The Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche Analysis Paper Explain the importance of values and power for the story Nietzsche tells. How do thes

The Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche Analysis Paper Explain the importance of values and power for the story Nietzsche tells. How do these function in the
story he tells about master and slave morality? What do these concepts mean for Nietzsche, and what
do they lead him to conclude about “good” and “bad”? This essay has to be 4-7 pages (1000 – 1750 words) in length, answer the prompt in its entirety, and quote passages from the text Please cite in Chicago style. Use the pdf included. Thanks! Project Gutenberg’s The Genealogy of Morals, by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
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Title: The Genealogy of Morals
The Complete Works, Volume Thirteen, edited by Dr. Oscar Levy.
Author: Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
Editor: Oscar Levy
Translator: Horace B. Samuel
J. M. Kennedy
Release Date: June 13, 2016 [EBook #52319]
Language: English
Character set encoding: UTF-8
Produced by Marc D’Hooghe at
(Images generously made available by the Hathi Trust.)
The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche
The First Complete and Authorised English Translation
Edited by Dr Oscar Levy
Volume Eight
In 1887, with the view of amplifying and completing certain new doctrines
which he had merely sketched in Beyond Good and Evil (see especially
aphorism 260), Nietzsche published The Genealogy of Morals. This work is
perhaps the least aphoristic, in form, of all Nietzsche’s productions. For
analytical power, more especially in those parts where Nietzsche examines
the ascetic ideal, The Genealogy of Morals is unequalled by any other of his
works; and, in the light which it throws upon the attitude of the ecclesiast to
the man of resentment and misfortune, it is one of the most valuable
contributions to sacerdotal psychology.
[Pg 1]
We are unknown, we knowers, ourselves to ourselves: this has its own good reason. We
have never searched for ourselves—how should it then come to pass, that we should ever
find ourselves? Rightly has it been said: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be
also.” Our treasure is there, where stand the hives of our knowledge. It is to those hives
that we are always striving; as born creatures of flight, and as the honey-gatherers of the
spirit, we care really in our hearts only for one thing—to bring something “home to the
As far as the rest of life with its so-called “experiences” is concerned, which of us has
even sufficient serious interest? or sufficient time? In our dealings with such points of
life, we are, I fear, never properly to the point; to be precise, our heart is not there, and
certainly not our ear. Rather like one who, delighting in a divine distraction, or sunken in
the seas of his own soul, in whose ear the clock has just thundered with all its force its
twelve strokes of noon, suddenly wakes up, and asks himself, “What has in point of fact
just struck?” so do we at times rub afterwards, as it were, our puzzled ears, and ask in [Pg 2]
complete astonishment and complete embarrassment, “Through what have we in point of
fact just lived?” further, “Who are we in point of fact?” and count, after they have struck,
as I have explained, all the twelve throbbing beats of the clock of our experience, of our
life, of our being—ah!—and count wrong in the endeavour. Of necessity we remain
strangers to ourselves, we understand ourselves not, in ourselves we are bound to be
mistaken, for of us holds good to all eternity the motto, “Each one is the farthest away
from himself”—as far as ourselves are concerned we are not “knowers.”
My thoughts concerning the genealogy of our moral prejudices—for they constitute the
issue in this polemic—have their first, bald, and provisional expression in that collection
of aphorisms entitled Human, all-too-Human, a Book for Free Minds, the writing of
which was begun in Sorrento, during a winter which allowed me to gaze over the broad
and dangerous territory through which my mind had up to that time wandered. This took
place in the winter of 1876-77; the thoughts themselves are older. They were in their
substance already the same thoughts which I take up again in the following treatises:—
we hope that they have derived benefit from the long interval, that they have grown riper,
clearer, stronger, more complete. The fact, however, that I still cling to them even now, [Pg 3]
that in the meanwhile they have always held faster by each other, have, in fact, grown out
of their original shape and into each other, all this strengthens in my mind the joyous
confidence that they must have been originally neither separate disconnected capricious
nor sporadic phenomena, but have sprung from a common root, from a fundamental “fiat”
of knowledge, whose empire reached to the soul’s depth, and that ever grew more definite
in its voice, and more definite in its demands. That is the only state of affairs that is
proper in the case of a philosopher.
