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 and inherent nihilism of Christianity, and the void in existential meaning that is realized with the death of God. The Übermensch emerges as the new meaning of the Earth, a norm-repudiating individual who overcomes himself and is the master in control of his impulses and passions.

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.[3]

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.[4]

Communist New Man[edit]

See also: New Soviet man

Marxism, though 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.[5]

Fascist New Man[edit]

Fascism supports the creation of a New Man who is a figure of action, violence, and masculinity, committed as a component of a disciplined mass that has shorn itself of individualism.[6] One example of this was the idea of the Political Soldier, which was developed by the leaders of the Official National Front in the UK in the 1980s and became part of the ideology of the Third Position.[7][8]

Transhumanist New Man[edit]

Transhumanism welcomes the creation of a new man by enhancements through cybernetics and other "human enhancements", and look to the singularity as that point in time when the new man arrives, his birthday if you will. Scholar Klaus Vondung argues that Transhumanism represents the final revolution.[9] Others have made similar observations.[10][11]

Criticism of the "New Man"[edit]

Poetic parody[edit]

The poem "The Unknown Citizen"[12] by W. H. Auden is considered[13] 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. ^ Gregory Claeys. The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature. Cambridge, England, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Pp. 11-12.
  4. ^ Gregory Claeys. The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature. Cambridge, England, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Pp. 14.
  5. ^ Che Guevara, Socialism and man in Cuba, 1965
  6. ^ Cyprian Blamires. World Fascism: a historical encyclopedia, Volume 1. Santa Barbara, California, USA: ABC-CLIO, 2006. Pp. 466.
  7. ^ "Political Soldiers and the New Man - part one". Community Security Trust. 26 April 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  8. ^ "Political Soldiers and the New Man - part two". Community Security Trust. 27 April 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  9. ^ Revolutions: Finished and Unfinished, From Primal to Final
  10. ^ New man in utopian and transhumanist perspective
  11. ^ Knowing New Biotechnologies: Social Aspects of Technological Convergence, p. 77-91
  12. ^ "The Unknown Citizen". Another Time. Random House. 1940. Archived from the original on January 28, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  13. ^ (see the Interpretation section of the Wikipedia article about that poem)