You are here
SOCY 151: Foundations of Modern Social Theory
- Nietzsche on Power, Knowledge and Morality
Today we take a bridge into the twentieth century, constructed by Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber’s critical theory. Each author is different in important ways, but they also agree on two crucial points: we must subject our consciousness and assumptions to critical scrutiny and, along with increasing liberation and rationalization in some ways, modern society also has repressive elements. Nietzsche is the oldest of these thinkers; he dies in 1900 and stops working a decade before due to mental illness. While he was ill, his sister, a proto-Nazi and associate of Hitler, cared for him. Her control of his papers and how they were released to the public painted him as a proto-Nazi himself, but reading his whole oeuvre illuminates that Nietzsche subjected Judaism and Christianity to the same scrutiny. In The Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche attempts to use the genealogy method to be critical of modern morality without taking a certain vantage point. We discuss most specifically his genealogy of the ideas of good and bad and of good and evil.
|Low Bandwidth Video
|High Bandwidth Video
Foundations of Modern Social Theory
SOCY 151 - Lecture 14 - Nietzsche on Power, Knowledge and Morality
Chapter 1. Nietzsche, Freud and Weber and the Problem of Modernity [00:00:00]
Professor Iván Szelényi: Okay, now today we move–basically we move into the twentieth century. And there is a lot of similarity between the three authors we will be discussing: Nietzsche, Freud and Max Weber. You know, Durkheim will be a somewhat different kind of story. But all–I mean, Nietzsche, of course, died in 1900, but he was out of action for ten years because of mental illness, rather severe mental illness. He published all of his work in the nineteenth century. Freud and Weber started to publish in the nineteenth century. But these three characters, in many ways, are very important bridges towards twentieth century social theory. In a way they did foreshadow a great deal of theorizing, particularly during the second half of the twentieth century, especially in the last thirty or forty years.
I think it’s also very easy to see the point of departure from Marx–some continuity, but the basic point of department from Marx in the work of Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber. If I can put it very simply, the major departure is that they all depart from Marx’s economic reductionism–right?–the emphasis on economic interest, which is actually not only Marx. Right? It was common in Adam Smith, and Marx as well. They depart from this and they emphasize that the problem in modernity is not so much in the economic system; it is much more in terms of power and consciousness. The problem of modernity is repression, in one way or another.
The problem of modern life is that we internalize the reasons for our own subjugation, as such, and somehow we have to figure out how to liberate ourselves from this internalized subjugation. Why do we obey orders? Why do we actually accept that we are subjugated? This is the central question, I think, Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber are posing. It’s again a question which has not been really asked by the other theorists we discussed so far. They just had civil society as a point of reference for the good society. Now the problem for Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber is in us, internally–in us, how we solve the problem within ourselves. So this is a kind of introducing the three authors. In some ways one can say Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber not only foreshadows twentieth century social theory, but in some ways they are the first of post-modern theorists–right?–the theorists which are beginning to come to terms with the oppressive nature of modernity, and try to figure out how to transcend that.
Now I think what I asked you to read for today is probably the most difficult text for the semester, The Genealogy of Morals, and you may have been greatly frustrated by it, and probably also irritated by it, because he’s a very provocative mind. I hope you did what I suggested; namely, you had a cursory reading of the text before today, and now you can go back to the text, after my lecture notes, and I think that should help you to find your way out and to see what he is really up to.
Now what is he up to? Let me just foreshadow, before I get into his life and work, and particularly in Genealogy of Morals. There is another point in which Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber can be understood in relationship to Marx. In my very introductory comments, I emphasized the difference–right?–the shift away from the economy to the question of power and domination. But there is a point at which there is a continuity between them and Marx–Nietzsche, Freud and too mainly Weber; I mean, Weber is a somewhat more complicated story. But certainly Nietzsche and Freud are critical theorists; critical theorists in the sense as we defined this earlier. Right? Critical theorists, that they are offering a criticism of human consciousness. What is in our mind and how did it get into our mind, and how– and the problem of our consciousness in relationship to our existence. And this is very much critical theory as it was defined by Hegel and then the young Marx, the Hegelian Marx, the Marx of Paris Manuscripts. Right? The Marx of alienation. Right? This is very much coming from this tradition, and the central issue is how can we subject this to critical scrutiny?
