The opening of 2001: A Space Odyssey depicts the sun rising above a crescent Earth while the introduction to Richard Strauss' symphonic tone-poem, Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus spake Zarathustra), plays.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche's book, Also sprach Zarathustra, upon which the Strauss tone-poem is based, presents the idea that mankind will one day be surpassed by the übermensch, or the superman.

The Nietzschean idea seems to have its origin in Darwin's theory of natural selection. Nietzsche saw life as a struggle for existence in which only the fittest would survive.

According to Nietzsche, the evolution of man will travel through three stages: primitive man (ape), modern man, and ultimately...