Origins Of Morality Essay

1608 words - 6 pages

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. He said that morality was something that man had created, specifically the nobles, for they were in a position that enabled them to declare what is to be considered good or bad. The concept of “good” was created when the aristocrats examined themselves and saw that they were rich, beautiful, healthy, strong and powerful. Then, they observed the slaves beneath and saw how they were poor, common, ugly, dirty and weak; which led them to a conclusion that the slaves must be “bad” because they were they opposite of the nobles who were “good”. The pathos of nobility and distance, as aforesaid, the protracted and domineering fundamental total feeling on the part of a higher ruling order in relation to a lower order, to a “below” – that is the origin of the antithesis of “good” and “bad” (Genealogy of Morals, pg. 26). Their superiority that had begun in a social sense underwent a conceptual transformation into a moral sense that gave a definition of having a “soul of a high order”, “with a privileged soul”.
The slaves became angry and furious as they were labeled “bad”, so they made up a plan to change their miserable situation into something advantageous. Since, they were not strong and powerful enough to defeat their masters directly, they thought of having a spiritual revenge, together with the priests who are also overpowered by the warrior caste. From this hatred and ressentiment, they start a slave revolt in morality with the emergence of a new philosophy that makes the poor, oppressed, and persecuted “good”, consequently, making those with power who had excessive lavish lifestyles “evil”. They said “let us be different from the evil, namely good! And he is good who does not outrage, who harms nobody, who does not attack, who does not requite, who leaves revenge to God, who keeps himself hidden as we do, who avoids evil and desires little from life, like us, the patient, humble, and just” (Genealogy of Morals, pg. 46). The slaves turned their weakness, impotence, and inability to fight back into something meritorious. Nietzsche said they were the most devious kind because they lie about not wanting power, when in truth they also want to dominate the nobles. Their reward is eternal life, in the kingdom of god, in heaven where they would be looking down on their masters below who are burning and suffering in hell. Although, it took thousands of years to convert the noble’s morality into that of slave morality, they had succeeded using...

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