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View Diary: SNLC, Vol. CCCLXIV / SN@TO 16: Parsifal Edition (81 comments)

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  •  Feh. I blame Nietzsche for that. (0+ / 0-)

    His language was over the top and macho sounding for stylistic reasons, and that created its own appeal to reinterpret it.  His sister wasn't the problem.  

    I'm not into Nietzsche.  I'm just kind of pleased and amused that my reading in all that ever became useful.

    The one good thing I took from Nietzsche was the idea that there was no correct moral system, and that all moral systems are just reflective of the culture they exist in.  Everything else he wrote about was pretty much bullshit.  He tried to apply Darwin's ideas of evolution, survival of the fittest, to the morality of cultures, the same way Marx was doing it with economics and the same way Schoenberg was clumsily trying to apply it to music.  

    Remember that old BBC show, Upstairs, Downstairs?  About the upper class family that lives upstairs, and all the domestic servants downstairs, and the two groups have totally different communal lives that rarely intersect?  Nietzsche proposed that the morals of the downstairs people, what he would call slave morality, tended to be different from the morality of the masters.  Aristocracies place value on things like pride, fulfilling social obligations, justice, mercy, etc.  Those in the lower strata, though, place value on humility, not rocking the boat, generosity and sharing.

    Now, how do you reconcile those to get some combo one-size-fits-all moral system?  You can't.  You can't reconcile the virtue of humility and the virtue of pride.  Western morailty, however, is an inconsistent mash-up of the two, and the inconsistencies cause problems.  

    So how is this useful?

    Well, consider for a moment, you were going to write a scifi novel where the only food you could eat was a sentient creature like you and me.  Say you're a vampire, for example, or an alien tiger species.  In that kind of situation, what kind of moral system would develop?  

    You and I might agree that it's horrid to think of eating sentient creatures on a regular basis to survive, but what if you grew up in a culture where that's the norm, where anytime anybody suggested it might be wrong, that somebody pointed out, yup, oh well, that's life?  The entire moral system that developed in such a situation would be very different from ours, and it might even be perfectly consistent, but just different in an abhorrent way.

    Likewise, think about somebody like Mitt Romney, addressing that room of donors, talking about the 47%.  He was speaking from the heart, dude, every bit as much as a world of vampires would be baffled by why humans wouldn't vote for vampires.  "47% of the planet is human, and we'll never get their vote.  They're so used to their not being eaten and getting free meals from corn and wheat that we'll never reach them!"

    •  no, actually, his sister was the problem..... (1+ / 0-)
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      .....or at least a problem.  The fact of her last name would seem to have lent credence by proxy to her racist ideas, and how she exploited her brother's writings.

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 08:06:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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