According to the great German philosopher Nietzsche, there are two types of people in this world, the Last Man and the Ubermensch (or the Superman).
The Last Man is risk-averse and doesn’t want to pursue any goal beyond his own comfort level. He’s wholly caught up in his own petty pleasures, he wants to avoid pain, and he’s incapable of self-criticism. The Ubermensch stands in direct contrast to this. He’s entirely devoid of human timidity and continually aspiring to improvement and greatness. At bottom, the Umbermench is a monster of energy without end.
It was hard not to see these two modes of existence at play Wednesday night. Russia looked listless, uninterested, unadventerous, and without aspiration, passion or commitment. A kind of nihilism seemed to possess them all. The Canadians, contrarily, came out of the gates as a kind of singular will to power, a tidal wave of pure force. While Russia resembled a kind of sick animal, Canada looked like a healthy beast of prey, full of vitality, asserting absolute control over its environment.
But what made them a good example of the Ubermensch, in particular, was that they clearly had learned from their earlier struggles – there was self-overcoming and self-perfection written all over their faces and manifested all over the ice. And this is the true mark and goal of all great people – to make actual their potential.
Let’s hope Team Canada takes this potency and actualizes it into one act of final supremacy on Sunday.