Friedrich Nietzsche - On the Genealogy of Morals - Slave Morality Imposition


Nietzsche says there is no being behind the doing and I agree with this idea. He also says the weak separated the doing from the being in order to condemn the strong for using theirs strength.

My question is:

  • If strong people were imposed with the weak´s morality, Are they really strong?
  • If the weak where able to perpetuate their morality, Are they really weak?


Posted 2017-07-28T14:06:18.717

Reputation: 169

2well i think it's usually claimed that the higher / lower distinction is a fiction anyway. an example that seems to crop up is goethe. was he weak, or weakened, by morality? you could also ask yourself whether a pitiful person is really strong, rather than stronger, just because we pity them. i'm sure there's some fine answers to the question – None – 2017-07-28T14:10:57.283

1i don't think this question should have a negative score. it's a fairly interesting question, i think – None – 2017-07-28T16:15:49.107

There is a matter of numbers, a strong person who can control 100 weak people might submit to 1000. This goes to his later focus on the individual and the herd. The herd can deprive the individual of the ability to deliver what is within himself by simply outnumbering him, and that is a tragedy. – None – 2017-07-28T17:43:13.980

@jobermark that's a good point. However if the weak power resides in their numerosity and collaboration maybe they aren't that weak. – NMO – 2017-07-28T19:44:34.417

1@idiotan the idea of weakness and strength being fictions as well is quite interesting. Haven't thought it that way. – NMO – 2017-07-28T19:46:31.183

The definition of weak and strong is not the point. As idiot an notes, it is largely a fiction. The point is how to balance the 'strength' of the mass with the 'strength' of the individual and not having either crush the other. N is saying that early in history individuals crushed the common types of people and made them slaves. At a certain mass, the slaves can crush the elite. But then where are we? Revenge is nice, but it is not a real goal. – None – 2017-07-28T20:01:15.223

How does the mass manage to actually change, adapt and face the future if it resents all of its sources of direction and new ideas? So at his point in history, he is suggesting empowering the individual against the herd, giving them license to break with it, or to break it up via subversion. (I am not sure we are still at his point in history...) – None – 2017-07-28T20:02:46.370

@NMO i can never take it seriously – None – 2017-07-28T20:40:34.777

1I always read the notion of slave morality in the light of Hegel's master and slave dialectics with a twist, i.e. reading the slave as being merely imposed with rules, missing the empowerment that is a core theme in Hegel, as in morality you are only the master when making the rules yourself as means of emancipation. Do not know comments/literature on that, though, so no sources for affirmation atm. – Philip Klöcking – 2017-09-27T21:20:50.877

Usually the strong want to maintain the system under which they became strong... So I would question the idea that the strong ones would act as agents of change. – Gordon – 2017-11-26T04:50:57.203



I think the "trick" to understanding Nietzsche's critique of group morality would be to link his idea of strength with the idea that one "is" through "becoming" - those who continue to subscribe to group morality, or who were historically complicit in its development, are weak because they will not subscribe to this idea of strength; the source of "strength" for Christian group morality is precisely its weakness, because the point of man's weakness is the point where God can display His grace towards man - it is necessary to know that one is weak, in order to know God's strength, therefore the strength of the Christian comes from outside of him or her ... to the Christian, Nietzsche's idea of strength as sufficient daring to consider strength and weakness in terms of the individual setting himself deliberately against group morality, does not really make sense. One could regard Nietzsche's interpretation of the strength/weakness axis as a deliberate subversion of the idea of strength and weakness inscribed in Christian group morality; for Nietzsche, strength is an attribution of the individual who sets himself against group morality, and weakness is subscription to an idea of strength which places Christian believers at the mercy of God who asks them to glorify in their "weakness", because that is how He can display His strength in their lives


Posted 2017-07-28T14:06:18.717

Reputation: 782