On the Genealogy of Morals

On the Genealogy of Morals Analysis

Within his polemical treatise On the Genealogy of Morals Friedrich Nietzsche twists standard precepts of morality into a delicious pretzel barely recognizable from original conceptions. The assessment from those belonging to what Nietzsche derisively terms the herd has long held that those in bondage to the more powerful are in firm grasp of the moral high ground over those dominant potentates, but the philosopher expresses fervent disagreement with this view and the basis of that disagreement forms the foundation On the Genealogy of Morals.

Friedrich Nietzsche aggressively reasons an oppositional interpretation by assigning culpability for the transposition of what he insists is the natural state of morality upon the ascension of Judeo-Christian religion to ruling prominence. Within that rise endures a morality fashioned directly as a result of its historical transformation from subordination to sovereignty. During this conversion and augmentation into an entity of superiority and authority, Judeo-Christian morality has sustained its goal of enforcing a higher standard on virtuous meekness, persecution and submission to external dynamisms to define one than it has upon the values of strength, character and the ability to will oneself to power.

Nietzsche’s anxiety over the state of the future of humanity is distinguished by a recurring theme positively insistent in its repetition of a message warning against the danger such a morality fosters: willful victimization that has and will continue to destroy the capacity for humanity to attain its appropriate sense of nobility. The predisposition for self-pity, self-denial and self-sacrifice in return for a reward to be enjoyed only after death that Christianity nurtured among its converts remains alive and well today, if in a marginally transformed manifestation.

The danger of the priestly-slave morality that Nietzsche posed manifests itself in modern society in a variety of forms, one of which is particularly conspicuous. That peril has come to fruition in the irrational devotion to maintaining failed educational system based on victimization and weakness that rigorously imposes an architecture of standardizing mediocrity for the masses by focusing too heavily on student weaknesses rather than aiming for nobility by shifting the focus of instruction to individual student strengths. When one considers that the educational system is the modern day equivalent of the ecclesiastical organization originally responsible for spreading the gospel of priestly-slave morality that Nietzsche criticizes, it becomes clear that the dangers of that system of morality remains just as great.

Second Essay: "Guilt," "Bad Conscience," and Related Matters

The second essay follows the aforementioned from its inception. Although, that is not to say that its originating (non-moral) ancestor is one in the same thing. As a matter of fact, this is where all further critiques emanate. Ultimately Nietzsche believes these ( and its contrary ) all have the same non-moral beginnings.

Therefore, describing these core characteristics — of originating values — is the focus. One way to perceive such ends, is to view it as arching toward the epiphenomena of deities. This will be described with a concluding explication on the accumulation of ancestral debt. Thus the central question that pertains is: what does debt; and its axiom credit; mean? Further this relation also sets the precedent whereby Nietzsche again critiques genealogists.

Here, we need remember (see: essay one) Nietzsche was last left squinting. Given that all animals already operate by instinct — and thus only have passive memory — can this really be where man learnt to make promises, actively remember them, and thus maintain a contract with his culture ?— later himself? — how does he then become active? Nietzsche, however, isn’t outright denying a progression to selflessness (hereafter: “bad conscience”). Yet, it surely suffices to say that whatever instigated — and for a long time cultivated — a departure from our instincts: need have been non-moral. Simpliciter: something; contra to merely our physiology; which forever endures. Hence comes memory by enforcement of psychical pain: then also comes the skeleton of psyche.

Proto-culture, then, breeds an economy out of behavior through cultural “mores”. Punishment, then, is sufficient; for paying off what is owed; also for guilt therein to be forgotten. In fact, this template of suffering; a balance of suffering perhaps; as having some kind of value, is nonetheless an artificial transposition over the otherwise senselessness of suffering designed into nature. Thus, man is allowed to remember, calculate, and plan for the future. With enough mnemonic-memory of what ‘not’ to do he can begin to think: in terms of promises: what he ‘wants’ to do -- and asks others to do. Thus, the sovereign conscience, eventually, ripens. Yet its converse, the “bad conscience”, arrives also, perhaps earlier even, in those who are too weak to exorcise their debt — and thus persist with internal conflict. So they turn it in on themselves, by denying their ego, internalizing “guilt”. Thus their values are reactive.

However, the full transition from punishment of old to the justice of new, will not be directly exposited. To reiterate, the former is a prior condition to premodern christianity and modern interpretations of Justice — which fork from these origins, insofar as they reinterpret them.To finish lets returning to the arrival of deities.

Either conscience can nevertheless not avoid the fact that the debt to their culture: their progenitors: is the one kind of debt that continuously accumulates, and continuously needs to be repaid. For the sovereign, take the ancient greeks for example, worshiping through the festivity of Dionysus; spectacles of cruelty; is in line with their ability to forget guilt. Conversely, the Judeo-Christian God, based on a maximum of “guilt”, forever lives within their bad conscience. Further, and more curiously, since their God sent his own son to pay their debt, it paradoxically becomes something which is forever un-atonable.

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

Update this section

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.