Leonardo vs. Nietzsche: Super-DaMan!






 Nietzsche was mainly a writer and philosopher. Leonardo was mainly an artist and scientist. Although Leonardo did dabbled in philosophy (what didn't he dabble in?) his writings were far more restrained and obscured. This was due to the time he lived in which was hundreds of years before Nietzsche. If Leo would have written what Nietzsche did back in his time, it would have been pure blasphemy - punishable by death. Both were controversial enough but if you were to switch their places in time, their works would have been considered very differently. Nietzsche was most famous for saying "God is Dead." - You couldn't get away with that 500 years ago, you couldn't even come close.

 Leonardo's painting "Madonna on the rocks" was rejected by the church commissioners for being too controversial. The re-worked version (Maybe not all by Leonardo himself) is only slightly different and the changes were where the hands pointed and only small - but apparently significant details.


Leonardo only "published" one book, it was co-authored and was about architecture and math. He did plan on, and outlined countless others but he was never able to finish them. What was left were rough outlines for what he intended to turn into books and random notes about each subject. Water, Anatomy, and flight were his main focuses.


Da Vinci's philosophical writings were obscured in parables, very short stories, and even shorter phrases. He had a very unique and amazing ability to imbed novel sized information into a couple sentences. "Wisdom is the daughter of experience." "One can have no greater or lesser mastery other than over one's self." While Nietzsche was more long winded - and seemingly far more complicated.

(Brevity is the soul of wit?)


Nietzsche's main focus seemed to be about a "Super man" or at least the concept of a greater than man - man. Übermensch

Evolutionary the "Ubermensch" would be what comes after man in the same way that man came after "cave man" or ape. Animal - man - Superman. Hitler was heavily influenced by this idea and it was the inspiration for his "racial purification." He even went so far as to try and breed a "better race."

Wether Nietzsche himself believed that his idea of a "superman" was actually racial or even physical is questionable. I think he was more focused on the mental aspects of a superior mind rather than a body. Something he was attempting to achieve himself - and failed miserably at. (Nietzsche went insane before he died.)

He broke humanities basic drive down into "The will to power." He wrote about morality as being subjective and almost a weakness. He believed that people were not created equal and focused more on the individual himself rather than humanity as a whole. Almost a dichotomy of christianity. He believed the masses to be sheep, but the Ubermensch wasn't the shepherd per say. The "super man" didn't really involve himself in the herd or the herding.

At first he may come across as a selfish- misogynist-elitist -a-hole. And he kinda was! When I first started to read his writings it caused me to go through a slight existential break down. What he was talking about conflicted with where my own philosophical tendencies were headed. BUT what I take from his writings and philosophy now, is different. I think of it more as a phase that someone needs to go through before they can get to the point to be independent.

Super Man (the super hero) couldn't be who he is without becoming Super Man first - right? It's interesting to consider that the "will to power" to want to become powerful and elite could be for altruistic reasons. Super Man doesn't want to take over the world - he wants to save it. He also does not want to be ruler or a shepherd, he just wants to help out when it is needed - then fly away and do his own thang.

"Egotism is the very essence of a noble soul." - Nietzsche

Super Da-Man

Anyways! I think Leonardo da Vinci is the closest humanity has come to Nietzsche's "SuperMan" Someone who seemed to supersede being a mere moral and approach the next stage -whatever that is...



“I teach you the Superman. Man is something that should be overcome.”


“Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman--a rope over an abyss. A dangerous crossing, a dangerous wayfaring, a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous trembling and halting. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: what is lovable in man is that he is an OVER-GOING and a DOWN-GOING."


"Bad enough! The same old story! When one has finished building one's house, one suddenly realizes that in the process one has learned something that one really needed to know in the worst way - before one began. The eternal distasteful "too late!" The melancholy of everything finished!" - Nietzsche


"A work is never finished, only abandoned." - Leonardo da Vinci


"What does not kill me makes me stronger." - Nietzsche


"Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind." - Leonardo da Vinci

"A human being who strives for something great considers everyone he meets on his way either as a means or as a delay and obstacle - or as a temporary resting place. his characteristics high grade graciousness toward his fellow men becomes possible only once he has attained his height and rule. Impatience and his consciousness that until ten he is always condemned to comedy - for even war is a comedy and conceals, just as every means conceals the end - spoil all of his relations to others: this type of man knows solitude and what is most poisonous in it." - Nietzsche


“If you are alone you belong entirely to yourself. If you are accompanied by even one companion you belong only half to yourself or even less in proportion to the thoughtlessness of his conduct and if you have more than one companion you will fall more deeply into the same plight.” - Leonardo da Vinci


"Anyone who does not want to see what is lofty in a man looks that much more keenly for what is low in him and mere foreground- and thus betrays himself." - Nietzsche


"If you meet with any one who is virtuous do not drive him from you; do him honor, so that he may not have to flee from you and be reduced to hiding in hermitages, or caves or other solitary places to escape from your treachery; if there is such an one among you do him honor, for these are our Saints upon earth; these are they who deserve statues from us, and images…" - Leonardo da Vinci


"The problem of those who are waiting. It requires strokes of luck and much that is incalculable if a higher man in whom the solution to a problem lies dormant is to get around to action in time - to "eruption," one might say. In the average case it does not happen, and in nooks all over the earth sit men who are waiting, scarcely knowing in what way they are waiting, much less that they are waiting in vain. Occasionally the call that awakens - that accident which gives the "permission" to act - comes too late, when the best youth and strength for action has already been used up by sitting still; and many have found to their horror when they "leaped up" that their limbs had gone to sleep and their spirit had become too heavy. "It is too late," they said to themselves, having lost their faith in themselves and henceforth forever useless." - Nietzsche


"I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do." - Leonardo da Vinci


"The desire to know is natural in good men." - Leonardo da Vinci



@derekbair | facebook.com/derekbair | itsjustlife.com

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