Morality, Morality And Moral Sense, By Emerson And Nietzsche 's On The Genealogy Of Morals

811 Words Nov 24th, 2014 4 Pages
Morality is often considered a central aspect of society that helps to maintain order. An individual’s morality will tell them not to steal, kill, or perform other acts of evil, and therefore this societal morality controls the population. Initially, the idea of amorality, the absence of morality, seems like a pathway to chaos and violence, but Emerson and Nietzsche argue differently. In Emerson’s Self-Reliance and Nietzsche’s On The Genealogy of Morals and On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense, these philosophers propose that a life of amorality is a life of true individualism. Emerson’s central argument in Self-Reliance is that individualism is based on thinking for oneself and no conforming to the imposed ideas of society. The order of society is built about a structure of societal norms, morality being one of these norms, and he challenges the individual to not blindly conform to these norms. Emerson states that “the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude” (Emerson). While he advocates for a separation from the ideological standards of society, he is not pushing individuals to become social hermits. An individual must learn to maintain their individuality while still living within society. Essentially, he states that you must internally remove yourself from the confines of society but externally remain within the population. Emerson throughout his essay also uses the term “crowd” as a condescending…

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