Does Nietzscheanism involve becoming a sperm donor?
Sperm banks represent a new niche - and one that many individuals who
are following the traditional instructions in their genes may
As such it may represent an area where competition with other males
may be less intense than usual.
However, most children are not born using donated sperm - so
the niche is of limited size - and it probably won't take many
Nietzscheans to saturate it.
Note that many countries impose limits to the number of births that
can result from donated sperm - e.g. in my country:
"Although you can specify fewer, the number of babies from
each donor is limited by the HFEA to ten live births, and siblings for
those ten children. So donation for assisted conception has a
In practice, it may be possible to circumvent such limits via
strategies such as globetrotting.
In general, the details of the strategy you follow are too complex for
this FAQ to address - so whether you decide to donate sperm is a
decision which is up to you.
My genes seem to have conflicting interests - which ones
do I listen to?
Again, that's for you to decide.
Why should I care about the fate of my genes?
Nietzscheanism is not normally very evangelical.
If your genes happen to have made your brain in such a way that has
not figured out its purpose in life - or has decided to reject it and
pursue other ends - that's absoultely fine.
What about creating new successful replicators?
One way replicators can spread is by forming new
successful replicators - and then hitching a ride with them,
through an association of some sort.
To the extent that it helps the original genes, this sort of
activity might be favoured - assuming it can be performed
In general, though genes can be expected to be more
concerned about their own replication, than that of
Shouldn't humans aspire to become meme propagators?
We should expect humans to propagate whatever replicator was
responsible for their construction. Most humans have been
primarily built by genes - not memes.
The genes of humans that devote their resources to
propagating memes (at the expense of their genes) will
not be favoured by natural selection - and will tend to die out
- in much the same way that individuals afflicted by viruses
are also selected against.
If this happens a lot, then nature seems likely to respond
with better defenses against hostile memetic infections.
Of course - at the same time, the memes are evolving to
better take advantage of their human hosts.
What about helping your species reproduce?
Genes that favour species reproduction are likely
to be favoured in the same way that they are in the rest of
biology - i.e. very slowly - and without much in the way of
obvious detectable effect on the phenotype.
Species level selection probably plays some role in
biology - but the extent of its significance is not yet
Nietzscheans who promote their species at the expense of
themselves are probably not acting in their genes'
best interests - according to most modern biologists.
Are there any Nietzscheans around today?
Yes! Daniel Dennett has conducted some informal surveys - to assess
the proportion of Nietzscheans in his audience who were prepared to
stand up in public and be recognised.
Details are in the references.
To summarise, Dennett successfully identified one Nietzschean in his audience.
Won't Nietzscheanism lead to overpopulation starvation and population crashes?
That doesn't seem very likely in the short term.
As to the best way to deal with the tendency of individuals
to dramatically outpace their food supply under some
circumstances (thus causing boom and bust phenomena) -
that's a resource management problem - and is best dealt
with by the government - rather than by expecting individual
restraint - since expecting individual restraint is usually
unrealistic and ineffective.
Why are not most self-conscious creatures already Nietzscheans?
Some of them already are.
However self-consciousness is still in an embryonic
stage. Humanity has only just lifted its head out of its
biological puddle and started to look around - so to
As such it would be unrealistic to expect nature to have
got everything just right the first time.
Also, in the past, the environment expected by the genes has
been - broadly speaking - the same as the environment the
organism finds itself in.
The large brain was needed to deal with unpredictable
environmental stimuli - not radical changes in the
nature of the environment.
However, now the mismatch between genes an environment seems
likely to be substantial for some period - so there will
be more intense selection for a brain that can detect these
mismatches - and correct for them.
This is an era of consciousness expansion.
Expanding the consciousness of organisms to more fully
include their biological drives seems likely to lead
directly to organisms consciously propagating their genes -
since that's exactly what they were doing before
Wasn't Nietzsche the author of "Der Antichrist" - who
Both Nietzsche and Darwin are both credited by their opponents as
influencing Hitler's thinking.
There seems to be some truth to this - but that's no more reason for
rejecting Nietzscheanism than is is for rejecting Darwinism.
What is the relationship between Nietzscheanism and
The Nietzscheans in Andromeda were transhumanists - and it
seems difficult to avoid considering techonological means of
propagating your genes - a path that leads in the direction of
Not all transhumanists are necessarily Nietzscheans, though.
However, they often seem to share their interests in technologies such
as self-improvement, genetic engineering and nanotechnology.
Can I become a Nietzschean?
Sure. Nietzscheanism is an intentional stance - so you can
become one today.
However becoming effective as a Nietzschean
typically takes a lot of hard work.
Daniel Dennett - The Domestication of the Wild Memes of Religion - 19:30 - found one!
Daniel Dennett - Breaking the Spell - Religion as a Natural Phenomenon - 23:00
Daniel Dennett - Breaking the Spell 4/9 - 6:00
Daniel Dennett - From Animal to Person: the role of culture in human evolution - 50:00
Daniel Dennett - Daniel Dennett - Breaking the Spell - 24:20