Friedrich Nietzsche is arguably one of the most influential philosophers of the 19th century as he challenged the roots of Christianity and the morality that came from it. He was a believer of life, and the realities of the world, not in the life that was rooted in religion. In other words, he did not believe, in fact he argued against that which was based on the world beyond. The core of his philosophy was rooted in the questioning of doctrines that were not positive for life and this included the doctrine of Christianity which Nietzsche saw so many people dedicating their life to, and he believed it to be an unnecessary source of stress and worry for people. He wrote many influential pieces, one of which was On the Genealogy of Morals, A Polemic. This was a collection of three essays that expanded on his critique of Christianity that he began in his earlier writing in Beyond Good and Evil. It begins with an examination of master morality and servant morality, and holds that the traditional ideals that this religion put forth, particularly those dealing with morality were just a product of self-deception because they were created with the wrong ideals as a guiding point. It is here where we see the reference to Nietzsche's blond beast which has come to be a point of great controversy for some in reading his work. He builds on these ideas in the second essay by arguing that Christianity has confused the ideas of conscience and guilt, as this religion has socially constructed them by causing people to turn against their own natural inclinations. He also discusses how punishment arose out of the creditor-debtor relationship. Finally, in the third essay, he emphasizes the truth-oriented ascetic ideals that lie at the root of art, religion and philosophy.
[...] Nietzsche takes a scathing view of the Christian moral worldview and the ideals of the ascetic as he believes them to be both psychologically and physiologically damaging. Asceticism serves to weaken the body and the will. In this essay, he argues that those who embrace ascetic principles are in fact damaging themselves. It does not matter what stage one is in when they embrace the ascetic, it will only serve to make one worse Nietzsche argues. (Nietzsche, 1967). Nietzsche's conclusion in the third essay of Genealogy that the solution to the ascetic worldview, especially the one that is promoted in Christianity is not the modern scientific worldview, as this is merely an extension of the former. [...]
[...] Those who held the perspective of the masters understood the good to be a reference to themselves, and to their own qualities. This meant that those who were different (from those who perceived themselves as masters) were bad. Those people that had less vigorous perspectives of slaves on the other hand, believed themselves to be good only derivatively. Those who judged their masters as evil were able to conclude that they were good, and this is in the negative sense because they lack their master's evil traits. [...]
[...] From this it will be clear that a genealogy of morals shows that ethics cannot be rooted in the absolute, and this is the great problem with the Christian moral worldview, it develops a moral code which is based on an absolute and this is flawed according to Nietzsche. The structure of On the Genealogy of Morals, A Polemic is very much argumentative, more so than his other writings. In fact, the work is presented in a way that approaches different moral phenomenon in a non- straightforward manner. [...]
[...] He knows that morals are complicated, but he also knows that there are vast problems in place in the way that Christianity and other ascetic ideals have served to embrace morals. (Nietzsche, 1967). This examination of Nietzsche's Genealogy allows one to understand what a genealogy of morals contributes to ethics. Clearly Nietzsche does not know the answer, but through an examination of history he knows the problem. The problem is the ascetic which creates a master-slave dynamic and causes people to develop their sense of morals in a flawed manner, that being a manner that places emphasis on a higher power, or God. [...]
[...] It is for this reason that Nietzsche believes this conception of God to be poisonous: “Indeed, the prospect cannot be dismissed that the complete and definitive victory of atheism might free mankind from this whole feeling of guilt indebtedness toward its origin, its causa prima. Atheism and a kind of second innocence belong together.” (Nietzsche, 1967: 91). Nietzsche's third essay puts forward a genealogical account of another aspect of the Christian sense of morality. It advocates an ascetic ideal, or a dedication of one's life to a pursuit of contemplative ideals and practices for religious reasons. [...]
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