On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo


As always, Nietzsche's language of physiology is a joy to read and digest They held no resentiment against their enemies, unable to take them seriously. The 'good' are self-centred, positing themselves as 'good' in advance.

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But they do not regard their enemies as bad or evil, only that they are not-good. On the other hand, a different kind of valuation is secreted by the enemies of the warrior class- the priestly, ascetic class.

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Physically sick, pale and morbid, their first creative deed is to posit the other class as 'bad' and 'evil' and only secondarily define themselves as 'good'. The best examplar of this valuation secreted by the downtrodden and the sick is the Christian religion, with Christ as the figure of the ascetic priest who administers this valuation as a palliative to the suffering masses. While the struggle is yet to be conclusively decided, it is abundantly clear that the Judean valuation has presently triumphed. That is, the priestly class has installed its value of values as the dominant valuation.

After all, we have become very tame through the instruments of culture.

On the Genealogy of Morals / Ecce Homo

But not all hope is lost. However it is futile to speak of justice "in itself" or injustice "in itself", since even the partial limitation of the will to power imposed by the institution of law goes against the will to power justice is a means to acquiring greater power Simply grasping the purpose of a concept or an institution does not suffice as an explanation as to its genesis; punishment for example is a concatenation of a whole host of uses and utilities and whose original purpose is buried under layers and layers of historical sedimentation.

The sequence of procedures associated with 'punishment' therefore always already precedes our intentional conferral of meaning or purpose to it. What is the origin of bad conscience? Bad conscience is 'animal soul is turned on itself'. The formation of society curtailed the instincts of men who previously acted freely on their drives. Unable to discharge these instincts outwards, men began to project them inwards into a regime of self infliction and self mortalization. Bad conscience is responsible for the Abrahamic conception of God, which in Nietzsche's opinion, amounts to man's self-laceration instead of his self valorization as in the case of the tribal gods.

Is there a way out of 'bad conscience'? A redeemer with a vitalistic life affirming and immanent oriented to the actual world eye to morality must be on the distant horizon In the case of a philosopher, the ascetic ideal amounts to "an optimum condition for the highest and boldest spirituality". However, it is unfortunate that the philosopher type has hitherto only able to survive by taking the posture and the appearance of the priestly type-world denying, hostile to life, suspicious of the senses, freed from sensuality, etc.

In the end Nietzshe asks us rhetorically if the conditions of the current world are conducive to the emergence of the free spirit from the philosopher-priest caterpiller. The ascetic mode of valuation is truly 'monstrous' in so far as it subordinates all other valuations under it. It condemns the actual world to the effect to holding up the 'beyond' or the 'ideal' world as the beacon of truth. The ascetic priest offers a palliative to suffering through the neutralization of our affects and senses to the point of absolute indifference, and the sublimation of our consciousness to mechanical repetition in works and rituals.

The ascetic priest neutralizes suffering by rendering it meaningful.

On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo by Friedrich Nietzsche | bolstergroup.com

But if the ascetic ideal is a will and an ideal nonetheless, then what is its possible counter-will or counter ideal? It is not scientific conscience, because it does not believe in itself sufficiently and above all still invests itself in a will to [disinterested] truth without offering a justification of this will, a will which it shares with the ascetic ideal. In the end, Nietzsche gestures towards the notion that the will to truth must overcome itself and in a stroke of self conciousness present itself the following question- "why the will to truth?

Oct 07, Mr.

Nietzsche's complex sequel to Beyond Good and Evil is a remarkable achievement of philosophy, philology, and history. It laid the groundwork for such 20th century thinkers as Foucault and Deleuze, though they would never reach Nietzsche's complexity and moral sophistication. In the preface to the book, Nietzsche proposes the project of investigating the origins of morality on the grounds that human beings are unknown to themselves.

He is ultimately concerned with the development of moral prejudi Nietzsche's complex sequel to Beyond Good and Evil is a remarkable achievement of philosophy, philology, and history. He is ultimately concerned with the development of moral prejudices, and the value of morality itself. He criticizes mankind in its acceptance of moral principles, and writes: Nietzsche begins the essay Good and Evil, Good and Bad , with a philological examination of the words and roots of the words related to good and evil, and a delimitation of their evolution.

