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 Thoughts on ressentiment and bad conscience

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Thrasymachus
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PostSubject: Thoughts on ressentiment and bad conscience    Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:22 pm

Ressentiment is perhaps justified if it reflects something real and concrete about one's situation in so far as that situation can be called irrational and stupid and in so far as one is not able to remedy the situation by any direct means. In such a case we can say that to not generate ressentiment would be an inhuman lack of valuing. Indeed we at times turn our own deficits into strengths, this is in part what self-valuing does, this is precisely what life is too. We need to eat? So we develop expanded power and knowledge into the world in order to secure that deficit. We are powerless before a tyrannical irrational regime? Then we count what we do possess and seek to turn these into strengths, even if comparatively and using the "strong" opposition as a standard of measure these potential assets of ours might be called weaknesses.

Liberalism does this all the time, for example a person is born into poverty and develops alcoholism and lethargy; well liberalism then converts that person into the positive status of victim who is "resisting capitalist greed" by refusing to submit himself to the slavery of a regular job and social norma surrounding work and what we might call responsible behavior. Liberalism turns these people into heroes and their vices and deficits are turned into strengths-- does this actually make them strengths? Well that would depend, maybe sometimes yes and sometimes no. How could alcoholism and lethargy be a strength? These could lead to a subjective realization or to a situation that potentiates something else, some other value-set perhaps, or maybe leads to the production of significant art, writing or poetry, or even philosophy. But in many cases weaknesses do remain weaknesses even if falsely glorified as strengths.

But another problem I see with N's idea here is that ressentiment is perfectly natural, and indeed even the "masters" feel it or are threatened with feeling it should their position of supremacy and power become threatened or lost. Ressentiment goes like this: "they are bad, therefore what they do/like is bad, and I happen to think that what they do/like is bad, therefore I am not bad (therefore I am good)". Doesnt the master-class do this just as much with respect to the poor/weak/banal/stupid as these slaves do to the masters? Yes and perhaps even more so. Yet N tells us there is intrinsic value in the values of the masters, and that is perhaps true in some cases, but does that mean there are no intrinsic value in the values of the non-masters? Life turns whatever is its situation into some strength for itself, always seeking to value-add and value-position to maximize self-valuing. This is the case for both masters and slaves (to continue using N's terms here).

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In debt we gain pleasure, the pleasure of a gain of value not-yet earned. Morality creates the feeling of bad-ness at our being indebted, therefore to gain pleasure as debt comes at the cost of moral bad-feeling. The moral bad-feeling specifically is guilt, and the identifying of this guilt with ourselves is bad conscience. But guilt as bad conscience can be partly absolved through suffering, so that a moral equation seems to balance debt against suffering: add suffering to one side of the scale and the other side of the scale, guilt, becomes a little bit lighter.

So true bad conscience is this act of seeking sufferings in order to relatively relieve the weight of guilt of debt, which really means that one seeks out certain sufferings in order to "pay for" the right to certain pleasures, namely pleasures procured by incurring debts. Other than financially I think this logic must have significant relevance in relationships.

But Nietzsche is sort of saying something quite basic here: we sometimes do things we believe that we shouldn't really do, but we do them anyway because it gives us pleasure to do it; then later we accept some related suffering as payment for doing that, except that if the suffering is severe enough then we reject the suffering and become compelled to indebt ourselves even more, balancing back toward pleasure.

 

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"We must, now armed with such a language, realize the “transcendental unity of ideas,” through a new morality that aims, not to hypostasize experience and grasp in positive knowledge a series of particular virtues and vices, but rather to fully explicate this continuity; where philosophy exists to represent this transcendental order, morality most exist to mediate the two spheres, the spheres of experience and ideality." --Parodites

"Between this sky and the faces turned toward it there is nothing on which to hang a mythology, a literature, an ethic, or a religion—only stones, flesh, stars, and those truths the hand can touch." --Camus

"It is a tedious thing to be always beginning life; they live badly who always begin to live." --Seneca

"I kick ass, all these other humans suck balls." --Inmendham
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on ressentiment and bad conscience    Sat Mar 11, 2017 7:02 pm

Interesting concept.

I have lived in the reality of that concept. Can't say I still do though. Nietzsche and Taoism had something to do with that, I'm sure.

Yeah, buy now and pay later. One of the reasons financial institutions are so wealthy.

Please now, pain later. We don't plan that but it happens never-the-less.

I think this philosophy has become more popular lately. We all want it now, don't we?
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