On genealogy of morals

Genealogy (from Greek: γενεά, genea, “generation”; and λόγος, logos, “knowledge”) is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. Genealogists use oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kinship and pedigrees of its members.

Asceticism (from the Greek: ἄσκησις, áskēsis, “exercise” or “training”) describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various worldly pleasures, often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals.

One has two choices after reading Nietzsche, to either hate him or like him. I like him and I am tempted to agree with him when he says he was born posthumously! In this polemic, he explores the origin of morality, tears into pieces christian morality and critiques the knowers or free spirits as he called them. He dwells on free will, politics giving a comparison with the Greek state as presented in the writings of Homer. It is a polemic worth reading!

In this genealogy he asks the question of what is the ascetic ideal. He tells as the ascetic priest is one who has said no to life and at the same time is a doctor to the weak. Among the free spirits he too does explore if there can be an ascetic ideal.

This is Nietzsche’s most important work on moral and political theory and offers a critique of moral values and traces the historical evolution of concepts such as guilt, conscience, responsibility, law and justice. In this polemic, he says any scholar interested in the history of morals has to start by looking at the pre-Homeric times.

He writes we need to know the conditions and circumstances under which the values grew up, developed and changed [morality as result, as symptom, as mask, as tartuffery, as sickness, as misunderstanding, but also morality as cause, remedy, stimulant, inhibition, poison] since we have neither had this knowledge up till now nor even desired it.  He goes on to say the origin of bad and good is related to master/ slave or noble and common. The slave sees everything the master does as bad, and for the master everything he does is good. This then is essentially the genesis of good and bad. He disagrees with the suggestion, that he finds untenable that what is good is what is useful or practical as argued by Herbert Spencer. He compares the problem to the relationship between the bird of prey and lambs. The lambs say to each other the birds of prey are evil and anyone like a lamb is good, the birds bear no grudge against the lambs – in fact they love them- nothing is tastier than a tender lamb.

He [Nietzsche] contends that priests make the most evil enemises precisely because they are powerless.  It is the priestly class who through a revaluation of values by rejecting the aristocratic value equation[good= noble = powerful = beautiful =happy = blessed] ventured to bring a reversal by saying only those who suffer are good, only the poor, the powerless, the lowly, the suffering, the deprived, the suffering, are the only pious people and for them alone does salvation belong. How true!

The weak, that is the priestly class, invented god and talk of their kingdom which is yet to come the kingdom of god and in the meantime they live in faith, in love and in hope. To enjoy this kingdom they tell you you have to live beyond death, eternal life, to get your recompense from god! He leaves open the question of rank of values and asks the future philosophers and scientists to solve the problem of values. In the second essay in this polemic, he looks at guilt, bad conscience and related matters and here he says in order for man to have a degree of control over the future, man must first have learnt to distinguish between what happens by accident and what by design and do to do this man must first become reliable, regular, necessary in essence responsible!

The knowledge of the extraordinary privilege of responsibility and power of himself and his destiny, his dominant instinct is what the sovereign man calls conscience.

He says the feeling of guilt originated in the contractual relationship between debtor and creditor, buyer and seller. The desire to punish, is here seen as a result of demand for payment of a debt. In the proportion to which the power and self-confidence of a community grows, its penal law becomes more lenient; this is to say the creditor becomes more human as his wealth increases and finally the amount of his wealth determines how much injury he can sustain without suffering from it.

He says of unbelievers, that we are far from being free spirits because we still believe in truth.  He asks this of the free spirits the truthful man, in that daring and final sense which faith in science presupposes, thus affirms another world from the one of life, nature and history…… must he not therefore deny its opposite, this world, our world, in doing?  He sets a task for the free spirits, that is, the value of truth is to be called into question.

who wrote the bible?

We are pretty sure Moses didn’t write the first five books of the bible, we know Job didn’t write the book bearing his name, we know Matthew, Mark, John of Zebedee, Luke and so many others bearing their names didn’t write the books ascribed to them, heck, we don’t know if these guys graced the planet what we do know however is that a group of people wrote the bible at different times for a period stretching close to 1000 years?[or somewhere close]. Since am not a bible scholar, this post is not meant as such but to introduce a friend of mine who I would expect that you find time, especially the theists, to read to understand a bit of how the bible was cobbled up before we start an argument on whether it is the word of a deity or not.

Here, you will find what is called Graf-Wellhausen Documentary Hypothesis and it is my hope that you will read the introduction where he covers the origin of the gods and the different creation stories and other interesting stuff. 

Enjoy your reading 🙂

A notice to artistes

I just read The Case of WagnerNietzsche contra Wagner and selected Aphorisms we get a glimpse of Nietzsche’s relationship with Wagner, his thoughts and criticisms of music and musicians of his time. It is a case of tough love and a sharp and concise criticism of christianity, which he says is a blemish on man, of Germans in general.