And in Nietzsche’s case, there is an incredible attempt being made here to try to offer a critical theory which does not really have a critical vantage point. Right? All critical theories of Hegel and Marx and twentieth century critical theory do have an idea of a good society, of an emancipated human existence, and they criticize the reality, the society what they are analyzing, from the point of view of this critical vantage point. Nietzsche is different. He is really the most radical of critical theorists. And in the twentieth century the theorist which builds the most consistently on it is Michel Foucault–right?–who tried to create a theory which is critical of existence and our consciousness, but critical without telling you what is good, what you should be aspiring for. And that’s exactly what Nietzsche is trying to do. It is sort of the squaring of the circle. Can you be critical of a situation if you cannot tell what is the good outcome? Right? Can you actually subject the very notion of the good society, the good, to critical scrutiny? This is what he’s trying to do. Right? To offer such a theory.
Well Freud is different. Right? Freud is a critical theorist beyond Hegel and beyond Marx. He does agree with Marx that we have to find some critical analysis which is rooted in our sensuous experiences, and somehow we have to relate the problems of our consciousness to our sensuous experiences. Right? In this respect, Freud is very much in the line of Marx’s critique of Hegel. This is not simply radicalizing your consciousness; you have to confront your consciousness with your sensuous experiences. But he is different from Marx because–I pointed this out earlier very briefly–because in Marx, this sensuous activity is production, it is economic activity. For Freud it is our sexual experiences–right?-and he offers a criticism of our consciousness by confronting us with our repressed sexual experiences in our earlier life. Right?
So this is a critical theory. Right? He said, “What you think is in your mind is right. No, no, no, it isn’t.” Right? You have to think about all of your experiences of your earlier sexual life, and then when you figure out what you repressed as bad memories, that’s when you will actually will be able to have a healthier psychic life. Right? Well Weber is more complicated, and we will come back to this, Weber’s critical theory, when we get to Weber, and to the question whether he’s a critical theorist at all, that has been highly debated.
Chapter 2. Nietzsche in a Historical Context [00:10:23]
Okay, I think now we are ready for Friedrich Nietzsche. And I hope this makes more sense now for you–right?–what you were reading. Right? And let me just emphasize one more time–right?–the big project in Nietzsche is to offer a critical scrutiny of human mind, but not to have any critical vantage point. Right? To criticize the very principles of good society and good, to critical scrutiny. Where does it come from when we have the conception of good and good society? That is his project.
It’s an incredible intellectual venture. Right? As I said, it is this kind of squaring of the circle, what he does; what he does with a great deal of power. And he does it extremely provocatively. I will put up a couple of quotations for it, which are outrageous. Don’t walk out on it. Right? Wait a little. Hold your breath, listen. This is outrageous what he’s saying. He’s a provocateur. He is like Rousseau; he is only worse than Rousseau. Right? He provokes us even more than Rousseau. But, you know, deep down he’s a very sensitive–you know?–very humanistic human being. Right? He provokes you. But if you listen carefully, you figure out there is something what you actually can relate to it, when you think what he’s actually trying to get at.
All right, here is Nietzsche. And let me just very briefly rush through his life. He was born in 1844, in the small city of Röcken in Germany, near Leipzig. And this is very important: his father was a Lutheran minister, and the family was all clergy, Lutheran clergy. And he’s bringing up, in a very religious sentiments, very religious family. And in many ways his work is a reaction against the father, and it is a reaction against the kind of Lutheran Christianity he was deeply internalized into. I think this is very important to understand. I mean, I know that most of the people in this room have strong feelings in Judeo-Christian tradition, and he attacks also Judeo-Christian tradition. This is a revolt against the father. This is a revolt against what he was brought up to. It is an attempt to find himself. Right? That’s what he’s trying to get at. And you have to be a little tolerant about him, you know, and his attempt. You did that as well. You were revolting against your parents, and you were revolting against some of the fundamental principles you were born into.
