LE PERSONIFICAZIONI DELLA DIALETTICA

Nella storia della dialettica, Stirner occupa un posto a parte, l’ultimo, il luogo estremo. Stirner era quel audace dialettico che cercava di conciliare la dialettica con l’arte dei sofisti. Sapeva come trovare la strada per la domanda: chi? Sapeva come trasformarlo in una questione essenziale contemporaneamente contro Hegel, Bauer e Feuerbach.

«La domanda: che cos’è l’uomo? Si converte in: chi è l’uomo? Sei Tu quello che deve rispondere. Cos’è? Puntava verso il concetto da realizzare; a partire da chi è, la domanda scompare, poiché la risposta è personalmente presente nell’interrogante ».

In altre parole, è sufficiente porre la domanda: chi? Condurre la dialettica alla sua vera apertura: saltus mortalis.

Feuerbach ha annunciato l’Uomo al posto di Dio. Ma io non sono più l’uomo o l’essere generico, non sono più l’essenza dell’uomo che non era Dio e l’essenza di Dio. Il mutamento dell’Uomo e di Dio è completo; ma il lavoro del negativo, una volta innescato, è lì per dirci: Tuttavia non sei ancora Tu.

“Io non sono né Dio né Uomo, non sono né l’essenza suprema né la mia essenza, e fondamentalmente è la stessa cosa che concepisce l’essenza in me o fuori di me”. “Poiché l’uomo rappresenta solo un altro essere supremo, l’essere supremo, in breve, ha subito solo una semplice metamorfosi, e la paura dell’Uomo è solo un aspetto diverso del timore di Dio.”

Nietzsche dirà: l’uomo più abominevole, avendo ucciso Dio perché non sopportava la sua pietà, rimane il bersaglio della misericordia degli Uomini.
Il movente speculativo della dialettica è la contraddizione e la sua soluzione. Ma la sua causa pratica è l’alienazione e la soppressione dell’alienazione, dell’alienazione e della riappropriazione. La dialettica rivela qui la sua vera natura: l’arte sommaria tra tutti, l’arte di discutere della proprietà e del trasformare proprietari, l’arte del risentimento. Ancora una volta Stirner ha raggiunto la verità della dialettica nel titolo del suo libro: L’Unico e la sua Proprietà. Considera, che la libertà hegeliana appare come un concetto astratto; “non ho nulla contro la libertà, ma ti auguro qualcosa di più della libertà.”

Tu, non solo dovresti liberarti di ciò che non vuoi, dovresti anche avere ciò che vuoi, non dovresti essere solo un uomo libero, dovresti anche essere un proprietario. ” Ma chi si appropria o si riappropria? Qual è l’istanza di riappropriazione? Lo spirito oggettivo di Hegel, la conoscenza assoluta, non è ancora un’alienazione, una forma spirituale e raffinata di alienazione? L’autocoscienza di Bauer, la critica umana, pura o assoluta?

L’essere generico di Feuerbach, l’uomo come specie, essenza e sensibilità? Non sono nulla di tutto questo. Stirner dimostra senza difficoltà che l’idea, la coscienza o la specie sono altrettante alienazioni della teologia tradizionale. Le relative riappropriazioni rimangono alienazioni assolute. Rivivendo con la teologia, l’antropologia mi rende proprietà dell’Uomo.

Ma la dialettica non si fermerà finché non diventerò il proprietario … libero di lanciarmi nel nulla, se necessario. Nello stesso tempo in cui l’istanza di riappropriarsi diminuisce in altezza, larghezza e profondità, l’atto di riappropriarsi modifica il suo significato, esercitandosi su una base sempre più scarna. In Hegel era una riconciliazione: la dialettica era disposta a riconciliarsi con la religione, con lo Stato, con la Chiesa, con tutte le forze che l’alimentavano.

Sappiamo cosa significano le famose trasformazioni hegeliane: non dimenticano di essere devoti. La trascendenza rimane come trascendenza nel seno dell’immanente.

Con Feuerbach, il senso di “riappropriarsi” dei cambiamenti: meno riconciliazione rispetto al recupero, recupero umano delle proprietà trascendenti. Nulla è conservato, tranne l’umano “come un essere assoluto e divino”. Ma questa conservazione, quest’ultima alienazione, scompare con Stirner: lo Stato e la religione, ma anche l’essenza umana, rifiutano l’IO, che non è riconciliato con nulla perché annienta tutto, con il suo “potere”, con il possedere “commercio”, con il proprio “piacere”.

Superare l’alienazione significa quindi, puro e semplice annientamento, recupero che non lascia nulla di ciò che recupera: “l’io non è tutto, ma distrugge tutto”.
L ‘”io” che annienta tutto è anche l’ “io” che non è nulla: “Solo l’io che si decompone, è l’io che non è realmente io”. “Sono il proprietario del mio potere, e lo sono quando sono unico. Nell’unico, il possessore ritorna al creatore del niente di quello che è sorto. Qualsiasi essere superiore a me, che sia Dio o Uomo, si indebolisce davanti al sentimento della mia unità e impallidisce davanti al sole di questa coscienza.”

Se baso la mia causa in me, l’unico, riposa sul creatore effimero e deperibile che divora se stesso, e posso dire: ho basato la mia causa sul Nulla ». Il libro di Stirner aveva un triplice interesse: una profonda analisi dell’inadeguatezza delle riappropriazioni nei suoi predecessori; la scoperta della relazione essenziale tra la dialettica e una teoria dell’io, essendo solo il sé come istanza riappropriante; una visione profonda di quella che fu la conclusione della dialettica, con l’io, nell’io. La storia in generale e l’hegelismo in particolare hanno trovato la loro via d’uscita, ma anche la loro più grande dissoluzione, in un nichilismo trionfante. La dialettica ama e controlla la storia, ma ha una storia per cui soffre, che non controlla.

Il senso della storia e della dialettica raccolta, non è la realizzazione della ragione, della libertà o dell’uomo come specie, ma del nichilismo, nient’altro che il nichilismo. Stirner è il dialettico che rivela il nichilismo come la verità della dialettica. Basta che faccia la domanda: chi? L’Io unico restituisce a nulla tutto ciò che non è, e questo nulla è precisamente il proprio nulla, il nulla dell’io.
Stirner è troppo dialettico per pensare in termini che non sono proprietà, alienazione e riappropriazione. Ma anche troppo esigente nel non vedere dove porta questo pensiero: all’io che non è nulla, al nichilismo. Quindi il problema di Marx, nell’Ideologia tedesca, trova uno dei suoi significati più importanti: per Marx si tratta di fermare questo scivolone fatale.

Accetta la scoperta di Stirner, la dialettica come teoria dell’io. Ad un certo punto, dà la ragione a Stirner: la specie umana di Feuerbach rimane un’alienazione. Ma l’io di Stirner, a sua volta, è un’astrazione, una proiezione di egoismo borghese. Marx elabora la sua famosa dottrina del sé condizionato: la specie e l’individuo, l’essere generico e il particolare, il sociale e l’egoismo, sono riconciliati nell’io condizionato secondo le relazioni storiche e sociali. È abbastanza? Qual è la specie e chi è un individuo? La dialettica ha trovato un punto di equilibrio e di arrivo, o solo un ultimo avatar, l’avatar socialista prima della conclusione nichilista?

È davvero difficile fermare la dialettica e la storia sul pendio comune con cui si trascinano l’uno sull’altro: Marx fa qualcosa se non un’ultima tappa prima della fine, la tappa proletaria?

Merleau-Ponty ha scritto un bellissimo libro “Le avventure della dialettica”. Tra le altre cose, denuncia l’avventura oggettivista, che si appoggia “all’illusione di una negazione fatta nella storia e al suo soggetto” o che “concentra tutta la negatività in una formazione storica esistente: la classe proletaria”. Questa illusione implica necessariamente la formazione di un corpo qualificato: “i funzionari del negativo”. Ma se vogliamo mantenere la dialettica sul terreno della soggettività e dell’intersoggettività movibile, è molto dubbio che sfuggirà al nichilismo organizzato. Ci sono figure di coscienza che sono già funzionari del negativo.
La dialettica ha meno avventure che rappresentazioni; naturalista o ontologica, oggettiva o soggettiva, direbbe Nietzsche, nichilista per principio; e l’immagine che offre di positività è sempre un’immagine negativa o invertita.




