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The Two Opposing Values in the Genealogy of Morals

1. Introduction

In the Genealogy of Morals, Friedrich Nietzsche explores the origins and implications of two opposed values: ‘good’ and ‘bad’. He claims that these values have been in conflict for centuries, with each side trying to justify its own position. Nietzsche believes that the industrial revolution was a major turning point in this conflict, as it led to a dramatic increase in the power of the ‘bad’ value. This, in turn, caused a revolt against traditional morality in the 17th century.

2. The two opposing values in the Genealogy of Morals

Nietzsche divides values into two categories: ‘good’ and ‘bad’. The ‘good’ value is associated with self-control, moderation, and altruism. The ‘bad’ value is associated with pleasure-seeking, excess, and selfishness. Nietzsche argues that the ‘good’ value is actually a product of the ‘bad’ value. He claims that early humans were driven by their desires, and that they only started to develop self-control when they realized that they could use it to their advantage. For example, they realized that they could use self-control to impress others and gain their trust.

Nietzsche also argues that the ‘good’ value is actually detrimental to human flourishing. He claims that it leads to feelings of guilt and anxiety, which prevent people from fully enjoying their lives. Furthermore, he argues that the ‘good’ value is hypocritical, as it is often used to justify selfish or cruel actions.

3. The impacts of the industrial revolution on values

The industrial revolution was a major turning point in the conflict between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ values. Prior to the industrial revolution, most people were living in rural areas and were engaged in agriculture. This meant that they were largely self-sufficient and had little need for money or trade. As a result, there was no real incentive for people to pursue pleasure or wealth for its own sake. However, the industrial revolution led to a dramatic increase in trade and commerce, which created a new class of people who were motivated by money and power. These people became increasingly influential, and they eventually came to dominate society. This led to a significant increase in the power of the ‘bad’ value, as it became more prevalent and socially acceptable.

4. The17th century revolt against traditional morality

The industrial revolution also caused a revolt against traditional morality in the 17th century. Prior to the industrial revolution, most people lived in small communities where everyone knew each other. As a result, there was a strong sense of social cohesion and conformity. People adhered to traditional moral codes out of fear of being ostracized by their community. However, the industrial revolution led to the development of large cities where people were anonymous and had little connection to their neighbours. This created an environment where people felt free to pursue their own desires without fear of judgement or retribution. As a result, traditional morality began to lose its hold over society, and a new generation of thinkers began to question its usefulness.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, Friedrich Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals is a highly influential work that has had a significant impact on the field of philosophy. It is a complex and thought-provoking book that raises many important questions about the nature of values and morality.

FAQ

Nietzsche's motivation for writing 'The Genealogy of Morals' was to explore the origins and development of morality.

The main arguments put forward by Nietzsche in this work are that morality is a human invention, and that it is not objective or universal.

Nietzsche defines 'good' and 'bad' in this context as relative terms, depending on who is making the judgement.

He believes that morality is created by those in power, in order to justify their own position and maintain control over others.

The implications of this for our understanding of morality today are that it is important to question moral values, and to be aware that they are not objective or absolute truths.

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