Despite all my complaining, this really is a very interesting topic. What is good and bad, where did they originate. Before Nietzche & the utalitarians came up with a historical approach to morals, we just accepted that good thigns where always good, and bad things always bad.
Believed that Morals developed through altruistic acts – A “good” act was an act for which the actor was praised. Or, the recipient of the act recognised it as a “good” act and worthy of praise. Subsequently altruistic acts became a habit, praise was forgotten and we performed “good” acts because it “felt” good.
Believed that the geanealogy of morals went beyond utility. N believed that “good” acts where decided by people who where “good.” “Good” people being the aristocratic, the powerful, the noble, strong, beautiful, high-stationed and high-minded. People, in my opinion who had the arrogance & ego to think their actions where “good” and that they where “good” and “above” the rest (read the peasants, the plebes, the low-life). He also argues that our morals have changed (the revolution of slavery) and that in modern times, the plebe has overthrown the last great aristocracy (French Revolution) and that a “herd mentality” has enveloped the world (read democracy?).
N’s definition of good stems partly from and finds some proof in Etymology – especialy the greek origins to the word ‘Noble.’ The origins of this word lie somewhat with the greek fascination with myth and demi-gods, their romantic love of love, heros, tradgedy, drama and battle. N seems to admire this ‘alpha-male’ hero as well, the do-or-die, the brashness, youth, destruction, spontanaeity and courage of the warrior, and he ties this into nobility.
That is not my view of Noble, or of aristocratic. Aristocrats where wealthy, they where educated, powerful and high-minded (read arrogant). I do not deny that. However I also think they where greedy, selfish, ignorant (of the serfs), pragmatic (N argues heros are not pragmatic), and deceitful.
Of course, we are both generalising, talking about a majority of aristocrats. The doubt in my mind is that I cannot see how the morals society holds dear today (or more importantly, my own morals) could be born from the aristocracy of my definition, even with the changes that democracy could and has brought.
Where are your morals from?
- Text: http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/MODERN/GENEAL.HTM
- Summary/Analysis: http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/genealogyofmorals/
- Friedrich Nietzche: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nietzsche/