seems a tension here: does Nietzsche think all wanting to
promote oneself is wrong, or only the hypocrisy which promotes itself while ostensibly altruistic?
Surely the latter; but would real altruism be even thinkable by Nietzsche?

Perhaps—for a god, who can accomplish the impossible; a Dionysus who allows himself to be torn to
pieces; a Nietzsche even—who also empties himself into his work until only a shell—or shards—were

The Will to be God -- draft Bryan Carr

Or for a God who became a man, “not thinking equality with God something to be prized”
(Philippians 2:6)—and as a man died utterly forsaken by God?

To this day, Christianity has received no graver or more searing critique than Nietzsche’s. Next to
him, most of the great antagonists of Christianity—Robert Ingersoll, Bertrand Russell, Richard
Dawkins—look like children dressed up and armed with wooden swords. Nietzsche’s is the only
attack that matches ferocity with depth, that escapes (though it includes) mere indignation, and that
faces up to the terrifying task of what it would mean to live a life with meaning in a world without
superstition—of asking whether the will to truth and the will to happiness are compatible or even

However, as furious and intractable as this critique is, it is only a part of Nietzsche’s project, indeed
only one part of its negative or destructive side. In his engagements with Nihilism, Nietzsche strives
against three antagonists, and his struggle with Christianity is only the most infamous of the three.

Nietzsche is also involved in a curious wrestling with a certain constellation that I would most readily
gloss as his idea of Buddhism. This encounter is very complex, and to fully engage it would require
forays into the general reception of Buddhism by European intellectuals during the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries (a welcome introduction to this vital chapter of the history of ideas is now
available in Roger Pol-Droit’s The Cult of Nothingness: the philosophers and the Buddha). Nietzsche
viewed the growing appeal of Buddhism—not yet, in his day, a popular appeal but one among the
intelligentsia—as a signal case of decadence, of weariness with life and a will-to-extinction. It is not
hard to understand why his nostrils rebelled, given that this is how he saw it. But the case is more
subtle, for the kenosis or self-emptying we have pointed to in Christianity is readable in terms of
Buddhist sunyata, an emptiness that is far from impoverishing, but is in fact the only fecundity there

But Nietzsche’s main antagonist, always, is Socrates. Though he aspired to vie with Moses, with Paul,
with Mohammed, and of course with Zarathustra, it is first and finally Socrates against whom he
measures himself. One can regard Nietzsche’s multitudinous styles, his protean dance between voices
and genres, from the long essays to the rococo aphorisms, as Nietzsche’s attempt to do with writing
what Socrates accomplished by being, as Nietzsche called him, “he who does not write.” (This is one
of not a few ways in which Nietzsche is Kierkegaard’s cousin).

In all three cases, there is a complex question of transmission, and it is not always easy to tell whether
Nietzsche is aiming at the founder or at the more proximate representative. Between Jesus and
Nietzsche there intervened the vexing figure of Paul, who though a contemporary, famously never met
(nor claimed to have met) Jesus until after the resurrection. Paul is the opponent for whom Nietzsche
arguably has more disdain than for any other; yet he called Paul by the same title he claimed for

Between the Buddha and Nietzsche came Schopenhauer, a European philosopher far distant from the
Buddha in time and culture. It is easy to object that Schopenhauer’s depiction of Buddhism is
problematic and that Nietzsche’s reception is therefore flawed; but Nietzsche is no simpleton. While
his scholarly take on Buddhism may be filtered through a number of European lenses, we must
remember that he was himself a philologist of no mean subtlety. Nietzsche easily saw through the
Victorian projections of his fellow classicists in the case of the Greeks; it is hard to believe he did not
intuit that there was more to Buddhism than the “cult of nothingness.”

The Will to be God -- draft Bryan Carr

Between Socrates and Nietzsche, there stood Plato, “the disciple at first hand” as Kierkegaard might
have called him. I am not so foolhardy as to attempt to characterize Nietzsche’s relation to Plato in a
few sentences. His description of his project as an “inverted Platonism” I have already referred to, and
his attempt to detonate under the foundations of sameness the explosive difference. “Plato is boring,”
he opines towards the end (TI, “What I owe to the ancients,” 2); and Christianity is simply “Platonism
for the masses” (BGE preface). One might note, too, his reflection that Plato died with a copy of
Aristophanes under his pillow (BGE 28), the example he immediately recalls when he says that
Aristophanes lets one pardon the entire Hellenic world for having existed—provided one understands
there what it is that “requires pardon and transfiguration.”

