Questions re: Nietzsche’s “Genealogy of Morals”

Questions on Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals, preface & ch1 are at the end. I haven’t read the other two essays yet. If I have questions on them I will post them in a comment after I read them.

References to Fanon are to Black Skin, White Masks, by Frantz Fanon.

A lot of what Nietzsche says resonates the same way Kierkegaard resonates when he critiques the corruption of the church. Would have loved to hear them in dialogue (maybe still “as if”?). Nietzsche mentions most these works listed immediately below in the preface/ch.1 (or they mention each other). I have them in a book of basic Nietzsche writings (translated by Walter Kaufmann, incl. Genealogy), so I read them first in preparation:

Human, all–too–human (1878) section 45, 96, 136

The wanderer and his shadow (1880) section 33

The Dawn, section 112, 231

Beyond good and evil, sections 52, 195, 200, 248, 250, 257, 260

Thus Spoke Zarathustra, prologue sections 3-5, Of Old & New Law Tables


  1. “I had a country of my own, a soil of my own, an entire discreet, thriving, flourishing world, like a secret garden the existence of which no one suspected.“ (Preface, end of Section 3) Compare this, and his thoughts on being silent for long enough, and his words being for few ears, with section 10 of chapter 1, with its emphasis on deeds versus the impotence of the imaginary. This reminds me of when Fanon cries because he cannot bring what is gestating inside of him out into fruition. Would Nietzsche have considered himself & Fanon to be impotent, or something else? It reminds me of Plato & Kant saying the polis/world needs to be a certain way to allow what is in us to be lived out.

  2. In section 2 of chapter one he talks about the unegoistic/egoistic dichotomy from the “herd instinct” mud volcano. He seems to prefer the burning eruption from the “pathos of distance”. Does that make him an Objectivist on the level of Ayn Rand with her Virtue of Selfishness and rational self-interest, and disdain for “rotting wasters”?

  3. Observation on sections 5, 6 of essay 1: I see a lot of allusions to concepts in the Republic, like whole, the polis of the person/soul, practical vs contemplative, warrior, godlike, etc. It’s interesting that sometimes he seems to insult people for wanting to maintain gut health, and sometimes he insults them for lacking it (because instead of acting, they bottle things up). So it’s kind of like he is psychoanalyzing them. It makes me wonder if he speaks from experience because he suffered from ill health, and if anyone called him “good for nothing” (versus for something) because it comes up a lot, like impotence.

  4. Section 11, ch. 1. Does he think that revenge is a reaction inferior to overcoming? He seems to have double standards about war. And revaluation. It’s “good” when the nobles do it (to the herd it’s “evil”), whereas it’s “bad“ (or to him weak/plain) when the herd does it. But if they DON’T do it, they’re impotent. Is he just wanting war not based on revenge… or what? Does he think he’s without culture? Is he being hyperbolic when he talks about “a counter argument against culture”? Is he just communicating something along the lines of what Kierkegaard meant when he spoke of the crowd?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

  1. Something else: compare the second sentence of BGE 260 (which should end on the word “soul”) to the first sentence of EH “Wise” 2. In fact, I recommend you read EH “Wise” whole, if not EH whole, if not Meier’s forthcoming Nietzsche’s Legacy and its ‘prequel’(!), What is Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, which has already come forth. Meier is very advanced, though.

  2. No, it doesn’t. The difference between Rand and Nietzsche may be compared to the difference between Smith and Rousseau, or more broadly between Hobbes and Aristotle (virtue ethics)—i.e., between modern and classical political philosophy—:

[size=95]“[L]iberal enlightenment’s chief teachers (Hobbes, Locke, Voltaire, etc.) sought to replace military by economic rivalry, heroic virtue by Lilliputian shrewdness. […] Adam Smith, for example, was a professor of morality whose doctrine of free economic competition was intended as a moral substitute for the potentially global war of all against all unleashed by popularization of liberalism’s willful rebellion against political piety. That willfulness leaves all men at liberty to do whatever they please with a clear conscience. Smith believed that the monstrous possibilities inherent in this unbridled license might be gentled, if the competitiveness sanctioned by it could be channeled into peaceful, economic rivalry. The last thing he wanted was a Marxist classless society which licensed everyone to actualize the awful potentialities of liberalism’s Moloch.
Pseudo-liberal [i.e., politically liberal] enlightenment’s economic substitute for war required universal education to make all men alive to the terrifying freedom responsible for the rights of man. This requirement led Rousseau to reject Smith’s economic solution on the same grounds which led Smith to suggest it. Contending that decent political life is impossible without obfuscation of man’s nihilist freedom, Rousseau praised Sparta’s ‘happy ignorance’. Unless unquestioning faith in some familial and civic piety blinds men to their liberty, anything—no matter how bestial—can be justified by appealing to that abyss of freedom. Consequently nothing is more conducive to bestiality than the pharmacist’s attack on all pre-scientific pieties and the priest’s devaluation of the same ties in the name of a heavenly fatherland. For the unbridled license at the heart of their Lilliputian solution can equally well justify destruction of that solution or of any solution.” (Harry Neumann, Liberalism, pages 258-59. The pharmacist and the priest are characters from Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.)[/size]

