According to Nietzsche self-transcendence is the common essence of all moral codes: "Man is something that should be overcome." Self-transcendence is of the essence not only of morality, but of humans themselves; it is one’s authentic, civilized humanity. Nietzsche’s model of the self-perfected most authentically civilized man is the overman or the one who has overcome or transcended himself. Self-overcoming as the basis of self-transcendence and self-perfection is in brief what the Nietzschean conception of man is all about.
Confucius once said: "To overcome oneself and return to li is what is meant by jen." What Confucius means by li and jen may be put succinctly: li is what constitutes the civilized order by which our authentic humanity or jen is defined. To be more specific, li is the ritual propriety essential to civilized life; it is the civilizing factor or element -- the "civilized form", if you will -- that distinguishes human from non-human existence. The civilizing function of li lies precisely in its disciplinary power or the human power of self-command. Like the Nietzschean overman, the Confucian chun tzu or superior man is also an authentic, civilized human being: he, too, is one who has overcome or transcended himself.
Overcome humanity - the worst elements of humanity - to truly become human.
It continues -
There thus exists at least a notable formal similarity or parallelism between Nietzschean and Confucian philosophy in its conception of authentic humanity: namely, the recognition that the being of man is at heart moral in character. They agree that the process of being human, the civilizing process, is fundamentally a process of "moral creativity", namely, the creative transformation of human character by virtue of self-overcoming or self-command. But thus conceived, moral creativity is in truth human creativity: for Nietzsche, man is at once the "creator" and "creature" of his authentic existence. To put this in well-known existential phraseology, "Man is nothing but that which he makes of himself":4 the product of his own "self-making". What makes such creativity "moral" and defines the "moral" dimension of being human is none other than the power and reality of self-overcoming. There can be no question that in both Nietzschean and Confucian thought the human capacity of self-command is of the essence of one’s humanity: self-overcoming is the constitutive principle in the human.
"There can be no question that in both Nietzschean and Confucian thought the human capacity of self-command is of the essence of one’s humanity: self-overcoming is the constitutive principle in the human."
Brilliant. Self-command. Create. Overcome.
Yes. That's it.
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