Professor Sean P. Ireland
27 March 2014
The name of Nietzsche occupies one of the leading places among the greatest philosophers till nowadays. His influences can be traced in postmodernism and existentialism. His theories and views are studied by scientists and students; his profound and sharp understanding of reality and human nature attract attention of numerous people all over the world. His most well-known theory is related to “Will of Power”. The notion of the superhuman – Uebermensh – as a key to understanding of the power, every human being is bearing inside, totally confronts the general philosophic approach , where all reasons and questions are investigated only the in the frames of sole truth. These ides are developed in his work “The Twilight of the Idols”, where the readers find Nietzsche’s strong confrontation of the Socrates’s approach of rationalism. His strongest critic of the Socrates’s views relates to lack of life appreciation and resistance of the human instincts, because he states, that “Resisting instincts is just a sickness and not at all a way back to virtue or happiness.” (Bailey 2002). Here we are coming closer to the major point of our research, namely to the understanding of morality. One of the most vital concepts of Nietzsche was his suggestion, that morality builds the serious obstacle for enjoying of most of life passions and desires, or how he formulated it – “morality as anti-nature”. In his work Morality as Anti-Nature Nietzsche is discussing the ways, how religion and morality, spread via religion, are able to change and suppress human nature. Nowadays a lot of people are living according to some biblical rules and precepts. During the times, when Nietzsche lived, the church was considered to be even a stronger mentor for most individuals, who made their choices and selected their life directions only based on the rules, preached by the priests. Nietzsche was absolutely against it; he insisted that religion did not consider the nature of humanity. According to the church all people were to fight against their bad sides, where according to Nietzsche all people were born initially good and they did not need the religious rules to follow them, but rather follow their own desires and passions. The highest potential in development throughout the whole life can be reached, as Nietzsche stated, only with the help of inside passions, and never the ideals of church. The church demanded from its followers to suppress all the passions in order to become real Christians. In this way the church was exchanging the natural passions of individuals with morality. The idea of free will was also understood by Nietzsche not in the way as it was presented by the church. The believers were supposed to follow all the God’s rules as he was the most powerful being, at the same time, they were to carry responsibility for their decisions and actions. “Today we no longer have any pity for the concept of “free will”: we know only too well what it really is — the foulest of all theologians’ artifices, aimed at making mankind “responsible” in their sense, that is, dependent upon them. Here I simply supply the psychology of all “making responsible.” (Bailey 2002). At this point Nietzsche used this theory for explaining his understanding of cause and effect. “The church’s use of counterfactual causality expands to an imaginary and false perception in the mind, and people ultimately jump to conclusions, giving all the credit to a higher form or being.” (Bailey 2002). Nietzsche also criticized the situation when instead of looking for plausible answers. The followers of the church just believed, that the word of God was the only true reason. Thus Christianity, as he wrote, was to bear the responsibility for making its followers closed minded and going against their nature. “He ultimately believed that religion creates a concept of anti-natural morality which damages our development as humans quite greatly, eventually ending our status and right as individuals once the church gets involved” (Jacobus 13). In Nietzsche’s eyes, it was an attempt to substitute all the intelligence and natural passions, human beings were possessing, with blind and poor spirituality. In this case, he stated, that those, who could invent all such spiritual and moral restrictions, were ill-willed and not able to control their own passions. They themselves were not inclined to further intellectual and moral development, thus they used morality as anti-nature to restrict other individuals in improvement of their lives. Only individuals, who are absolutely not under control of any morality, could be referred to as ideal human beings, because their actions and choices would be based purely upon their natural passions. Their judgments concerning right and wrong things would be under the influence of their inside passion only. Overall, we have studied the key notions of the Nietzsche’s theory, related to the issues of morality, which according to him is the most serious obstacle in formation of life direction, based on the natural instincts and passions. On the one hand, he could be right saying that morality itself is certainly restraining the activities and decisions of people. However, on the other hand our ability to control our emotions and passions is the major feature, which defines us as human beings, not animals.
Bailey, A. First Philosophy: Fundamental Problems and Readings in Philosophy. Broadview Press. 2002
Jacobus L.A. A World of Ideas: Essential Readings for College Writers. Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2013
Hayman, R. Nietzsche: A Critical Life. Oxford University Press (New York), 1980.