Slave Morality In Nietzsche's On The Genealogy Of Morals

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Morality is often revered important and inviolable because people generally assume morality is grounded in something transcendental such as tradition, God, or reason. In On the Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche critiques the value of moral judgments through a genealogical method that examines the origins and meanings of different moral concepts. In the first essay, Nietzsche distinguishes between “master morality” and “slave morality”; master morality was enforced by the masters who were powerful, high-ranking, rich, strong, healthy and beautiful. Because of these many attributes, the masters were happy and saw them themselves as good and thus called themselves ‘good’. By contrast, the weak, poor, sick, and enslaved were ‘bad’ since their lives …show more content…
For the slaves, however, justice is deferred and eventually won through everlasting life; imaginary. This is why the deep and fermenting emotion is referred to as “ressentiment”, essentially the English resentment. Nietzsche doesn’t find a slave morality in society better than master morality, however. Contemporary society is neither fearful nor admirable, but dull and bland. Society today neither fears humanity yet has no hope for its prosperity, a nihilistic attitude that Nietzsche rejects. His largest criticism of slave morality is its developing from hatred and denial. Slave morality devalues life because instead of focusing on personal ambitions and motivations, the resentful person is consumed with their hateful passions. However, slave morality still lacks discipline and self-control and breeds men less clever than the resentful man. But the dichotomy between the slave morality and master morality is too simple. If contemporary society has succumbed to slave morality, which is based on resentment felt towards masters, where are the masters we resent? The world isn’t divided between masters and slaves perfectly and completely. It is possible that there exists a majority, which according to Nietzsche is the slave morality, but there have to also be people who are exceptions to the rule. It is far more likely that people are complex combinations of the two, characterized by a myriad of …show more content…
Justice is restored by the judgment of God, not revenge sought out by the disenfranchised. Justice is essentially an invention of those who are unable to exact their own revenge. However, in Nietzsche’s view, we are not answerable to a higher order of justice. Rather, we are accountable to ourselves as we shall judge ourselves harsher than any higher order ever could. Thus, murderers who kill for money do not infringe any moral code but allow themselves to be controlled by money insofar as they are willing to kill for it and it is that control that makes them weak-willed. I can understand how Nietzsche would come to this conclusion, but it sounds like moral relativism and to propose that morality itself could be a danger is dangerous. Morals should not be constructed relative to who a person is and what they themselves consider to be good, bad, right or wrong. I don’t think Nietzsche would like to do away with morality altogether, however. I find that he rejects the idea of a moral code implemented by individuals in power. He seems to think that we are our worst critics and that is

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