Nietzsche and Individuality

International Studies in Philosophy 38 (3):131-151 (2006)
We want to become those we are—the new, the unique, the incomparable, the self-legislators, the self-creators. [Wir aber wollendie werden, die wir sind—die Neuen, die Einmaligen, die Unvergleickbaren, die Sich-selber-Gesetzgebenden, die Sich-selber-Schaffenden!] (GS 336, 1882)Verily, the individual himself [der Einselne selber] is still the most recent invention. (Z I:15, 1883)My philosophy aims at an ordering of rank: not at an individualistic morality. (WP 287, from the notebooks of 1886–87)If we place ourselves at the end of this tremendous process . . . ,where society and the morality of custom at last reveal what theyhave simply been the means to: then we discover that the ripest fruit is the sovereign individual [souveräne Individuum], like only tohimself, liberated again from the morality of custom, autonomous and supramoral . . . , in short, the man who has his own independent,protracted will and the right to make promises. (GM II:2, 1887)Every particular individual [ Jeder einzelne] may be regarded as representing the ascending or descending line of life. When onehas decided which, one has thereby established a canon for the value of his egoism. If he represents the ascending line his valueis in fact extraordinary. . . . If he represents the descending development . . . , then he can be accorded little value. (TI “Skirmishes”33, 1888)The particular person, the ‘individual’ [Der einzelne, das ‘Individuum’], as people and philosophers have hitherto understood him,is an error: he does not constitute a separate entity, an atom, a ‘link in the chain,’ something merely inherited from the past—heconstitutes the entire single line ‘Mensch’ up to and including himself. (TI “Skirmishes” 33, 1888)Goethe conceived of a strong, highly cultured human being, skilled in all physical accomplishments, who, keeping himself incheck and having reverence for himself, dares to allow himself the whole compass and wealth of naturalness, who is strongenough for this freedom. . . . A spirit thus emancipated stands in the midst of the universe with a joyful and trusting fatalism, inthe faith that only the particular individual [das Einzelne] may be rejected, that in the totality everything is redeemed and affirmed.. . . But such a faith is the highest of all possible faiths: I have baptized it with the name Dionysus. (TI “Skirmishes” 49)
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