He makes a connection between the creations of words and places them within the historical context of rulers and nobility. The origin of evil is intertwined with priestly aristocracies. Nietzsche moves into a discussion of a shift in the history of morality, in which the morality of the priestly aristocracy is superceded by Jewish morality.

For Nietzsche, the Jews inverted the morality of nobility and established a system which places value on the lower order of mankind. He indicates that the Jews believed "the wretched alone are the good; the poor, impotent, lowly alone are the good; the suffering, deprived, sick, ugly alone are pious, alone are blessed by God" He describes the triumph of Judeo-Christian morality over the previous system of values, and indicates that this turn is a triumph for the herd instinct, and for ressentiment.

Noble morality develops as an affirmation of itself, while slave morality always says No to what is external to it. In the proceeding section of the treatise, Nietzsche discusses civilization's taming of man the animal. Nietzsche insists that Europe's taming of man is a tremendous danger, for we are made to be weary of our own being. For Nietzsche, this weariness and fear of man has compelled us to lose our love for him, to turn our backs on our instincts, to reject affirmation.

Nov 03, Jill rated it it was ok Shelves: While I don't agree with most of what Nietzsche posits, I appreciate the read to hear his perspective. Marx speaks with a greater darkness than Nietzsche, so the crazy hammering of the soul when evil is taught wasn't present for me here. I completely disagree with his ideas about the "ascetic priest," they sound closer to Korihor's philosophy and what a sad end he came to - hmmm, very similar to Nietzsche's , because they're all recycled stories from the same author, the devil. Oh wait, but there is no devil, right?

THere is no good or evil, we're just told that so we're more tame, easier to control His theory on the man of ressentiment is also interesting, although completely backwards. Nietzsche claims those who live life in peace and espouse Christian behavior are really weak and tell themselves they are stronger than those oppressing them because of their virtues, that one day they'll be greater than all of them, this couched in the beatitudes.

He even addresses his sister who petitions him to see how difficult it is to keep the passions in control and allow the spirit to dominate the flesh, telling her how difficult it is to be alone, think these "new" thoughts and go forward in it without any support. THIS, of course, is far more difficult. Nov 22, Althea Lazzaro rated it really liked it. From the section "Why I am so Wise": That well-turned-out person pleases our senses, that he is carved from wood that is hard, delicate, and at the same time smells good.

He has a taste only for what is good for him; his pleasure, his delight cease where the measure of what is good for him is transgressed. He guesses what remedies avail against what is harmful; he exploits bad accidents to his advantage; what does n From the section "Why I am so Wise": He guesses what remedies avail against what is harmful; he exploits bad accidents to his advantage; what does not kill him makes him stronger.

He is always in his own company, whether he associates with books, human beings, or landscapes: He reacts slowly to all kinds of stimuli, with that slowness which long caution and deliberate pride have bred in him: He believes neither in 'misfortune' nor in 'guilt': Jun 04, Alexandre Couto de Andrade rated it it was ok. NIetzsche does not know what he is talking about. Jan 04, Shawn rated it it was amazing Shelves: The page number I referenced before writing this thought is page , which contains the quote from Ecce Homo Walter Kaufmann, the translator, notes that Ecce Homo was not published until , eight years after Friedrich Nietzsche's death; eight years after Peter Gast proclaimed at the funeral of his friend: I find this first quote significant for many reasons, and it is the one I will deal with during the entirety of this review.

First, it is important to note what I am reading. This text is one of Nietzsche's final works. In fact, as the note states, it was published posthumously--not the classical way of familiarizing oneself with a great philosopher, of this I am aware. My interest with Nietzsche began long ago through references by Michel Foucault , Jacques Derrida , and Jasbir Puar , but the first actual text of his that I encountered was: This text is organized thematically, and is a good primer for Nietzsche's writing.

