A fifth essay, published posthumously, had the title "We Philologists", and gave as a " Task for philology : disappearance". It combines the naivete of The Birth of Tragedy with the beginnings of his more mature polemical style. It was Nietzsche's most humorous work, especially for "David Strauss: the confessor and the writer. Mencken , Many different plans for the series are found in Nietzsche's notebooks, most of them showing a total of thirteen essays. The titles and subjects vary with each entry, the project conceived to last six years one essay every six months.
A typical outline dated "Autumn " reads as follows:. Nietzsche abandoned the project after completing only four essays, seeming to lose interest after the publication of the third. He paints Strauss's "New Faith"—scientifically-determined universal mechanism based on the progression of history—as a vulgar reading of history in the service of a degenerate culture, polemically attacking not only the book but also Strauss as a Philistine of pseudo-culture.
It also introduces an attack against the basic precepts of classic humanism. In this essay, Nietzsche attacks both the historicism of man the idea that man is created through history and the idea that one can possibly have an objective concept of man, since a major aspect of man resides in his subjectivity. Nietzsche expands the idea that the essence of man dwells not inside of him, but rather above him, in the following essay, "Schopenhauer als Erzieher" "Schopenhauer as Educator".
The doors and windows of consciousness are shut from time to time, so that it stays undisturbed from the noise and struggle with which the underworld of our functional organs keeps them working for and against one another—a small quiet place, a little tabula rasa [blank slate] of the consciousness, so that there will again be room for something new, above all, for the nobler functions and officials, for ruling, thinking ahead, determining what to do our organism is arranged as an oligarchy —that is, as I said, the use of active forgetfulness, like some porter at the door, a maintainer of psychic order, quiet, and etiquette.
From that we can see at once how, if forgetfulness were not present, there could be no happiness, no cheerfulness, no hoping, no pride, no present. The man in whom this repression apparatus is harmed and not working properly we can compare to a dyspeptic and not just compare —he is "finished" with nothing.
Now this necessarily forgetful animal in which forgetfulness is present as a force, as a form of strong health, has had an opposing capability bred into it, a memory, with the help of which, in certain cases, its forgetfulness will cease to function—that is, for those cases where promises are to be made. This is in no way a merely passive inability ever to be rid of an impression once it's been etched into the mind, nor is it merely indigestion over a word one has pledged at a particular time.
No, it's an active wish not to be free of the matter, a continuing desire for what one willed at a particular time, a real memory of one's will, so that between the original "I will" or "I will do" and the actual discharge of the will, its real action, without thinking about it, a world of strange new things, circumstances, even acts of the will can intervene, without breaking this long chain of the will. But consider what that presupposes! In order to organize the future in this manner, human beings must have first learned to separate necessary events from chance events, to think in terms of cause and effect, to see distant events as if they were present, to anticipate them, to set goals and the means to reach them safely, to develop a capability for figures and calculations in general—and for that to occur, a human being must necessarily have first become something one could predict, something bound by regular rules, even in the way he imagined himself to himself, so that finally he is able to act like someone who makes promises—who makes himself into a pledge for the future!
Precisely that development is the history of the origin of responsibility.
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The task of breeding an animal with a right to make promises contains within it, as we have already grasped, as a condition and prerequisite, the more urgent prior task of making a human being necessarily uniform to some extent, one among many other like him, regular and consequently predictable. The immense task in what I have called the "morality of custom" cf. Daybreak , p.
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Now, let's position ourselves, by contrast, at the end of this immense process, in the place where the tree finally yields its fruit, where society and the morality of custom finally bring to light the end for which they were simply the means. We find—as the ripest fruit on that tree—the sovereign individual, something which resembles only itself, which has broken loose again from the morality of custom—the autonomous individual beyond morality for "autonomous" and "moral" are mutually exclusive terms —in short, the human being who possesses his own independent and enduring will, who is entitled to make promises—and in him a proud consciousness, quivering in every muscle, of what has finally been achieved and given living embodiment in him: a real consciousness of power and freedom, a feeling of completion for human beings generally.
This man who has become free, who really has the right to make promises, this master of free will, this sovereign—how can he not realize the superiority he enjoys over everyone who does not have the right to make a promise and make pledges on his own behalf, knowing how much trust, how much fear, and how much respect he creates he is worthy of all three and how, with this mastery over himself, he has necessarily been given in addition mastery over his circumstances, over nature, and over all creatures with a shorter and less reliable will?
The "free" man, the owner of an enduring unbreakable will, by possessing this, also acquires his own standard of value: he looks out from himself at others and confers respect or withholds it. And just as it will be necessary for him to honour those like him, the strong and dependable who are entitled to make promises , in other words everyone who makes promises like a sovereign, seriously, rarely, and slowly, who is sparing with his trust, who honours another when he does trust, who gives his word as something reliable, because he knows he is strong enough to remain upright when opposed by misfortune, even when "opposed by fate," so it will be necessary for him to keep his foot ready to kick the scrawny unreliable men, who make promises without being entitled to, and hold his cane ready to punish the liar who breaks his word in the very moment it comes out of his mouth.