RIVOLTA DELLO SCHIAVO NELLA MORALITÀ

Nella Genealogia della morale, Friedrich Nietzsche, afferma che “la rivolta degli schiavi nella moralità inizia quando il risentimento stesso diventa creativo e genera valori” (GM Saggio 1, 10). Questa idea di risentimento è prevalente nella filosofia di Nietzsche perché corrisponde all’idea della moralità del padrone e dello schiavo e, soprattutto, spiega come gli schiavi inferiori siano in grado di superare i maestri superiori e cambiare la moralità dominante con la moralità degli schiavi.

Il risentimento è la forza trainante che causa la ribellione e l’odio degli schiavi a ribellarsi ai padroni superiori e nobili. Mentre Nietzsche tenta nella Genealogia della morale “di produrre una storia delle origini della moralità” ( GM Saggio 1; 1), la moralità non è mai assoluta e i valori cambiano nel tempo.

Le “Rivoluzioni” si verificano, e quindi cambiano i valori attuali dell’umanità. Il risentimento, in un certo senso, è il catalizzatore che provoca una rivoluzione nella morale. Ma cos’è esattamente il risentimento e qual è questa “forza creativa” del risentimento che Nietzsche descrive nella Genealogia della morale? Quali valori nascono dopo che questa “forza creativa” dà vita a un nuovo insieme di valori?

Questo testo tenterà di rivelare la rivolta degli schiavi che Nietzsche descrive e come il risentimento sia il meccanismo che determina una rivalutazione della morale. Questo articolo descriverà anche la “forza creativa” che il risentimento provoca negli schiavi nel loro assalto contro i maestri e spiega quali valori nascono. Il documento spiegherà le importanti debolezze che questi valori dannosi creano è che danno un senso al ragionamento di Nietzsche per una nuova rivoluzione e rivalutazione della morale.

Nietzsche sviluppò metodicamente il concetto di risentimento analizzando la storia umana e l’emergere di ciò che egli descrive come “moralità degli schiavi” nella storia umana. Esso critica il cosiddetto “ideale ascetico” che la moralità degli schiavi sostiene per la disumanizzazione della razza umana. Ma come ha fatto questo “ideale ascetico” a dominare la moralità attuale in primo luogo? Nietzsche spiega che la rivolta degli schiavi e della classe inferiore ha portato a questo ideale. Per comprendere la rivolta degli schiavi che Nietzsche descrive, la morale del padrone e quella dello schiavo devono essere definiti. Nietzsche definisce la morale del padrone come la moralità del volitivo. Questi individui particolari apprezzano la nobiltà, la forza, il coraggio, la sicurezza e il potere come “buoni” e considerano la debolezza, la meschinità e la codardia come “cattivi”.

Nella Genealogia della morale, Nietzsche afferma che “il nobile- tipo di uomo- sperimenta se stesso come valore determinante; non ha bisogno di approvazione; giudica “ciò che mi fa del male è dannoso in sé”; sa di essere ciò che prima accorda l’onore alle cose; è creazione di valore “(GM Saggio 1; 11). In questo senso, la morale del padrone è il riconoscimento che il maestro misura tutte le cose, essendo quello “che è solo” (BGE, parte 6; 210).

I maestri possono essere pensati come creatori, mentre gli schiavi possono essere pensati come individui che reagiscono semplicemente alle condizioni di oppressione create dai maestri. In contrasto con la moralità, del padrone, la morale dello schiavo ha origine in persone deboli e incerte su se stesse, oppresse e maltrattate dai maestri. A causa di questa oppressione, gli schiavi sviluppano e possiedono caratteristiche di pessimismo e scetticismo che li rendono sospettosi di tutto ciò che i loro padroni considerano “buoni”. La moralità degli schiavi può essere vista essenzialmente utilitaristica perché il bene è ciò che è preferibile per tutti (GM Saggio 1 2).

I maestri che aderiscono alla morale del padrone sono molto pochi rispetto alle masse degli schiavi che aderiscono alla moralità degli schiavi. I deboli possono ottenere potere sui forti trattando i “buoni valori” della moralità del padrone come intrinsecamente “cattivi” e i valori che consentono ai deboli e alle sofferenze di sopportare e migliorare la propria vita come intrinsecamente “buoni”. Questa è la “rivolta degli schiavi” in moralità, “un’era di odio risentito da parte degli schiavi contro i nobili maestri volitivi.

Le buone qualità dell’eccellenza e il potere riverito dei maestri sono considerati “cattivi” e la sopravvivenza della gente comune è considerata “buona”. Come diceva Nietzsche, I ” nobili “si sentivano” felici “; non dovevano stabilire artificialmente la loro felicità esaminando i loro nemici, o persuadersi, ingannare se stessi, che erano felici (come tutti gli uomini di ressentiment hanno l’abitudine di fare) “(GM Saggio 1; 10). Ironia della sorte, le definizioni di “cattivo” e “male” per il maestro e lo schiavo morale, fingono di essere gli opposti della stessa parola “buono”. Come sottolinea Nietzsche, tuttavia, “cattivo” e “male” sono opposti e due concezioni completamente diverse di cosa è buono.

Nietzsche afferma che la causa della “rivolta degli schiavi nella moralità” è il risentimento. Esistono molteplici definizioni filosofiche del risentimento, ma Nietzsche lo considera uno stato di sentimenti e desideri sommessi che diventano la fonte generativa di valori. Il risentimento è una riassegnazione del dolore creato quando un individuo percepisce la propria inferiorità e il fallimento lo proietta su un capro espiatorio. L’ego dell’individuo crea l’illusione di un nemico che è la “causa” della sua incapacità. Dando la colpa al capro espiatorio, questo porta l’individuo a desiderare la vendetta o la possibilità di vendetta contro questo nemico.

Nietzsche afferma che questo “desiderio” di vendetta può assumere molteplici forme, come la concezione socialista della rivoluzione e la concezione del Cristianesimo della Fine dei Giorni e del Giudizio Finale. In effetti, il risentimento è dilagante in gran parte del pensiero nietzscheano, specialmente riguardo all’ebraismo e al cristianesimo. Credeva che sia il giudaismo che il cristianesimo nacquero dai desideri degli schiavi nell’invertire l’attuale morale del padrone nel mondo e per stabilire la supremazia della debolezza sulla forza. Nietzsche fornisce un paio di esempi di questo processo. Ad esempio, la posizione di debolezza del giudaismo all’interno dell’Impero Romano era la derivazione del suo ressentiment.

La forza e la potenza dell’Impero Romano non potevano mai essere vinti, il che ha causato l’inferiorità della Giudea manifestandosi come odio per i Romani. Questa manifestazione causò odio per la superiorità romana, che a sua volta fece sì che gli ebrei li considerassero “cattivi” solo perché i romani esibivano qualità maestre. Nietzsche credeva anche che il Cristianesimo fosse responsabile della caduta dell’Impero Romano perché il risentimento cristiano portò l’inversione di valori come il potere e la forza.

Come diceva Nietzsche a proposito delle opinioni Giudaiche e Cristiane, “solo chi soffre è buono; i poveri, gli impotenti, i sommessi sono le uniche persone buone; le sofferenze, i bisognosi, i malati, i brutti sono anche le uniche persone pie; solo loro sono benedetti da Dio; solo per loro c’è la salvezza. Al contrario, voi persone privilegiate e potenti, siete per tutta l’eternità il malvagio, il crudele, il lascivo, l’insaziabile, l’ateo; sarete anche i non benedetti, i maledetti e i dannati per l’eternità “(GM Saggio 1 10). Se il risentimento è la causa dell’odio contro il volitivo, in che modo il risentimento diventa una forza creativa che “dà alla luce i valori?”