One might note parenthetically that these mediations—Plato, Schopenhauer, and Paul—distinguish
these three great contests from two others we might identify: the critique of democracy, and the attack
upon Wagner. Between Wagner and Nietzsche there interposed no figure save the young Nietzsche
himself. Nietzsche’s eventual contempt for Wagnerism is of a different register; it is his fury against
Nihilism in his own house. Here it became focused to a white hot point of scorn. One does not write
books like Nietzsche contra Wagner from theoretical motives. The case of Wagner is the case of
nihilism becoming, for Nietzsche, personal.

Between democracy (and socialism) and Nietzsche, on the other hand, nothing interposed because it
was the rising tide of political fashion all around him. He did not need it interpreted; it was all too
clear, “all too human.” Far from taking it personally, Nietzsche in a sense could hardly be moved to
take it seriously. This is to overstate the matter, but the point remains that his critique of democracy
and of socialism alike both stem from and presuppose his critique of Christianity, and are special cases
of it. While Nietzsche disdained democracy and viewed it as decadence, he did not wrestle with its
theorists in the way he did with Plato or Paul or even Schopenhauer.

Nietzsche’s tortured and titanic battles with these intervening figures do not simplify the task of
evaluating his quarrel with, and inheritance from, the great traditions they mediated. But the question
remaining to us—what can we do now with Nietzsche’s teaching, a century later, when the nihilism he
discerned has metastasized into something of which even Zarathustra might not have dreamed?—
depends upon a close attention to these contests (his negative teaching), as well as on a meditation on
the secret sources of Nietzsche’s positive teaching: his hope for the revaluation of values, his teaching
of the Return, his proclamation of the Overman, his avowal of the death of God. These sources may be
closer than even he knew to what he strove against. Such a thinking-through would entail a twinned
reading of Nietzsche against Christianity, Buddhism, and Socratism, and of the Gospel, the Dharma,
and the teaching of Socrates against Nietzsche; in each case an ordeal for both, in which, via the
severest measure of critique, each should sound the other’s depths. The task of seeing this encounter
through is not the work of an academic paper, but of a life, and indeed of many lives, of a culture. It is
possible that the cultural ground on which such a project could even begin to take place no longer
exists, and that only the most beggarly preparations for it can now be made (though I hasten to add
that justification for such a dour outlook is by no means as obvious as some contemporary critics seem
to think).

The only answer worth making to Nietzsche’s critique of Christianity is one that arises unafraid from
Christianity’s very heart, the heart that was pierced in the event that led the Church, long before
Nietzsche or Hegel, to proclaim the death of God. In declaring the meaning of this death—a meaning
that included a deification different in register from what I have called the Nietzschean “will to be
God,” but not so different as to be unrecognizable—the Church in the patristic age did not hesitate to
turn the language of Plato and Socrates inside out. (Instances of this could be listed extensively, from

The Will to be God -- draft Bryan Carr

Origen to Gregory Palamas; some recent scholarship has even claimed to find the motif in Luther,
Calvin, and Jonathan Edwards; but this is beyond the scope of this paper.) As Nietzsche knew, it is
doubtful whether many Christians today take their bearings from that center, but that is the only place
from which one could offer such a response. Today, however, the waxing religious lingua franca is
not that of Platonism, but of the Buddhist Dharma. It remains to be seen whether the encounter
between these traditions can generate anything resembling the great patristic synthesis. In the context
of late consumerist capitalism, it has thus far produced mainly a shallow comparativism, (arguably yet
another permutation of nihilism, if in the comparison what is at stake is precisely nothing), or even
shallower vague assertions of equivalency, that Nietzschean bête noir. Nothing here would have
surprised Nietzsche. But it would be a curious irony if the effect of genuine rejoinder between
Nietzsche and his self-chosen enemies gave rise, by way of a new encounter, to a new and deep
“ecumenical age.” Such a conversation would be worthy of the Overman, even if its participants
repudiated the doctrine.