Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Nietzschean Artistry in the New Age of Empire: The Autopoietic Uebermensch

Prof Daniel White.

This essay offers a Nietzschean perspective on creativity defined as “autopoietic activity” in the context of the neoimperial world order now pursued by capitalists. The increasing usurpation of traditional political and cultural identities by messianic, particularly American, capitalism has created a new context for cultural and political action. The emerging global formation of Empire, as described by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, undermines the self-generating processes of biotic and cultural life by subsuming them under systems of control geared toward profit at the expense of ecological sustainability. Nietzsche’s idea of the “Overman” (Uebermensch, and, I would add, Uebermaedchen, "Overwoman"), however, challenges the idea of hierarchic control over creative beings by external agents. Nietzsche rewrote the history of European thought and re-envisioned the idea of “humanity” to include the irreducibly creative Will to Power. This Will is the signature of the Uebermensch in all of his/her/its forms—from homo sapiens to the full range of evolving species in the biosphere. The cultural politics of the 21st century, Nietzsche might argue, must throw off the imperial forces of anti-life currently vying for global control and, in their place, generate new structures to sustain and encourage the evolution of life.


Prof Daniel White  (United States)
Honors College

Daniel R. White is Professor of Philosophy and the Humanities in the Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University. He is author of Postmodern Ecology: Communication, Evolution and Play, and Labyrinths of the Mind: the Self in the Postmodern Age (both SUNY: Albany, 1998). He is currently writing a book on Nietzsche’s philosophy of culture.

  • Artistry
  • Creativity
  • Ecology
  • Globalization
  • Imperialism
  • Politics of Culture
Person as Subject
  • Friedrich Nietzsche Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Anthony Wilden Gregory Bateson

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)