Thus Spoke Zarathustra, superego and modern shamanism

Thus spoke Zarathustra is a very shamanic book in that it aims to expand our grasp of otherwise hidden elements of the psyche.It is also a warrior code, with regards to the means by awareness is to be expanded. (One must face the inevitability of one’s destruction courageously.)

The book suggests that most people live mediocre lives because they choose to preserve themselves. One could say that this tendency to prefer mediocrity to living fully is due to the nature of the “superego“, to harness a Freudian concept. Superego is the psychological apparatus that cautions us to choose conformity as a way of assuring freedom from death — i.e. it prevents us from the defying powers-that-be, or the nature of the social order. The psychology behind this book is that if we view our own destruction as inevitable, we can then gain the upper hand in directly combating this reflexive tendency within each of us towards self-preservation (and thus towards mediocrity).  This is akin to the shamanic injunction to heal oneself by “facing death”.

Nietzsche‘s Zarathustra is a persona (a kind of prophet who bases his understanding in philosophy, history and psychology) who advocates that one is to destroy “the law tablets” of the “good and the just”. Georges Bataille followed in Nietzsche’s footsteps by suggesting that one can expand consciousness by facing one’s destruction and (more specifically) by “sinning”.  The same engineering principles are invoked in both cases:  one frees oneself from inauthenticity by facing up to one’s innate, primeval fears of mortality and fears of having one’s limitations exposed.  (IN purely engineering terms, the opposite of narcissism is shamanism.)

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