Friedrich Nietzsche’s (1844-1900) character, The Madman within The Madman aphorism in The Gay Science bursts into a crowded market and asks about the whereabouts of God. This inquiry stirs the egoistic flame of those who are atheists and excitedly chide The Madman by asking a series of sarcastic questions that are meant to puncture the soul and mindset of the masses who view God as all omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent; questions asked that make God look as if he is not all-powerful, but mirroring the confused makeup of a meek child. This upsets The Madman because he understands the gravity of what they all have done—they have killed the subconscious and conscious concept and image of God, and they celebrate this feat with fervor, yet the masses that once held on dear to the righteous robes of God are now left with tattered strips of cloth that no longer have any sanctified significance.
To emphasize this monumental shift, The Madman refers to how the relationship between life, Earth and space-time have not plummeted into a dizzying, to-and-fro flinging around the universe, but instead, like the hands of the clock, still move within their own naturalness and not the man-made creation of God. The Madman also is referencing Copernicus’s bold, blasphemous declaration to the Catholic church that the Earth revolves around the sun, plunging the Catholic church’s practice of the heavy referencing of Genesis into a crazed conundrum.The Madman knows that the atheists (like himself) who have anxiously killed God do not have the proper tools to mend society and save society from their emotional dark hole of a cold, confused consciousness that bears nothingness. The Madman understands the mistake that the atheists have made. They have not given life any significance, and life tragically kneels to nihilism.
The atheists expected feasts and praise for their destruction of the divine and the saved lives of those to come who will not have to bear the burden of Adam and Eve’s shame. Their egos were begging that they should be worshipped. The Madman realized that the root that feeds the need for humans to construct new Gods throughout the ages had not been properly plucked out and laments that the one who is to bring good news has not arrived yet; the one who possesses the will to transform minds and reignite creativity. In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche describes God as a creation that man created to understand existence, physical world and life itself. What ends up happening is that the God-religious doctrine that is supposed to mainly explain the dark workings of the universe and human condition, instead is used as a tool to help create a culture of resentment among the poor against the wealthy; that their Christian God would avenge their socio-economic suffering by striking down those who have fluid access to the best in life; their wealth is condemned and linked to Satan and sin. However, the wealthy claim that their socio-economic power is rightfully theirs due to their brute strength within warfare, theft and social manipulation and control of even the religious churches with money.
As a result, many lives were lost due to this senseless battle of wealthy verses poor. This changed however, due to the lightning entrance of the nineteenth century where the booming blend of science and art birthed by man caused the worship of God to fall. Western societies were placing their understanding within the realm of reasoning, logic and creativity to fuel innovative ideas that would translate into monetary gains, further cushioning the purses of the wealthy. For those who were poor, they seized an opportunity to climb out of their economic despondency. For others who were poor, the transition to a society not ruled by a vengeful God generated feelings of nihilism—that life no longer had any value or meaning because there was no longer a God that was there for them to serve as well as validate their existence and promise them an eternal realm of rest once mortal life ceased. This is the reason why Nietzsche states that God is dead because man is now cleaving to science and logic instead of God, but in this new relationship, there is still nihilism.
Nietzsche states that man must reinvent himself by becoming the overman; a human being who continues to strive for excellence through the indestructible will. If human beings remain steadfast to this understanding, they could eventually reach the level of the Ubermensch, or the ultimate man who is outside of all mortal declarations of what is goodness, strength and most important, creativity. The Ubermensch is creativity in itself and for itself and everlasting.