He actually enrolls to the University of Bonn to become a Lutheran minister himself. He studied theology. As it happens to many people actually who enroll into a seminary, doesn’t take him too long to become an atheist. Very often the seminaries are the best training grounds for atheists. Right? You’re beginning to see somehow the complexity of theological thought. This is what he experienced. So he quits after a year. He realizes he is on his way to become an atheist–right?–and he will not become a minister. Actually this happened to my brother as well. He actually did not quit, he did finish; he was also trained as a Lutheran minister. But by the end of his theological training he was–I don’t think he ever confessed–but he was actually an atheist. So I have personal experiences–right?–what theology can do to you. Right?
Okay, then ‘68, there is a very important event in his life. He meets the greatest composer of his time, Richard Wagner, and they become great friends for a time, and they become bitter enemies later on; and it is very important why this happened. He is appointed as Professor of Classical Philosophy at the University of Basel, before he got actually his degree. But he doesn’t do it for too long. Right? He’s only teaching for eight years in his life, and then he retreats and he sacrifices his life to scholarly activity–spends a lot of time in Italy and, if he’s in Switzerland, in a small, beautiful spot, Sils Maria.
He also meets in ‘73 Paul Rée, a German philosopher, who has a great deal of impact on him, who introduces him in ‘82 to Lou Salomé, his only real but very passionate lover. And I will say a few words about this later on. In ‘88 he becomes mentally ill. The story of his beginning of his mental illness tells you a lot about him. He is in Genoa, in Italy, and then he walks on the streets, and then he sees a carriage driver beating a horse vengefully. And then he suddenly cuddles the horse, beginning to cry, and his mind is gone. All right? He falls deeply into mental illness. He never recovers anymore. It I think tells a lot about who Nietzsche as a human being was–right?–and how actually–how much compassion he could have with suffering. Right? This work, what you were reading, has a lot to do with suffering, and gives you a devastating view what human suffering means.
Anyway, he’s in care of his mother until she dies, and then his care, unfortunately for him, to his sister Elisabeth. And he dies in her home in 1900. Now a bit about Elisabeth Nietzsche. Here she is. She was born two years after Nietzsche. And she married a guy whose name was Bernhard Förster, in 1885. And Förster was one of these proto-Nazis. He was a fanatic anti-Semite. He was very attracted to this idea of the superior Aryan race, and he actually created an Aryan colony in Paraguay, and moved with Elisabeth to Paraguay in a pure German community. Some remains still exist, and if you are a devoted neo-Nazi, you may want to visit Paraguay, because there are some of these guys here still hanging out there. They look like Indians, because of course not very pure Aryan nation; they are not blonde and blue eyes any longer. They intermarried with the locals. Right? But anyway, this is what he wanted to do. It didn’t work very well. So at one point he committed suicide and Elisabeth returned to Germany.
Well I think it’s very important that Nietzsche, after she got married, broke the relationship with his sister. He just could not stand his brother-in-law and his anti-Semitism. Though you will see some of the citations which sound very anti-Semitic, he was very intolerant about anti-Semites. This was one of the reasons why he broke his relationship with Richard Wager. But in ‘94, Elisabeth created the Nietzsche Archive. Nietzsche was insane, and he had a lot of unpublished work, manuscripts. She put it together into an archives, and she abused it as much as she could. She turned into a right-winger and with the rise of Nazism a Nazi, an admirer of Hitler. And she put together a lot of Nietzsche texts, in order to fabricate a Nazi ideology out of Nietzsche. And some, therefore, had been reading for a very long time Nietzsche as an ideologue of Nazism. So did Adolph Hitler, who actually even attended the funeral of Elisabeth in 1935, when she died. Well I think people who read Nietzsche carefully, and who have seen now Nietzsche’s original work published, rather than selections by Elisabeth, have a great deal of doubt whether Nietzsche has anything to do with Nazism. Though the story is complicated.
