AF, you have gone from completely misunderstanding me to completely understanding me
amor fati wrote:The way I understand you is that you think Jesus' triumph was primarily one of a masochistic show of strength while otherwise being in a position of weakness, coupled with the 'honor' bestowed on him for allowing such horrible things to happen to him - "to have his strength called upon by such people as the thief" - you think this is why he submitted the way he did, and that he was grateful for the words of the thief, his partner in plight, and even grateful for being beaten and nailed to a cross to bleed and suffocate to death - really? In your mind, this was his motivation, at bottom, for everything he endured? He suffered like few have ever suffered for the sake of show and piddly honor? Really? It's clear we understand Jesus' story very differently, and I'm not even sure it's worth the effort to try and reconcile.
At bottom, yes. It was all a masochistic show of honour and gratefulness to be given the chance to reveal the greatest strength that a slave moralist can ever hope to achieve: to turn to one's oppressors and not only say "bring it on" to even their greatest shows of oppression, but to thank them for it - giving the exact opposite reaction to that which was intended. A token gesture of disrupting the power balance without actually doing so.
But obviously this was not how Jesus justified it to himself and others. Imaginary victories, displays of power and perverted self-gratification are much more beautified to slave moralists when dressed up as "virtues", externalised as though beyond the self and the physical world - the realm where they are restricted, that they want the power to escape. Dissociate with the real world and you can justify all kinds of nonsense to yourself. My above interpretation is a result of refusing to dissociate with the real world. If you think we can't reconcile my interpretation with yours then so be it.
amor fati wrote:We also seem to understand the master/slave distinction quite differently too, not to mention the meaning of the term ressentiment. First, you seem to think the fact that because Jesus was physically dominated (to use your word) by his society and state, that he is therefore a slave in Nietzsche's moral sense of the term - but I really don't think this is what Nietzsche had in mind. You seem to think the master/slave distinction primarily concerns the brute facts of circumstance - you are either socially/politically/physically dominating (master), or you are dominated (slave). Jesus was physically dominated and destroyed, therefore in your mind he is a slave in Nietzsche's moral sense of the term. But I really don't think this is what Nietzsche had in mind here.
The distinction, as I believe Nietzsche intended it, is far more psychological than it is physical/circumstantial, which is why his (psychological) notion of ressentiment figures in so prominently. Nietzsche considered himself what above all else? A psychologist - and therefore I think we ought to look there first for explanatory insight into his master/slave distinction in morality, don't you? Ressentiment is a psychological condition that is altogether lacking in Jesus, as Nietzsche recognized - Jesus himself stood above ressentiment, above the key condition/qualification for a slave morality in Nietzsche's sense. As I see it, this distinction chiefly concerns an individual's psychology, above and apart from brute circumstance which would otherwise determine who is master and who is slave in the common senses of those terms.
The closing line of the first chapter in Beyond Good and Evil is "For psychology is now once again the road to the fundamental problems". I'm fairly sure Nietzsche spoke highly of psychology elsewhere too, though it would be a mistake to sum him up as a psychologist only.
He probably mentioned Hegel like once (if at all?) in all his books, but it would be a great mistake to think of Nietzsche as someone purely concerned with mind - like Hegel. Ecce Homo, for example, is filled with references to the real, the earthly, the physical - and there are references to this all over his writings. The physical/circumstantial is absolutely essential to understanding him.
Personal experience also shows me numerous examples of people who think themselves psychological creators and masters, but they are steeped in ressentiment because they are simply not in a position of power, and part of a powerful lineage - and as such they are simply unable to sway others despite their psychological compulsion to "master" them. Mind you, those of powerful lineage are often complete pussies - Nietzsche talks of how the different moralities are "bungled and botched" in today's liberal times, with its "modern values". But to me, this shows that master morality is not complete when limited to a psychological mindset. Ressentiment comes about when one cannot freely express their will to power. Zarathustra would have come to feel ressentiment, had he continued trying to sway the masses. One needs to have the masterful personality as well as be in a physical circumstance that enables one to physically be in a position of power - like Zarathustra found disciples, and dealt solely with them.
I think we are both right: that both psychology and the physical are necessary for master morality. Jesus may have had the former, but he certaintly did not have the latter.
amor fati wrote:Indeed, a noble person (like Jesus) can find himself in a most unfortunate position of physical brutality and dominance (being dominated), because of chance circumstance and who they are, yet somehow still manage to overcome ressentiment entirely, rise above it spiritually/psychologically - above all feelings of anger, hate, spite, victimhood, vengefulness - thus he harbors noble instincts and master sentiments in the moral sense. Do you see how a capacity to rise above such things might be noble in the highest sense? That this is self-overcoming in the deepest sense?
Self-overcoming is more to do with inverting values by seeing beyond good and evil. In Zarathustra, Nietzsche says that "man is something that is to be surpassed" - man as the rope on the way from animal to the Superman, who creates values by seeing beyond morality. It does not
mean setting your humanity against your animality. The superman is connected to the animal via humanity. They must connect/work together to reach the Superman.
amor fati wrote:Ressentiment is born in a psychologically weak, ill-constituted, and spiritually impoverished individual (i.e. most of us) when they are (or believe they are) being dominated, persecuted, cheated, backstabbed, trodden on, oppressed, or what have you. Ressentiment grows spiteful and seeks revenge, however it can manage it -- but precisely this was altogether lacking in Jesus; Jesus was a rare man who achieved a rare superiority over his base (human) condition; through a profound love, faith, courage, and forgiveness he stood above such base enmity and vindictiveness. No, his purported triumph/honor/gratitude does not constitute a slavish revolt, at least in any Nietzschean sense of the term (even of a so-called 'mature' variety). He said Yes and Amen even to evil, even unto death.
We actually agree on the definition of ressentiment. I don't know how you think I thought of the word differently.
Interesting point about "Yes-saying" btw.
But saying yes to death is highly contrary to Nietzschean philosophy. It welcomes the other-worldly, through sticking to other-worldly, externalised values.
Like Socrates, Jesus turned his "ego" against his "id" (to use Freudian terms). Nietzsche describes the two working together - to say yes to life
, and to power. Socrates controlled his true personality in favour of his Socratic method - an effective facade that proved extremely powerful. Jesus controlled his ressentiment in favour of his teachings that overcome it - an effective facade that proved extremely powerful. The power is admirable, even to Nietzsche - as well as the creativity that caused a genuine effect in the real world (Nietzsche identifies two kinds of genius in Beyond Good and Evil 248: "the kind which above all begets and wants to beget, and the kind which likes to be fructified and to give birth" - Jesus and Socrates fall into the former category). But this does not transcend the slave morality from which such strength originated
. They are still completely characteristic of slave morality: with those key aspects of externalised and dependent values, and physical conditions of being dominated - even if the mind was somewhat creative and genius, that is not enough to constitute master morality, nor nobility to anyone other than other slave moralists.
amor fati wrote:Nietzsche actually admired Jesus, truth be told - it was everything that followed in his wake that he despised.
I agree that he saw something admirable in Jesus, just as he did in Socrates. But he was nevertheless very critical of both for good reason.