The former text contains Nietzsche's personal account of his own writing; from The Birth of Tragedy to The Case of Wagner , and with everything else in between. But I was not reading it for that textual investigation; I was reading it because of the "Why I Am" essays. But I read them because I thought myself clever as well.

Actually, I had made this same statement to two people on New Year's Day ; namely, "I am so wise," spoken with earnest pride. Then the seed was planted, and I went to the local used bookstore the next day to purchase this text after having seen it there over one month prior. I think one ought to approach Nietzsche in this manner: Without that, one may happen upon an unhappy and lonely man writing manifestos for the Third Reich; but if that is the case, then one has read foolishly and done grave mischief to Nietzsche.

This is a quite specific mischief, and it is settled throughout Ecce Homo. If anything, one should take away from this text Nietzsche's disgust for the Germans, his absolute abhorrence of nationalism, and his utmost desire to be understood. I shall lift another quotation circa For me, reading Nietzsche isn't about a grand idea or accumulating argumentative munitions against religion or morality, but about approaching art and life with a new and refreshing understanding. It seems to me that Nietzsche is a referential adviser; not a person to whom one should read, digest and discard; nor an author whom one should carry in ones back pocket; but, rather, an author one should consider from time to time, if only to contemplate our world from a different angle.

Many will advise not to approach Nietzsche lightly, but to consider him gravely and with steadfast measure. Approach Nietzsche when you are up, not down; when you have found happiness, not when you seek it; when you are ready to say YES to life, not when you feel it at its heaviest burden. Nietzsche is someone to be taken lightly; without weightlessness one cannot ascend to, and descend from, the great heights he offers, one cannot comprehend his Zarathustra, and one cannot read him free of mischief.

So, with this in mind, you are sure to find answers in the divine human that is yourself, before you find them in the Nietzsche whom so many so desperately and despondently seek. Jan 21, Tyler V. There are two major works included in this volume. I read both twice. The first read was for comprehension. The second for fluidity of ideation and memorization. I think I have a decent understanding of both works, or at least as good of an understanding as anyone can achieve with the enigma that is Friedrich Nietzsche.

Because there are two works here, I will review them each separately. Translator and There are two major works included in this volume.

On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo

Translator and educator Walter Kaufmann successfully creates a volume that is greater than the sum of its parts here: Nietzsche makes philosophy fun and even when I completely disagree with him I am never bored. He helps me shape my own world of thought, even when it chafes against his. On the Genealogy of Morals I have heard a lot of people say about this work that it is Nietzsche at his most coherent and sober, that he has a clear purpose in mind.

Although I will admit it is straightforward and direct in its goal. The work is broken up into three essays. The first is about Good and Bad vs. Good and Evil, or more commonly Master Morality vs. While Nietzsche doesn't necessarily agree with the brutality of Master Morality he does dislike this reasoning less than he dislikes Slave Morality.

He abhors pity, Christianity, guilt, resentment, anti-natural states of piety, etc. In this essay he comes to the conclusion that Judea Christianity and Slave Morality has beaten Rome Master Morality, Dionysus, saying yes to our natural bodies and urges, sex, artistry, passion, pain , but not for good. Rome isn't out for the count. He is holding out hope for a return to "tragedy" as he calls it.

He also comes to the radical conclusion that science, scholarship, and atheism are not the defeat of Christianity. They are merely the next form of it, closer to the real core of the issue. Instead of worshipping a God, they worship truth! They see truth as beyond criticism. When philosophers and scholars posit, they do so with a blind assumption that truth is the ultimate value. Nietzsche isn't necessarily saying that truth is bad, but rather that we should examine its value with a keener eye than philosophers of the past have.

This is profound and like nothing that ever came before it. The second is about guilt and the "bad conscience. Why do they beat themselves up for urges and states they cannot help?

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Why do we take all of the natural things inside ourselves sex, lust, will to power, aggression, etc. Nietzsche attempts to tackle these questions with this essay. He concludes that the bad conscience stems from not being able to exorcise our cruelty. Man is naturally cruel, he argues. When he had to leave his wild jungle and wilderness to come into civilized society, he was no longer able to be cruel, especially once Christendom and Slave Morality took over. So, instead of being cruel to others as is natural, he turns the cruelty inward to himself.