You got to love Nietzsche for his honesty and his wit. If you are a musician and you read his criticism of Wagner, his friend, then you’d know the judges on America got talent or Idols are way too polite.

I loved the book 🙂

an ongoing discussion

I have the permission of a fine gentleman to share a discussion we have been having on this blog here, here, here and here. The reason we agreed to do this is to consolidate the different arguments in one place. I must apologise in advance if this post ends up being long but I will endeavour to make it precise :).

The first question we dealt with regards the nature of god and whether it is knowable. I have tried to show that the nature of god is unknowable and also that the god of the bible is incoherent and impossible. My good friend thinks that we can know god from what we are told in the bible. I contend that what we are told about this god is contradictory. To show this I offered the following examples

1. that god is all loving and merciful yet he drowns everyone except 8
2. that god is evasive. when confronted by Job why he is suffering, he evades the question and only tries to awe Job with his clothes
3. we are told he is all-knowing but seems several times to forget. he forgets that Noah and co are in the boat and so on
4. he is malicious. he hardens pharaoh’s heart to get an opportunity to kill Egyptians
5. tribal:- he chooses people over others without reason
6. he is evil:- he says he is the author of good and evil and also the author of confusion. he does this to confound the people as they are building the staircase to heaven.

I must add there are places where god does good things maybe but I pointed out that what this further proves is the inconsistency of this god.

My good friend disagrees. He says that either am reading this out of context or that I have no right-as a mere mortal- to question the intentions of god which I find to be rather hilarious. He has also indicated that I could be reading the wrong outdated translation, and I asked for his help in choosing which of the 800+ translations as the correct one. We have also covered the matter of what part is metaphor, literal or allegorical and since I have a difficulty in choosing  which to take for what purpose I leave it to you, good friends, to help me. My friend has said also that I can’t talk about the wrath of god of the OT without looking at the NT. I agree fully. The only question is, why did god change from being a violent, misogynist, tribal god to a loving though still suicidal god? If he is to be unchanging, is it of its nature to be all things?

I have further shown that god is angry at us for no reason. I have attempted to show that if a god exists and that this god created man and the serpent, it his fault man failed. I say this because if his address about what fruit was to be eaten and which was not was intended for man, why did he/she/it make it in the vicinity of other more intelligent animals? I also ask, why if this god is omniscient,  did he create the serpent knowing it will tempt man?

We looked at the laws of god and I ask why would a god who is not bound the laws he is making ask us to follow them? Why would such a god who does not forgive his enemies ,who can’t hurt him, asks us to forgive our enemies and pray for them? My friend tells me, god makes those laws for our good!  Please be the judge of this: is stoning your brother for picking sticks on the sabbath for our good, is stoning a woman who has been raped for our good, is killing a disobedient child for our good, is tithing and alms giving for our good, how is  not infringing his copyright laws on altar perfume for our good? Please please tell me how all of this is for our good!

My friend argues that we are saved through Jesus. Am asking why has salvation to be conditional? Is it impossible for an impotent and benevolent god to save all without asking them to believe in a guy whose existence is doubtful? On still this same question of belief, I did ask what happens to my great grandpa who for no fault of his own died before the Spaniards, the Portuguese and the Brits came here with bible in one hand and gun in the other. My friend gave a very honest answer, I don’t know! But added that he knows god is just and will deal with them according to his justice. Which brings us to the problem we had at the beginning, is the mind of god-does he have one- knowable?

I also mentioned Paul, the person credited with developing christianity and said this man or group of men had nothing kind to say to women. He says

As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?” (1 Cor. 14:33b-36 NIV). 

Elsewhere he has this to say

11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

I also said Paul is against many things beautiful

1 Corinthians 7:1  “Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry

1 Corinthians 7:For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I

About fighting tyranny, this is what Paul tells us about governments

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor [Roman 13:1-7 NIV].

I will leave you to make your judgements on Paul.

In coming the end of this post, I did submit that the churches own nothing, the priests own nothing which is not people’s labour and any help they claim to give can’t be treated as charity. To be charitable, you need first to own. No church meets this requirement. They are in the business of collecting tithe and alms in exchange for a place in heaven. The priests make claims that they are the mediators between man and god, either follow me or be damned. They are selling false hope to a great majority that do not know better. They lie about the existence of god, about our universe and about everything else. Whatever they are against, their god is against, whatever they support their god supports! My good friend says that even the governments and hospitals should be abolished because they operate on taxes- people’s labour. This I think is fallacious, every tax payer has a right to a government service and besides the government shouldn’t discriminate on where to take resources. For one to benefit from a church, they more often than not ask you to join them or take the highway. I also told my friend building churches doesn’t add to the good of humanity. It enslaves the mind so I asked they build libraries and hospitals in place of churches.