È più facile comprendere il risentimento dello schiavo e la forza creatrice contrapponendo il disprezzo percepito dai maestri nei confronti degli schiavi. Secondo Nietzsche, i maestri non si preoccupano dei “cattivi” e della moralità del padrone che diventa semplicemente una ponderazione. I maestri guardano dall’alto in basso gli schiavi con mera mancanza di rispetto.

“L’uomo nobile non può prendere sul serio i suoi nemici, le sue disgrazie, anche le sue cattive azioni – questo è il marchio di una natura forte e completa, in cui c’è un eccedenza di potere plastico, creativo, di guarigione, così come il potere di dimenticare “(GM Saggio 1; 10). I maestri non si preoccupano affatto degli schiavi. In contrasto con i maestri, il risentimento degli schiavi è una fame che consuma. Avvelena la loro mente e li rende scettici, pessimisti e amareggiati.

A differenza dei maestri che si limitano a scrollarsi di dosso il disprezzo, il risentimento degli schiavi è al centro di tutta la loro energia e attenzione. Ciò determina la forza creativa del risentimento, l’uso di ogni mezzo necessario, in modi creativi come attraverso la fede e il benessere spirituale, per rovesciare i valori dominanti dei maestri “arroganti” e “cattivi” e sostituirli con i valori degli “umili” e “solo” schiavi.

Il risentimento è indubbiamente la forza creativa centrale dietro la concezione di Nietzsche della moralità degli schiavi. Un esempio di questa forza creativa in azione si trova nel cristianesimo.

Per Nietzsche, il cristianesimo e le sue pratiche ascetiche sono la corona del risentimento ebraico. Nietzsche, nella Genealogia della Morale, traccia la nascita degli ideali cristiani attraverso il risentimento affermando che “gli ebrei, questo popolo sacerdotale, che in opposizione ai loro nemici e conquistatori erano alla fine soddisfatti di una radicale rivalutazione dei valori dei loro nemici, intendo questo, come un atto di vendetta più spirituale. Solo questo era appropriato per codesto popolo sacerdotale, popolo che incarnava la vendetta sacerdotale più profondamente repressa “(GM Saggio 1; 7).

Con l’emergere del Cristianesimo, la riuscita rivolta degli schiavi nella moralità fa nascere un nuovo insieme di valori e virtù. Il metodo innovativo con cui la rivolta degli schiavi cristiani è stata in grado di respingere le virtù morali del maestro come l’onore, il prestigio, il potere politico, la ricchezza, la forza, la bellezza e l’orgoglio, caratteristiche dei nobili romani “maestri”, attraverso la manipolazione delle masse e lo sforzo della fede, ha portato gli umili schiavi a innalzarsi contro i padroni.

Il ressentiment portò la forza creativa che alla fine aiutò gli schiavi a rovesciare i padroni, e così nacque un insieme di nuovi valori e virtù. Ma quali sono esattamente questi nuovi valori? Le virtù e il “bene” legati alla odiata nobiltà vennero odiati come “cattivi” mentre i tratti e i valori trovati pratici per la sopravvivenza assoluta dei deboli sono elevati allo stato di “virtuosi”. Pertanto, la debolezza del soggiogato è completamente alterato in virtù, mentre la forza e il potere originali del nobile sono considerati peccaminosi e malvagi diventando così la moralità del Cristianesimo.

I valori che nascono dalla forza creativa del risentimento sono i valori cristiani di “sacrificio di sé”, “amore” e così via. Nietzsche sostiene che l’istituzione del cristianesimo ha imbastardito gli insegnamenti di Gesù e ha creato valori dall’interno dei suoi insegnamenti che intrinsecamente rendono gli individui deboli e asserviti. Questo, secondo Nietzsche, è la più grande debolezza dei valori che nascono dalla rivolta degli schiavi nella moralità. Nietzsche afferma chiaramente che “il cristianesimo è nato per illuminare il cuore; ma ora deve prima appesantire il cuore così come dopo essere in grado di alleggerirlo. Di conseguenza, perirà “(Umano s.119).

La critica alla moralità degli schiavi deriva dal fatto che si sviluppa nella negazione e l’odio ed elude la realtà presente. Alle masse più deboli viene promessa una vita ultraterrena e questo diventa il punto focale di tutta la loro speranza. Affidandosi a questa vita ultraterrena, gli schiavi mettono la loro fede in un essere metafisico che nemmeno a malapena pensa a loro. Questa mancanza di enfasi su se stessi e sul presente è la critica più diffusa dell’attuale sistema di valori morali. Di conseguenza, Nietzsche afferma che l’Europa è stata contagiata dalla moralità degli schiavi, che l’ha resa insipida e monotona perché ha abbandonato ogni senso di ambizione e di presente.

Nel libro di Nietzsche, L’Anticristo, esso si sforza di capire come il cristianesimo sia diventato l’ideologia creata da istituzioni come le chiese e come queste chiese non abbiano incarnato la vita di Gesù Cristo. Fa un’importante distinzione tra la religione del Cristianesimo e Gesù. A differenza dei pensatori agnostici e atei dell’Illuminismo che consideravano il cristianesimo come falso, Nietzsche andò oltre e affermò che Paolo l’Apostolo riproduceva la religione come arma psicologica all’interno dell’Impero Romano.

“Il risultato, espresso in termini morali-psicologici, è” altruismo “,” santificazione “; ed espresso in termini fisiologici: ipnotismo. È il tentativo di raggiungere per gli esseri umani qualcosa che si avvicina a quello che è il letargo invernale per alcuni tipi di animali e il sonno estivo per molte piante nei climi caldi, il minimo consumo e lavorazione di materiale che può ancora sostenere la vita ma che in realtà non entra nella coscienza. A questo scopo è stata spesa una quantità incredibile di energia umana. È servito a qualcosa? “(GM Saggio 3; 17).

Questa è una forma di vendetta nascosta causata dal risentimento. L’istituzione del cristianesimo entra in contrasto con Gesù, che Nietzsche considerava un individuo eccezionale che aveva stabilito la propria condotta morale. Nietzsche potrebbe aver visto Gesù come un potenziale Oltreuomo. A differenza dell’Oltreuomo che abbraccia l’idea della vita, Gesù nega la realtà per “il regno di Dio”. Il rifiuto di Gesù di difendersi gli impedisce di raggiungere la possibilità dell’Oltreuomo e induce il cristianesimo a usare Gesù in modo terribile per manipolarlo semplicemente come mezzo per un fine. Nietzsche analizza la storia cristiana e scopre che col passare del tempo, gli insegnamenti di Gesù diventano distorti ancora di più. Trasformando Gesù in martire e la sua vita in una storia di redenzione per l’umanità, gli Apostoli presero il controllo delle masse. Nietzsche ritiene che questo atto degli Apostoli sia rozzo, offensivo e codardo. Conclude che nel diciannovesimo secolo il cristianesimo ha il mondo comandato dalla moralità degli schiavi e non da quella del padrone, un’inversione totale di ciò che il mondo dovrebbe essere.

La grande debolezza secondo Nietzsche è il modo in cui la svalutazione della vita è causata dalla moralità degli schiavi. Il risentimento cristiano ci porta lontano da noi stessi e dal presente e pone la nostra attenzione in cose banali.

Sebbene il risentimento possa essere usato per portare una rivoluzione di nuovi valori e valori morali per migliorare il progresso dell’umanità, il risentimento cristiano ha solo scoraggiato lo sviluppo umano. Per questo diventiamo meno assertivi, creativi e motivati. Crea persone che non sono più indirizzate a migliorare se stesse. Questo a sua volta crea più schiavi e meno padroni che Nietzsche ritiene distrugga qualsiasi forma di progresso umano. Nondimeno, c’è bisogno di una rivalutazione dei valori prima che l’umanità sia annientata dalla morale degli schiavi.




TRANSHUMANISM AS HUMANISM-HYPERHUMANISM OR POSTHUMANISM

ADVERTISED GOAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the following paragraphs, Babich raises a fascinating and important question:

In this (an sich inherently optimistic when it is not inherently calculating or manipulative) regard, the transhumanist movement turns out of course to be another humanism, using the term as Sartre once spoke of Existentialism as a Humanism.

