Monday, September 2, 2013

Dexter as Ubermensch

by Catherine Giordano

Back in episode 802, Dr. Evelyn Vogel tells Dexter, “I believe that psychopaths are not a mistake of nature, but a gift that helps the human race to become civilized.  Without psychopaths, mankind would not exist today."
[See my review for Episode 802 Every Silver Lining]
In my review of that episode, I referred to that moment as the “I’m-waiting- to-hear-the-explanation-for-that” moment of the week. I’m still waiting for that explanation. Perhaps it will come in the last three episodes.
My explanation is that Vogel has taken her theories about psychopaths from the German philosopher and nihilist, Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) who wrote about the “ubermensch”—the ”above-human man.”
The ubermensch is not constrained by traditional morality, he is the creator of his own values. 
The ubermensch can become a hedonistic monster, because with no pre-given morals, anything can be justified.

But, the ubermensch, because he is not yoked to traditional thinking and behavior, is free to create and innovate and thus propel humanity into new ways of thinking and acting.
Our culture sees psychopaths as monsters; Dr. Vogel sees them as heroes who are free to create and  innovate. They are not mere mortals, they are above the mass of humanity, they are the super-men.
Vogel has an interesting point. Great leaders, thinkers, and inventors are similar to psychopaths in that they must rise above the herd-mentality to force their vision upon the rest of us. They often forsake the joys and comforts of “normal life”  to pursue their vision. The human race progresses due to their efforts. They are humanity’s benefactors.

Dexter is a psychopath who ignores society’s prohibition against murder and vigilante justice, who has his own moral code, but he acts for reasons of self-indulgence. An ubermensch motivated by self-indulgence is a monster.

What do you think?  Is Dexter the ubermensch? Leave a comment on this post and let me know.

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