The proud knowledge of the extraordinary privilege of responsibility, the consciousness of this rare freedom, this power over oneself and destiny have become internalized into the deepest parts of him and grown instinctual, have now become a dominating instinct. What will he call it, this dominating instinct, given that he finds he needs a word for it? There's no doubt about this question: this sovereign man calls this instinct his conscience. His conscience? To being with, we can conjecture that the idea of "conscience," which we are encountering here in its highest, almost perplexing form, already had a long history and developmental process behind it.
To be entitled to pledge one's word, to do it with pride, and also to say "yes" to oneself—that right is a ripe fruit, as I have mentioned, but it is also a late fruit. For what a long stretch of time this fruit must have hung tart and sour on the tree! And for an even longer time it was impossible to see any such fruit. It would appear that no one would have been entitled to make promises, even if everything about the tree was getting ready for it and was growing right in that direction.
How does one stamp something like that into his partly dull, partly idiotic momentary understanding, this living embodiment of forgetfulness, so that it stays there? Perhaps there is nothing more fearful and more terrible in the entire pre-history of human beings than the technique for developing his memory. Only something which never ceases to cause pain stays in the memory"—that is a leading principle of the most ancient and unfortunately the most recent psychology on earth.
We might even say that everywhere on earth nowadays where there is still solemnity, seriousness, mystery, gloomy colours in the lives of men and people, something of that terror is still at work, the fear with which in earlier times on earth people made promises, pledged their word, or praised something. The past, the longest, deepest, most severe past, breathes on us and surfaces in us when we become "solemn.
In a certain sense all asceticism belongs here: a couple of ideas need to be made indissoluble, omnipresent, unforgettable, "fixed," in order to hypnotize the entire nervous and intellectual system through these "fixed ideas"—and the ascetic procedures and forms of life are the means whereby these ideas are freed from jostling around with all the other ideas, in order to make them "unforgettable. The harshness of the laws of punishment provide a special standard for measuring how much trouble people went to in order to triumph over forgetfulness and to maintain the awareness of a few primitive demands of social living together for this slave of momentary feelings and desires.
We Germans certainly do not think of ourselves as a particularly cruel and hard-hearted people, even less as particularly careless people who live only in the present. But have a look at our old penal code in order to understand how much trouble it took on this earth to breed a "People of Thinkers" by that I mean the peoples of Europe, among whom today we still find a maximum of trust, seriousness, tastelessness, and practicality, and who with these characteristics have a right to breed all sorts of European mandarins.
THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS
These Germans have used terrible means to make themselves a memory in order to attain mastery over their vulgar and brutally crude basic instincts. Think of the old German punishments, for example, stoning even the legend lets the mill stone fall on the head of the guilty person , breaking on the wheel the unique invention and specialty of the German genius in the area of punishment! With the help of such images and procedures people finally retained five or six "I will not's" in their memory, and so far as these precepts were concerned they gave their word in order to live with the advantages of society—and that was that!
With the assistance of this sort of memory people finally came to "reason"! Ah, reason, seriousness, mastery over emotions, the whole gloomy business called reflection, all these privileges and ceremonies of human beings—how expensive they were! How much blood and horror is the basis for all "good things.
But then how did that other "gloomy business," the consciousness of guilt, the whole "bad conscience" come into the world? With this we turn back to our genealogists of morality. I'll say it once more—or perhaps I haven't said it at all yet—they are useless. With their own purely "modern" experience extending only through five periods, with no knowledge of or any desire to know the past, and even less historical insight, a "second perspective"—something so necessary at this point—they nonetheless pursue the history of morality.
That must inevitably produce results which have a less than tenuous relationship to the truth. Have these genealogists of morality up to this point allowed themselves to dream, even remotely, that, for instance, the major moral principle "guilt" [Schuld] derives its origin from the very materialistic idea "debt" [Schulden] or that punishment developed entirely as repayment, without reference to any assumption about the freedom or lack of freedom of the will—and did so to the point where it first required a high degree of human development [Vermenschlichung] so that the animal "man" began to make those much more primitive distinctions between "intentional," "negligent," "accidental," "of sound mind," and their opposites and bring them to bear when handing out punishment?
That unavoidable idea, nowadays so trite and apparently natural, which has really had to serve as the explanation how the feeling of justice in general came into existence on earth—"The criminal deserves punishment because he could have acted otherwise"—this idea, in fact, is an extremely late achievement, indeed, a sophisticated form of human judgment and decision making.
