New Man (utopian concept)

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The New Man is a utopian concept that involves the creation of a new ideal human being or citizen replacing un-ideal human beings or citizens. The meaning of a New Man has widely varied and various alternatives have been suggested by a variety of religions and political ideologies, including communism, liberalism, fascism, and utopian socialism.

Philosophical and religious versions[edit]

Christian New Man[edit]

The doctrines of Paul the Apostle speak of Adam both as the fallen "Old Adam" and a "New Adam" as referring collectively to the fallen Old Man of humanity and a resurrected New Man following Jesus.[1]

Nietzschean Übermensch[edit]

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's concept of an Übermensch ("Superman") was that of a New Man who would be a leader by example to humanity through an existentialist will to power that was vitalist and irrationalist in nature.[2] Nietzsche developed the concept in response to his view of the herd mentality of Christianity as a faith. Nietzsche did not attack the teachings and examples of Jesus, but claimed that the Christian faith forced people merely to believe in the way of Jesus, but not to act as Jesus did, in particular Jesus' example of refusing to judge people that Nietzsche claimed Christians had deliberately done the opposite of this.[3]

Political versions[edit]

Liberal New Man[edit]

Thomas Paine and William Godwin believed that the spread of liberalism in France and the United States constituted the birth of a New Man and a new era.[4]

Utopian Socialist New Man[edit]

Utopian socialists such as Henri de Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier and Robert Owen saw a future Golden Age led by a New Man who would reconstruct society.[5]

Communist New Man[edit]

Marxism, though being heavily critical of utopianism, postulates the development of a New Man and New Woman in a communist society following the values of a non-essential nature of the state and the importance of freely associated work for the affirmation of a person's humanity. Marxism does not see the New Man/Woman as a goal or prerequisite for achieving full communism, but rather as a product of the social conditions of pure communism.[6]

An article on this subject, a Cuban update: http://www.intrepidmedia.com/column.asp?id=4553

Fascist New Man[edit]

Fascism supports the creation of a New Man who is a figure of action, violence, and masculinity, committed be a component of a disciplined mass that has shorn itself of individualism.[7]

Criticism of the "New Man"[edit]

parody -- in poetry[edit]

The poem "The Unknown Citizen"[8] by W. H. Auden is considered[9] a parody of attempts to honor (and hence, to encourage) a certain kind of behavior in modern society. It challenges the "New Man" ideologies listed here, and deprecates the meme of encouraging conformity via societal pressure.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jung Hoon Kim, Chŏng-hun Kim. The significance of clothing imagery in the Pauline Corpus. New York, New York, USA: T&T Clark International, 2004. Pp. 182.
  2. ^ Hans van Stralen. Choices and conflict: essays on literature and existentialism. Pp. Brussels, Belgium: Peter Lang, 2005. 127-128.
  3. ^ Peter R. Sedgwick. Nietzsche: the key concepts. Routledge, Oxon, England, UK: Routledge, 2009. Pp. 26.
  4. ^ Gregory Claeys. The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature. Cambridge, England, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Pp. 11-12.
  5. ^ Gregory Claeys. The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature. Cambridge, England, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Pp. 14.
  6. ^ Che Guevara, Socialism and man in Cuba, 1965
  7. ^ Cyprian Blamires. World Fascism: a historical encyclopedia, Volume 1. Santa Barbara, California, USA: ABC-CLIO, 2006. Pp. 466.
  8. ^ "The Unknown Citizen". Another Time. Random House. 1940. Archived from the original on January 28, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  9. ^ (see the Interpretation section of the Wikipedia article about that poem)