reacting as one is moved in the moment to do—and moreover to think of oneself as somehow being the same now as previously, and as being the same in the future as now, notwithstanding changes in one's states and situation.
The purpose of such self-consciousness and self-identification becomes clear only when the idea of agency with respect to one's performances and actions is added to them. It is only with this addition that the social requirement is satisfied of rendering human beings reliable in their dealings with each other beyond the extent to which settled dispositions render them predictable. Our personal identity, according to Nietzsche, may thus be seen to originate in this socially induced self-identification, as unitary agents in relation to our conduct through time. And while fundamentally a fiction, the acceptance of this idea (under the pressure of our being treated as though it were fact) has the consequence that we not only apprehend ourselves accordingly, but also to a considerable extent cease to be creatures of the moment, and become such "selves"—at least in a functional sense, if not substantially. Thus Nietzsche concludes the passage cited previously by observing that, "with the aid of the morality of mores and the social straitjacket, man was actually made calculable" (GM II:2). One is brought to take on the sort of identity "even in his own image of himself" that is the basis of such calculability, and so is rendered fit for society.
But this is not all: one also takes a crucial and indispensable developmental step in the direction of becoming capable of that more exceptional, extrasocial sort of undertaking Nietzsche has in mind when he speaks of the "great tasks" to which exceptional human beings may apply themselves. Thus he suggests that, even though the process of transforming human beings in such a way that they may be said to come to have personal identities is a socialization phenomenon in which the "social straitjacket" is employed to render them reliable members of society, it prepares the way for a further development that transcends this result. For "at the end of this tremendous process," there emerges its "ripest fruit," which is "the sovereign individual , like only to himself, liberated again from the morality of custom, autonomous and supramoral," who "has his own independent protracted will," and whose "mastery over himself also necessarily gives him mastery over circumstances, over nature, and over all more short-willed and unreliable creatures" (GM II:2).
In this way, Nietzsche seeks to show how the foundation is laid for the possibility of those he elsewhere calls "higher men," through a process he considers to have come about in response to certain very fundamental demands, and which initially has a considerably different sort of result. Even the personal identity of such a "sovereign individual," however, is not to be construed as the "being" of an unchanging spiritual substance. Yet it is no mere illusion either, but rather a genuine attainment. It radically transcends the merely spatiotemporal identity of a living creature; and it
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