I hope first with this post, I have captured the core arguments we have had in the different posts, that I have represented my brother correctly and without bias. I would love to hear your comments on the issues raised in this post. Thank you 🙂

Ecce Homo: How one becomes what one is

This review is not sufficient to tell the story of this great thinker. He has done so himself and if I tried, it may appear as being unfair to this great mind and for that, I will encourage all of you dear readers and philologists to read the book for yourself. That said, allow me to just give a brief overview of my thoughts on this text.

This autobiography in the words of Nietzsche about his works gives us a glimpse as to how he saw himself among the people of his time. In his words, he says my time has not yet come, some people are born posthumously.

He starts by stating  Seeing that shortly I must confront mankind with the heaviest demand ever put on it, it seems to me indispensable to say who I am. and this is what he does in this small volume.

It is clear from this writing that he felt he had no equal at his time or even before. He says of Zarathustra: Among my writings my Zarathustra stands by itself. With this book I have given mankind the greatest gift it has ever been given. This book, with a voice that carries over millennia, is not only the highest book that there is, the true mountain-air book — the whole fact of man lies at a tremendous distance beneath it — it is also the deepest book, born out of the innermost abundance of truth, an inexhaustible well into which no bucket descends without coming up filled with gold and goodness.. He has no kind words for scholars and Germans in particular. He has praise for the French. On Christianity he doesn’t mince words.

He wears the badge of the first immoralist with honour. He says of himself thus I am even the opposite in nature to the kind of man who has hitherto been revered as virtuous.

Of those who read his books, this is what he says He who knows how to breathe the air of my writings knows that it is an air of the heights, a bracing air. One must be made for it, otherwise the danger is no small one of catching cold in it.

From this book he tells us he is a disciple of Dionysus. In his early days he had Wagner as his idol. In his youth he felt he[Wagner] represented the new man, the aspiration to superman that Nietzsche so wanted to exalt and towards the end of his life we find his disappointment with Wagner.

In  Why am I so clever, he lists the things necessary for the development of a clever person: nutrition, climate and locality and here he says all men of great intellect have been nurtured in warm areas. He talks of Paris, Athens, Rome, Provence, Jerusalem and concludes that genius is conditioned by dry air[did Einstein live in Germany all through? The brother doesn’t mention Germany as a place fir for breeding intellect]. Third he talks about the choice of recreation and in his case all reading is part of his recreation. Parents take note if you want to raise clever children!  The last requirement for a great intellect is an instinct of self-preservation is in command, expressing itself most unambiguously as an instinct of self-defense. Not to see many things, not to hear them, not to let them approach one — first act of prudence, first proof for one’s being not an accident but a necessity.  On a side note I think this explains why yours truly should be considered a genius. I live in a place with the right weather for developing intellect, apart from the occasional beer and a cup of coffee, my nutrition will pass as good, I have for recreation the music of Beethoven [this guy was just great] and books written by giants and an instinct of self-preservation to boot lol.

The rest of the book gives accounts as to the conditions, times and where some of the works were written and also helps the reader new to his works have an understanding of his views on morals, man and philosophy.

Christian morality

.. the most malevolent form of the will to the lie, the real Circe of mankind: that which has ruined it .It is not the error as error whose aspect fills me with terror, not the thousand year long lack of good -will of breeding , of bearing, of bravery in spiritual things which betrays itself in this victory–it is the lack of nature, it is the utterly dreadful fact that anti-nature itself took home the highest honors and has remained hanging over mankind as law, as categorical imperative! To blunder in this way not as an individual, not as a people, but as mankind in general! That contempt has been taught for the primary instincts in life, that a ‘soul’ a ‘spirit’ has been falsely invented in order to destroy the body , that people have been taught to feel something unclean in the prerequisite of life, in sexuality, that the evil principle has been sought in the deepest necessity for flourishing, in strict egoism[the very word is slanerous]; that conversely in the decline and instinct-contradiction, in being “selfless,” in the loss of center of gravity, in “depersonalization” and “neighbor-love” ( —neighbor mania!) one sees the higher value, what am I saying, the value in-itself! …What! Could mankind itself be in a state of décadence? Has it always been? What is certain is that it has been taught only décadence values as the highest values. The morality of self-negation is the morality of decline par excellence, the fact “I am going to ruin” translated into the imperative: “You shall all go to ruin” — and not only in the imperative!…This only morality that has been taught thus far,the morality of self-negation, reveals a will to the end, it negates life at its very foundation. — The possibility still remains that it is not mankind which is degenerating but only that parasitical species of man, the priest, who armed with morality has lied his way into a value determining position — who has divined in Christian morality his means to power…And indeed, this is my insight: the teachers, the leaders of mankind, the theologians one and all, have also been décadents one and all: hence the revaluation of all values into hostility toward life, hence morality…Definition of morality: morality — the idiosyncrasy of décadents, with the hidden agenda of revenging themselves upon life — and succeeding. I set great store on this definition.

F. Nietzsche