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zarathustra, the unintentional capitalist

December 12, 2013

While Nietzsche’s distaste for capitalism is relatively well-known, it struck me how easily the chapter “War and Warriors” in Thus Spake Zarathustra, which is essentially about the way once should approach the predominately internal process of struggle and self-overcoming needed in the quest to becoming a Superman (and possibly a stab at German militarism just for good measure), can be interpreted as expounding and extolling the underlying philosophy of the rational, self-interested capitalist (especially if one replaces the terms ‘man’ with ‘labourer’ and ‘Superman’ with ‘capitalist’). To me, the imagery shouts ‘competition!’, ‘accumulation for accumulation’s sake!’, and ‘don’t bemoan the success of fellow capitalists more profitable than you, their class interests are still your class interests!’ as much as it does ‘struggle for knowledge!’, ‘overcome yourself for overcoming’s sake!’, and ‘be proud of your enemy and their success because their success is also yours!’ I don’t know. I’m sure that wasn’t his intention, but that’s my perception of it, at any rate.

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