On the Genealogy of Morality, Essay One

Nietzsche performs a surgical analysis of the theories of the origin of good put forth by English psychologist of the 19th century. The English psychologists illustrated the idea of good had its origin from the ideas of utilitarianism. With time, people got accustomed to the utilitarian idea of ‘good’ to be good. Nietzsche vehemently disagrees with their theories and criticizes not only their idea but themselves. He starts by stating that these psychologists who in search of truth lacks the historical spirit. According to Nietzsche, without having a historical understanding of the object under examination one cannot stumble across the truth.

Now he introduces the concepts: the noble and the commons, as a precursor to his upcoming theory. The noble was the people of the highest order who were successful, fighters, highly potent class of people. Nietzsche says that such group of people had power over the commons, the weak and impotent(the bad). This power shouldn’t be construed over the literal power but the power over language. Once in control of the language, they decided what is to become good and bad.

He gives example for his claims by tracing back the word in its language. He finds that the words denoting good also were the synonym of ‘spiritually noble’, ‘aristocratic’. The word ‘dark’ and ‘black’ were portrayed negatively and it can be because of the war the blondes won over the dark colored people in early Europe. His investigation finds the idea of master morality and slave morality from the Hindu practice of pure and impure caste. The priestly caste develops a resentment towards the rulers for which they cannot be rulers. A man of resentment is always to carry a great passion towards the subject of hatred while the subject ignores the weak.

The slave morality is the morals defined by the weak while the opposite is that of the master. In today’s society slave morality dominates and has established the definition of good and evil. The masters defined good, bad while the slaves discovered good and evil. If the slave is to fight a war, the slave will be exposed to its weakness in strength. What you think the slave morality came up with? Nietzsche says ‘justice’, ‘hell’.


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