Hence and at least in principle, human enhancement may be regarded, if only for the sake of argument, as corresponding to “enhancement for all,” like “micro-chips for all” or “security searches for all.

Ultimately, as Leibniz might help remind us, such a broad extension would lead to a society not of “enhanced” but and much rather of leveled or flattened out humanity.”

Firstly, she claims that transhumanism is just another type of humanism. It is a difficult and important question whether transhumanism ought to be seen in the tradition of humanism, whether it could be described as a hyperhumanism or whether it is a particular variant of posthumanism. In my book series Beyond Humanism: Trans- and Posthumanism (Peter Lang Publishing) authors address questions related to the clarification of the various types of humanism and how one can go beyond humanism.

Secondly, it is noteworthy that Babich claims that transhumanism leads to a “flattened out humanity”, the critique that transhumanism leads to a Gattaca type of utopia comes up more regularly in the Academic literature. I assume that she has in mind the following issue.

 

PROMOTING IDENTICAL CONSUMER TASTES

The following statement of Babich might clarify further what she means when she worries that transhumanism leads to a “flattened out humanity”:

Sorgner argues that Nietzsche would back this enhanced “accessory” life, as the transhumanist life for all and sundry. But, and this is why Nietzsche gives us food for thought, at the same time, I think it is plain that Nietzsche sidesteps any such advocacy.

I did not claim that Nietzsche would hold such an “accessory” life, if he lived now. I did not claim either that Babich’s presentation of an enhanced “accessory” life bears significant similarities to what Nietzsche upholds. Neither is it my claim that the main concern of transhumanists is to live in accord with Babich’s vision of an ““accessory” life”. Transhumanists aim for an enhancement of cognitive and physiological capacities, a widening of the human health span and a promotion of human emotional faculties so that the likelihood of the coming about of the posthuman increases.

The transhumanist goal does not necessarily include having the latest iphone applications. What Babich refers to as “accessory life” is not a goal transhumanists primarily aim for, and neither is it a value which Nietzsche upholds. A separate but related issue was referred to by Babich in the following statement:

So far from tools for conviviality or the transmission of a collective culture of human flourishing, we find our schools promulgate identical consumer tastes for identical consumer goods now globally projected in a world of limited resources.

 

“identical consumer tastes”. This might be the goal of certain technological companies, but I do not see that transhumanists are in the least interested in it.

 

HUMANIST DUALITIES IN TRANSHUMANIST POSITIONS

As Babich holds that transhumanists promote identical consumer tastes, she claims that transhumanism is a variant of humanism, if I understand her correctly. However, transhumanists do not promote identical consumer tastes, which were one of her reasons for making this judgment. Still, there might be some reasons for affirming that transhumanism belongs to the humanist tradition or can even be seen as a type of hyperhumanism.

One technology, which is being seen as a promising one for promoting the prolongation of our lives and also for other enhancement purposes by many transhumanists, is that of mind uploading. The hypothetical process of mind uploading occurs when a conscious mind gets scanned, copied and then transferred from the brain onto a computational device. Some scholars hold that in this way human beings can continue to exist in the digital realm, other claim that the mind after having been uploaded to a computational device can be transferred back to a new organic brain.

What I am interested in in this context, are the anthropological implications of this claim. It seems as if scholars who affirm this version of mind uploading have the tendency to affirm a dualist understanding of human beings with a mind on the one hand and a brain on the other hand from which the mind can get separated. If this is the case, then transhumanism can be seen as a kind of humanism, because humanism, as I understand the concept, relies upon a world constituted out of dualist concepts: mind-brain, matter-spirit, good-evil. It can even be described as a type of hyperhumanism, whereby hyperhumanism is to be understood as a radical and even more extreme version of humanism.

 

I, as a metahumanist, also regard myself as a weak transhumanist. However, I think that humanism has to be in conflict with transhumanism, and it would be in the interest of transhumanists, if they integrated a post- or metahumanist anthropology into their understanding of the world. In contrast to humanism, post- and metahumanism reject dualities and hence also a dualist understanding of human beings. As most transhumanists affirm a naturalist, this-worldly or relational understanding of the world, they cannot be humanists.

Due to their this-worldly understanding of the world, they also have to conceptualize human beings in this manner, which means that it is more in tune with their other views to assume that human beings have an embodied mind, as it is being described by Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch.

Hence, if tranhumanists held a posthumanist anthropology, they would be more consistent within their worldview. Consequently, I can claim that transhumanism ought not to be understood as a type of humanism, as Babich claims.

A further reason has to be mentioned for regarding transhumanism as a variety of humanism. Most transhumanists agree that transhumanism belongs to the Enlightenment tradition, because of the central relevance of reason and the employment of rational methods. Even though this self-understanding is being widely shared by transhumanists, I doubt that it corresponds to many of their basic premises. The Enlightenment tradition is based upon a dualist understanding of human beings with the rational immaterial soul, on the one hand, and a material body on the other one. Kant as one of the leading Enlightenment humanists affirms exactly this radically dualist anthropology.

Most transhumanists, on the other hand, hold a naturalist understanding of human beings, which clearly undermines the dominant Enlightenment anthropology. Hence, it can be stressed  that concerning certain fundamental premises transhumanism is in disagreement with the Enlightenment humanist tradition, even though both outlooks have a high estimation of reason. Still, you do not have to be an Enlightenment humanist to value reason and rational discourses. Due to these insights, the similarities between posthumanism and transhumanism seem to me as stronger than the ones between transhumanism and humanism.




TECHNOLOGICAL SINGULARITY

ADVERTISED GOAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next issue Babich raises within her article is a very important one because it concentrates on the content of the ideal of the good, which is connected to transhumanism, and not only the formal role of the good with which I dealt in section 3:

Beyond Sloterdijk, the message of Kurzweil’s vision of the ‘technological singularity’ as it has been embraced by (at least some elements of) popular culture, when it is not the message of the genome project or stem cells, is indeed anthropotechnics, which is all about not becoming the one you are but, and to be sure becoming the one you wish you were, becoming the one you should have been all along. Call this the Harry Potter effect, or everyone is a boy wizard, quidditch player, best in sports, all secret greatness and unfair discrimination, at least, in the germ, at least after the singularity.

According to Babich, transhumanists are in favor of “becoming the one you wish you were, becoming the one you should have been all along” which is supposed to be different from Nietzsche’s demand to “become who you are”:

Thus Nietzsche excludes the kind of transhumanism Sorgner and others speak of, because and exactly qua “enhancement,” it transpires that what is meant by transhumanism is no kind of self-overcoming.

Overcoming and not enhancing the human (or perhaps better said, the all-too-human) is the meaning of the over-human as the meaning not of the human but of the earth. In part this is the meaning of Pindar’s word to the seldom encountered, that would be the few, that would be Pindar’s word spoken to the rare: become the one you are.

She implies that the transhumanists’ goal is linked to the following utopian vision:

Everything will be perfect after the revolution.

She repeats the claim in a different way in the following two statements:

transhuman is the transitional human, on the way to a perfect model that the marketing department, rather like the iphone…

Much rather, have we perfected the body, so say the last men, and, as Nietzsche tells us, they blink.

 

Hence, she claims that there is one strong, and detailed ideal of the good which is associated with the concept of enhancement and enhancement is only enhancement when it leads toward this perfect ideal, and in a sense, she is right, because it is the case that Bostrom does uphold such an ideal, as I pointed out before in the Beyond Humanism article:

Bostrom stresses the Renaissance ideal as a concept of the good that is worth aspiring to.

Actually, there are reasons for holding that Nietzsche has a similar ideal in mind, as he regularly stresses the relevance of the classical type or ideal. When Nietzsche compares the qualities of geniuses and higher human beings in Zarathustra, it also becomes clear that a fully developed and flourishing Renaissance human being is what he associates with his ideal of the good which is worth aspiring for.