Thus the sickness of guilt. Nietzsche argues these states are not natural and actually harmful to the advancement of the human race. However, he does not argue that we should return to the jungle or base cruelty. He admits that civilized society made us more spiritual and was a necessary step for us. The third and final essay deals with the meaning of ascetic ideals. When he uses the term 'ascetic,' he doesn't necessarily mean our modern asceticism, like avoiding unhealthy food and exercising daily. He means ascetic in the Christian sense: He argues that the meaning of asceticism is going to be different and nuanced for an artist, a saint, a scholar, and a priest but that all of these types share one common distinction.

Asceticism gives meaning to our suffering. Human beings accept suffering. We don't believe it could ever truly end. Even with modern comforts, we are all still depressed and anxious. In fact, many of us would not want suffering to stop because it makes us better. Nietzsche argues that we do, however, need a meaning for our suffering. We can't suffer for nothing. The Greeks gave meaning to their suffering by adding spectators: In Nietzsche's time though, we "will to nothing," i. We denigrate and avoid our natural state, hence asceticism, in order to give our suffering a purpose and "higher" meaning.

Nietzsche posits that there has not been a more damaging event to our overall wellbeing than this. Christian asceticism has ruined both art and health, he says. Overall, even when I disagreed with the conclusions, I found these essays to be a brilliant beam of light. They enlightened me in a world-historical context. I feel like I actually learned something here. It's rare to read a book in which the ideas presented are radically novel or unique to the reader.

Often, rather, an author presents an idea you already know but writes it well enough to make you believe it is new. It is the same gift with new wrappings. Nietzsche offers an entirely new gift with The Genealogy , and nothing like it was seen on Earth before or after. Whether that is a good or bad thing is up to you and your perspective. In one sense it is Nietzsche's autobiography. Instead of merely telling the story of his life, though, he tells the story of his mind through a recap of all his books. In another sense it is an essay expounding on an idea Nietzsche developed and refined late in his career, that of amor fati love of fate.

He explains it better and more succinctly than I ever could: Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it—all idealism is mendaciousness in the face of what is necessary—but love it. The entirety of Ecce Homo is an exercise in amor fati. Nietzsche suffered much in his life: Despite all of this and despite himself he still deeply loves life, he says yes to it, and would not change a single iota of his experience.

This is a profound idea. I think it is a healthy philosophy to adopt. The work has some flaws. It spends too much time quoting Thus Spoke Zarathustra. When Ecce Homo was written, no one had read that work. Another flaw is that he spends far too much of the painfully small page-count denouncing Germany. While I have no problem reading a master philosopher and radical thinker tear down nationalism and racism, Nietzsche goes a bit too far in places. Even his own friends aren't excepted from his arrows of spite. I don't mind his arguments, but they rub me as contradictory to the man's previous philosophy coincidentally presented in The Genealogy above of overcoming resentment.

It seems to me these caustic comments about Germany are full of resentment for a group of people never gave him enough attention. He mentions near the end of the book that none of his friends ever understood his work nor defended him from his German detractors. Despite him mentioning this in a casual way, for repeat and astute readers such as myself, this is telling. His bile for Germany stems from the fact that they ignored his genius and left him defenseless. Nietzsche considered himself Polish and never identified with the German culture of the Reich. For this he is deeply brave.

At the beginning of the work Nietzsche mentions that he is writing this autobiographer so that he will not be misunderstood or tampered with after he is gone "Some are born posthumously" comes to mind. He knew he would achieve popularity and true admiration after his death, so he wished to set the record straight with Ecce Homo before that happened.

Unfortunately, after a mental collapse, his sister took over his estate and tampered with the writings to make the works agreeable to her Nazi tendencies.

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The great philosopher's major work on ethics, along with Ecce Homo, Nietzche's remarkable review of his life and works. On the Genealogy of Morals (). Editorial Reviews. Language Notes. Text: English (translation) Original Language: German The great philosopher's major work on ethics, along with Ecce Homo, Nietzche's remarkable review of his life and works. On the Genealogy of Morals.

