The Superman (and Transhumanism)

  • Title: Contemplationam, The Superman (and Transhumanism).
  • Author: Arvindus.
  • Publisher: Arvindus.
  • Copyright: 2021, Arvindus, all rights reserved.
  • Index: 202110241.
  • Edition: html, first edition.

The term 'Superman' is most dominantly known as written with a capital, composing the name of a fictional comic book character that has superhuman powers such as an incredible physical strength and the ability to physically fly.1

Appearing for the first time in 1938 in a comic book in the United States2 the appearance of Superman runs synchronous with the appearance of the Nazi philosophy of the superman or 'Übermensch' (literally translated from German as 'overman'). In this philosophy the Germanic races are posited as superior to other races such as the Semitic, that are posited as inferior and thus given the corresponding name of 'Untermenschen' or 'undermen'.3

Such thoughts of racial supremacy have of course permeated the history of mankind throughout the ages, however the modern conceptions of the superman, such as with the Nazi's, can be considered as an outcome of reductionist Darwinist thought that reduced man to his physiology and considered him purely as the outcome of natural selection.4 The racial superman simply was the befitting superman for a reductionist, materialistic age.5

The term 'Übermensch' itself had already occurred in the works of modern German philosophers, and especially in those of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900).6 In Nietzsche's thought the superman was not a racial product of physiological evolution but the man that had broken loose from the general Christian conceptions of morality to stand alone and separate from the masses in his own will.7 As such humanity was considered the bridge between the animals and the supermen,8 but thus not in a Darwinist mode of thought.

Now Nietzsche concluded more or less the age of modern thought, that commenced with René Descartes (1596-1650).9 And before modern times Christian thought was prevalent in the West.10 Christians entertained a more transcendent conception of the superman. The Christian superman was not to be found in the human individual that broke loose from Christian morals but it was the sole privilege of Jesus Christ as Son of God. Humans within Christian thought had the possibility to go to heaven as freed human souls, but they were never able to transcend their being human.

Other and older religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism however had already synthesized individualism and transcendence with regards to the subject of the superman. In their highly spiritualistic thoughts man was able to individually transcend the human stage. Such a transcending superman was in Buddhism referred to with the term 'buddha' and in Hinduism with the term 'mahatma'. Besides the term 'buddha' is in Buddhism also the term 'bodhisattva' used to indicate a certain transcendence of the human state.11 However where a buddha attains enlightenment and leaves the earth a bodhisattva renounces the bliss of nirvana to help out of compassion the beings staying behind to attain enlightenment too.12

The Sanskrit term 'bodhisattva' consists of the words 'bodhi', meaning 'perfect knowledge' or 'perfect wisdom', and 'sattva', meaning 'being', and a bodhisattva may then be understood as a being with perfect wisdom.13, 14 A Sanskrit synonym regards 'mahasattva', whereby 'maha' means 'great', giving 'mahasattva' the meaning of 'great being'.15 The Hinduist term 'mahatma' also is a Sanskrit term and consists besides of 'maha' also of the word 'atma(n)', which refers to (an aspect of) the soul, and 'mahatma' thus means 'great soul'.16 So in Buddhism the superman is a perfect wise being and in Hinduism he is a great soul.

Now in Hinduism (and somewhat in Buddhism) is referred to the own teachings with the term 'sanatana dharma'.17 In more recent times these teachings have been adapted for the Western world and introduced there under the translated term of 'ageless wisdom'.18 In this ageless wisdom the mahatma's, the supermen, are called 'masters of (the) wisdom',19 a term which with 'master' has a phonetic relation with 'mahatma' and which with 'wisdom' has a semantic relation with 'bodhisattva'. And in that ageless wisdom this stage of the spiritual superman is considered as the next step in evolution, following the kingdoms of the minerals, plants, animals and humans.20, 21

This 'master of (the) wisdom' within the ageless wisdom is clearly a spiritual conception of the superman as the goal for man. Befitting the contemporary age of reductionist science however also a materialistic conception of the superman as the next step forward for humanity has risen. This conception we find in the thoughts about so called 'transhumanism'. Transhumanism is "[a] belief that the human race can evolve beyond its current limitations, esp[ecially] by the use of science and technology".22 Transhumanism, sometimes also called 'human 2.0' and 'human enhancement', wants to improve humans on an individual and on a collective scale through genetic, robotic and digital modifications. At present such transhumanism is part of the World Economic Forum agenda and of its great reset agenda.23, 24

Now the above, certainly not complete, list of conceptions of the superman can in several manners be categorized. One set of categories divides the conceptions of the superman into those who can reach the ideal; the human individual, the collective of humanity and neither of the aforementioned. And another set of categories divides them into the planes on which the human is foreseen to find his perfection; the physical plane, the plane of consciousness and the spiritual plane.25

The adventures of the superhero Superman for instance set the ideal of the superman beyond reach of both the human individual and the collective of humanity and are focusing on Superman's physical superpowers. The Übermensch of the Nazi's could not be attained by individuals but was an ideal for the collective of humanity (by deliberate preservation and extinction), and with a focus on physical race qualities the focus was on the physical plane. The Übermensch of Nietzsche was set as an ideal for every individual who in that ideal would free himself from the collective, and this by arriving at his own bare will and choice, making Nietzsche's conception of the superman being focussed on the plane of consciousness. The status of superman in Christianity was only reached by Jesus Christ and this status was unattainable for both individual humans and the human collective, and the Christian focus was on the spiritual plane. In Hinduism and Buddhism the ideals of mahatma and bodhisattva were reachable by individuals and the focus for both was on the spiritual plane. In the ageless wisdom masterhood is considered to be attainable by both individual humans and the human collective when the entire human kingdom is elevated, and the focus is on the spiritual plane. The transhumanism as promoted by the World Economic Forum is also seen as attainable for both human individuals and the human collective, but their ideal is focused on the physical plane.

