The big question is, if you were ever hit with a sickness that changes your life, how would you cope/accept it?
In my case, I’ve been struggling with the diagnosis of Schizophrenia. Not a fun thing, especially when you start to dig into it more, and try to find the “origins” of this illness. Namely you start to find out that the psychiatric profession/industry hasn’t been around that long. Say 100 to 200 years which is about as how old the diagnosis of schizophrenia , as a clinical expression, has been around.
Schizophrenia, when it was first noticed, and/or conceived of was called Dementia Praecox back in Germany around say the mid 1800’s (technically 1891 according to the wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dementia_praecox ). This was around the time that Friedrich Nietzsche was writing along with Soren Kierkegaard. Both of whom wrote about a new “type of person”. One that seemingly was more individualistic, and less society oriented. All the while still a part of society. The individuals they sought to classify were/are those who are capable of standing alone with their thoughts, and their values. Even against the Crowd.
The Ubermensch is one that gets bantered about with a semi-regular frequency, especially in some Transhumanist circles. To simplify the concept, but also to slightly butcher it down into parts that can be easily consumed. An ubermensh is a person, who has realized that social conventions are just that, conventions. They realize that God, or the Social Contract (Hobbes’ Leviathan) may not always apply to them as an individual.
This is like realizing that for all the “touted individualism” to be found within the United States. It is still a limited freedom of expression. Christian mores still have a strong influence, and so does other social mechanisms. You see “trends” of people who “must have” the latest “it” item. Like Ugg boots, Iphones, pace monitors, and have to “keep their steps counted” because their social group does. This concept of the Ubermensch does not blindly follow,….anything. It has gone through their awareness at some point if they even wish to have a say on it.
A society of Ubermenschs, if it were to exist, would exist as a society of individuals with individualistic perspectives of nearly everything. There likely wouldn’t be as much “social cohesion”, but that in itself may be a good thing. Less wars, perhaps, for it’d all be personal conflicts.
Continuing on to Kierkegaard, he expressed a notion of a personality called the “Knight of Faith”. A Knight of Faith doesn’t let the negatives in life get them down. They are capable of skirting into, and through the maelstorms of turmoil while seeming dancing with levity. This is kinda similar to the Ubermensch, in at least one aspect, that of thoroughly enjoying life in spite of, or because of the brutalities present in it. If I recall Kierkegaard’s work enough (it’s been a few years since I read his collected works), he makes mention that there are three stages to becoming a “Knight of Faith”.
The Aesthetic (admirer of beauty), is a simplistic worldview where they aren’t fully cognizant of Death, Mortality, Eternity…etc. It is like a child playing on the coast with no awareness of how deep the ocean may go, and how fast they may drown in it if swept out by the eddies. Upon realizing this there is an assumption that they hit the next stage.
The second stage is that of the Judge, the aspect of realizing that the Aesthetic was a little bit vain, and self-centered. That it was shallow, and not really serious, or in touch with their actions within Reality. A realization that said individual has no “core”. It is often afflicted with morbidity. After this stage, of Judgment, the personality goes onto the Religious.
The Religious stage, is one that Kierkegaard thought was one of the hardest ones to attain, for it involved integrating both previous stages. A sort of concept like finding tragic beauty in a wilting flower. That would be a religious sentiment, essentially. Kinda like “We are all Artists”. This stage is the last stage, and involves a Leap to Faith. Keyword, “to”, not “of” Faith, but to Faith. The culmination of this stage is the Knight of Faith. It is expressed more explicitly in his works, and probably more poetically…, but that’s aside.
Tying back to the original thoughts, of can an Illness be accepted, and become a “superpower”? Let’s dawdle on Schizophrenia for a bit, in what seems to be the clinical/common perception of said disease is a notion that the suffers can’t participate in Society. That they’re too incapacitated because of the Hallucinations/Visages of unbridled emotion they suffer from. Now there are some groups in this world that have tied mental health issues into Shamanic Traditions, and there has been at least one psychologist to call “Schizophrenia” a Survivor’s Personality.
That these individuals are the more adept at living “life”, ironically. Or that they’re “healers”, that have healed themselves. Overall, I’m not going to make a judgment upon this chain because I’m apparently afflicted with the condition. Thus I’d be heavily biased.
Although, let’s put a mild spin on something to end with. Say the common cold, if you actually wanted to have a “special ability” there’s one there, the ability to incapacitate people with your cough.