There seem to be some central similarities between Nietzsche’s position and that of some transhumanists, because both identify the Renaissance ideal or the classical type with the good, which is worth aspiring for. Given that this is an appropriate reconstruction of both concepts of the good, it becomes relevant to make further inquiries concerning the epistemological status of this concept of the concept of the good within both of their philosophies. As we noted earlier, both Nietzsche and Bostrom do not claim universal validity for their views of the good, which also implies that these concepts should not contain universal moral duties.

However, this judgment is not valid for all transhumanists or transhumanist friendly thinkers. Savulescu’s concept of the good has a different epistemological status. He holds that there is a universally valid account of the good, which he has grasped and which he includes in a central moral principle of his, the principle of procreative beneficence. However, in contrast to Nietzsche and Bostrom, his view of the good is a much less detailed one, because it merely stresses the relevance of intelligence, memory and health. Still, I think that even a weak universal account of the good has morally problematic implications.

A stronger account of the good with a weaker epistemological status, as it is being upheld by Bostrom, does not lead to a universally valid moral duty, and hence I regard it as less problematic than Savulescu’s position. If Bostrom, however, wishes to employ his strong and detailed account of the good for creating moral or maybe even political obligations, then the issue would be different and his position would have to be seen as a dangerous one. As long as he merely advocates and advertises his stronger account of the good, as I think he is, the worries concerning his position do not have to be serious ones.

The question concerning the content of the concept of the good which is being used for moral and political judgments is a highly problematic one, and much more could be said about it, but I plan give a more detailed account of that topic in a later publication. As I alluded to in this section, I think that it depends a lot on the epistemological status of one’s concept of the good, how problematic it is. If someone holds that he has grasped a universally valid truth, then his position is far more problematic and dangerous as someone else’s position, which implies that what he upholds is not a certain truth but rather a plausible position which he himself regards as subject to revision given new and further information.

What is important to realize here is the following. Some transhumanists as well as Nietzsche identify the classical or the Renaissance ideal with the good life. However, they also relativize this insight by stressing that it is not universally valid. This aspect is being considered when Nietzsche stresses the need to become who you are: It is in each person’sinterest to consider the needs of his body and to live in accordance with them. In transhumanists’ reflections, this aspect is being taken into consideration by stressing the norm of negative freedom on a political level: Many concepts of the good life are valid, and it ought to be possible for human beings to realize them. On the one hand, there is the affirmation of the classical or Renaissance ideal of the good life, but on the other hand, the realization that a plurality of views of the good is valid. Hence the goal of becoming who you are and the goal of becoming who you wish you were can both be found in Nietzsche’s philosophy as well as in transhumanist reflections.

 

 

 




THE NEW WORLD

ADVERTISED GOAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I have shown in the last section, Nietzsche still gets associated with totalitarianism by many educated people and intellectuals and hence many thinkers do not wish to get associated with Nietzsche. There are also some scholars who claim that totalitarian motives can be found within transhumanism, and Babich belongs to this group of scholars when she argues as follows:

Sorgner could do worse than to turn to Sloterdijk’s Critique of Cynical Reason, in particular the bits at the end where Sloterdijk is at pains to show that then-popular futurists like Alwin Toffler and Marshall McLuhan, muchlike today’s Kurzweil,were themselves dependent upon an earlier generation of thinkers, not so much cold war thinkers but pre-World War II thinkers, including Friedrich Dessauer, but also Walter Rathaus, and Adrien Turel in a decidedly uncanny context that turns out to be nothing less than the crucible for the particular fascism that grew out of the Weimar Republic as Sloterdijk discusses it.

 

Babich claims that fascism had grown out of futurism and that there are parallels between earlier futurists and later transhumanist futurists. Hence she implies that there is the risk that a new type of fascism can grow out of contemporary transhumanism, which she stresses explicitly in the following statement:

Here we note the very specific (and very popularly Nietzschean) “faith” in science and especially industrial, corporate, capitalist technology that has, if we read Sloterdijk aright, been with us since the interregnum between the two wars which is again and also to say that such a vision is fascist through and through.

 

It is not the case that I cannot understand the worry that transhumanism can lead to a totalitarian system, but I do not think that a logical and necessary connection is given between these two types of structures as she wishes to make us belief. In addition, I do not think that fascism is the appropriate word to use here, as fascism implies both authoritarianism and nationalism.

Transhumanism clearly is no movement that could be in favor of nationalism. However, her judgment would have to be considered more carefully, if Babich had used the term totalitarianism instead of fascism, because the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley clearly shows that technological innovations can lead to a totalitarian system.The movie Gattaca reveals another danger, which Babich also has inmind and which often is associated with biotechnological innovations, namely a social order which includes a hierarchical ranking of members of different groups:

Most of us are not sure how that difference would make a difference to those who might be considered differently valued “subhuman” by comparison with the supposed “over-” human (like overclocking, it all depends).

Even though I can understand her worry, I do not think that it is one, which ought to lead to the decision to stop making scientific and biotechnological research. There are two central reasons for me to hold this position:

Firstly, it needs to be pointed out that there are political ways of regulating technological innovations such that they do not lead to social injustice or to a breaking up of the norm of equality. One option was developed in detail by James Hughes in his book Citizen Cyborg in which he develops a liberal social democratic version of transhumanism.

How can technologies get dealt with without them bringing about totalitarian structures within a society? One enhancement technique which we have already is vaccinations. Future enhancement technologies could get treated analogously to the way we deal with vaccinations today; e.g. in Germany vaccinations have not been obligatory during the previous decades. However, as most vaccinations are relatively safe and beneficial, it is possible for all citizens to get the ones that are most relevant for free, because they will be paid for by the public health insurance. The ones which are not directly relevant for everyone can be paid for by the public health insurance in certain circumstances. However, there are also other more specialized vaccinations, which have tobe paid for privately. Analogously future enhancement technologies can get dealt with so that all citizens can be able to have access to them, if they wish to use them.

Secondly, a different line of thought can become relevant, too, which reveals that further technological innovations do not have to lead to a two class society. The best examples here are mobile phones. Thirty years ago they were available only to high profile managers and their use was very expensive. Nowadays, the majority of Western citizens has a mobile phone and is able to use it due to the low costs of its use. This shows that if an innovation is reliable, useful and functional, then the demand and production will rise such that it will also gradually get cheaper. If mobile phones have developed in this direction, it is likely that the development of successful enhancement technologies will take a similar route.

 

Hence, as successful enhancement technologies can be distributed equally either by means of the public health system or by them becoming so cheap that they become widely available, the nightmare of a totalitarian technological world does not have to occur. Some critics might still claim that by a widespread use of enhancement technologies, others will implicitly be forced to also use these technologies without them wishing to do so.

These critics are right in pointing out this consequence. However, it does not have to be a morally problematic consequence, as we can see in the case of laptops and computers. Twenty years ago it was not obligatory for University students to deliver their papers written on a computer in a certain style. Nowadays, the option of handing in a handwritten paper is no longer available, as it would be declined by most university teachers. Hence, as a student you are forced to use a computer. Does this means that in this case morally problematic totalitarian tendencies are at work? I do not think so.

The computer is a reliable and useful device, which has become so cheap that it is available to most citizensof Western countries. Other enhancement technologies might develop in a similar direction.

A further counterexample against the use value of technological innovations is the fact that not all technologies become reliable and successful and some might even have grave and dangerous implications. This judgment is correct, of course. However, is this danger, which is connected to all technological innovations, a reason for no longer working on projects which lead to scientific and biotechnological progress? I do not think so. 250 years ago, we did not have vaccinations. I am very happy that these have been developed. Yeah! 150 years ago antibiotics had not been made. I am more than glad living at a time at which we have antibiotics. Yeah. Each technology brings with it new dangers.

However, I think that the advances technologies brought with it during the previous 1000 years are praiseworthy. I would not wish to live without them anymore. However, I can imagine a future in which we have even further developed technologies and medical possibilities, which can help human beings in many respects. Hence, I am very much in favor of scientific and biotechnological research, which can be beneficial in many respects. Given the above listed reflections, I do not think that the fear of a future totalitarian system, which was established because of technological innovations, is one which ought to be dominant. I think that it is useful and important to have this worry in mind so that scientists continue to progress with great care, but I definitely do not think that this worry ought to should stop us from making further scientific research.

