On the Genealogy of Morality Essay

On the Genealogy of Morality Essay

Length: 1185 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Friedrich Nietzsche’s “On the Genealogy of Morality” includes his theory on man’s development of “bad conscience.” Nietzsche believes that when transitioning from a free-roaming individual to a member of a community, man had to suppress his “will to power,” his natural “instinct of freedom”(59). The governing community threatened its members with punishment for violation of its laws, its “morality of customs,” thereby creating a uniform and predictable man (36). With fear of punishment curtailing his behavior, man was no longer allowed the freedom to indulge his every instinct. He turned his aggressive focus inward, became ashamed of his natural animal instincts, judged himself as inherently evil, and developed a bad conscience (46). Throughout the work, Nietzsche uses decidedly negative terms to describe “bad conscience,” calling it ugly (59), a sickness (60), or an illness (56); leading some to assume that he views “bad conscience” as a bad thing. However, Nietzsche hints at a different view when calling bad conscience a “sickness rather like pregnancy” (60). This analogy equates the pain and suffering of a pregnant woman to the suffering of man when his instincts are repressed. Therefore, just as the pain of pregnancy gives birth to something joyful, Nietzsche’s analogy implies that the negative state of bad conscience may also “give birth” to something positive. Nietzsche hopes for the birth of the “sovereign individual” – a man who is autonomous, not indebted to the morality of custom, and who has regained his free will. An examination of Nietzsche’s theory on the evolution of man’s bad conscience will reveal: even though bad conscience has caused man to turn against himself and has resulted in the stagnation of his will, Ni...

... middle of paper ...

... noble morality (16). Furthermore, in contrast to the self-contentment of the noble morality, the slave’s lack of outward power led him to direct his power inwards, resulting in man’s first exploration of his inner life.
While critical of the attitude found in the ressentiment of slave morality, Nietzsche’s includes it as an important factor contributing to the bad conscience of man. Even though Nietzsche dislikes the negative results of bad conscience – man’s suppression of his instincts, hate for himself, and stagnation of his will -- Nietzsche does value it for the promise it holds. Nietzsche foresees a time coming when man conquers his inner battle and regains his “instinct of freedom.” In anticipation of that day’s eventual arrival, Nietzsche views the development of bad conscience as a necessary step in man’s transformation into the “sovereign individual.”

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Nietzsche 's On The Genealogy Of Morality Essay

- In On the Genealogy of Morality Nietzsche uses the word ressentiment to, in simple terms, represent a deeply rooted resentment but his interpretation goes further than that. Nietzsche explains that ressentiment arises when people realize that they are inferior to some others but rather than blaming themselves for this they blame those others. These people “being denied the proper response of action, compensate for it only with imaginary revenge”. They experience inferiority not in terms of themselves but in terms of others....   [tags: Friedrich Nietzsche, Ressentiment, Slavery]

Good Essays
1087 words (3.1 pages)

Exegesis and Critique of Nietzsche’s Conception of Guilt In The Second Essay of On the Genealogy of Morality

- Exegesis and Critique of Nietzsche’s Conception of Guilt In The Second Essay of On the Genealogy of Morality In the Second Essay of On the Genealogy of Morals (titled ““Guilt,” “Bad Conscience,” and the Like”), Nietzsche formulates an interesting conception of the origin and function of guilt feelings and “bad conscience.” Nietzsche’s discussion of this topic is rather sophisticated and includes sub-arguments for the ancient equivalence of the concepts of debt and guilt and the existence of an instinctive joy in cruelty in human beings, as well as a hypothesis concerning the origin of civilization, a critique of Christianity, and a comparison of Christianity to ancient Greek religion....   [tags: Essays Papers]

Good Essays
2415 words (6.9 pages)

Examining Good and Bad Conscience in Friedrich Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals

- Friedrich Nietzsche is recognized for being one of the most influential German philosophers of the modern era. He is known for his works on genealogy of morality, which is a way to study values and concepts. In Genealogy of Morals, Friedrich Nietzsche mentions that values and concepts have a history because of the many different meanings that come with it. Nietzsche focused on traditional ethical theories, especially those rooted in religion. Not being a religious man, he believed that human life has no moral purpose except for the significance that human beings give it....   [tags: philosophy, ontology, nature of morality]

Good Essays
1631 words (4.7 pages)

