Signs of Higher and Lower CultureHere Nietzsche criticizes Darwin, as he frequently does, as naive and derivative of Hobbes and early English economists and without an account of life from the "inside" (and consider in this light Darwin's own introduction to the first edition of Origin) (consider also Nietzsche's critique to the effect that Darwinism, as typically understood, is trading in a new version of the Providential):
"Wherever progress is to ensue, deviating natures are of greatest importance. Every progress of the whole must be preceded by a partial weakening. The strongest natures retain the type, the weaker ones help to advance it.(See Twilight of the Idols for more of Nietzsche's critique of Darwin.)
Something similar also happens in the individual. There is rarely a degeneration, a truncation, or even a vice or any physical or "moral" loss without an advantage somewhere else. In a warlike and restless clan, for example, the sicklier man may have occasion to be alone, and may therefore become quieter and wiser; the one-eyed man will have one eye the stronger; the blind man may see deeper inwardly, and certainly hear better. To this extent, the famous theory of the survival of the fittest does not seem to be the only viewpoint from which to explain the progress of strengthening of a man or of a race."
Nietzsche writes of the “free spirit” or “free thinker” (Freigeist), and his role in society, a sort of proto-Übermensch, forming the basis of a concept he extensively explores in his later work Thus Spoke Zarathustra. A free spirit is one who goes against the herd, and “onwards along the path of wisdom” in order to better society. "Better," for Nietzsche, appears to mean ordered toward the production of rare genius and is hardly to be confused with what "a newspaper reader," as Nietzsche might put it, would expect. The essential thing to keep in mind in considering Zarathustra, of course, is that Nietzsche presents Zarathustra as failing.