books/Genealogy of Morality

On the Genealogy of Morality


Friedrich Nietzsche

  1. Clark and A. Swenson

My impressions immediately after reading

Overall, very angry and sporadic. Very libertarian. Has a distaste for the common man, especially the old or diseased. Doesn’t stress youth (?) but that is exactly what he idolizes: passion without meaning or thought. Could be the translation? He writes strongly but acts as if he is not always emotionally attached.

Section II, 23

Notes that the Greeks would shift blame and guilt to the gods (page 65, lines 13-16), compared to Christ taking punishment but leaving guilt to the mortals. Similar to the secular blame on hereditary effects (affect!), genetics, fate, science?, misunderstanding. What does a guilt-free society look like?

At an earlier point (Section I, 10) he talks about the most mighty society having no need for punishment, as the community simply absorbs the crime. Maybe for a brief empire, but it seems foolish in the long run… He notes banishment as original punishment, which is no longer viable.

Section II, 18

Nietzsche: “the will to power”
Goethe: “instinct for freedom”

Nietzsche says it’s the same thing

Nietzsche talks about the perversity of turning one’s animal passion on one’s self… it’s tempting to say he is hawkish and trying at instigate war or violence, but technically he is only pointing out his opinion: despite colorful language a plan of action is left to the reader - if any action. This duplicitous language seems to be his big schtick: “what buttons can I push without touching them?”

Section III, 5

Nietzsche praises Wagner as a musician/oracle who pulls beauty out of thin air, echoing his earlier appreciation of “only that without history is definable” (paraphrase).

“… a kind of mouthpiece of the ‘in itself’ of things, a telephone of the beyond.”

Section III, 6

Nietzsche compares interpretations of beauty.

Kant: “The beautiful is what pleases without interest”

Nietzsche prefers Stendhal: “une promese de bonheur”, or “a promise of happiness”.

Nietzsche cites statues of nude women as being interesting

Section III, 18

Nietzsche calls the will to power “the strongest, most life-affirming drive, even if in the most cautious of doses” (page 98, line 1). Nietzsche claims that Christianity cam into being via “herd-formation” among the weak based on attempts to combat depression, such as “associations for mutual support, pauper-, invalid-, burial associations…”.

Section III, 28

Nietzsche closes with: “man would much rather will nothingness than not will!”

Section I


paraphrase section I on the origins of good/evil, good/bad