She avoided publishing Ecce Homo until almost twenty years later, in She needed the autobiography to help write prefaces for the other works. It made her seem more insightful to Nietzsche's true character. So his deepest fear of misunderstanding and slander became true. Despite all of this, Nietzsche still finds a way to sing life's praises. He rarely ends a passage on a bad note.

Rather, he preaches forgetting not forgiving one's enemies and one's mistakes. But never dwell on them. Perhaps thank an enemy rather than seek petty revenge, for you most likely learned something or gained strength. Amor fati teaches a noble strength of heart, a will to yes-saying, a will to the vigor of life! Nihilism is one of the deepest and most disgusting things that can happen to a person. This book is its anti-toxin par excellence. Despite its flaws, despite its troubling publishing history, despite its bile and resentment for everything German, and despite its too-oft repetition of Zarathustra it is a one-of-a-kind autobiography from one of the best writers and thinkers in history.

It could be profound and life-altering for anyone! It certainly was for me. Sep 04, Kevin K rated it it was amazing Shelves: This review only applies to On the Genealogy of Morals in this volume. Here we have a tightly-focused Nietzsche in peak form, planting seeds that have grown into whole bodies of thought. Most obvious is Nietzsche's foreshadowing of Freud. Apparently Freud attributed to Nietzsche "more penetrating knowledge of himself than any man who ever lived or was likely to live"; Freud's biographer and acquaintance, Ernest This review only applies to On the Genealogy of Morals in this volume.

Apparently Freud attributed to Nietzsche "more penetrating knowledge of himself than any man who ever lived or was likely to live"; Freud's biographer and acquaintance, Ernest Jones, even claimed that Freud avoided reading Nietzsche due to worries about the similarity of their ideas. It was an innocent era before the 19th century, blissfully unaware of the subconscious mind. Nietzsche was one of the first and most acute philosophers to expose the machinations hidden under the smooth facade.

Previously my impression was that Nietzsche pioneered this style of thought, but I've learned through recent reading that Marx was earlier. The two are like bookends. Marx claims that bourgeois morality is just a cynical false-front that the bourgeoisie and upper classes use to brainwash the masses; Nietzsche, meanwhile, claims that slave morality is just a cynical false-front that the rabble use to brainwash the aristocracy and elites. I'm inclined to think they're both right! The Birth of the Prison.

Today, evolution and sociobiology are fashionable topics, and there must be a dozen books out describing how morals are a product of the evolutionary process. Joyce's book is interesting but flawed for a couple of reasons. First, in order to show morality is a product of evolution, he has to make claims about events that happened millions of years ago, and there simply aren't any pertinent facts or evidence from that time.

He ends up with a "just so story," as Stephen J. Gould famously put it. Joyce's fairy tales about what characteristics helped animals to survive a million years ago may be plausible, or even true, but we simply don't know what happened back then, so fairy tales they remain. The theory is closer in impulse to historical novel writing than to a genuine empirical science like biology.

The most important reason that sociobiological moral theories fail, however, is that human morality simply isn't innate or programmed in by evolution.

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Emotions are biological, but morality proper is a cultural phenomenon which has gone through almost kaleidoscopic transformations over the course of history. That's Nietzsche's revolutionary insight.

It's true that humans have emotional responses of empathy toward others; but it's also true that humans take pleasure in inflicting pain on others and themselves , as Nietzsche points out. Has empathy been hard-wired into us by evolution? Very unlikely considering that the Romans tortured and murdered people as public entertainment for centuries, and no one batted an eye. It was completely normal, upstanding, moral behavior at that time.

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My conclusion is that Nietzsche was right on target, and today's sociobiologists are following a red herring. There's some, but not much, moral knowledge on the path they're following. The better path is the one Nietzsche opened up here: His interpretations are as fascinating as they are invaluable. Nothing Nietzsche wrote is more stunning stylistically or as a human document. The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Prussia in After the death of his father, a Lutheran minister, Nietzsche was raised from the age of five by his mother in a household of women.

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