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“The presence of God compelled human[s] to quest for an ideal. They had to strive for something to win God's blessing.... Nietzsche feared that with God's passing even that striving would stop. No one would think it worthwhile to try to overcome himself. People who would live happily with their own limitations.... Worse was life in which humanity had lost all interest in ideals. This was the world epitomized by "The Last Man." This creature hops and blinks on the Earth's crust, small and self-seeking, lives with the most pitiable credo: `One still works, for work is a form of entertainment. But one is careful lest the entertainment be too harrowing. One no longer becomes poor or rich: Both require too much exertion. Who still wants to rule? Who obey? Both require too much exertion.' The Last Man has his `little poison now and then: That makes for agreeable dreams'; he is cautious, self-absorbed, noncommittal.... What happens now and in the future if our most intelligent students never learn to strive to overcome what they are?”


Mark Edmundson
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