Sunday, April 11, 2010

class and morality

During these weeks reading on Nietzsche the section that caught my attention was in section 10 when Nietzsche talks about happiness in relation to classes in society. He uses Greek society as his example. The issue here is one that comes out is “resentment”. Nietzsche says that resentment comes as a result of the lack of happiness. The man of resentment, says Nietzsche, “is neither upright nor naïve nor honest and straightforward with himself. His should squints; his spirit loves hiding places, secret paths and back doors, everything convert entices him as his world, his security, his refreshment.”

From this we see that the lower class is constantly seeking for his happiness, and therefore looks at others in resentment of their happiness. As a result, Nietzsche goes onto explain, that because the lower class has adopted this nature of resentment, and self-centeredness these attributes come to be a subject of pride among the lower class. This means that “cleverness” becomes an attribute in high commodity. However, this means that those who are among the class of resentment never achieve happiness as long as this resentment exists.

However, what Nietzsche also so says is that the noble classes are born into a world where their happiness is predisposed to them. He says on pg.38, “The “well-born” felt themselves to be the “happy”; they did not have to establish their happiness artificially by examining their enemies, or to persuade themselves, deceive themselves, that thy were happy.” It seems that here we have the crux of the situation and I am inclined to believe that Nietzsche is taking Marx concept of dialectical materialism a step farther. Now, not only is it the means of production that determine our place, and our abilities in society, but also it seems that what Nietzsche is suggesting here is that it determines our morality.

Nietzsche states quite clearly that it is those in society without good financial standing that are those who being to covet what others have, and judge their own selves based on others. As we have seen Nietzsche goes on to state that this leads to cunning and deception being very useful attributes in this lower society. Therefore now that these attributes have becomes useful, they are employed. Once they are employed we see that this society is one that becomes immoral by our standards. However I am not certain that this is not just a harkening back to some thinkers of the modern era who said that what was moral was no more than what was useful (social contract theory) However, I suppose we will find out in class tomorrow this is just a bit I found interesting about the text.

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