Ressentiment and Slave Morality Revolutions

  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Nietzsche
  3. » Ressentiment and Slave Morality Revolutions

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 11:07 am
Nietzsche's observation that ressentiment caused the slave revolt in morality when it became creative and gave birth to new values is a rather interesting and important observation. For this is very clear when looking at morality through an historical lens. Nietzsche obviously uses the Jews as an example, but through history there are many other examples, which includes both the American and French revolutions and can be seen in recent history as well when tyrannical powers are over thrown. A noble morality grows out of these moments through "a triumphant affirmation if itself" and says "no to what is 'outside,' what is 'different,' what is 'not itself,' and this No is its creative deed (472).

This creative act that attempts to form a new master morality creates a spirit of you are either with us or against us towards the former masters or power holders in which these people and groups are resented for what they represent. For what the former slaves wish to do is invert the power and value structure over so that the take the power and status that their former oppressors possessed. By viewing their oppressors as hostile, they are able to create a new set of values that oppose their oppressors, but put them in their new status as oppressors by turning what is outside themselves to a lesser status regarding the new values. As Nietzsche says, the ultimate goal is to transform what is against the new values into a caricature or monster. Of course Nietzsche says this does not become realized because there is too much carelessness and impatience in contempt so the ultimate goal is never fully realized.

But what ends up happening is that the new ressentiment causes a growth in the distinction between higher and lower orders. The people in the higher orders begin to distinguish what is outside as lower or common and unworthy in some way. This causes what is lower than the higher orders to begin to resent the higher orders, and thus, begin a vicious cycle of valuing and ordering where the oppressor/oppressed roles flip and a constant battle for power, value, and ranking ensues. As different groups that once resented another for being more worthy as determined by their own values set themselves up as the new high order, whom they see as their lesser already begin to resent their position and seek to move themselves up in value and order by revolting against their new oppressors.

What ends up happening then, as Nietzsche writes, is that "the 'well-born' felt themselves to be the 'happy', they did not have to establish their happiness artificially by examining their enemies, or to persuade themselves, deceive themselves, that they were happy (474). This is due to the well-born being valued by their own group highly for not being a part of lower orders and chain their own happiness to the idea that their status and value is granted at birth rather than through merit. Morality that grows out of ressentiment seeks to protect itself knowing its origin within a slave morality revolt. For it is easier to tether power and worth to status that one is born into rather than through merit because it lessens the possibility that a new set of values can arise without a new revolt. As long as they can oppress their lesser by degrading their worth, they guarantee that they will remain the higher order until they are over thrown by a new people of ressentiment repeating the cycle over again.

 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 03:31 pm
@Theaetetus,
The world is made of victors and vanquished, masters and slaves; and the first are sometimes last, and the last first... The force in this world for change has not been masters or slaves; but has been barbarians who have run over the top of failed societies made of masters and slaves... Nietzsche gets it wrong on a lot of points...

Some one should consider how many times societies have rejuvenated themselves by revolution... Revolution is everyones last resort, but when people should revolt to breath life into their cultures and do not, instead they usually suffer invasion that leaves both master and slave as slaves...

It is a moral act, and there is no slave morality, or master morality, but only one morality- to revolt... It is never contemplated without necessity, and is never successful unless pushed through with the utmost of determination; and for that reason invasion is both more likely and more successful... The puss runs out as soon as some one lances the boil, and then the newbees can get on with being corrupted in their turn...
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 03:57 pm
@Theaetetus,
Did societies actually rejuvenate themselves through revolution or did they only flip the roles of the oppressed and the oppressor due to the oppressed being resentful towards their power holders and desiring what they do not have? All it really is is the will to power of the oppressed to seek what they do not possess--power.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 04:00 pm
@Theaetetus,
Nietzsche wishes to characterize the historical and psychological type of noble morality and slave morality with the example of the two moral dichotomies good/bad and good/evil.

He argues that the master morality begins with the affirmation that what it does is good, and what the other does is common and base(bad). The slave morality, on the other hand, begins with the negation of the master morality: what they do is evil, therefore, what we do is good.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 04:25 pm
@Theaetetus,
To add to that JG, noble morality is active in that it values what is naturally good for itself. What is bad is just that which is not good according to the noble morality. Slave morality on the other had is reactive and often acts against that which it resents, and thus, the object of resentment is depicted as evil through the creation of an enemy.
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 04:27 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;104376 wrote:
Did societies actually rejuvenate themselves through revolution or did they only flip the roles of the oppressed and the oppressor due to the oppressed being resentful towards their power holders and desiring what they do not have? All it really is is the will to power of the oppressed to seek what they do not possess--power.

If you look at what has happened with Western Society, you see that when there has been revolts that as soon as the dust settles people are trying to resestablish law, which is a form... In this way the new haves are trying to protect what they have new...Consider who revolts and who succeeds in revolts... In Europe, the successful revolts have not been from the slaves, but from the bourgoise, who were hardly less than second class; because when they took over they only made manifest what money and economy had made fact... They simply got rid of a bunch of people living off rents who had long since borrowed away their rights for luxury... So yes, revolutions also mean a rejuvination of morals... In fact, looking at French, English, American, and Russian revolutions; each was looking back for an example rather than forward to an unknown... The French believed man in his natual state was without sin... They soon grew tired of the bore of Natural Man and his taste for blood, and turned him into Napoleon's Army...The English and Americans were looking for the Ancient Constitution, and wanted it re-established...In fact, that constitution like the rights it gave was always in flux...

