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The nihilist as a not-man. An analysis of psychological inhumanity



A new philosophical and anyhropological-psychological concept is needed for the alienated and radically different human being according to the nihilist Romanian-French philosopher E.M. Cioran. This concept of the not-man describes a post-anthropological subject, which is ―inhumanˮ from a psychological point of view, emphasizing estrangement and otherness in the definition of humanity. I have compared Cioran‘s provocative and unusual term with Nietzsche‘s analysis of the overman - the difference between the two concepts proceeding from two conflicting nihilist perspectives - and I also have identified the not-man in the novel of the Japanese writer Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human.
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Maupassant's short horror story Horla (1887) contains a treatment of anxiety that can be analyzed in the context of Existentialist philosophy: Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Levinas or Cioran all observed the anticipatory trait of this affect. From a psychological point of view, anxiety leads to neurosis and/or psychosis, to the splitting of the principle of identity. This inner duality is famously expressed in the short story's scene of the " empty mirror " , where the main character fails to see his own reflection. The descent into madness of Horla's diarist makes us think that he experiences the possession of the monster in terms of radical alterity, something that Cioran has called the not-man. I argue that through the lenses of this category of (psychological and theological) inhumanity we can understand Horla as a Nietzschean evolutionary tale that cautions against the end of mankind as we know it.
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