Nietzsche Essay, Research Paper
The Morality of Passions by Nietzsche presents a view of man s relationship with passion contrary to the tradition and thought of major religion and proclaimed moral gurus. His main criticism of the way the church deals with passion is that it does not suggest spiritualizing the feelings that we all have approaching them as beautiful and good, but makes a thoughtless and quick judgement immediately. The most famous formula for this stands in the New Testament, in the Sermon on the Mount, where, let it be said incidentally, things are by no means regarded from a height. It is said there, for instance, with an application to sexuality: If the eye offend thee, pluck it out Consider the concept of euthanasia, the first instinct you have is that you are killing someone and it is wrong. If this is approached from a point of view that considers the mental and physical anguish that the agonized person is suffering from, an educated and thought out decision would be to consider the concept of life on a human level and help the suffering person rather than adhere to the law of not killing. The passion of men must be looked at like a piece of art, of a level above just physical appearance or practicality. The most beautiful painting or sculpture may not be an exact replica of the subject but a representation invoking different feeling in different people. Nietzsche states that in this situation if the painting represented passion Christianity would throw the painting out rather than even attempt to interpret it as beautiful. The church combats passion by means of excision of all kinds: its practice, its remedy, is castration. It never inquires how can a desire be spiritualized, beautified, deified?
Nietzsche s next point is that not all men have the ability to spiritualize their passion. Some people must resort to the extremes of fighting passion rather than embracing and interpreting it. These people are labeled as degenerates by Nietzsche. Only degenerates find radical methods indispensable: weakness of will, or more strictly speaking, the inability not to react to a stimulus, is in itself simply another form of degeneracy. This is another attack on the church, an expression of his belief that the church is only right for people with a weak will and the inability to moderate their passion.
Everything is relative. This philosophy of Nietzsche has been recognized even in the MTV cartoon Beavis and Butthead. Beavis: Why do somethings suck and other things are cool? Butthead: because dumbass, if nothing sucked, how would you know if anything was cool? This captures the spiritualization of happiness, hostility, triumph etc., all things are relative. Why was General George Patton a war hero in WWII? In ordinary circumstance he would be nothing more than anyone. In WWII, we viewed the Axis powers as the enemy, bad communists. However, General Patton killed and destroyed also but he was a hero because his cause was good relative to the enemy s. Take for instance the reason you voted for the last canidate for president. Was he the ideal person or simply the best choice? Would we even need him if there was nothing bad? Even in political life, hostility has become more spiritual, much more cautious, much more thoughtful, and much more moderate. Almost every party sees it s self preservative interests in preventing the Opposition from going to pieces; and the same applies to politics on a grand scale .only as a contrast does it begin to feel necessary, only as a contrast does it become necessary.
The principle that Nietzsche forms, Life terminates where the kingdom of God begins , is the pinnacle of his denouncement of morality. He believes that morality removes that which makes life life. The obstacles, search for answers to questions and challenges we face, those things that put things into perspective, experiences which are valued relative to others things, are all nothing with the recognition and thoughtlessness of an existence based on the singular direction of morals. the morality which is antagonistic to nature-that is to say, almost every morality that has been taught, honored and preached hitherto, is directed precisely against the life instincts Only in the absence of morals are we able to grow and develop as an individual, without boundaries set by priests or other forms of religion. It is this freedom of choice that allows us to capture life in our own way, to attain our own happiness and identity.
The conclusion of the essay The Morality of Passion does not in any way suggest that morality itself should be gone from existence, but is indeed necessary. It is all the ignorance and craziness of the world that gives us perspective on the goodness and satisfaction in life that we strive for. Our eyes have opened ever wider and wider to that economy which still employs and knows how to use to its own advantage all that which the sacred craziness of priests and the morbid reason in priests, rejects; to that economy in the law of life which draws its own advantage even out of the repulsive race of bigots, the priests, and the virtuous, what advantage?-But we ourselves, we immoralists, are the reply to this question.