A Genealogy of the Philosophy of the Dynamite Club Essay examples

- “The large ideas that influence intellectual and aesthetic movements are...first introduced into the community of writers and artists through philosophy. Philosophical texts codify the definitions and the boundaries for the concepts that have influenced Western thought, art, science, and politics since the days of Plato and Aristotle…” -Art Berman, Preface to Modernism. John Merriman’s Dynamite Club succeeds in a portrayal of the decadence and injustice of a fin-de-siècle Parisian society of bourgeois capitalists, which fueled the expansion of anarchist ideology and even dyed its destructive creed with tints of virtue and righteousness....   [tags: John Merriman, book analysis]

Good Essays
2054 words (5.9 pages)

Secular Morality and Religious Morality Inadvertently Influenced One Another

- Even in matters of outwardly secular morality, religion plays such a hegemonic role that, in many instances, secular morality is inadvertently influenced by religious morality. It could even be said that religious morality is greatly influenced by secular morals and not the other way around. While it would be difficult to assess the genealogy of morality it would be safe to say that morality has a very strong connection with religious morality. Moreover, to evade the almost omnipresent influence of religious morality would be nearly impossible; this allows for the almost constant melding of the two making them almost indistinguishable....   [tags: Ethics, morality]

Good Essays
967 words (2.8 pages)

The Ethical Nature Of Morality Essay

- Morality has existed for a long time, all the laws and rules that we have now are based on morality. Morality refers to cultural values and codes, it tells us what is wrong and right. But before we decide what is right and wrong, we have to understand and know what is moral. Kant, Mill, and Nietzsche in their books, “Grounding for Metaphysics of Morals”, “Utilitarianism”, and On the Genealogy of Morality” are trying to find what does “moral” means, what is morality, and what is moral about morality....   [tags: Ethics, Morality, Immanuel Kant, Philosophy]

Good Essays
712 words (2 pages)

Nietzschean Genealogy and Hegelian History in The Genealogy of Morals Essay

- According to Kain, he argued that Nietzsche was influenced by Hegelian history, even though many philosophers like Deleuze, Greene and Houlgate saying that Nietzsche is opposing Hegel master-slave dialectic (Kain, pg.123-124). Kain saying, that according to Nietzsche he was not trying to bring back master-slave dialectic, but Kain finds hard to believe, since there so much in common (Kain, pg 124). Kain is trying to investigate the relationship between Hegel’s master and slave and the clash between Nietzsche’s master and slave morality (Kain, pg....   [tags: Philip J. Kain]

Good Essays
1729 words (4.9 pages)

Origins of Morality Essay

- The moral philosophy that we know and recognize today in the Western world is slave morality, a morality which puts forward ideals of fairness, equality, and democracy. However, many centuries ago during the medieval times, master morality was the norm; a morality that favors those superior in strength, beauty, intelligence, and status. Master morality preceded slave morality. Friedrich Nietzsche was a philologist, who used his knowledge of words to trace the origins of morality from their ancient definitions....   [tags: Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean Jacques Rousseau]

Good Essays
1399 words (4 pages)

Essay about Nietzsche's New Morality as Reaction to the Old

- Nietzsche's New Morality as Reaction to the Old The purpose of Friedrich Nietzsche's On The Genealogy of Morals (1887) is to answer the following questions, which he clearly lays out in the preface: "under what conditions did man devise these value judgments good and evil. And what value do they themselves possess. Have they hitherto hindered or furthered human prosperity. Are they a sign of distress, of impoverishment, of the degeneration of life. Or is there revealed in them, on the contrary, a plenitude, force, and will of life, its courage, certainty, future?" (17)....   [tags: Philosophy Philosophical Essays]

Good Essays
3239 words (9.3 pages)

Essay hierarchy of Morality

- Excerpt from “The Immorality of Morals and the Future of Amorality” Most authors seem to promote one or the other of two functions for morality, internal cohesion and external threat. However morality served both equally well. In Darwinism, Dominance and Democracy by Somit and Peterson, the authors state, "Humans are social primates, closely (almost embarrassingly) akin genetically to the chimpanzees and only slightly less so to the gorillas. Working over at least 10 million years, natural selection has endowed the social primates with a predisposition (to understate the matter) for hierarchical social structures....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
976 words (2.8 pages)