We thus get an overview as below.

  Individually attainable Collectively attainable Unattainable
Focus on spirituality Mahatma (Hinduism) Master (Ageless Wisdom) Jesus Christ (Christianity)
Bodhisattva (Buddhism)
Master (Ageless Wisdom)
Focus on consciousness Übermensch (Nietzsche)    
Focus on physicality Transhuman (World Economic Forum) Übermensch (Nazi's) Superman (Detective comics inc.)
Transhuman (World Economic Forum)

Figure 1.

What can be noted from this overview is that societies that have been focusing on the superman as an individual spiritual ideal, such as the Buddhist, have been more peaceful while those that have been focusing on the superman as a collective physical ideal, such as the Nazistic, have bene more horrific. It may then be a sound of warning when we see the transhuman ideal of the World Economic Forum appear in the same category as the Nazistic Übermensch ideal.26 At the moment of writing we see with the introduction of the digital Covid passes in diverse countries for instance already a schism appear between a privileged class of humans that have been physically 'enhanced' with 'vaccine' treatments and a less privileged class of humans that have not undergone such a rudimentary transhuman treatment.

It is not that human bodies should not be enhanced at all, in the contrary, but such a physical enhancement should always follow the lead of spiritual enhancement.27 Pure materialism breeds evil.

  1. Encyclopædia Britannica, Ultimate Reference Suite, Version 2015, (software), Encyclopædia Britannica, 2015, Superman.
  2. Action Comics, No. 1, Detective comics, inc., 1938.
  3. Encyclopædia Britannica, Ultimate Reference Suite, National Socialism.
  4. Ibidem, Darwinism.
  5. 'Contemplationam, A Small Sketch of the History of Western Spiritualistic and Materialistic Orientations', Index: 201103091.
  6. Encyclopædia Britannica, Ultimate Reference Suite, superman.
  7. Friedrich Nietzsche, 'Also sprach Zarathustra', in: Digitale Bibliothek, Band 2, Philosophie, von Platon bis Nietzsche, (CD-ROM), Directmedia, Berlin, 1998, Von der schenkenden Tugend, §3, translated. "Dead are all gods: now we want the overman to live"
  8. Ibidem, Zarathustras Vorrede, §4, translated. "Man is a rope, tied between animal and overman - a rope over an abyss."
  9. 'Contemplationam, A Small Sketch of the History of Western Spiritualistic and Materialistic Orientations', Index: 201103091, Scientific Period, René Descartes.
  10. Ibidem, Christian Period.
  11. Helena P. Blavatsky, 'The Secret Doctrine, Volume I', in: Theosophical Classics, (CD ROM), Theosophical Publishing House, Manilla, 2002, indic. p. 571. "[…]—the super-human Bodhisattvas.
  12. 'Summaries, Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism', Index: 202003281, Part One, Ch. 7.
  13. Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0), Oxford University Press, 2009, Bodhisattva.
  14. Monier Williams, A Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Etymologically and Philologically Arranged, With Special Reference to Greek, Latin, Gothic, German, Anglo-Saxon, and Other Cognate Indo-European Languages, The Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1862, p. 688.
  15. Robert E. Buswell Jr. (editor), Encyclopedia of Buddhism, Volume One, A-L, Thomson Gale, New York / et alibi, 2004, p. 58.
  16. Oxford English Dictionary, mahatma.
  17. 'Contemplationam, 'Ageless Wisdom' and 'Sanatana Dharma'', Index: 201912081.
  18. Ibidem.
  19. Alice A. Bailey, 'A Treatise on White Magic', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, indic. p. 601-611. "I care not the least whether these liberated souls are recognised as Elder Brethren of the race, as Masters of the Wisdom, as the Cloud of Witnesses, as the Christ and His Church, as Supermen or under any terms which the inherited tendencies of humanity or tradition may choose to call them. They themselves care less."
  20. 'Ageless Wisdom, Classifications of Humanity', Index: 201404081, Introduction.
  21. Alice A. Bailey, 'A Treatise on Cosmic Fire', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, indic. p. 567-601. "These four Rays control, in a subtle and peculiar manner, the four kingdoms of nature—mineral, vegetable, animal and human—and at their merging into the three Rays of Aspect (the Activity Ray of the Mahachohan being the synthesiser of the lower four in our planetary scheme) have a correspondence with the merging of man (the product of the three kingdoms and the fourth) into the superman kingdom, the spiritual."
  22. Oxford English Dictionary, transhumanism, n.
  23. Klaus Schwab, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, World Economic Forum, Cologny / Geneva, 2016, p. 93. "The mind-boggling innovations triggered by the fourth industrial revolution, from biotechnology to AI, are redefining what it means to be human."
  24. 'Contemplationam, An Esoteric Interpretation of The Great Reset', Index: 202105011.
  25. 'Ageless Wisdom, Triplicities in Man', Index: 201308292.
  26. 'Contemplationam, Nazi Analogies', Index: 201509081.
  27. 'Contemplationam, Considerations on Tantra', Index: 202107011.