[CENTER]Nietzsche And Plato, Morality And Reason[/CENTER]
In his book The Geneology of Morals Nietzsche attacks what he calls slave morality and advances what he calls master morality. Platonism, to Nietzsche is a version of slave morality and Nietzsche goes on to call Christianity "Platonism for the people". Slave morality is a morality which holds the good to be the highest point that humans could reach for and master morality is a morality that is created by the elite, aristocratic group within society and this master group holds the masses of the people under its inevitably oppressive rule. The masters of master morality make the rules because they alone have the capacity to be responsible. Nietzsche goes on to say that slavery in some sense or another must exist if any society is to approach greatness. The 'good' for Nietzsche lays in the hierarchical structure which gives absolute power only to those few who are capable of wielding it: the top most tier of the aristocratic hierarchy are the people who give meaning and value to the society, they are identical with the society's inner identity.
But there is more to the story. Nietzsche also attacks the modern philosophical systems such as Kant's. He accuses philosophical system builders as being purveyors of slave morality (Spinoza is excepted from these).
Nietzsche essentially attacks human reason itself as being a front for Christian ethics. He attacks reason viciously. He states that great men don't need reasons for their behaviour. He equates human reason, as exemplified in Plato's dialogues and modern philosophical systems, with slave morality especially identifying them with Christianity. Here he breaks very clearly with Enlightenment philosophy. And almost all later, influential philosophers agree with Nietzsche in his placing psychology and power over the use of human reason.
And so now anyone who uses reason is seen by Nietzscheans as secretly advancing Christian ethics. Anyone who attempts to advance a grand narrative of Western history, for example, is a closet Christian whose real aim is to advance their own or their group's interests. Because for Nietzscheans there is nothing real that is acting outside of pure power.
My question is, what do you think of human reason in light of Nietzsche's teaching and popular influence? Do you think that one can put forth reasonable arguments, (say, for the greatness of the history of the Western world) without them being labelled as power hungry? Do you think that reason is only a mask for the Christian ethical worldview? Do you think that human reason and human morality are inseparable?
It cannot be logic. Reason is dealing outside the box sort-to-speak. Logic is limited in that respect I think. Oh and was Nietzsche anti-social?
I will tell a tale that I once heard (A bit modified cause I dont remember everthing) that I think can be of contribuition for this thread:
"There was a wise old man who travelled around the world helping people with his wiseness, along with his young disciple. One day, they met a poor family who lived out of the milk produced by a thin cow they had. Then the family wasnt near by, the wise man ordered his disciple to push the cow of a clift it was standing near to. The disciple reluctantly obeyed, and then they continued their travels. However some time later the disciple decided that the master's order was an act of evil and left him. Years later the disciple visited that family again, but it was in much better condition. He asked then how the improvement had happened and they said that their cow had fallen of a clift, and after that happened they had to go search for jobs in the city, and with the jobs they found they had greater revenue than with the cow."
These are matters that trouble me greatly then I think about what should be the political decision for a given situation: To what point should the present situation be sacrified in name of the future, and to what point should individuals be sacrified in name of the whole?
I have been reading in the Thomas Mann reader, and the guy is really taken with Nietzsche... One of his articles is on Freud, and the curious thing is that Freud was not familier with Nietzsche, yet, in many respects they were saying the same thing, about the primacy of the emotions in our lives...Though perhaps Nietzsche would say instinct...And the effect of Freud has been at least as profound and wide spread as Nietzsche... And the point of the article if I understand it was The comparison between the work of Freud, and what Nietsche named "Reaction as Progress"; the point being that rationalism was considered as great progress, but as a movement forward, it left much unresolved about human consciousness and motivation.. In any event, I am not good at reading Mann; and I am interested primarily because he draws correlations between Nietzsche, and Dostoyevsky; and writes of Wagner with much in reference to Nietzsche and Freud, who as far as I can tell never seems to mention Nietzsche...But he does say something interesting in regard to Freud and psychotherapy; this: "We may" says Freud "emphasize as often as we like the fact that intellect is powerless compared with impulse in human life- We shall be right. But after all there is something peculiar about this weakness, the voice of the inellect is low, but it rests not till it gets a hearing. In the end, after countless repulses it gets one after all." There are some other interesting statements in the article...
I recommend it though I can't say where you might find it... We all accept today that there is a balance in human beings between reason and emotion.. At least I do... You can find a lot of people on these forums who actually think they are supposed to think with their heads...
I would suggest that the Geneology of Morals be read in conjunction with Beyond Good and Evil; the two works complement and explain one another. While I do not intend to explain my own reading of Nietzsche, I do suggest that his concept of master/slave morality is more complex than one suspects and should not be understood to be completely political in nature.
His analysis of "good/bad" and "good/evil" for example, is as much "spiritual" as political or social.
I just found out that those Thomas Mann articles on Nietzsche were too big for me to upload as attachments. Sorry about that. If anyone wants them please PM me your e-mail address and I will be happy to send them out to you. Thanks.