Now here we come, a nice triangle: Lou Salomé, Paul Rée and Friedrich Nietzsche. Well I should show this picture after Freud. Remember that. Watch on it; it is a very Freudian kind of presentation, Louis Salomé, Paul Rée in the middle, and Friedrich Nietzsche on the other side of the picture. Now Lou, Paul and Friedrich. Paul Rée actually comes from a very wealthy Jewish family, German Jewish family. For reasons which is beyond me, occasionally Nietzsche refers to him, when they already broke up, as “the English psychologist”; he was a German philosopher. Anyway, he became very good friends, at one point. I mean, Nietzsche was an impossible person. He’d fall in love with people and then he broke. Just strong love or strong hatred; there was nothing in between. But anyway, the idea of genealogy, which is probably the main piece in Nietzsche’s work, is coming from Paul Rée.
Then he introduced this wonderful young, and very smart young lady, Lou Salomé, to Nietzsche, and he falls desperately in love with her. This happened in ‘82. She was twenty-one-years-old–as I said, very beautiful, and wonderfully smart. And well Nietzsche was hoping to marry her; I mean, he was opposed to the idea of marriage, but he’s writing letters to Paul Rée–kind of not aware that there is a relationship going on between Paul Rée and Lou–that he wants to marry her, probably for two years or something. Anyway, I think by all likelihood there is an interesting love triangle going on here for awhile. But Nietzsche is impossible, and Lou is a sane woman, and at one point she just cannot take his insanity anymore. And he moves to Berlin–lives for awhile with Paul Rée. And then, though she is also opposed to marriage–we are talking late nineteenth century, right?; very radical ideas about sexuality and marriage–but then she still married this guy, a linguist called Andreas. Anyway, she was also a very smart woman. She at one point said they wrote a book together–Rée, Nietzsche, and herself–and she never published that. She said this one was an experiment, a joint book by the three. We never–as far as I know, it never had.
Another important person in his life: Richard Wagner. Well Nietzsche was a music fanatic already in his boyhood, and when he read Wagner’s piano transcript of Tristan and Isolde, he just fell in love with that. That was the music he was looking for. Why? He was a hero worshipper. That’s why people, some people, read still in him a kind of proto-Nazis. He liked strong, beautiful people who are heroic and do heroic acts; like the Greek. Right? A beautiful young man, powerful, and heroic, like the gods, the Greek gods; that’s what he really admired. And this is what he found in Wagner’s music, a rejection of the roots of Rossini kind of sentimentalism of Italian music, and in fact the classicism and coldness and pretentiousness in the music of Beethoven. And what he found is something new in Wagner. So he was attracted to Wager. And as he was becoming actually increasingly anti-Semitic, under the influence of his last wife, Cosima, who was the daughter of Franz Liszt, the composer, and was really a pretty evil person.
And also Wagner was changing. He was becoming in some ways kind of more Christian or something, and he was writing this–I actually have to confess–lovely opera, Parsifal. Well, Nietzsche could not take it. You know? It was impossible for him. So then they break. He could not stand Wagner’s anti-Semitism, and he could not stand Parsifal, and a kind of expression of–I don’t know, anybody ever heard Parsifal? No. Well not easy stuff. It sounds like an oratorium. It has some Bachian kind of elements in it, and it’s about the sacrifice of the lamb of God; Jesus’ sacrifice, and a performance of the mass and the cult of Jesus’ blood, as such. I mean, anyway this was certainly–Nietzsche was not a buyer for it.
Chapter 3. Nietzsche’s Major Works [00:25:35]
Well just a word about his first book, The Birth of the Tragedy–which, as I said, he was a great admirer of the Greek civilization. And here he–his idea is that the whole human history is driven by the struggle between a Dionysian and Apollonian principle. Dionysian means–right?–your sentiments, right? You act out of your instincts. And Apollonian means the reason, as such. And the book contrasts Enlightenment. Enlightenment is reason. It’s a victory of Apollonian principle over the Dionysian principle. And he kind of rejected–this is also why he’s also kind of post-Modern, right?–he rejects Enlightenment and Enlightenment excessive rationalism. And this is why actually he liked Wager, because he thought in Wagner the Dionysian and the Apollonian components are being combined. Right? Passion and reason are put together. And Wagner loved the book.