 

 




THE FUTURE OF HUMAN NATURE

ADVERTISED GOAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this section I make some further remarks about this topic by considering the role of Nietzsche within the German bioethics debates.

Babich criticises me for not considering sufficiently Sloterdijk in the articles in question. (“as he also excludes Peter Sloterdijk”) She is right that Sloterdijk deserves detailed attention concerning this topic but not with respect to the work she has in mind:

 

Sorgner could do worse than to turn to Sloterdijk’s Critique of Cynical Reason.

 

 

I already published two articles in English in which I considered Sloterdijk’s philosophy, and one of them was an in depth treatment of the Critique of Cynical Reason.However, I regard his infamous speech Rules for the Human Zoo as far more important in this context, because it was responsible for starting a bigger public debate concerning the moral challenges of biotechnologies and enhancement techniques, it dealt with Nietzsche and it was referred to by Habermas in his little monograph on liberal eugenics.

 

In one section of his treatise The Future of Human Nature Habermas mentions a bunch of mad intellectuals who develop further a very German ideology by putting forward a naturalist type of posthumanism.

He also stresses that luckily this position, which comes along with Nietzschean type of breeding fantasies, has not yet gained broader support by the public according to him. By referring to a naturalist type of posthumanism he means transhumanism in whose context he sees Sloterdijk, because he cites passages from Sloterdijk’s rules for the human zoo speech without mentioning Slotersdijk’s name. This paragraph is particularly interesting because it reveals several problematic intuitions and false claims. I will point out three challenges related to the passages.

 

Firstly, it needs to be mentioned that the procedures he deals with are not posthumanist ones but transhumanist ones. Whereas posthumanism is embedded in the tradition of continental philosophy, transhumanism is mainly part of the Anglo-American bioethics scene. This does not mean that the two movements have nothing in common. However, the relationship between them is a complex one, and it will be dealt with in detail in the forthcoming collection Post- and Transhumanism: An Introduction, which will be edited by Robert Ranisch and myself and which will come out in my book series Beyond Humanism: Trans- and Posthumanism

 

Secondly, in his speech Rules for the Human Zoo Sloterdijk merely stresses the relevance of dealing ethically with questions concerning biotechnologies. He did not make any strong normative claims in this context. In a later speech on human perfection which he gave on December 6th, 2005 at the University of Tübingen, he made clear that concerning normative judgments he is in agreement with Habermas’ position by regarding gene technologies as morally appropriate for therapeutic purposes but morally problematic for enhancement ones. Hence, Sloterdijk clearly is not a transhumanist.

 

What was seen as problematic concerning Sloterdijk’s text on the human zoo and, which was also responsible for it to cause such a massive public debate in Germany, was the fact that he referred to Plato, Nietzsche and Heidegger, who are still seen as defenders of a totalitarian state system from the perspective of many Germans and also a lot of German intellectuals today. In addition, he employed a terminology (human zoo, breeding etc.) which did not help bring about a different impression on the reader either. Hence, it was mostly his rhetoric and style, which was responsible for bringing about the famous Habermas-Sloterdijk-debate rather than the content of the text.

In the context of the Nietzsche and transhumanism debate this fact is interesting. Just by referring to Nietzsche, Sloterdijk was regarded as a transhumanist by Habermas. Habermas also identifies transhumanism with Nietzschean breeding fantasies. The transhumanist Bostrom, on the other hand, does not regard Nietzsche as an ancestor of transhumanism.

Hence, it becomes clear why many thinkers do not wish to play with poor Freddy because he is widely regarded as a morally problematic or even dangerous thinker by many educated people today.

Thirdly, Habermas’ remark needs to get criticized because he thinks that transhumanism has not yet gained a broader intellectual support. This might be a correct judgment with regard to Germany but it definitely has to get challenged with respect to many other cultures of the world, at least concerning the current state of affairs.

 

Transhumanist publications dominate the Anglo-American academic debate in the field of bioethics and medical ethics, leading transhumanists teach and have permanent posts at some of the best universities of the English speaking world (e.g. University of Oxford), and an intense consideration of transhumanist reflections has taken place in various artisticand cultural realms. Here, I am merely referring to some selected examples: Films: Gattaca; Music: Facing Goya by Michael Nyman; Literature: The Elementary Particles and an immense amount of science fiction literature; Fine Arts: Patricia Piccini’s Still Life with Stem Cells and Alba the fluorescent rabbit by Edouardo Kac. This short overview hints at the broad public awareness and engagement with transhumanist positions, which also shows that Habermas’s judgment can be seen as implausible.

Given the central relevance and presence of Nietzsche with respect to the German bioethical debates concerning genetic enhancement, or as it has been referred to by Habermas “liberal eugenics”, and the dubious reputation Nietzsche still has in many intellectual circles, it becomes clear why many intellectuals do not wish to be associated with him. However, there are similarities between Nietzsche and transhumanism, and I think that one can employ this insight for gaining further knowledge and for making new and more complex reflections on the problematic relationship between human beings and emerging technologies

 

 

 




THE GOOD AS UNIVERSAL CONCEPT OR AS ADVERTISED GOAL

 ADVERTISED GOAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

The question of values and norms within the Nietzsche and transhumanism comparison is a tricky one and one I have not yet considered in its appropriate depth. The following remark from Babich’s text made it clear to me that some further clarifications concerning this topic are needed.

Beyond what he calls “ontological dynamics,” (ibid., 32), Sorgner discovers additional parallels on the level of values, the same level so important for Bostrom as he for his own part argues for a normative appreciation of the transhuman, i.e., and in terms of what it ought be.

 

Babich did not criticise me in this phrase. However, I must point out that there are not only parallels but there can also be differences between the two philosophies in question, e.g. the methods of how transhumanists and how Nietzsche argues for the relevance of the development beyond human beings differs in some cases.

 

Nietzsche does not put forward universal norms. He is a rigid critic of norms. I explained his critique of norms in detail in my most recent Nietzsche monograph Menschenwürde nach Nietzsche.Nietzsche associates norms with slave moralities, which he criticizes. He, on the other hand, puts forward values, as it is done within a master morality, which implies that he does not claim that his values are universally valid. Nietzsche merely puts forward reasons to advertise a certain position concerning the good, and he employs this method also with respect to the overhuman by putting forward the suggestion that the overhuman is the meaning of the earth.

Some transhumanists use a similar method as Nietzsche, e.g. Bostrom who refers to psychological research to support his claim that a person leads a better life, if he has higher capacities, lives longer and so on.

 

Thereby, he does not claim that all people lead a better life, if they have higher capacities, but he merely stresses that the psychological research on which he bases his judgment provide us with a reason for holding that some judgments concerning the good life apply to many people. Given that the research shows that a certain value judgment is widely shared within a society, we do have a reason for making such a judgment while one has to be aware that the judgment is not valid for all people at all times.

Other transhumanists and quite a few bioliberal thinkers put forward stronger positions concerning the good and the moral life, namely that we have a moral duty to use enhancement technologies to promote the good life. In contrast to the above position, here the focus lies on the question of the right whereby it gets connected with a universally valid concept of the good.

Hence, such a position assumes that there is a universally valid concept of the good, and also that we ought to promote it whereby the “ought” is based upon a utilitarian foundation. This position differs from the above concepts, because the above position includes that there is no universally valid concept of the good. In addition, this Utilitarian position demands that the good ought to be promoted from which follows a universal moral imperative to act in a certain manner.

 

The most prominent exponent of this position is the Oxford philosopher Julian Savulescu who is a bio-liberal pupil of Peter Singer but not a transhumanist. Still, he often puts forward positions, which are close to the ones transhumanists affirm. In two influential articles6 he argues in favour of a moralduty to select the child with the best chance of the best life. Savulescu does not advertise the use of enhancement technologies but claims that there is a moral duty to use enhancement technologies to select the child with the best chance of the best life, which is a much stronger claim than the aforementioned one. This view is also supported by some transhumanists.

