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Self Overcoming vs. Sublimation Essay

The concept of Self-overcoming was best postulated by Friedrick Nietzsche in his book Beyond Good and Evil whereby he state that morality being based on perceptions some of which can either be rational or prejudiced can create either unity or dismay and therefore overcoming morality is advocate for as a solution to self-overcoming in order to create a society of free will. Morality like laughter easily overpower an individual from undertaking a positive deductive reasoning in order to attain clearer critical thinking from a neutral perspective. Friedrick Nietzsche maintains that “There is a high-spirited goodness which looks like malice.” As a warning against accepting mediocrity and dogmatic concepts that suppress the action of gaining truer knowledge that can illuminate self-awareness during the process of self-overcoming. Conversely, Sigmund Freud proposes a moral concept known as sublimation that is the obstruction of all sexual energies except natural energies for creativity, intelligence and scientific quest. Therefore, Nietzsche proposes an ideal concept of self-overcoming all sets belief and notions for a clearer and truer knowledge as an individual right as opposed to Sigmund Freud’s moral concept of sublimation that encourages humans to forego sexual desires for science and creativity only.         

Morality has a narrow sense of knowledge especially in regard to self –knowledge that entail s opening up of personal vision. Action emanate from personal or group intent that must eventually reflect a personal attribute to control the large group. Religion is one of the institutions behind morality. Nietzsche insists that every critical thinker must eventually overcome the power of religious control since religions is a means by which resistance the leaders of religions overcome resistance in order to imprison the masses of beings.  Therefore it the responsibility of every individual to self-overcome the concept of religious control since religion is “like a bond which ties ruler and subjects together in common and betrays and hands over to the former the consciences of the latter, something hidden in their innermost selves which would like to evade obedience” (Nietzsche 3.61). The philosopher point out that man has to work out a plan of self-conquest in order to avoid being silenced in solitude.  God created all men with inherent sovereign power, however, religion drives man into believing that he is a lost animal in the wilderness of the earth because of his guilty whereas even if man remained ignorant of God, the creator force within that individual remains intact and ever reverberating according to the creation blueprint. In order to self-overcome control and other forms of negative influences, man has to gain knowledge.


Yet, the action of accumulating knowledge requires interpretation, evaluation and analysis as a basis of ascertaining the truth behind the knowledge. However, in the process of evaluation, man encounters obstacles in form of dogmatic set of beliefs that are presented by cultural and religious institutions of the society that make hinder the straightforward attainment of knowledge; “The charm of knowledge would be slight, if there were not so much embarrassment to overcome on the route to knowledge.” (Nietzsche 4.65). Consequently, Nietzsche advises that human beings have to gain knowledge to self-overcome shrewd discrimination and avoid being deceived; Nietzsche maintains that “The inclination to diminish oneself, to rob oneself, to let oneself be deceived and exploited could be the embarrassment of a god among men.” (Nietzsche 4.66). Nietzsche concludes that every human being has the responsibility to self-adapt and self-equalize dispositions such as tolerance but above all shun mediocrity and evil concepts that only mislead to conclusions without critical deliberation that can reveal the truth. Therefore self-overcoming that was traditional viewed moral and spiritual perfection is better defined by Nietzsche as a becoming a super-moral model by expanding all conceivable life forces within an individual.  

Freud brings up a very important hypothesis that the sense of guilt is the source of frustration to achievement since it stops a person from going forward whenever pursuing a noble foundation for individual. Therefore, in a society whereby self-desires and instinct have been suppressed by religion, culture and taboos, then the only force that can help individuals break through is sublimation. Sublimation is the process of accounting for sexual human activities that take place without any connection to sexuality but have every aspect to be attributed to sexual instinct. Freud insisted that artistic awareness, creativity and quest for intelligence as a way to transform “the instinct to investigate back into an enjoyment of life” (XI.75). Further, Freud advocates for a control of the libido and sexuality as Leonardo did in order to focus on creativity. That is why Freud insists that sublimation is a “satisfaction of this kind, such as an artist’s joy in creating, in giving his phantasies body, or a scientist’s in solving problems or discovering truths” (Sigmund XXI.80).

Conclusively, Freud’s act of denying oneself to sensual and sexual desires in order to project that energy into creativity, intelligence and science discovery is more of an economic and moral idea in reference to the theory of self-overcoming that admits an ultimately self-appraisal to self-overcome every obstacles aspect of life. Just like Friedrick Nietzsche, equally, Freud discourages religion as a delusional and infantile form of culture that is likely to remove one from his artistic and creative force into a more or less subjugated life. Conversely, the sublimation is act of denial from self physical forces that are all together known as libido, the essence and source of life as a whole that is supposed to be mustered instead of being left out. Therefore Nietzsche’s self-overcoming concept is more particular in answering human knowledge acquisition process than sublimation that is only a denial of human sexuality.

Freud’s sublimation idea contradicts his goal to achieve freedom since if all humans cannot sideline their romanticized and sexual desires because definitely the super-ego is likely judge everyone of guilty and neglect of one portion of life. Therefore the best approach to life is Friedrick Nietzsche’s self-overcoming concept that definitely overcomes sublimation into a more consciously and all round aware human being. Self-overcoming is a systematic way to overcome mediocrity whenever an individual gains knowledge but sublimation is a denial that will aptly lead to feels of guilty that further remain as an obstacle to clear conscious. Further, Freud’s idea of sublimation is a moral concept that Nietzsche advocates against as a mediocre method to attain knowledge.