New Man (utopian concept)  

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“In both systems we have an ideology which, which has the ambition of creating a new man. That means that both systems, don't agree with human nature as it is; they're at war with nature, with human nature, this is the root of totalitarianism. You find it both in the nazi--nazism it's an ideology based on false biology and communism is based on false sociology. But both systems are--have an ambition of being scientific and resting on a scientific basis.” ― Françoise Thom

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

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 Christianity, communism, classical liberalism, fascism, and utopian socialism.


Philosophical and religious versions

Christian New Man

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" (Ephesians 2:15, The Holy Bible) following Jesus.

Nietzschean Übermensch

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's concept of an Übermensch ("Overman") 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. 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

Liberal New Man

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

Utopian socialist New Man

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.

Communist New Man

Marxism 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. This is in contrast to an innate personality opposing view which is counter-productive to selfless collectivism that elevates austerities, discipline to true materialism in all its pejoratives and for an adherent to the self-regulating dynamic worker. 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. Che Guevara's essay "Socialism and man in Cuba" and Oscar Wilde's The Soul of Man under Socialism are two examples of the 'new man' archetype in socialist literature.

Fascist New Man

Fascism supports the creation of a New Man who is a strong-willed, dynamic archetype, a figure of direct action and bellicose violence. An anti-individualist, he is characterized by a sense of confidence and masculinity, quiet dignity and self-worth, determination, and authoritativeness. With a detachment from romantic love, family background and schooling, his worldview is romanticized, passionate, serious and realist, preoccupied with the honoring of fallen heroes, a strong belief in personal responsibility, national rebirth and renewal. He regards himself as one component of a disciplined mass that has shorn itself of individualism, party politics discrimination, and cohesive class orientation in favor of a united, para-militarist effort. 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. Society is the ultimate arbiters of a individual's personal inner striving's worth.

Transhumanist New Man

Transhumanism welcomes the creation of a literal 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. Others have made similar observations.

Criticism of the "New Man"

Poetic parody

The poem "The Unknown Citizen" by W. H. Auden is considered 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.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "New Man (utopian concept)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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