We have no right to be “disconnected”; we must neither err “disconnectedly” nor strike
the truth “disconnectedly.” Rather with the necessity with which a tree bears its fruit, so
do our thoughts, our values, our Yes’s and No’s and If’s and Whether’s, grow connected
and interrelated, mutual witnesses of one will, one health, one kingdom, one sun—as to
whether they are to your taste, these fruits of ours?—But what matters that to the trees?
What matters that to us, us the philosophers?
Owing to a scrupulosity peculiar to myself, which I confess reluctantly,—it concerns
indeed morality,—a scrupulosity, which manifests itself in my life at such an early
period, with so much spontaneity, with so chronic a persistence and so keen an opposition
to environment, epoch, precedent, and ancestry that I should have been almost entitled to [Pg 4]
style it my “â priori”—my curiosity and my suspicion felt themselves betimes bound to
halt at the question, of what in point of actual fact was the origin of our “Good” and of
our “Evil.” Indeed, at the boyish age of thirteen the problem of the origin of Evil already
haunted me: at an age “when games and God divide one’s heart,” I devoted to that
problem my first childish attempt at the literary game, my first philosophic essay—and as
regards my infantile solution of the problem, well, I gave quite properly the honour to
God, and made him the father of evil. Did my own “â priori” demand that precise
solution from me? that new, immoral, or at least “amoral” “â priori” and that “categorical
imperative” which was its voice (but oh! how hostile to the Kantian article, and how
pregnant with problems!), to which since then I have given more and more attention, and
indeed what is more than attention. Fortunately I soon learned to separate theological
from moral prejudices, and I gave up looking for a supernatural origin of evil. A certain
amount of historical and philological education, to say nothing of an innate faculty of
psychological discrimination par excellence succeeded in transforming almost
immediately my original problem into the following one:—Under what conditions did
Man invent for himself those judgments of values, “Good” and “Evil”? And what intrinsic
value do they possess in themselves? Have they up to the present hindered or advanced [Pg 5]
human well-being? Are they a symptom of the distress, impoverishment, and
degeneration of Human Life? Or, conversely, is it in them that is manifested the fulness,
the strength, and the will of Life, its courage, its self-confidence, its future? On this point
I found and hazarded in my mind the most diverse answers, I established distinctions in
periods, peoples, and castes, I became a specialist in my problem, and from my answers
grew new questions, new investigations, new conjectures, new probabilities; until at last I
had a land of my own and a soil of my own, a whole secret world growing and flowering,
like hidden gardens of whose existence no one could have an inkling—oh, how happy are
we, we finders of knowledge, provided that we know how to keep silent sufficiently long.
My first impulse to publish some of my hypotheses concerning the origin of morality I
owe to a clear, well-written, and even precocious little book, in which a perverse and
vicious kind of moral philosophy (your real English kind) was definitely presented to me
for the first time; and this attracted me—with that magnetic attraction, inherent in that
which is diametrically opposed and antithetical to one’s own ideas. The title of the book
was The Origin of the Moral Emotions; its author, Dr. Paul Rée; the year of its
appearance, 1877. I may almost say that I have never read anything in which every single [Pg 6]
dogma and conclusion has called forth from me so emphatic a negation as did that book;
albeit a negation tainted by either pique or intolerance. I referred accordingly both in
season and out of season in the previous works, at which I was then working, to the
arguments of that book, not to refute them—for what have I got to do with mere
refutations but substituting, as is natural to a positive mind, for an improbable theory one
which is more probable, and occasionally no doubt, for one philosophic error, another. In
that early period I gave, as I have said, the first public expression to those theories of
origin to which these essays are devoted, but with a clumsiness which I was the last to
conceal from myself, for I was as yet cramped, being still without a special language for
these special subjects, still frequently liable to relapse and to vacillation. To go into
details, compare what I say in Human, all-too-Human, part i., about the parallel early
history of Good and Evil, Aph. 45 (namely, their origin from the castes of the aristocrats
and the slaves); similarly, Aph. 136 et seq., concerning the birth and value of ascetic
morality; similarly, Aphs. 96, 99, vol. ii., Aph. 89, concerning the Morality of Custom,
that far older and more original kind of morality which is toto cœlo different from the
altruistic ethics (in which Dr. Rée, like all the English moral philosophers, sees the ethical
“Thing-in-itself”); finally, Aph. 92. Similarly, Aph. 26 in Human, all-too-Human, part ii.,
and Aph. 112, the Dawn of Day, concerning the origin of Justice as a balance between [Pg 7]
persons of approximately equal power (equilibrium as the hypothesis of all contract,
consequently of all law); similarly, concerning the origin of Punishment, Human, all-tooHuman, part ii., Aphs. 22, 23, in regard to which the deterrent object is neither essential
nor original (as Dr. Rée thinks:—rather is it that this object is only imported, under
certain definite conditions, and always as something extra and additional).
