Unlike many other philosophers you may be aware know, of which many of them are Greek, Friedrich Wilheim Nietzsche happens to be an exception. Born and bred in Germany, this great man was a philosopher, cultural critic, and philologist amongst many other things. His opinions and views on many subjects were published then, and today, they are studied by many students, lecturers and professor of philosophy.
The genealogy of morals is one of his greatest work that has gotten worldwide acclamation. It is a book composed three essays that are interrelated. In summary, the books examine moral values many people have. With his piece, he calls into question lots of words many people have basic knowledge about. He also discusses words that are of opposite meaning. There many more facts about Nietzsche’s genealogy which many people don’t know. However, our aim is to make sure you are always knowledgeable about any topic so you can have great conversations with people. Here are some important facts about the genealogy of morals:
- It is based someone else’s book: Yes, you read that right. Nietzsche’s didn’t have the idea to examine values and morals right from the beginning. Inspiration did not strike him. He confessed that his desire to publish came after he read Paul Ree’s book titled “The Origin of the Moral Sensation.” He stated that he found the hypotheses his friend gave unsatisfactory and he felt the need to disprove some if not all of the theses. Thus, Nietzsche decided that it was necessary to critique moral values.
- The word “good” has different representations: According to Nietzsche, he believed that the word “good” represent two distinct meanings no matter the angle you look at it from. For instance, if one were to contrast good and bad, then the word “good” is tantamount to being noble. It also applies to anything which is powerful and assertive in nature. On the other hand, if you were to contrast good and evil then it is the opposite of the “good” in the first scenario. He labelled this “slave morality” because the weak hate the powerful in the society. Rather than call the powerful oppressor “bad”, the weak would prefer to go for the word “evil.” In the same vein, if they were to praise the powerful, the word they would use is “good”.
- He rebuked the “English Psychologist”: As discussed earlier, Nietzsche wrote his theses from what he interpreted from Paul Ree’s writings. He labelled him and many others that followed his school of thought “English Psychologists”. He called them this because he believes they took no cognizance of the role of history. In sum, he believed they lacked historical sense. He was of the opinion that they were trying to do moral genealogy by explaining the concept of altruism using the utility of the altruistic action. Nietzsche antagonized this position because he believed that the utility is later forgotten because the actions then become the custom.
- Religion also featured in the theses: In their analysis, some philosophers stay away from religion because it tends to be controversial. Nietzsche used religion as an analogy in his work. He stated that there is and probably always will be a long-lasting clash between the priestly class and the warrior class. He believed that the priests and every other person that feel dominated will develop a deep hatred for those they regard as powerful. Thus, the “slave revolt in morality” will begin when the oppressed have had enough.
- Our present morality is borne out of hatred: The most important thing Nietzsche focused on in his theses is morality. An important fact you should know about his write up is that he was of the opinion that the morality he talked about when he wrote is these was born out of hatred and resentment. Ordinarily, morality should be born after examining what is considered good or bad according to the society the philosophy is made for. But, Nietzsche felt that what we consider morality is actually resentment towards all things powerful and stronger than us. As a result of this, he predicted that if things continue in the same manner, it is harmful to future health and prosperity of humans.
- The second essay focuses on the conscience of human: As said earlier, the thesis is divided into three essays. While the first essay focuses on an entirely different topic, the second essay deals with the conscience of humans. Here, Nietzsche writes on how guilty feelings or “bad conscience” may arise simply as a consequence of a harmful Christian morality. He recognized the fact that this sense of Christian morality turns its eye away from the fact that we are all humans. Thus, we all have natural inclinations which form a foundation for our actions. You might consider yourself a good Christian, but because of those natural predispositions which make you human, others will condemn you.
- Nietzsche concluded with seeking valuation: In his final work, he advocates that we should find valuation which issues from a confident, self-governing and self-reinforcing attitude. Thus, you should let go all thoughts of being master or slave. That way, you will be free from responsive attitudes that determine values in a mechanical way. That mechanical way also happens to determine values by tricking the brain into believing you are subordinate to those who are naturally more powerful. If you fall into this category, or perhaps you tend to think like this, you can be free from this bad thought process. Seek valuation by believing you are a confident person, and it will happen.
Nietzsche’s genealogy is quite an interesting read. Not only will you be exposed to his position on morals in the society then but you will also find little relevance to what obtains in our communities now. There are many more essential facts about his write up which you will find out about when you do your research. However, we believe these seven points we have given you have whet your appetite to learn more about this academic scholar.
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