If you are asking whether once people have power if they are not corrupted by it, then yes they are...There is no question that revolution succeeds on the basis of an improved morality, and for that reason revolting societies do not just succeed, but flourish....Community is morality, and morality supports community... There is no individual morality, no slave or master morality... There is just morality...Nietzsche's master morality was another word for immorality... It was without emotion...Moral action grows out of emotional connectedness...Ubermench has no emotions... Look at his life: Sterile...Look at his wife: Invisable...What did Nietzsche ask about the church: Who do they deny??? It would not be a community if it did not accept all... The whole edifice is a house of cards waiting on a breeze... Nietzsche's ideal society is neither ideal, nor a society...We know that many people from slave societies take to their heels... Why do more not do so??? The bonds of human effection are not the best part of us, but the sum of all our parts...
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Fri 20 Nov, 2009 12:52 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;104336 wrote:
Nietzsche's observation that ressentiment caused the slave revolt in morality when it became creative and gave birth to new values is a rather interesting and important observation. For this is very clear when looking at morality through an historical lens. Nietzsche obviously uses the Jews as an example, but through history there are many other examples, which includes both the American and French revolutions and can be seen in recent history as well when tyrannical powers are over thrown. A noble morality grows out of these moments through "a triumphant affirmation if itself" and says "no to what is 'outside,' what is 'different,' what is 'not itself,' and this No is its creative deed (472).

This creative act that forms a noble morality creates a spirit of you are either with us or against us towards the former masters or power holders in which these people and groups are resented for what they represent. For what the former slaves wish to do is invert the power and value structure over so that the take the power and status that their former oppressors possessed. By viewing their oppressors as hostile, they are able to create a new set of values that oppose their oppressors, but put them in their new status as oppressors by turning what is outside themselves to a lesser status regarding the new values. As Nietzsche says, the ultimate goal is to transform what is against the new values into a caricature or monster. Of course Nietzsche says this does not become realized because there is too much carelessness and impatience in contempt so the ultimate goal is never fully realized.
[/SIZE]

I think I have to disagree with the notion that the slave morality is a 'noble morality.' If I recall my Geneology of Morals, Nietsche says quite the opposite. The noble morality which predes the slave revolt knows only good and bad, meaning high and well-born, strong, happy, propertied, etc. versus low, weak, impoverished, unhappy, etc. The slave morality invents evil, with good - meaning not-evil - as the counterpart which the slaves can then ascribe to themselves. Hence the notion that they value themselves good only in relation to the others they consider evil, while the former masters value themselves good as such, and the others only bad, without a derogatory meaning, in comparison to their goodness.

Something else interesting is that Nietzsche considered modern science to be in part an outgrowth of the judeo-christian slave morality and the habits it breeds, with GOD replaced by TRUTH, and the notion of objectivity as a sort of self-immolation, an expression of the 'will to death.' Considering the actual history of early modern science, conducted mostly by religious men, this seems true as well.
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 20 Nov, 2009 01:25 pm
@Theaetetus,
The only revolutions Nietzsche could have been aware of were over throws of the noblility in favor of the bourgoise...And so soon as that occured the little capitalists embraced as their own all that we have come to think of as noble... We still suck up to the queen and royalty generally in the U.S. We go to burger king and dairy queen and adventure boldly into the past with sailing boats, and antiques...Each revolution seeks the support of the past and of our reverence for failed forms...It is the irony of ironies that people can only be induced to force social time forward with the promise that in doing so they will recapture the past...There is something there for all of us and a reality too...Only dead people live in the past, so we really should avoid the place like the plague...
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Sat 21 Nov, 2009 12:15 am
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;104700 wrote:
[/SIZE]

I think I have to disagree with the notion that the slave morality is a 'noble morality.' If I recall my Geneology of Morals, Nietsche says quite the opposite. The noble morality which predes the slave revolt knows only good and bad, meaning high and well-born, strong, happy, propertied, etc. versus low, weak, impoverished, unhappy, etc. The slave morality invents evil, with good - meaning not-evil - as the counterpart which the slaves can then ascribe to themselves. Hence the notion that they value themselves good only in relation to the others they consider evil, while the former masters value themselves good as such, and the others only bad, without a derogatory meaning, in comparison to their goodness.

Something else interesting is that Nietzsche considered modern science to be in part an outgrowth of the judeo-christian slave morality and the habits it breeds, with GOD replaced by TRUTH, and the notion of objectivity as a sort of self-immolation, an expression of the 'will to death.' Considering the actual history of early modern science, conducted mostly by religious men, this seems true as well.


Sorry, that was sort of a typo on my part. I cranked this out for a class and glanced over that before I turned it in. Note my correction in the original post. What I meant to say was that the creative act attempts to create a new master morality, not noble morality.
 
 

 
  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Nietzsche
  3. » Ressentiment and Slave Morality Revolutions
Copyright © 2024 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 02/24/2024 at 04:02:53