Written By Thomas Perez. October 31, 2017 at 5:22pm. Originally Written May 12, 2017. Copyright 2017.
Nietzsche Friedrich Wilhem (1844-1900). Philosopher and literary figure. Reared in an atmosphere of narrow Lutheran pitism against which he struggled for most of his productive life, Nietzsche raised eyebrows concerning questions regarding Free Will and the moral responsibility of all human beings. In his first essay on the Genealogy of Morality, Nietzsche questions the accepted standards of traditional psychology as being rooted in a misplaced or perhaps even a ms-guided form of self alienation and pessimistic suspicion; possibly steming from the rancors of Christianity and Plato. Perhaps it is, as Nietzsche see it, the foundational structure itself in phychology that warrants the question of validity pertaining to it’s positions on morality. Thus the question by Nietzsche; “what is it that really drives these phychologists always in this direction?” The direction Nietzsche speaks of is the direction of the human condition when examined through the eyes of a “higher ruling nature in relation to a lower nature.” For Nietzsche, this nature of condition, the self, higher or lower, is due to the origin of the opposition between God and the “bad.” It is the Human Condition.
The human condition is no stranger to the traditions and teachings found in Western societies, Catholicism and/or Judeo-Christianity. Rooted in them, through guise and disguise, are the elementary principles of Platonianism and Catholicism. Curious questions, especially the “why,” are often seen within philosophical and religious ideologies. For Nietzsche, it is the “secret, malicious, common instinct for belittling humanity,” the weapons of a phychologist. But does the well meaning phychologist realize this? Do they realize their futile attempt to understand the riddle of morality? Perhaps they might do well to examine their own psyche. The psyche of their own so-called “good natures” within.
As the “good” materializes from what is referred to as the “free will,” it demonstrates itself through the actions of something that is productive and beneficial to the self and others, often times producing a responsibility to the well being of the self and that of other fellow human beings. However, that “good” is often juxtaposed to something that is called “bad.” Thus the concept of good and evil, God and the Devil, righteousness and unrighteousness, or as the Easterners call it; Ying Yang. It is the plight of Augustine, his duality of man run amok. A duality that is in constant battle, with man given the option to choose through the mechanism of free will the “good” or the “bad.”
The concept of the “good” and the “bad” can be traced to the Hebrew scriptures which later became the accepted standardized text of the Judeo-Christian tradition. However, the concept of good and evil are not limited to the Judeo-Christian thought. The grand battle has always been at war since the dawn of man as demonstrated in; Egyptian hieroglyphics, Sumerian texts, the Pharaohs, the sun god’s, the Code of Hammurabi, the Laws of Moses, Zoroaster, the New Testament, the Qu’ran, the Brahmans and the Bhagavad Gita, to name a few. In them are the inkings of; creation, free will, the fall of man, an inherited sin nature due to the fall, responsibility, laws and tales of morality; and a choice to now choose between what is right and good, as opposed to what is wrong and bad, howbeit with variations according to belief structure and culture. For Nietzsche, posioned is the human condition through the tapestry of papyrus manuscripts relegated through the priestly garb of a so-called higher level and that of the ms-guided phychologist. It is the framework of the current phychological thought, even in the face of post enlightenment. This tapestry of free will, or it’s illusion for some, can also be found in various church confessions, creeds, statements of faith and catechisms.
According to the Catholic Catechism; “freedom is the power rooted in reason and will.” “God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions.” Nietzsche challenges this by insinuating that it was the etymological perspective pertaining to the word “good,” when manifested in different languages, all stem from the same transformation of ideas. Ideas where noble or aristocratic upper echelons are the foundations upon which “good” or “spiritually noble” “high minded” privileged caste systems are established. The “have’s and the have not’s” may be the result of all this differentiation. It is the phychologist “higher nature” seen again through the taperstry of priestly fine linen. Linen seen today in the form of suits, jackets, ties and an office sofa bed provided for the inner soul probings of the said “lower natures.”
Nietzsche’s critique on the established order as it pertains to the concept of free will demonstrates a weakness in the free will model, and deservingly so. But blantantly obvious is Nietzsche’s shifting of the blame as it pertains to free will. Nietzsche turns the whole concept of free will into a mechanism devised by priestley religious piety and self-righteousness, calling them “the most evil of enemies” because of their righteous alienation toward other human beings. His list of righteous alienaters include the Jews, the Brahmans, and even Jesus of Nazareth, calling Him; “seduction in its most terrible and invisible form.” To Nietzsche, it is the Jewish global domination of thought. According to Nietzsche; “everything is turning Jewish, Christian or Plebeian.” Perhaps Nietzsche’s own limited Lutheran upbringing is at fault here, and not what was already established through and by the ancients, who were not necessarily priestly or aristocratic.
