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Power Conceived Differently Between Nobleman And Slave Philosophy Essay

In the first essay of his collection Nietzsche is attempting to explain where our perceptions of moral concepts originated from, by focusing on the division between good and bad and good and evil. He disputes the English psychologist whom claims that the term good originated from an individual's un -egotistical actions towards another and the way in which those actions were beneficial to the recipient. However Nietzsche disputes these claims under the belief that this utilitarian view of the term good originated only fairly recently, arguing that in order to truly decipher the origins of the word good we must look at the context in which the word is and has been used. Nietzsche comes to conclude that the notion of goodness was initially associated with nobility and that in contrast badness became associated with simplicity and the common man. [1] His investigations into the origins of this terminology of good and bad is what influenced Nietzsche to form his own analysis behind the origins of morality.

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Nietzsche's main theory is that the term "good" was initially used by the noble class as a way of describing themselves and their actions towards others, whereas "bad" was used in complete contrast; to condemn the lower classed citizens, those citizens who fell into the category of the lower class came up with the concept of "evil" as a way of describing those upper class citizens who ruled them. Whilst the modern concept of the word "good" is not identical to the way in which the noble class initially used it, it carries the same ideals and continues to act in contrast to the word "evil". In this case and according to Nietzsche what is seen as opposite to nobility is considered "good", he names the morals expressed by the noble class a "Master morality" and the morals expressed by the lower class the "Slave morality".

In Nietzsche's writing the character of the nobleman and the slave are not used to represent the typical depictions of one's status being that either rich or poor, rather the terms are used to represent two differing types of on individuals moral stance and perception. Throughout Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morality the first essay, Nietzsche argues that two types of morality exist, those being the master morality which originates from the 'noble mans' and the slave morality which according to Nietzsche develops reactively within the 'weak man'. These two portrayals of morality do not simply represent the opposite one another; rather they form two different value systems. [2] 

Master morality develops in the noble man and is based on the idea of what good is believed to be, the idea of bad is developed around this to mean what is not good. The noble men are those who perceive themselves to be powerful, fit and courageous, the noble men maintain their powerful nature through a group mentality by upholding mutual respect and traditions. .Nietzsche refers to the noble men as predatory "blonde beasts" largely due to the fact that he believes the noble men are ruled by their instincts. (PAGE 23) The creation of the slave morality is created in opposition to what the master morality believes to be good. Slave morality believes that their masters depict the idea of "evil" and they therefore call themselves "good" by contrast. Therefore slave morality is characterised by a direct contrast between "good" and "evil". Slave morality does not seek to rise above the masters, but to simply make them slaves as well. [3] 

The word pure, according to Nietzsche originated amongst the priestly class as a word they used to define themselves and it's been said that the slave morality developed amongst this class. In general priests were considered to be weak individuals who focused mainly on their inward strength rather than physical strength alone, if a battle was to occur between the priestly class and the noble men the priests had to have devised a plan to beat the noble men as their physical strength did not compete with that of the noble warriors. The priestly class knew that in order to defeat or at least stand up to the noble men then they needed to use what the noble men lacked; that being their intellectual strength they had to become cleverer and more creative in exacting their revenge. However does this battle between the two classes signify the beginning of evil, evil thoughts and evil actions, does it portray the first acts of evil being committed against one another through not only carrying out the actions but the scheming involved as well. At what point does the battle cease to be about ones social standing and takes on a different meaning all together, when do they no longer hate their enemy's morals but hate the enemy's themselves?

The priests are said to be fighting the noble class's value system not specifically them as people but their conscience and the principles they follow. All those qualities which the master morality regard as good automatically are considered to be evil according to the slave morality, the slave morality then interprets their meaning of good to be that which is not evil.

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The power struggle between the weak and the strong develops largely due to differing views on who holds the main position of power, the master morality believes themselves to be powerful as they feel they possess all the qualities desired by the weaker masses, such as wealth and superiority, they believe that the master morality is preferable to that of the slave morality. Whereas according to the slave morality those qualities such as wealth, status and power which the master morality believes makes them superior are exactly what makes them undesirable. The slave morality is dismissing those powers which try to control and oppress them. The slave's power is determined through the way in which they reject the influence of the master and the way that through the weakness they continue to strive for freedom.

A somewhat modern representation of Nietzsche's theory can be seen throughout Hitler's time in power, this period of time portrays a man who believed that society consisted of two clear positions in society, superior and inferior. The holocaust occurred at the hands of Hitler whom believed the Germans to be a "maser race" setting the Aryan race of people above all other races including the Jews. These, what Hitler considered to be the "inferior" race of individuals were regarded as "a threat to the purity and strength of the German nation", and therefore must be eradicated. [4] 

Many aspects of what occurred throughout Hitler's reign coincide with Nietzsche's theory, Hitler believed himself and the Germans to be the superior race, the noble men, the master morality whereas he viewed the Jews and any other race to be inferior, he perceived them as the weaker race, the slave morality. It wasn't so much the individual people Hitler despised despite his attempt to produce a "blonde haired, blue eyed society"(REFERENCE) he was against their religious beliefs their values, their moral stance in society.

Hitler created unity amongst the master race of Germans through a build up of mutual hatred towards the Jewish people, this common sense of hatred is what united the German people, and just as the noble men maintain their powerful nature through a group mentality by upholding mutual respect and traditions hatred was the "backbone of Hitler's power" [5] which made them so powerful and united them as one simultaneously. Hitler finally decided that the only way to solve the problem of the Jewish people was to simply eliminate them completely from the general population, during the time of the holocaust six million Jewish people were murdered at the hands of Hitler and his followers. [6] All those qualities which the Germans and Hitler in particular believed made them more powerful and superior to the Jewish people were exactly the same qualities which made them evil according to the "inferior" population.


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