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Life Arts    H4'ed 5/26/14

Two Visions in Conflict Today: Friedrich Nietzsche's Suprahuman Person vs. St. Ignatius Loyola's Jesuit (Pope Francis)

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) May 26, 2014: I propose to compare apples and oranges:

(1) the Suprahuman Person envisioned by Friedrich Nietzsche (1884-1900) in his puzzling book Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everybody and Nobody and

(2) the Jesuit envisioned by St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556), the founder of the Jesuits, in his book of instructions for meditation known as the Spiritual Exercises.

These two envisioned types of persons are apples and oranges because the Suprahuman Person is presumably an atheist and the Jesuit is presumably an orthodox Roman Catholic believer. (But anybody who wants to can read an English translation of the Spiritual Exercises.)

However, if you are not a Roman Catholic, you probably are understandably not interested in the Jesuits. But Pope Francis is the first ever Jesuit pope. He's widely known today in the United States.

In effect, in describing Ignatius Loyola's vision of the Jesuit, I will be describing how Pope Francis saw himself when he was a young man in the Jesuit novitiate making his first (of two) 30-day retreats in silence (except for the conferences with the retreat director) following the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. (Many years later in Jesuit training, usually after being ordained to the all-male priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church, Jesuits make a second 30-day retreat. Disclosure: From 1979 to 1987, I trained with the Jesuits.)


So what type of person does St. Ignatius Loyola envision the Jesuit as being?

In a word, a superior type person. Naturally he is not so indelicate as to say this as I have just summed it up. But check out the Meditation on the Three Classes of Persons (standardized paragraph numbers 149-156). St. Ignatius Loyola envisions the Jesuit as being in, or at least as aspiring to be in, the Third Class of person types.

In addition, he envisions the Jesuit as enlisting in the great cosmic battle on this earth between the mythic Christ and the mythic Lucifer See the Meditation on Two Standards: of Christ and Lucifer (paragraph numbers 136-147).

Robert L. Moore, the Jungian theorist at the Chicago Theological Seminary, says that Jesuit training is Warrior training (i.e., training in learning how to access the energies of the Warrior archetype in the human psyche).

No doubt that all people today need to learn how to access the energies of the Warrior archetype in their psyches, because without Warrior energies they are going to be in big trouble.

Thus by virtue of his lengthy Jesuit training, Pope Francis has been cultivating the Warrior archetype in his psyche. By virtue of being elected pope, he is now the warrior-king of Roman Catholics today, as King David was the warrior-king of ancient Jews in his day.

Concerning Jesuit spirituality, see James Martin's accessible book The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life (2010).


Surprise, surprise, Friedrich Nietzsche envisions the Suprahuman Person as a superior type person. So I may not be comparing apples and oranges after all, eh?

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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