200 The Retrospective Categories

entities; the ‘meta-’, the reference to a reality other than sensory, has been engulfed by the reduplication of the will. This triumph of anthropomorphism not only requires that the will will itself, it also presupposes that entities be stabilized in the immobile stricture of the eternal return. The human type that the Western epochë has instituted as master over presence is therefore the one that essentially wills itself and wills itself in steadying concentrically around it all that there is and can be. The overman is the counter-category to nous as well as to its most traditional metaphysical trope, animal rationale. Its opposition to ratio, reason, does not signify any irrational project; ‘overman’ is the name of a figure that speaks for a peculiar kind of rationality. It is the name for the double agent behind the esteem in which the West has held reason, the double agent that the will to power is in its sense or directedness, the eternal return. The overman is the agent of the rationality of dominion.

As the subject willing itself exceedingly—exceeding all measures not originating from it—the overman legislates that he ought to legislate, commands himself to command, wills himself to will. Such is his “self-stamping” (Selbstprägung).90 Stamping himself willfully as commander and transmutating entities into the eternal return around him, he “institutes unconditional dominion over the earth” through the “simplification of all things and men.”91 These two traits, the will and the return, show how in the era of metaphysics’ closure, to be is to will; being is subjectivity. Retrospectively, the slippage toward being as subjectivity clearly begins with the moderns, when noein turns into perception and “interrogation” before the tribunal of reason, “which decides the being of entities.” It is already under way, although less clearly so, with the ancients: “Since the beginning of metaphysics, re-presentation (noein) is that perception which does not receive entities passively, but lets the present be given as such to a gaze raised actively.”92 But what was indecipherable for a prospective reading from the viewpoint of noein is that such representational activity should culminate in the unconditional enframing of the globe and thereby reveal an essential trait of Western culture. Here again, then, Wesen as essence reveals itself only at the end of Wesen as historical unfolding.

The category of the overman depends, moreover, on that of transmutation. The prefix ‘over-’ indicates the overcoming of the human types prior to the final metaphysical reversal. What type of man is to be overcome so that the whole of entities submit to the overman? It is the type that underestimates. In the will willing only itself and its one dimension, there can be no place for underestimation. What is it, then, that the type prior to the closure has learned to underestimate most? Why can he not will himself without hesitations and without restraint, without mediation, and without delay? It is the underestimation of the body that has inhibited the consummation of the will into will to power, an underestimation that reverses the overestimation of the soul or the spirit over the body. As Heidegger traces this category, the overman appears when the double control