It needs to be stressed that on a political level both Savulescu and transhumanists (in contrast to Nietzsche) affirm the relevance of the norm of negative freedom, which implies that even though there might be the moral duty to select a certain child, Savulescu would not regard it as appropriate that this moral duty gets politically enforced. Hence, on a political level transhumanists and bio-liberals are liberal thinkers. Still, a wide spectrum of liberal positions can be found among transhumanists in between the libertarian Max More and the liberal social democrat James Hughes.

It was important for me to stress that Nietzsche does not put forward a theory of the good, which he regards as universally valid. He merely puts forward reasons for regarding his position as a plausible one. Bostrom argues analogously with respect to the question of the good whereby he draws upon psychological research to support his point of view. I regard both methods as appropriate ones.

This judgment does not apply to Savulescu’s position, which claims that there are universally valid judgments concerning the good; this is his reason for upholding some universal moral obligations. Even though these obligations are merely pro tanto obligations, they are seen as universally valid obligations. Due to my doubt concerning the possibility of grasping a universally valid concept of the good, I regard his position as problematic. I also think that Savulescu’sposition has some morally problematic consequences (it might have totalitarian implications), if one applies them in a practical context.

 




SLAVE REVOLT IN MORALITY

RISENTIMENTO 2

 

 

 

 

In Friedrich Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals, he states the “the slave revolt in morality begins when ressentiment itself becomes creative and gives birth to values” (GM Essay 1; 10). This idea of ressentiment is prevalent in Nietzsche’s philosophy because it corresponds to the idea of master and slave morality and, most importantly, explains how the lower slaves are able to overcome the higher masters and change the dominant morality to the slave morality. 

Ressentiment is the driving force that causes the anger and hatred of the slaves to rebel against the higher and noble masters. As Nietzsche attempts in Genealogy of Morals “to produce a history of the origins of morality” (GM Essay 1; 1), morality is never absolute and values change over time.

 

“Revolutions” then occur which change humanity’s current values. Ressentiment, in a sense, is the catalyst that causes a revolution within morals. But what is ressentiment exactly and what is this “creative force” of ressentiment that Nietzsche describes within Genealogy of Morals? What values are born after this “creative force” gives birth to a new set of values?

 

This paper will attempt to reveal the slave revolt Nietzsche describes and how ressentiment is the mechanism that brings about a reevaluation of morals. This paper will also describe the “creative force” that ressentiment brings about in the slaves in their assault against the masters and explains what values are born. The paper will explain the important weaknesses that these detrimental values create and make sense of Nietzsche’s reasoning for a new revolution and revaluation in morals.

 

 

 

Nietzsche developed the concept of ressentiment methodically by analyzing human history and the emergence of what he describes as “slave morality” in human history. He criticizes the so-called “ascetic ideal” that slave morality supports for its dehumanization of the human race. But how did this “ascetic ideal” dominate current morality in the first place? Nietzsche explains that the slave revolt of the lower class brought about this ideal. To understand the slave revolt Nietzsche describes, master and slave morality must be defined. 

 

Nietzsche defines master morality as the morality of the strong-willed. These particular individuals value nobility, strength, courage, confidence and power as “good” and consider weakness, pettiness, and cowardice as “bad.”

 

In the Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche states that “the noble type of man experiences itself as determining values; it does not need approval; it judges, ‘what is harmful to me is harmful in itself’; it knows itself to be that which first accords honour to things; it is value-creating” (GM Essay 1; 11). In this sense, master morality is the recognition that the master measures all things, being the one “who stands alone” (BGE Part 6; 210).

 

 

Masters can be thought of as creators while slaves can be thought of as individuals who merely react to conditions of oppression created by the masters. In contrast to master morality, slave morality originates in people who are weak and uncertain of themselves, and oppressed and abused by the masters. Because of this oppression, the slaves develop and possess characteristics of pessimism and skepticism which make them suspicious of anything that their masters value as “good.” Slave morality can be seen as essentially utilitarian because good is what is best for everyone (GM Essay 1; 2).

 

Masters who adhere to the master morality are very few in number compared to the masses of the slaves who adhere to slave morality. The weak can gain power over the strong by treating the “good values” of master morality as inherently “evil” and the values that enable the weak and suffering to endure and improve their lives as inherently “good.” This is the “slave revolt in morality,” an era of resentful hatred by the slaves on the strong-willed, noble masters.

 

The good qualities of excellence and power revered by the masters are considered “evil” and the survival of the common people is considered “good.” As Nietzsche added, “The ‘well-born’ felt themselves to be ‘happy’; they did not have to establish their happiness artificially by examining their enemies, or to persuade themselves, deceive themselves, that they were happy (as all men of ressentiment are in the habit of doing)” (GM Essay 1; 10). Ironically, the definitions of ‘bad’ and ‘evil’ for master and slave morality pretend to be the opposites of the same word ‘good.’ As Nietzsche emphasizes however, ‘bad’ and ‘evil’ are opposites and two completely different conceptions of what is good.

Nietzsche states that the cause of the “slave revolt in morality” is ressentiment. 

 

There are multiple philosophical definitions of ressentiment but Nietzsche holds it as a state of subdued feelings and desires which become the  generative source of values. Ressentiment is a reassignment of pain created when an individual senses his or her own inferiority and failure then projects it onto a scapegoat. The individual’s ego creates an illusion of an enemy that is the “cause” of his or her inadequacy. By issuing blame onto the scapegoat, this leads the individual to desire revenge or the possibility of revenge against this enemy.

 

 

Nietzsche states that this “lust” for revenge can take multiple forms such as the socialist conception of revolution and Christianity’s conception of the End of Days and Final Judgment. In fact, ressentiment is rampant in much of Nietzschean thought, especially regarding Judaism and Christianity. 

 

 

He believed that both Judaism and Christianity were born from the desires of the slaves to invert the current master morality of the world to establish the supremacy of weakness over strength. Nietzsche gives a couple of examples of this process. For example, Judaism’s position of weakness within the Roman Empire was the derivation of its ressentiment.

 

The strength and might of the Roman Empire could never be overpowered which caused Judea’s inferiority to manifest as hatred for the Romans. This manifestation caused hatred for Roman superiority, which in turn caused the Jews to deem them as “evil” just because the Romans were exhibiting master qualities. Nietzsche also believed that Christianity was responsible for the falling of the Roman Empire because Christian ressentiment brought inversion of values such as power and strength.

 

As Nietzsche stated about Judaic and Christian views, “only those who suffer are good; the poor, the powerless, the low are the only good people; the suffering, those in need, the sick, the ugly are also the only pious people; only they are blessed by God; for them alone there is salvation. 

 

 

By contrast, you privileged and powerful people, you are for all eternity the evil, the cruel, the lecherous, the insatiable, the godless-you will also be the unblessed, the cursed, and the damned for all eternity” (GM Essay 1; 10). If ressentiment is the cause of hatred against the strong-willed, how does ressentiment become a creative force that “gives to birth to values?”

 

 

It is easier to understand the slave’s ressentiment and its creative force by contrasting the contempt felt by the masters towards the slaves. In Nietzsche’s view, masters do not concern themselves with the “bad” of the master morality which merely becomes an afterthought. Masters look down on the slaves with mere disrespect.

 

“The noble man cannot take his enemies, his misfortunes, even his bad deeds seriously for very long-that is the mark of strong, complete natures, in whom there is a surplus of plastic, creative, healing power, as well as the power to forget” (GM Essay 1; 10). The masters do not simply care at all about the slaves. In contrast to the masters, the slaves’ ressentiment is a consuming hunger. It poisons their mind and makes them skeptical, pessimistic, and bitter. 

 

Unlike the masters who merely shrug with contempt, the slaves’ ressentiment is the focus of all their energy and attention. This brings about the creative force of ressentiment, the use of any means necessary, in creative ways such as through faith and spiritual well being, to overthrow the dominating values of the “arrogant” and “evil” masters and replace them with the values of “humble” and “just” slaves. Ressentiment is undoubtedly the central creative force behind Nietzsche’s conception of slave morality. An example of this creative force in action is found in Christianity.