  1. Yes, Nietzsche was a Platonic political philosopher… In his essay “Nietzsche’s Politeia” (i.e., “Nietzsche’s Republic”), which was later integrated into his book Eros in Plato, Rousseau, and Nietzsche: The Politics of Infinity, Laurence Cooper argues for an uncanny parallelism between BGE and the Republic. The whole book may be a good recommendation for someone of your level—which I don’t necessarily mean disparagingly; I seem to detect a sincere interest in these matters on your part—and that may actually be the biggest compliment someone of my level can give you:

[size=95]“But the political transformation [i.e., the transformation of the love of tyranny into the love of justice] is there Republic] only the preparation of the ‘true conversion’, which consists in the turn to philosophy and which is effected by the insight into the necessary limitedness of everything political. Other than in Plato, in Machiavelli the true conversion does not come to manifestation. […] That Machiavelli disregards eros and that he does not advertise the turn to philosophy, does not mean that he has forgotten the ‘true conversion’. It means that the reader of the Prince and the Discourses who has reached the point at which he sees himself confronted with incompatible conclusions and applications of the doctrine, is necessitated to the periagoge¹ which is omitted in Machiavelli’s presentation.” (Meier, Political Philosophy and the Challenge of Revealed Religion, German edition, pages 131-32, my translation.)
4. Look, all of these questions are your own philosophical problems—your own distinctions! All I will add at this point is that you’re on to something—maybe not in each specific case, but on the whole, certainly. I will leave you with the earnest request that you just watch this video from this starting point for a minute: (Conversations with Bill Kristol, “Arthur Melzer: The Lost History of Esoteric Writing”.)

The esoteric comes up a lot with your usernames/team for some reason. For me it feels like a way to avoid dissenting agon. If all you mean is that it is dialectic puzzle… that’s different. Calling a dialectic puzzle esoteric is like calling “solve for X” esoteric.

You deflected on what I’m about to put to you again.

Will you engage or flash-bang with more vaguely half-relevant quotes?

“…but the truth in matters of action is discerned from deeds and from life, …and if they are in harmony with the deeds one ought to accept them, while if they are out of tune one ought to consider them just words.”

(Aristotle, NE X.8, 1179a18-22)

Why did Nietzsche say he is not a man of deeds after emphasizing the importance of action, and refer to himself as an “evil” egoist—the language of slaves (to his estimation)?

Meno_’s take here: … 2#p2888402

We all have strengths and weaknesses.

Some of us have strengths that others lack.

Some of us have weaknesses that others lack.

Every strength has its weakness, and vice versa.

Birds of a feather flock together… AND we fill in each other’s gaps. We are more comfortable with those who are similar to us, but also capable of more as a team with those who have strengths we lack, and when we have strengths they lack. That is the sort of interlocking to be receptive to or actively seek out.

No one is ALL strength and zero weakness. Self-sufficiency robs you of THE POINT… it is missed, but still there, so you break down trying to fill the gap. Nietzsche demonstrated that. We all do until we see the point (face to face).

…start at 32 minutes here for science on the structure of the large & small … um … when it comes to basic living… and developing beyond basic… then rewind and start from the beginning for another approach…do they know it’s Nietzsche’s via Plato/Kant? They don’t say:

How do you mean? I haven’t posted under a different username on ILP in over two years, and I don’t have a team.

I suppose it’s a bit like “solve for X”. Thus Melzer writes:

“[H]iddenness is a property of being itself. Nature is esoteric. Now, if this is the case, then the puzzle-quality of an esoteric text would not be artificial and obstructive of philosophy but rather natural and necessary, being an accurate imitation of reality. Thus, according to Strauss, Plato wrote his dialogues so as to ‘supply us not so much with an answer to the riddle of being as with a most articulate “imitation” of that riddle.’ Similarly, Thucydides’s history ‘imitates the enigmatic character of reality.’ A rhetoric of concealment would be most useful, perhaps even necessary, to disclose reality as it is in its hiddenness.” (Melzer, Philosophy Between the Lines, page 234.) (Conversations with Bill Kristol, “Arthur Melzer: The Lost History of Esoteric Writing”.)

Look, you don’t know the depth of the can of worms you’re trying to open here. Let’s start with Aristotle. I think it’s again in Melzer’s op.cit. that I found the following quote:

“The secret of Plato’s books consists in concealing his occasional clear statements by means of habitual ambiguity, that of Aristotle’s consists in concealing his occasional ambiguous statements by means of habitual clarity”. (Muhsin Mahdi, “Man and His Universe in Medieval Arabic Philosophy”.)

