ÜbermenschAnother concept important to an understanding of Nietzsche's thought is the Übermensch (translated variously as "overman", "superman", or "super-human"). Developing the idea of nihilism, Nietzsche wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra, therein introducing the concept of a value-creating Übermensch, not as a project, but as an anti-project, the absence of any project. According to Lampert, "the death of God must be followed by a long twilight of piety and nihilism (II. 19; III. 8). ... Zarathustra's gift of the overman is given to a mankind not aware of the problem to which the overman is the solution." Zarathustra presents the overman as the creator of new values, and he appears as a solution to the problem of the death of God and nihilism. The overman does not follow morality of common people since it favors mediocrity but instead rises above the notion of good and evil and above the herd. In this way Zarathustra proclaims his ultimate goal as the journey towards the state of overman. He wants a kind of spiritual evolution of self-awareness and overcoming of traditional views on morality and justice that stem from the superstition beliefs still deeply rooted or related to the notion of God and Christianity.
While interpretations of Nietzsche's overman vary wildly, here is one of his quotations from Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Prologue, §§3–4):
Zarathustra contrasts the overman with the last man of egalitarian modernity (most obvious example being democracy), an alternative goal which humanity might set for itself. The last man is possible only by mankind's having bred an apathetic creature who has no great passion or commitment, who is unable to dream, who merely earns his living and keeps warm. This concept appears only in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and is presented as a condition that would render the creation of the overman impossible.
Some have suggested that the notion of eternal return is related to the overman since willing the eternal return of the same is a necessary step if the overman is to create new values, untainted by the spirit of gravity or asceticism. Values involve a rank-ordering of things, and so are inseparable from approval and disapproval; yet it was dissatisfaction that prompted men to seek refuge in other-worldliness and embrace other-worldly values. It could seem that the overman, in being devoted to any values at all, would necessarily fail to create values that did not share some bit of asceticism. Willing the eternal recurrence is presented as accepting the existence of the low while still recognizing it as the low, and thus as overcoming the spirit of gravity or asceticism. One must have the strength of the overman in order to will the eternal recurrence; that is, only the overman will have the strength to fully accept all of his past life, including his failures and misdeeds, and to truly will their eternal return. This action nearly kills Zarathustra, for example, and most human beings cannot avoid other-worldliness because they really are sick, not because of any choice they made.