In reality I had set my heart at that time on something much more important than the
nature of the theories of myself or others concerning the origin of morality (or, more
precisely, the real function from my view of these theories was to point an end to which
they were one among many means). The issue for me was the value of morality, and on
that subject I had to place myself in a state of abstraction, in which I was almost alone
with my great teacher Schopenhauer, to whom that book, with all its passion and inherent
contradiction (for that book also was a polemic), turned for present help as though he
were still alive. The issue was, strangely enough, the value of the “un-egoistic” instincts,
the instincts of pity, self-denial, and self-sacrifice which Schopenhauer had so persistently
painted in golden colours, deified and etherealised, that eventually they appeared to him,
as it were, high and dry, as “intrinsic values in themselves,” on the strength of which he [Pg 8]
uttered both to Life and to himself his own negation. But against these very instincts there
voiced itself in my soul a more and more fundamental mistrust, a scepticism that dug ever
deeper and deeper: and in this very instinct I saw the great danger of mankind, its most
sublime temptation and seduction—seduction to what? to nothingness?—in these very
instincts I saw the beginning of the end, stability, the exhaustion that gazes backwards,
the will turning against Life, the last illness announcing itself with its own mincing
melancholy: I realised that the morality of pity which spread wider and wider, and whose
grip infected even philosophers with its disease, was the most sinister symptom of our
modern European civilisation; I realised that it was the route along which that civilisation
slid on its way to—a new Buddhism?—a European Buddhism?—Nihilism? This
exaggerated estimation in which modern philosophers have held pity, is quite a new
phenomenon: up to that time philosophers were absolutely unanimous as to the
worthlessness of pity. I need only mention Plato, Spinoza, La Rochefoucauld, and Kant—
four minds as mutually different as is possible, but united on one point; their contempt of
This problem of the value of pity and of the pity-morality (I am an opponent of the
modern infamous emasculation of our emotions) seems at the first blush a mere isolated
problem, a note of interrogation for itself; he, however, who once halts at this problem, [Pg 9]
and learns how to put questions, will experience what I experienced:—a new and
immense vista unfolds itself before him, a sense of potentiality seizes him like a vertigo,
every species of doubt, mistrust, and fear springs up, the belief in morality, nay, in all
morality, totters,—finally a new demand voices itself. Let us speak out this new demand:
we need a critique of moral values, the value of these values is for the first time to be
called into question—and for this purpose a knowledge is necessary of the conditions and
circumstances out of which these values grew, and under which they experienced their
evolution and their distortion (morality as a result, as a symptom, as a mask, as
Tartuffism, as disease, as a misunderstanding; but also morality as a cause, as a remedy,
as a stimulant, as a fetter, as a drug), especially as such a knowledge has neither existed
up to the present time nor is even now generally desired. The value of these “values” was
taken for granted as an indisputable fact, which was beyond all question. No one has, up
to the present, exhibited the faintest doubt or hesitation in judging the “good man” to be
of a higher value than the “evil man,” of a higher value with regard specifically to human
progress, utility, and prosperity generally, not forgetting the future. What? Suppose the
converse were the truth! What? Suppose there lurked in the “good man” a symptom of
retrogression, such as a danger, a temptation, a poison, a narcotic, by means of which the
present battened on the future! More comfortable and less risky perhaps than its opposite, [Pg 10]
but also pettier, meaner! So that morality would really be saddled with the guilt, if the
maximum potentiality of the power and splendour of the human species were never to be
attained? So that really morality would be the danger of dangers?