I had a “nice” forum discussion about Aristotle this summer:

My username there is Self-Lightening, by the way.

Well, then. I won’t preach to the choir. Easter eggs everywhere, for everyone who hunts.

Reading the sample section of the book “What is Nietzsche’s Zarathustra” on Amazon, I find little to be impressed about. Can you give some examples of what is so advanced about the claims/ideas made in this book?

Freedom itself cannot justify anything. Freedom is simply a condition that is required to be present in some way and to some degree in order for other things to actualize. Freedom as in degrees of freedom, or political freedoms, politics rights etc. and also the perception of our freedoms namely how much latitude do we already allow and expect ourselves to have. All of these act as prerequisite conditions but none of them alone can “justify” anything.

Another problem here, “Contending that decent political life is impossible without obfuscation of man’s nihilist freedom”, well I mean yeah, civilization (being civilized) is impossible if people act like irrational wild animals. Kinda obvious. But somehow this is supposed to justify either a state of “happy ignorance” (quasi-militarized or at least marshalled toward some kind of bare-bones ethos of what could probably unproblematically be called at least semi-fascistic) or a hyper-liberalized form of free market economics where unlimited “nihilist freedom” can justifiably and legally be unleashed but only so long as it does so as competition within purely economic spaces.

I don’t see the connections here between these ideas. We move from something as basic and obvious as to be a platitude, “wild animals aren’t civilized”, to something like an either/or between Sparta or Randianism. I’m pretty sure things don’t work like that in reality, though. And this, “For the unbridled license at the heart of their Lilliputian solution can equally well justify destruction of that solution or of any solution”, what? Again we are back to the platitudes? “Unbridled license” can somehow justify things? How is this not putting the cart before the horse AT BEST, and more realistically just making shit up by creating a radical reduction of meaning as a consequence of merely playing around with words?

:laughing: =D>

Well played sir. Nietzsche simps never disappoint in the hilarity department.

Bro, what?

Care to restate that into something fitting for people who aren’t on acid?


I can, but the only reason I will is that I have a sense of duty.

I called the book the prequel to its sequel. It is, therefore, nothing to be wondered at that the sample section of the book should fail to impress: it’s only the beginning to a ‘prequel’, after all. To be someone of my level means to have advanced through a long personal development.

The most important idea in the books, for me personally at least, I’ve already expressed. As for the prequel, its aim is to determine whether Nietzsche’s Zarathustra is a philosopher or a prophet or, if both, how Zarathustra the prophet and Zarathustra the philosopher relate to one another. To be sure, Laurence Lampert was not impressed by this, either:

[size=95]“Why write a whole book of commentary on the book in which Nietzsche shows that he too must become a philosopher/prophet and have that book systematically deny that Nietzsche is a Two—and then end on ‘Unless’?
Let us look to the center of Meier’s book, a book that relentlessly centers, to see if this question might be answered there. The center is the paired paragraphs 33–34 of the 66. We arrive at the center point between these central paragraphs by passing through Meier’s two-paragraph, ten-page (eight Engl.) treatment of ‘On Redemption.’ At the end of paragraph 33, at the very center, he placed the 4th of his 6 'Two, not One’s. He then fused that ending of the 33rd paragraph to the 34th by opening it rewording the formula: ‘The duality that does not submit to any unity.’ Yes, Meier says in effect, you are at the center. But a center of two very long paragraphs, eleven pages (nine Engl.), is not a very centered center: does it have a center? Paragraphs 33 and 34 are each outfitted with two dashes, so each has its own central segment. Where is the center of the center in all this centering?—this ridiculous centering, ridiculous because once Strauss called attention to it, the most sheltered part became the most prominent part, so steps have to be taken to hide things there.
[…T]he center of the center is the first segment of paragraph 33; the other segments of paragraphs 33 and 34 support it by supplementing it.” (Lampert, “On Heinrich Meier’s What Is Nietzsche’s Zarathustra?”)[/size]

Yet as I wrote four and a half months ago:

In the meantime, by the way, Meier has shown me that Strauss, too, was definitely a philosopher. As for Meier himself, I do have a problem with the content of his prequel’s center, although it’s not the same, or not as insurmountable for me, as it is for Lampert. Thus around the same time, I wrote:

Another, minor idea from Meier’s prequel is that Nietzsche published Zarathustra in parts so that, in writing the subsequent parts, he pretty much had to stick with what he’d already written.

