Why I don’t like philosophy

by Andrea Elizabeth

It’s too powerful. It can uproot tradition. It’s too easy to follow the logic and relate, and then before you know it you’re assassinating a king or czar or your brothers and sisters or even God. It can easily confuse people.

But the Church Fathers and Sts. John and Paul used philosophy. It’s also part of psychology – the study of the soul. And if our minds aren’t meant to understand complex things, aren’t they being wasted? And aren’t the Father’s pronouncements ultimately comforting? Yes, except the anathemas. Some Priests don’t read them because today’s society is so confused and we don’t want to condemn all the unorthodox. When the Church was more united, things were more black and white.

I’ve been reading a little of Nietsche and liking some of his writing, then today’s Random Psalm is 14:

14 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord.

Is there no good in Nietzsche? But how does he have songs?

Also, in the above, God does want us to understand.

But Nietzsche does have some points about antisemitism, nationalism, and Master/Slave Morality. But could his uberman have fed Nazism?

I only trust the ultimate pronouncements of the Orthodox Church, but the other truth claims are an interesting and enlightening conversation. They point to parts of reality that you may not have yet thought of. However, f you are not grounded in the Church, you can be convinced these claims are mature gospel truth instead of tiny elements in a bigger picture. Like Uberman. He could be compared to a deified man. But he calls upon God and does not deny him.

Master/Slave Morality is more difficult. From Wikipedia:

In Beyond Good and Evil and On the Genealogy of Morality, Nietzsche’s genealogical account of the development of modern moral systems occupies central place. For Nietzsche, a fundamental shift took place during human history from thinking in terms of “good” and “bad” toward “good” and “evil”.

The initial form of morality was set by a warrior aristocracy and other ruling castes of ancient civilizations. Aristocratic values of “good” and “bad” coincided with and reflected their relationship to lower castes such as slaves. Nietzsche presents this “master morality” as the original system of morality—perhaps best associated with Homeric Greece. To be “good” was to be happy and to have the things related to happiness: wealth, strength, health, power, etc. To be “bad” was to be like the slaves over which the aristocracy ruled, poor, weak, sick, pathetic—an object of pity or disgust rather than hatred.

“Slave morality” comes about as a reaction to master-morality. Here, value emerges from the contrast between good and evil: good being associated with other-worldliness, charity, piety, restraint, meekness, and submission; and evil seen as worldly, cruel, selfish, wealthy, and aggressive. Nietzsche sees slave morality as pessimistic and fearful, values for them serving only to ease the existence for those who suffer from the very same thing. He associates slave-morality with the Jewish and Christian traditions, in a way that slave-morality is born out of the ressentiment of slaves. Nietzsche argued that the idea of equality allowed slaves to overcome their own condition without hating themselves. And by denying the inherent inequality of people (such as success, strength, beauty or intelligence), slaves acquired a method of escape, namely by generating new values on the basis of rejecting something that was seen as a perceived source of frustration. It was used to overcome the slave’s own sense of inferiority before the (better-off) masters. It does so by making out slave weakness to be a matter of choice, by, e.g., relabeling it as “meekness.” The “good man” of master morality is precisely the “evil man” of slave morality, while the “bad man” is recast as the “good man.”

Nietzsche sees the slave-morality as a source of the nihilism that has overtaken Europe. Modern Europe and Christianity exist in a hypocritical state due to a tension between master and slave morality, both values contradictorily determining, to varying degrees, the values of most Europeans (who are motley). Nietzsche calls for exceptional people to no longer be ashamed of their uniqueness in the face of a supposed morality-for-all, which he deems to be harmful to the flourishing of exceptional people. He cautions, however, that morality, per se, is not bad; it is good for the masses, and should be left to them. Exceptional people, on the other hand, should follow their own “inner law.” A favorite motto of Nietzsche, taken from Pindar, reads: “Become what you are.”

A long standing assumption about Nietzsche is that he preferred master over slave morality. However, the Nietzsche scholar Walter Kaufmann rejected this interpretation, writing that Nietzsche’s analyses of these two types of morality were only used in a descriptive and historic sense, they were not meant for any kind of acceptance or glorifications.[101]

There’s a lot to think about here. Did Christian slaveowners keep the slaves down by this teaching of good Christian meekness? Feminists also criticize doormat wives. Rightly? But with such talk you agitate and incense people to violent revolution. Gandhi advocated passive resistance a la Rosa Parks. That’s better, but in a documentary about the Civil Rights movement I heard that that only got them so far, then they had to get more militant. There is no one answer. I’ve heard that Jewish people are ashamed they took such a meek approach to their captivity and wish they’d been stronger. They couldn’t believe things would go that far, and that God would allow it. It’s probably why there are so many are atheists now.

I suppose the healthy thing is for the strong to help the weak and not lord it over them. But even Nietzsche believes in ressentiment among lesser ways of being:

“Aspects of Nietzsche’s philosophy, especially his ideas of the self and his relation to society, also run through much of late-twentieth and early twenty-first century thought.[250][251] His deepening of the romantic-heroic tradition of the nineteenth century, for example, as expressed in the ideal of the “grand striver” appears in the work of thinkers from Cornelius Castoriadis to Roberto Mangabeira Unger.[252] For Nietzsche this grand striver overcomes obstacles, engages in epic struggles, pursues new goals, embraces recurrent novelty, and transcends existing structures and contexts.”

He denies transcendence to the eternal or otherworldly, but where else can you go beyond “existing structures and contexts”?