Enough, that after this vista had disclosed itself to me, I myself had reason to search for
learned, bold, and industrious colleagues (I am doing it even to this very day). It means
traversing with new clamorous questions, and at the same time with new eyes, the
immense, distant, and completely unexplored land of morality—of a morality which has
actually existed and been actually lived! and is this not practically equivalent to first
discovering that land? If, in this context, I thought, amongst others, of the aforesaid Dr.
Rée, I did so because I had no doubt that from the very nature of his questions he would
be compelled to have recourse to a truer method, in order to obtain his answers. Have I
deceived myself on that score? I wished at all events to give a better direction of vision to
an eye of such keenness, and such impartiality. I wished to direct him to the real history
of morality, and to warn him, while there was yet time, against a world of English
theories that culminated in the blue vacuum of heaven. Other colours, of course, rise
immediately to one’s mind as being a hundred times more potent than blue for a [Pg 11]
genealogy of morals:—for instance, grey, by which I mean authentic facts capable of
definite proof and having actually existed, or, to put it shortly, the whole of that long
hieroglyphic script (which is so hard to decipher) about the past history of human morals.
This script was unknown to Dr. Rée; but he had read Darwin:—and so in his philosophy
the Darwinian beast and that pink of modernity, the demure weakling and dilettante, who
“bites no longer,” shake hands politely in a fashion that is at least instructive, the latter
exhibiting a certain facial expression of refined and good-humoured indolence, tinged
with a touch of pessimism and exhaustion; as if it really did not pay to take all these
things—I mean moral problems—so seriously. I, on the other hand, think that there are
no subjects which pay better for being taken seriously; part of this payment is, that
perhaps eventually they admit of being taken gaily. This gaiety indeed, or, to use my own
language, this joyful wisdom, is a payment; a payment for a protracted, brave, laborious,
and burrowing seriousness, which, it goes without saying, is the attribute of but a few.
But on that day on which we say from the fullness of our hearts, “Forward! our old
morality too is fit material for Comedy,” we shall have discovered a new plot, and a new
possibility for the Dionysian drama entitled The Soul’s Fate—and he will speedily utilise
it, one can wager safely, he, the great ancient eternal dramatist of the comedy of our
[Pg 12]
If this writing be obscure to any individual, and jar on his ears, I do not think that it is
necessarily I who am to blame. It is clear enough, on the hypothesis which I presuppose,
namely, that the reader has first read my previous writings and has not grudged them a
certain amount of trouble: it is not, indeed, a simple matter to get really at their essence.
Take, for instance, my Zarathustra; I allow no one to pass muster as knowing that book,
unless every single word therein has at some time wrought in him a profound wound, and
at some time exercised on him a profound enchantment: then and not till then can he
enjoy the privilege of participating reverently in the halcyon element, from which that
work is born, in its sunny brilliance, its distance, its spaciousness, its certainty. In other
cases the aphoristic form produces difficulty, but this is only because this form is treated
too casually. An aphorism properly coined and cast into its final mould is far from being
“deciphered” as soon as it has been read; on the contrary, it is then that it first requires to
be expounded—of course for that purpose an art of exposition is necessary. The third
essay in this book provides an example of what is offered, of what in such cases I call
exposition: an aphorism is prefixed to that essay, the essay itself is its commentary.
Certainly one quality which nowadays has been best forgotten—and that is why it will
take some time yet for my writings to become readable—is essential in order to practise [Pg 13]
reading as an art—a quality for the exercise of which it is necessary to be a cow, and
under no circumstances a modern man!— rumination.
Sils-Maria, Upper Engadine,
July 1887.
[Pg 17]
Those English psychologists, who up to the p…
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