I think Neumann means freedom from the requirement of justification…

Sparta was an example chosen in the context of the quoted essay, as indicated by its full title:

[size=95]“As in Sparta, military necessity demanded that Ares (Moloch) be given higher official honors, but Aphrodite (Tanith) was dearest to [Carthaginian hearts].” (Neumann, “Liberalism’s Moloch: An Interpretation of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Salammbo”.)[/size]

Such happy ignorance is of the essence of every society, so long as it’s, well, a society

Sure. In Plato’s Republic, the “conversion” of the terrifyingly enlightened into the happily ignorant is merely the preparation of the conversion into philosophers, which conversion is caused by the insight into the inevitable limitations of even that preparation. Contrary to Plato, Machiavelli does not explicitly write about that conversion. The fact that Machiavelli leaves eros out of the explicitly written equation and that he does not explicitly promote that conversion, does not mean that he has forgotten it. It means that the reader of his two chief works who runs into difficulties like the ones she has run into with Nietzsche, is in need of undergoing that conversion.


Your only sense of duty should be to the truth, otherwise you have no idea what philosophy even is (in theory or otherwise).

Huh, that is strange because I never mentioned which sections I looked at, only that they were available on Amazon. In fact Amazon has A LOT of pages available to sample. I was able to see quite a bit. And you were falling over yourself to heap praise upon the book and its insights as so amazing, but now when asked to give an example you… downplay it? Huh.

No shit? I am relieved to be talking to a legit guru here and not some kind of psychotic god-complex egoist with a fetish for 19th century Germans.

I am sure the content of your post will vindicate that without any doubts.

Wait, what? Is that seriously going to be your cope?

Bro I actually gave you a lot more credit than this.

Yeah, it’s called not being a simp. I could have told you as much. Don’t worship other human beings, they are stupid and don’t know shit. And if you think they know shit then odds are you have been gaslit by their “rhetorical brilliance” or some other asinine merely psychological tactic.

Do I have to? I mean all I wanted was an answer to my simple question, and you didn’t even give me that much. Now you want me to read your entire fetish blog or what?

Sorry, but what? You aren’t a philosopher?

Ok then, thanks I guess for sparing me the rest of your love diatribe. I hope you and, er, this ah meier lambert or whoever can get a room or whatever it is you’re hoping for.

It’s like watching two guys lassoing a tornado with their streams of piss. You both lose.

Ew, gross.

I’m not gay, so sorry not interested. But I think the other guy… yeah, he might be interested. You might try to get his number…

I’d rather be pissed off than pissed on. And that’s what happens when you do a pissing contest in the wind.

Are you sure, though?

Usually book samples, on Amazon as well as on Google Play/Books, consist of the first so many pages of the book.

No, not you. And I did give what you asked for.

Turns out I am, and have been for a long time, actually. This quote is from Lampert’s side of the correspondence.

To add to the above, in the second essay (also first one?) …the emphasis on guilt’s origin being the buyer/seller relationship (section 8)…

…compared with his mother’s statement quoted in the article I linked to…

… Nietzsche seems to have been a very devoted son.

Prove me wrong / change my mind. She fed the whirlwind that did him in… does he ever write anything about her that sees her flaws? If that is quoted in that article or elsewhere, please inform/refresh my memory.

For a moment there, I was thinking of his letters—the remarks and indications to be found there. But then it hit me:

“When I look for the deepest antithesis to myself, the incalculable commonness of the instincts, then I always find my mother and sister,—to believe myself to be related to such canaille would be a blasphemy against my godliness. The treatment I experience on the part of my mother and sister, to this very moment, instills an unspeakable dread in me: here, a perfect infernal machine is at work, with infallible [unfehlbar] certainty about the moment in which one can bloodily wound me—in my highest moments,… for then all strength for defending oneself against poisonous worms is lacking [fehlt]… […] I confess that the deepest objection against the ‘eternal recurrence’, my genuinely abysmal thought, are always mother and sister.” (Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, “Why I Am So Wise”, section 3, my translation.)

Thank you.

So don’t do that then. Problem solved. Simple.

Not sure why you’re complaining then. But feel free to weigh in on, oh I don’t know any of the actual ideas being discussed here. Or not.

Yes. Because the truth is literally everything. So any other possible duties you might have are already contained within the truth anyway. Therefore the truth itself supersedes all lesser (more individual) duties, especially when these (as is often the case) are enacted at the expense of truth itself (and unnecessarily at the expense of other “lesser” (more individual-individuated) truths)

Ok and I am still waiting for those quotes/examples of the amazingly profound things he says in them.

No you didn’t. I asked for specific examples, which you did not provide. And I made sure to emphasize my original statement and request at the beginning of this message. Please take a look when you can, you know in-between the hits of acid.

I can tell you are quite good at self-deception though. No wonder you believe yourself to be a “philosopher”.

Nietzsche was very much the same way, but at least he produced some decent content. Have you? If you want to post some of it here I’ll take a look and judge it fairly, as I judge everything fairly.

If not then at least provide the quotes/examples that I asked for. No more dodging and coping.

In your own mind I am sure you are quite a lot of things.