Individuals like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, while aristocratic to a certain extent, did not advocate for priestly offices nor supported institutionalized religions because they saw them as flaws. While others like the Buddha and Jesus were in constant motion, itinerant, without materialistic trimmings, often opposing the Pharisees and Sadducees of their day. However according to Nietzsche, the New Testament and the Judeo-Christian Bible as a whole reflects a so-called sense of hierarchy, establishing Jesus as the source for all salvation. Therefore, in Nietzsche eyes, the Judeo-Christian Bible is riddled with catch phrases of the “free will.” We are to use that free will to accept or burn. Yet while trying to convey his view on how he sees free will in the Scriptures, Nietzsche fails to explain the Biblical concept of predestination, or at the very least touch upon it. But if Nietzsche had lived until the ripe old age of 101 he might have changed his tune. For it was in 1945 that the Nag Hammadi Library was discovered; an alternate version of the Gospels from the early Christian Agnostics containing a central message that all are equal and can attain true enlightenment without priestly offices, sacrificial offerings or caste systems. It is a sense of being, with or without free will.
Moreover, Nietzsche’s criticism on the notion of the “good” leaves a bit to be desired. Nietzsche fails to mention anything pertaining to the Euthyphro Dilemma. Found in Plato’s dialogue, Socrates (469-399BCE) asks Euthyphro; “is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious or is it pious because it is loved by the Gods?” “Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good or isn’t morally good because it is commanded by God?” Many claim this to be a false dilemma, but it does entail freedom of will. The “that which is right is commanded by God because it is right” has its problems with reference to free will. It limits Gods will power – all things are commanded by Him, but only in accordance to what exists already. In reference to “that which is right is right because it is commanded by God” also has its share of problems; an anything goes attitude. Anything could become good, and anything can become bad, merely based upon Gods command. It also presents a moral contingency – that which is right today could easily become wrong tomorrow if God so decides. Whatever the case, it would appear that the dilemma is a paradox.
However, this paradox can be looked upon from various points of views as it relates to free will. Nietzsche fails to take into consideration the various modes of free will and determinism. Choosing rather to shift the blame to various ethnic groups or particular aristocracies which when read can have dire consequences as we have seen in the ‘Reign of Terror’ and the Holocaust; a tragic event in human history just 45 years after his death. Such were the ideologies and propagandas of anti-Jewish and Christian sentement. A sentement truly representative of his time and quite possibly his very own frame of thought.
The link between free will and the moral responsibility of all human beings are linked together by the catechism and Nietzsche only by, and through, a sense of ambiguity. For the catechism, and it’s priestley authors, free will can be seen by many outsiders as a concoction to control the masses by suggesting a taperstry set before humanity to always only see the mechanism of the “choice” or “free will.” As it is written in Joshua; “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” The very concept of servitude suggests a slave mentality and a sense of unforeseen consequences if one doesn’t serve. Naturally for the laymen, it is humanities exhortation to either accept or reject this choice of servitude through free will. If accepted, it becomes the epitome of human moral responsibility to perform the “good.” If rejected, it then becomes the breeding ground for the “bad,” the unholy, breeding grounds for the sinful nature. It becomes the cauldron of many vices. Therefore according to the Church, one must always choose what is good and right to be accepted into the family of God, and thus become a productive moral responsible member of society through a system of choices.
For Nietzsche, free will, as seen by the Catholic Church, and any other religious denomination for that matter, is not needed to goven moral responsibility in respects to an outside force, namely God. It would seem that to Nietzsche, our decisions depend, and are based, upon decisions made in the human mind already. In other words, the choice, or decision, was always there to begin with, and not motivated by an outside influence, namely God or his preordained plan for you. However, if a person can control their own actions then why can’t they control their decisions? For Nietzsche, they are already there. The notion that something is already there suggests something that is preordained already. How did it get there? Nietzsche does not answer this question. Instead what seems to be suggested in his first essay is the possibility that everything is preordained. Whether that preordination is of a higher being or of something out of some fatalistic deck of cards, Nietzsche fails to provide any real concrete support for the latter, Yet it is the latter that seems to echo its cry in his first essay.