Then he writes a book, 1879, Human, All Too Human, which starts from Voltaire and the sort of reification of the free thinkers. Now he is a free thinker. And he also breaks with Romanticism, and follows Rée. And he said, “Well what we have to do is to subject the Christian idea of good and evil to critical scrutiny, not to accept that there is some general principle of good.” And therefore he tries to develop The Genealogy of Morals.
Now, as you can see, Wagner and Nietzsche are on a collision course. Right? Nietzsche is now subjecting the very core of Judeo-Christian tradition to critical scrutiny, while Wagner is writing Parsifal and being the Holy Grail and asceticism. Wagner assumedly even has not read the book. He heard about it and rejected it. He did not buy anything about this.
Now this is Nietzsche’s house in Sils Maria. He went there for the first time in ‘81, fell in love with this, and spent time there until he became ill. He also wrote The Genealogy of Morals. He wrote to his mother, “Finally I’ve found the loveliest spot on earth.” And he was greatly inspired. This is where he wrote the book Also sprach Zarathustra, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. This is a kind of a book which is a central attack on Judeo-Christian morality, what he found repressive and wants to get out of it. His hero is Zarathustra, which is modeled after the Persian prophet Zoroaster, and he calls him, “The first of immoralists; to dare to be immoral is what you have to do.” And he tries to find a middle way–right?–between the repressive Judeo-Christian morality and nihilism. He wants to get–doesn’t want to reject everything.
And that’s where he’s beginning to develop the idea of the Übermensch. I wish we would have more time to talk about this. The Übermensch is basically the person who brings his life under his own control. It’s not quite what you think the Übermensch is. Right? The stereotypes about the Übermensch, that this was a kind of Nazi idea of the blond Germans–right?–which are superhuman. Well Nietzsche has a philosophy called Notion of the Übermensch. The Übermensch is the person who achieves self-mastery, who–basically the alienated person–right?–who is in control of his own life–right?–and can express himself authentically, without oppressive civilization. Right? That’s the Übermensch.
In a way this is a Buddha. It is an idea of a Buddha, but not a passive Buddha. He disliked Buddhism as much as he disliked the Judeo-Christian tradition. The problem with Buddhism was that it is too passive. He wanted to have an active Buddhism. Right? Somebody who becomes a master of its life, through action, acting out his feelings and his even sensual essence in life. And therefore he can overcome what he calls “the eternal return.” Right? He can overcome the iron law of these–you know, this is again comes from almost Marx. Right? Reified consciousness. The reified word can be broken. There are no rules. Right? You can realize yourself in the world, and you are not ruled by the external world.
Now he’s ready for The Genealogy of Morals. I have some twelve minutes for this. What are the major contributions? Well he reconstructs the methodology of genealogy, what he takes from Rée, and he discovers what he calls “the origins of morality.” And then he introduces a difference. Okay, what is the difference between good and bad, where this is coming from, and good and evil, where this is coming from? And he compares the two ways, how this dichotomy, that some behavior is good, other is bad; some behavior is good, other is evil, where this is coming from. And this is the essence of the genealogical method. Right?
He does not need a critical vantage point. The good and the evil distinction can be criticized from the good/bad distinction point of view, and the good–and vice-versa. You see what–this is the essence of genealogical method. As Foucault will interpret it: “Give me a notion, tell me what is right.” Right? “And what I do, I take the same conception back in history, and that will show what you think is right, just, or noble, has been at one point of time regarded as evil, what you should fight for. And tell me what you think is evil, and I’ll go back in history and I will show you instances where what you think is evil was actually admired and was seen as ethical.” Right? This is the essence–right?–of the genealogical method. Right? That you compare two ways how morality has been constructed, and you are criticizing one from the point of view of the other, without taking sides where do actually you stand, as such.