 

For Nietzsche, Christianity and its ascetic practices is the crown of Jewish ressentiment. Nietzsche, in Genealogy of Morals, traces the birth of Christian ideals through its ressentiment stating that “the Jews, that priestly people, who in opposing their enemies and conquerors were ultimately satisfied with nothing less than a radical revaluation of their enemies’ values, that is to say, an act of the most spiritual revenge. For this alone was appropriate to a priestly people, the people embodying the most deeply repressed priestly vengefulness” (GM Essay 1; 7). 

 

 

With the emergence of Christianity, the successful slave revolt in morality gives birth to a new set of values and virtues. The innovative way that the Christian slave revolt was able to reject master morality virtues such as honor, prestige, political power, wealth, strength, beauty, and pride, characteristic of ‘master’ Roman noblemen, through the manipulation of the masses and exertion of faith brought the lowly slaves to rise above against the masters.

 

 

Ressentiment brought the creative force that eventually helped the slaves topple the masters, and thus a set of new values and virtues were born. But what are these new values exactly? The virtues and “good”s linked to the hated nobility came to be hated as “evil” while the traits and values found practical for absolute survival of the weak are elevated to the status of being “virtuous.” Therefore, the weakness of the subjugated is completely altered into virtue while the original strength and power of the noble is considered sinful and evil thereby becoming the morality of Christianity.

 

 

The values that are born from the creative force of ressentiment are the Christian values of “self-sacrifice,” “love,” and so forth. Nietzsche argues that the institution of Christianity has bastardized the teachings of Jesus and created values from within his teachings that inherently make weak and subservient individuals. This, according to Nietzsche, is the greatest weakness of the values that are born from the slave revolt in morality. Nietzsche clearly states that “Christianity came into existence in order to lighten the heart; but now it has first to burden the heart so as afterwards to be able to lighten it. Consequently it shall perish” (Human s.119). 

 

 

His criticism of slave morality stems from the fact that it develops out of denial and hatred, and evades the present reality. The weaker masses are promised an afterlife and this afterlife becomes the focal point of all their hope. By putting trust in this afterlife, the slaves put their faith in a metaphysical being who hardly even thinks of them. This lack of emphasis on self and on the present is the most prevalent criticism of the current moral value system. As a result, Nietzsche claims that Europe has been infected by slave morality which has made it insipid and monotonous because it has given up all sense of ambition and the present. 

 

In Nietzsche’s book The Antichrist he struggles to figure out how Christianity has become the ideology created by institutions like the churches and how these churches have failed to embody the life of Jesus Christ. He makes an important distinction between the religion of Christianity and Jesus. Unlike agnostic and atheist thinkers of the Enlightenment who regarded Christianity as false, Nietzsche went beyond this and claimed that Paul the Apostle proliferated the religion as a psychological weapon within the Roman Empire.

 

 

“The result, expressed in moral-psychological terms, is “selflessness,” “sanctification”; and expressed in physiological terms: hypnotism. It is the attempt to attain for human beings something approaching what winter hibernation is for some kinds of animals and what summer sleep is for many plants in hot climates, the minimum consumption and processing of material stuff which can still sustain life but which does not actually enter consciousness. For this purpose an astonishing amount of human energy has been expended. Has it all gone for nothing?” (GM Essay 3; 17).

 

This is a form of concealed revenge brought about by ressentiment. The institution of Christianity comes into contrast with Jesus who Nietzsche regarded as an exceptional individual who established his own moral conduct. Nietzsche may have viewed Jesus as a potential Übermensch¹. 

 

Unlike the Übermensch who embraces the idea of life, Jesus denies reality for “the kingdom of God.” Jesus’ refusal to defend himself strips him away from ever achieving the possibility of Übermensch and causes Christianity to use Jesus in a terrible manner to manipulate him merely as a means to an end. Nietzsche analyzes Christian history and finds that as time goes on, the teachings of Jesus becomes more distorted. By turning Jesus into a martyr and his life into a story of redemption for mankind, the Apostles took control of the masses. Nietzsche finds this act by the Apostles to be crude, offensive, and cowardly. He concludes that by the nineteenth century Christianity has the world dictated by slave morality and not by master morality, a total inversion of what the world should be.

 

 

The greatness weakness according to Nietzsche is the manner in which the devaluation of life is caused by slave morality. The Christian ressentiment brings us away from ourselves and the present and puts our attention into trivial things.

 

 

Though ressentiment may be used to bring a revolution of new values and morals to better the advancement of humanity, the Christian ressentiment has only deterred human development. Because of this we become less assertive, creative, and motivated. It creates people that are no longer driven to improve themselves. This in turn creates more slaves and fewer masters which Nietzsche believes destroys any form of human progress. Nonetheless, there is a need for a revaluation of values before humanity is succumbed by slave morality permanently




THE RAGE OF JEALOUS TIME

BATAILLE 1

 

 

 

 

For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God [Exod XXXIV: 14].

For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God [DeutIV:24].

14. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people whichare round about you.

15. (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the angerof the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from offthe face of the earth [Deut VI].

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen [Ezek XXXVI:5].God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies [Nah 1:2].

 

Amongst the many partial anticipations of the modern thought of the transcendental in antiquity is the jealousy of Jahweh.

 

Extricated from its childish psychological constriction—its commensuration to a personal being—this is one of the few religious thoughts to be found in the history of Western monotheism. To refuse to share, to coexist, to tolerate equivalence; these things are ruthlessly divine. In comparison to Jahweh, the God of the Christians is a wheedler; a door to door salesman. It is true, nevertheless, that the genocidal frenzy with which Jahweh asserts his monopoly can disconcert. Squeamishness is not a charge one can fairly bring against him:

 

 1. When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the mHittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;

2. And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:

3. Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son’ [Deut VII].

16. But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:

17. But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee [Deut XX].

 

 

Jealousy is inextricable from paroxystic violence, historically rooted in national chauvinism, before being sublimed into the cosmological intolerance of a divinity. What does it matter who is instrument here? Whether God serves the annihilating designs of a tribe, or the tribe serves to purify the earth of alien gods? There is no antagonism at the origin, but rather a perfect pact between the election of the chosen people and the brutalsolitude of the unnameable One.

 

What the Jews never understood about this God (the Christians understood it even less of course) was the sovereignty of this jealous wrath. How could these feverish rages be subordinated to an end beyond themselves, to a mere persistence, as if God—too—was subject to inhibition? A God that held himself in check, submitting the splenetic extravagance of his moods to the exigency of being, would be something far less glorious than the sun (he would be humbled by a mediocre star). Each creature uselessly dispensing with its existence would outstrip his prodigality, deepening by a ratchet-notch his hatred for himself.

 

Could such a God glimpsing the impossible sovereignty of his fury—time opening as a dark shaft of impersonal loss—and, howling in utter loathing at the servility of self, restrain from scurrying to a squalid death on the cross?

 

 

God savours himself, says Eckhart. This is possible, but what he savours is, it seems to me, the hatred which he has for himself, to which none, here on Earth, can be compared (I could say: this hatred is time, but that bothers me. Why should I say time? I feel this hatred when I cry; I analysemnothing) [V 120].

Why should anyone be interested in time? I cannot imagine. The scrawniness of an arm, a finger, the enigma of a face; these things make sense (hurt). Time, on the contrary, is as vacant as a marriage, or God alone in the dark.

 

At the moment I seize myself in the mire of being, swamped by the detestation of ulterior ends, I AM GOD AND TIME LAUGHS AT THE ETERNAL PRETENTION OF SLAVES. ‘This God who leads us beneath his clouds is mad. I know him, I am him’ [III 39]. (Bataille recommends that one chant: ‘I represent myself covered in blood, broken but transfigured and at one with the world, at once like prey and like a tooth of TIME which kills incessantly and is incessantly killed’ [I 557–8].)