Nietzsche – What is Noble
In the following paper we will summarize some of the concepts discussed in the chapter called “What is Noble”. This is the last chapter in “Beyond Good and Evil” and it includes the subject ‘The Will to Power’ and the ‘Master and Slave Morality’. I will try to articulate and capture some of Nietzsche’s depth and hopefully the reader will gain some clarity on this subject.
Nietzsche begins with explaining that the ‘Will to Power’ is not a supplement to the essence of the natural individualism; rather it is an internal operation within all of us. It’s not a ‘function’; it’s rather the essence of the subject that is at play. Although we like to pretend and convince ourselves, as if, we totally disowned the nature of barbarian, power, exploitation, and manipulation; however this is not the case. Power is actually synonymous with the life force itself. Disowning the nature of power would actually mean disowning the nature of our organic beings. We can actually never rid ourselves from this natural instinct, we can only live with it, and recognize it, or deny it and pretend it doesn’t exist. The ‘Will of Power’ plays itself out within the individual, with the community, and with the more general society. Within all organisms there are parts that lead, dominate, and oppress and there are parts that follow, submit, and submerge. (This is similar to Freud’s ego ideal, which demands the ego to obey it and repress its instincts and memories, however the instinct fight back and try to over throw the ideals.) At times the ‘Will of Power’ becomes sublimated and transformed towards outsiders and other societies. We need to look beneath the surface and we will always find the need for domination and subordination in every living structure. This master-slave dynamic is an essential feature in all structures of life.
In addition to the ‘Will of Power’ there is a ‘Herd instinct’. These two forces work in direct opposition to each other and are two forces within us that need to be reconciled.
There are two sets of moralities (that Nietzsche defines in this chapter) and they are both originated out of the ‘Will of Power’. However, one is a positive real will of power that believes in itself as noble and esteemed, and the another one is just a negative reactionary ‘not-like’ false power. There is the master-morality which is synonymous with the noble, active, and being, and there is the slave morality which is synonymous with the common, the passive being, the herd like animals; these two distinct moralities can be hard to recognize, within each of us, however with closer observation we will notice them. These two distinct moralities are not necessarily divided into two distinct social groups; rather they are concepts and structures that can operate within a single individual subject. These moralities can alternate or act simultaneously within each of us, in a contradictory and conflicting fashion, which can create distress. These two systems within us become entangled and often hard to separate and recognize, however one needs to sort them out, identify them, and find harmony with them. The organization of these two systems are a result of the ruler and the ruled, the master and the slave, the leader and the follower. The master and slave relationship create a set of moralities in reflection of their sense of self. The master considers ‘His’ power and wealth good and the slave as bad. The slave opposes the powerful and claims ‘NO’ to wealthy and ‘NO’ to powerful, he defines them as evil.
These morals are based on the subjective positioning, nevertheless they are professed as good ‘ in itself’. The awareness of the ruler causes admiration for his power and control, and thus power becomes defined as ‘good’.
Within the nobleman’s circle he treats his peers as equals and with respect, and admires his ancestors and the old; however foreigners are treated with aggression and domination. The ruler needs to find an outlet for his barbarian-needs; he therefore uses the oppressed and new comers as his slaves. Modern ideas, progression, and future are not something that he respects; rather his heritage and family is what become prominent. The oppressed and the weak become defined as the ‘bad’ and despicable in the eyes of the noble. The need for ‘Power’ creates the separation between the ruler and ruled and the ‘Narcissistic need’ produces the morality of power being good and the poor being bad. It’s important to note that in the master’s morality ‘evil’ isn’t used as the opposing force to good, the term bad is used. However later on we will see in the salve morality evil becomes the opposing force of the good.
The second type of morality is the Slave-Morality, this morality is served to help the poor alleviated their suffering and become free from their ‘evil’ masters. The slave morality is based on ‘Revenge’ and ‘Resentment’ to the masters who they define as evil. The priest and poor people take revenge by flipping morality around and concluded that the master is evil and we need to be ‘not’ like him.
The priest and slave use morality, stupidity, deceitfulness, and hatred to overthrow their so called evil-masters. Their main goal is a negative one, it’s ‘Not’ to be the evil master, however the masters morality is a positive one of honoring himself, his power, and his wealthy and consequently despising the poor. The evaluation of people’s morality is not based on the external factors; rather it’s the individual himself that’s being evaluated, it is he ‘himself’ that he is reflecting. It is therefore useless to study different behaviors while omitting the creator of them; the behaviors are just a manifestation of the sense of self, therefore the ego is in the center of it all.
Values for the poor people are actually self-protectors from the masters and for the noble they are self glorifiers. In the noble they are the creation of their egoism and serve to respect them, however in the poor the moralities are the act of revenge of the masters to get free by degraded them.
Nobility and the masters morality becomes ingrained into the psyche of the human and are inherited to their children. So too the slave mentality of negativity is also passed on, and when the two mix there becomes obvious conflict that need reconciliation and integration.