Anyone who moves this idea back to the very beginnings is sticking his coarse fingers inappropriately into the psychology of primitive humanity. For the most extensive period of human history punishment was not meted out because people held the instigator of evil responsible for his actions, nor was it assumed that only the guilty party should be punished.
It was much more the case, as it still is now when parents punish their children, of anger over some harm which people have suffered, anger vented on the perpetrator. But this anger was restrained and modified through the idea that every injury had some equivalent and that compensation for it could, in fact, be paid out, even if that was through the pain of the perpetrator. Where did this primitive, deeply rooted, and perhaps by now ineradicable idea derive its power, the idea of an equivalence between punishment and pain?
I have already given away the answer: in the contractual relationship between creditor and debtor, which is as ancient as the idea of "someone subject to law" and which, in itself, refers back to the basic forms of buying, selling, bartering, trading, and exchanging goods. It's true that recalling this contractual relationship arouses, as we might expect from what I have observed above, all sorts of suspicion of and opposition to primitive humanity which established or allowed it.
It's precisely at this point that people make promises. Here the pertinent issue is that the person who makes a promise has to have a memory created for him, so that precisely at this point, we can surmise, there exists a site for what is hard, cruel, and painful. In order to inspire trust in his promise to pay back, in order to give his promise a guarantee of its seriousness and sanctity, in order to impress on his own conscience the idea of paying back as a duty, an obligation, the debtor, by virtue of the contract, pledges to the creditor, in the event that he does not pay, something that he still "owns," something over which he still exercises power, for example, his body or his wife or his freedom or even his life or, under certain religious conditions, even his blessedness, the salvation of his soul, or finally his peace in the grave, as was the case in Egypt, where the dead body of the debtor even in the grave found no peace from the creditor—and it's certain that with the Egyptians such peace was particularly important.
That means that the creditor could inflict all kinds of ignominy and torture on the body of the debtor—for instance, slicing off the body as much as seemed appropriate for the size of the debt. And this point of view early on and everywhere gave rise to precise, horrific estimates going into finer and finer details, legally established estimates, about individual limbs and body parts.
Friedrich Nietzsche's "Genealogy of Morality" (), Essay 2 (Sections )
I consider it already a step forward, as evidence of a freer conception of the law, something which calculates more grandly, something more Roman, when Rome's Twelve Tables of Laws decreed it was all the same, no matter how much or how little the creditor cut off in such cases: " si plus minusve secuerunt, ne fraude esto " [let it not be thought a crime if they cut off more or less]. Let's clarify the logic of this whole method of compensation—it is weird enough.
The equivalency is given in this way: instead of an advantage making up directly for the harm hence, instead of compensation in gold, land, possessions of some sort or another , the creditor is given a kind of pleasure as repayment and compensation—the pleasure of being allowed to discharge his power on a powerless person without having to think about it, the delight in " de fair le mal pour le plaisir de le faire " [doing wrong for the pleasure of doing it] , the enjoyment of violation.
This enjoyment is more highly prized the lower and baser the debtor stands in the social order, and it can easily seem to the creditor a delicious mouthful, even a foretaste of a higher rank. By means of the "punishment" of the debtor, the creditor participates in a right belonging to the masters. Finally he himself for once comes to the lofty feeling of despising a being as someone "below himself," as someone he is entitled to mistreat—or at least, in the event that the real force of punishment, of inflicting punishment, has already been transferred to the "authorities," the feeling of seeing the debtor despised and mistreated.
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The compensation thus consist of a permission for and right to cruelty. In this area, that is, in the laws of obligation, the world of moral concepts "guilt," "conscience," and "sanctity of obligations" was conceived. Its beginnings, just like the beginnings of everything great on earth, were watered thoroughly and for a long time with blood. And can we not add that this world deep down has never again been completely free of a certain smell of blood and torture— not even with old Kant whose categorical imperative stinks of cruelty.
In addition, here the weird knot linking the ideas of "guilt and suffering," which perhaps has become impossible to undo, was first knit together.
Let me pose the question once more: to what extent can suffering be a compensation for "debts"? To the extent that making someone suffer provides the highest degree of pleasure, to the extent that the person hurt by the debt, in exchange for the injury and for the distress caused by the injury, got an offsetting pleasure—making someone suffer—a real feast, something that, as I've said, was valued all the more, the greater the difference between him and the rank and social position of the creditor.
I have been speculating here, for it's difficult to see such subterranean things from the surface, quite apart from the fact that it's an embarrassing subject.
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Anyone who crudely throws into the middle of all this the idea of "revenge" has merely buried and dimmed his insights rather than illuminated them revenge itself takes us back to the very same problem "How can making someone suffer give us a feeling of satisfaction? A more deeply penetrating eye might still notice, even today, enough of this most ancient and most basic celebratory human joy.
In Beyond Good and Evil , p.