And then he develops the kind of origins of the notion of evil, out of slave morality and ressentiment. And then comes one of the most controversial issues, the idea of the blond beast, the bird of prey and the origins of ideals; what can be easily–again, I will have to ask for your patience. And then the idea of Übermensch. And finally the origins of punishment and bad consciousness and guilt.
Chapter 4. Major Themes in On the Genealogy of Morals [00:33:21]
Okay, so as I said, he reconstructed the genealogical method. I think this is a wonderful sentence, how the whole book begins: “We are unknown to ourselves, we knowers, and with good reason. We have never looked at ourselves.” Right? This is critical theory, what he suggests. Right? You think you know a lot of stuff about Hobbes and Locke and Rousseau, and now Nietzsche. But you don’t look at yourself. Look at yourself, be critical of your own consciousness. And especially the major step here: try to subject the very conceptions what you think is ethical to critical scrutiny. Where does this idea come from? And he said–his real argument is that the origins of the terms good and evil would do–we have to discover how it actually was constructed, and not with a more superior principle. So therefore what we need is a critique of moral values.
This is wonderful now. “The value of these values should be subjected to critical scrutiny itself.” Right? And not only the values, but the values behind the values; you know, there is an unending criticism in the process. So this way what Nietzsche can do, or he believes he can do, is to offer a critical analysis, without some ultimate value. He does not give you ultimate values, what is the right is, but he does that without becoming nihilistic and to say “anything goes.” Not, “We can discover the miseries of the world.” We can be upset. He could be so upset to cuddle this horse which is beaten. Right? You can have compassion; and that he showed. This was an inspiration for Foucault.
All right, the differences in the origins of good and bad, and good and evil. Well I think this is a pretty–probably the most straightforward part in the text, what you have read. Yes, he said, “Well, when we use the word ‘good’, you often see that good has something to do with being not egoistic.” He said, “Well, that’s not so. It has nothing to with non-egoistic, in terms of its origin. It was constructed as a non-egoistic later on.” And he said, “Where does the good coming from? It is coming from a master race; a master race which saw itself as good and defined those who were subjected to its rule, usually dark-skinned, natives, as bad. That is where the notion of good and bad is coming from.”
But that’s different with priests. You know, he was studying to become a minister, and he really disliked priests; priests, you know, wearing these dark clothes. You know, they are not the chivalry aristocratic kind, like the Greek semi-gods and gods–right?–who are confident in themselves. And therefore the chivalry and aristocratic distinction–which was what?; the physically good. You know? The beautiful body. The men and women of Greek antiquity could see themselves as good, and others who were not as good–was crippled, they were bad.
Now the priests are powerless, and this powerlessness leads to hatred; hatred of those who have power. Right? And now those who have power are seen by the powerless as evil–not simply as bad, but as evil. So now the contrast is not between good and bad, but between good and evil. But what turned around is the power relationship.
And now comes the slave morality. And well he said it was the Jews that was the priestly nation, the nation of priests, and the origins of Christianity brought about this reversal, saying, “Only those who suffer are good; only poor, the powerless are good. Right? The rich and those in power are evil.” Right? And the slave revolt of moralities, he said, begins with the Jewish revolt. And this has a thousand years of history. And you know what? That was victorious. This is the dominant morality of our times. And he said this leads to the–and here you can see, this is not an anti-Semitic statement, this is a criticism of the Judeo-Christian morality, and in fact the real target is Christian morality. That’s why he said, “This is the horrible paradox of God on cross.” Right? That is, you know, when you sort of turn–right?–those without sin to carry the sin of humankind; a self-crucifixion of God for the salvation of mankind. Right?
And this is this ressentiment; ressentiment, there is no proper English or German word for it. Right? Now beginning to see the enemy not simply as bad–as I don’t care if it is bad, I’ll defeat it–but it is evil; it may even defeat me. And now comes the blond beast; another provocative statement. “The center of all noble races, one cannot fail to see the beast of prey; the magnificent blond beast”–right?–“avidly prowling around to spoil and victory.” Right? As I said, hero worship. But let’s–you know, is this the German blond? He said, “Well Europe viewed with horror the raging of the blond Germanic beast for centuries.” But then he adds–and watch carefully, right?–“Although between the old Germanic people and us Germans, there is scarcely an idea in common, let alone blood relationship.” Right? This is not Nazi ideology. Right? This is a kind of an argument that being powerful, realizing yourself, is actually what is desirable, what you should be striving for.
