Eryn – Paper #4

Pitty, blatantly and obviously seen as a handicap to philosopher Nietzsche, masks the road to misunderstanding one’s true identity. Thought lowly upon the subject, he wrote On the Genealogy of Morals, that “the value of these values must be called into question…morality as consequence, as symptoms…” (21). Clearly compared to an illness, the philosopher questioned the value and morality of pity, and shed light on the contagious disease that may have caused humanity to fear life’s full potential destiny.

While genealogists search to find the root of good and evil, Nietzsche proposed to question it’s value rather than it’s origin. “Under what conditions did man devise these value judgments good and evil? And what value do they themselves possess?”(16) A brave yet clearly understood thought, had not been asked before. How much do we value morality and its judgments? What if they are “a sign of distress, of impoverishment…”(16). What if they are the handicap, the reason, the hurdle we must clear, to reach our full potential in life? Who is to say that pity and “the value of unegoistic” is not “evermore fundamental mistrust…a great danger to mankind!”(19). Rather than grieving in self pity, discover the true fear.  Unmask the origin who misguides individuals into conceptualizing that grand sacrificial gestures lead to morality.
Unfortunately mankind was lead to believe, centuries ago, that self sacrifice leads to morality. What is more unfortunate is the twisted and refined definition of sacrifice. Over the years pity has transformed into unjustified empathy and fear. Perhaps the origin of fear stems from good rather than evil. When observed as so, mankind’s fear stems from God rather than Satan(17).  Man should worship God, not fear, however man should learn from Satan’ s mistakes, a parallel connector to learning from others errors. However, Nietzsche made it clear to separate theological from moral prejudice(17).
Although Nietzsche paved a clear perspective that attacked pity, the philosopher highlighted its evolution throughout time. What became successful in the nineteenth century may not succeed in the twentieth century, just how it may not adjust accordingly to the twenty first century (17). Times change just like ideas and views. In the similar sense, this may be the reasoning behind pity’s distortion.
Rather than holding great value to the idea of morality, mankind should consider their “experiences” instead. While philosophers depend heavily on knowledge, Nietzsche declares they are not men of knowledge, rather men of experiences(15). They can also be perceived as men of experiences, however, they must disregard their doubts, fears, will, and health, for it genuinely molds individuals into who they are (16). That said, if they do not “throw caution to the wind” they may miss out on life’s opportunities.
Although bravery seems to be the most recommended route to take on this journey of life, there must be a balance between the two. Life essentially requires a ying and yang, harmony between good and evil, bravery and fear. Even though Nietzsche’s opinion of pity is rather low, it is essential to human life. If an individual was foolish enough to not allow self pity, a breakdown or mistake would be bound to occur. No one is perfect, no one is constantly afraid, and no one is fearless at every moment of the day. Fear and doubts are as natural as self pity, however, they must be “experienced” in order to grow and conquer (16).

Perhaps this is what Nietzsche meant by “experiences”. Perhaps this is why he believed that we must misunderstand to understand oneself. This may be how we find ourself. Just like the great scientists, we learn from trial and error before determining the great understanding oneself. A child must crawl before walk, and walk before run. It is only natural and the faster we accept this the sooner we will grow (21).

Maturity stems from experience, it is the continuous growth in understanding oneself. It is the failure, the lesson learned, and the development of the human being. In comparison to the distortion of the root words good and evil, society distorts mankind from birth to death. Everything is interchangeable. It is a lesson to learn, process and accept. Everyone and everything will change. It can not be stopped, however, it can be accepted. Stop fearing change, morality, good and evil. It is everywhere. Instead of fearing the uncertain, live life and it’s experiences, and maybe then you will understand yourself. Live your full potential life and the journey you are destined to experience.

One thought on “Eryn – Paper #4

  1. Eryn,

    I think you are right to suggest that Nietzsche has a low opinion of pity.

    You are also right to suggest that genealogy is concerned with value. I often stressed the point in class that genealogy as traditionally understood justified something in terms of its origin, whereas genealogy as Nietzsche (and perhaps Foucault) understood it does the opposite. However, your reminder that genealogy also means questioning the worth or value of something, rather than the origin of it, is great and absolutely correct. For Nietzsche, the real question is not necessarily where something came from but whether it is healthy for us. And if it is not, then we can show its detrimental character by showing where it came from, if needed.

    I think you make interesting gestures toward Nietzsche’s notion of experience and growth, but these could have been more fully fleshed out. Still, they are provocative.

    “Pity” is misspelled in the first line; be sure to proofread, as that sets a strange tone for your paper.


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