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The Good, the Bad, and the Nietzsche

I stumbled upon an unlikely title on Netflix, “Nietzsche and the Nazis.” Well, unlikely to me as I had never really subscribed to Nietzsche’s school of thought and, therefore, never really read his works. The very poorly produced documentary was, seemingly, an attempt by a doctor to correlate what I suppose is the question of how much the Nazis were influenced by Nietzsche and if their influence was justified. Needless to say, it was not. While this is not the subject of the article, suffice it to say that his writings were taken out of context and blatantly contorted. This, however, got me thinking about some principle rules that Nietzsche postulated. One in particular caught my attention.

In Nietzsche’s Geneology of Morality he discusses, in his first treaty, the topic of “good” and “evil”. While I disagree with his logic, I commend him for challenging his predecessors. Two things I took away from this reading, was that he thought good and evil were perspective based on the specific nature/environment of the subject and that the term evil grew out of the resentment/aversion from the opposing party. Obviously, this is a loosely based generalization by myself. Nietzsche scholars do not step down from your godless thrones and smite me.

My argument with his logic doesn’t come from my inability to accept his ideas, my argument is based on the faulty path that he took to reach his conclusion and the limitations which he set on morality with his ideals. One of the examples is how a wolf considers killing lambs good and ,conversely, lambs consider this to be evil. That logic personifies onto animals traits which they do not possess, nor are capable of understanding. You might think this is missing the point, but you cannot use an equation with faulty variables and expect a good product. You first have to deduce how good and evil correlate to each other and by what vehicle they were brought into existence.

Morality is the binding to ones sense of right and wrong. Evil and good are metaphorical representations of right and wrong with a dash of consequence thrown in. If you say something is wrong, you are verifying that it goes against your moral code but placing no real weight on its action. If you say something is evil, you are escalating it to a stature of spiritual condemnation. To me the most logical vessel for the institution of these two terms would be by someone trying to cajole a populous of people into making certain decisions. Be this a religious organization or political, this further emphasizes the point that utilizing nature as an outlet for justification is faulty logic. Good and evil are man-made terms that do not exist outside of our species (with the exception of possible extraterrestrials).

So I’ve talked a lot about what good and evil are not, but what are they? As I said earlier, I agree in general that perspective plays a role in this. In individual instances people will see things as inherently good or evil where others do not. On the other hand, there is a general consensus about what is good and evil. Furthermore, the individual perspective is constantly changing and evolving as the human mind, and society as a whole are not static. With wisdom and understanding comes change. If you can count on one thing, you can count on the world of the future being of a different morality. Neither right or wrong, simply existing in the format that society gives them.

With the implication of judicial consequences, morality and the violation of it have to be judged based on the moral code of the jury, judge, or stature at that exact point in time. The alternative not to judge or condemn and to allow individual sub-moralities their own free will would be to invite anarchy and chaos into the realm of men. This, however, brings up the need to constantly modify the statures based on modern morality, which is a broken process at this point. I think that the point where our judicial system realizes the importance and the pace of moral evolution and can synchronize with that is the point where our species emerges from its cocoon and spreads its wings. Freedom is not the lack of chains, but the ability to impact the world around you.

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