Well I think this is very important–right?–this last sentence I’m quoting here. Right? “What’s happening in the European situation is kind of a leveling.” Right? “Today we see nothing what wants to expand. We are getting thinner.” Right? We are not as strong as this statue in- Greek statue. Right? “And better natured”–right?–“cleverer, and more comfortable”–right?–“and more mediocre.” And he said, “Bad air, bad air, it smells. What a horrible modernity–right?–where we become all mediocre and all the same, and we cannot fulfill ourselves.” Right?
And then, well this is very nice poetry–provocative, but think about it. “There is nothing strange about the fact that the lambs bear a grudge towards the large birds of prey. But there is no reason to blame the large birds of prey for carrying the little lamb. Well the lambs say to each other, these birds, prey are evil. And whoever is least like the bird of prey and most like the opposite, like us, the lamb, is good, isn’t it?” Right? “Those who dominate is bad and those we are the suffering are the good ones.”
Well the bad–yeah, the bird of prey responds. “We don’t bear any grudge at all towards those good lambs. In fact, we love them.” Right? “Nothing can taste better than a tender lamb.” Right? Well, as I said, this is disturbing. But I think the point is, what he’s calling for. Right? The self-fulfillment of individual. And the–and his desperation that in the modern world we cannot fulfill ourselves. And here it comes: “The workshop ideals- where the ideals are fabricated.” He said in this workshop lies are turning weakness into accomplishment. Impotence; not to retaliate is being turned into goodness, though you are only impotent, and you’re beginning to construct your impotence as good. You are not good. You can’t do anything about it. And submission to people what you hate, that’s what you call obedience; not because they- you really accept their superiority, because you are afraid of them. And then you construct a good notion out of this. Obedience, this is a good word.
Well he said there are- they are also talking, “love your enemy, and they are sweat while they are saying so.” Right? It’s a big lie. You don’t love your enemy. You hate the guts out of them. You say you love them, and meanwhile you sweat. Right? That’s what he said. You know, this is the workshop–right?–in which the ideals are created. This is where they call it the triumph of justice. You don’t hate your enemy. Oh no, no, no. You hate injustice. Right? You create your enemy as unjust–right?–and unfair; rather think, well this is my enemy and he’s stronger than me. Well therefore, he said, “the workshops where ideals are fabricated, they stink of lies.” And again “bad air, bad air,” get out of here; clean air, let’s talk truth, not lies. That’s the point.
And Übermensch is the one which will. Right? Because the Übermensch is–he said, well good and bad, good and evil, fought together. Now the good and evil is dominating us. Well the Renaissance was brilliant. It was reconstructing–right?–our classical idea. But then came again, he said, “the Judeo triumphed again.” Again, be careful; not anti-Semitic, no. It’s again more against Lutherans than against Jews. He said, “Thanks to the basically proletarian German and English ressentiment movement called the Reformation.” Right? That’s his real enemy here.
And he said, “Well the Über”–we don’t have time to labor on this. So very briefly origins of punishment. Well we have to forget; forget is we have to suppress memories which were bad, and in order to suppress, well there is mnemo-techniques. That means that we are actually–pain is the most useful way how we forget what we have to forget–we have to remember. Right? He said, “These Germans, the nation of thinker, made a memory for themselves with dreadful methods, stoning, breaking on wheels, raping apart and trampling to death wild horses.” All right, I have to finish it now here. But I hope you get sort of the bottom line. Right? The bottom line is have a radical critical theory, which does not need ultimate value to be critical of false ideas and lies. Get truth; and the ideal is the person who can fulfill itself in the world, and conquer the world as such.
[end of transcript]Back to Top