The genealogical method is the basis of Friedrich
Nietzsches work On the Genealogy of Morals.
Nietzsches genealogy can be illustrated as a way
to investigate values. The investigation of
values, points out, how certain values were
originally initiated. Nietzsches genealogy also
presents a critique, by Nietzsche himself, on
already established values. Nietzsches genealogy
also creates a future in a revolutionary manner
values. In order to understand the Nietzsches
genealogical method one must first analyze the
parts that make it work. One area to analyze is
Nietzsches critical reversals.
He feels that the
current values, which are imbedded into society,
are in some way a reversal of actual truth.
Nietzsche wants society to consider the concept
that values that seem to exhibit goodness actually
to the reverse. A prime example of critical
reversals can be seen in Nietzsches concept of
Good and Evil vs. Good and Bad. From Nietzsches
viewpoint, to fully understand the concepts of
Good and Evil vs. Good and Bad, one must first
understand certain how moral systems developed and
how culture played a role in its development.
Nietzsche felt that moral systems were not created
by exterior beings. He feels that moral systems
are developed from within a society.
feels that there were two categories for morality.
The initial morality conveyed was a Master
Morality. This was the morality illustrated by the
nobles in the times of Ancient Greece. To better
understand the Master morality one must first
analyze the thinking of the Nobles. The nobles
felt a pathos of distance over their slaves.
Pathos of distance is a feeling in which the
nobles feel completely set apart from the slaves.
The nobles also felt they had the lordly right of
giving names. In this concept the rulers control
the language. They define the meaning of words.
the concept of master morality the word good means
noble, aristocratic, privileged, truthful, master
etc. The word bad means common, low simple, plain
or in other words the word described a slave. This
brings Nietzsche to the concept of Good vs. Bad,
which is the main basis for master morality. In
the concept of Good vs. Bad, there is no
resentment of the slaves on the part of the
The nobles do not hold a grudge towards
the slaves. The Nobles have no jealousy towards
the slaves. The nobles also exhibit profound
self-affirmation. . Self-affirmation allows the
nobles not to define themselves by others. The
nobles look at themselves in the first person.
a sense, self-affirmation allows the nobles to
claim their freedom. The nobles are responsible
for their own actions. The nobles have the freedom
to express themselves without constraints being
put on them by the slaves. In the concept of good
vs. bad the nobles have no desire to change bad
into good. The nobles no desire to change bad into
good for the mere fact the change would put the
slaves on a equal playing level with the nobles.
The nobles want to keep their noses raised and
social status intact.
The nobles want to stay in
control of the slaves. In other words the nobles
want to stay on top. Nietzsche characterizes the
concept of Good vs. Bad as an aesthetic
distinction for the nobles. An aesthetic
distinction can be defined as an internal feeling
of beauty. It is a feeling in which an individual
feels a certain way about a certain item without
giving a exact reason for that particular feeling.
The nobles have this aesthetic distinction towards
The important factor in this
distinction is there no desire by the nobles for
this distinction to change. Nietzsche also
analyzes the mirror concept of Good vs. Bad. That
concept is Good vs. Evil. This concept of slave
morality was brought on by slave revolt in
The slave revolt in morality was a type
of psychological warfare used by the slaves to
attack the nobles. Nietzsche feels the warfare
started the creation of religion. By using
religion the emphasis was put on the afterlife
rather than the existing life. The concept was
that the suffering the slaves endured by the
nobles would be rewarded in the afterlife, which
lasted for eternity. In contrast, the nobles would
be condemned for their unfair actions towards the
slaves. The slave morality concept of Good vs.
Evil involves resentment.
This is resentment on
the part of the slaves towards the nobles. The
slaves have a enormous grudge against the nobles.
The slaves dislike the fact the nobles posses
wealth, power and social status. In contrast to
the nobles, the slaves are other- affirmative
rather than self affirmative. Other affirmative is
when you define yourself by someone else. In this
case, the slaves define themselves by the nobles.
Keep in mind; self-affirmation brought a sense of
freedom to the nobles. Other affirmation brings on
an opposite affect for the slaves.
Contrary to the
nobles thinking, the slaves desire to change evil
(nobles) into good (slaves). The reasoning is very
simple. If this change were to happen everyone
would be equal and as a result there would be no
hostility between the two parties. The
aristocratic class, or ruling class, became
leaders through their naturally superior abilities
and stronger aggressive instincts, according to
Nietzsche. This has improperly led to a belief
that Nietsche thought a race could be naturally
superior; his only claim was the individuals can
be born superior. As proof, slaves could become
citizens and even senators in Rome.
leaders, according to Nietzsche, would highly
value sexuality based upon Darwin’s theories that
the strong wish to procreate and continue their
power. Another mark of the ruling class would be
an acceptance of aggression and the use of force.
As these rulers express power openly, they view
the pursuit of power and the defense of self as
honorable. For this reason, Nietzsche speculated
that these leaders would not hold a grudge against
enemies. In fact, they would not view competitors
for power as enemies, but rather as opponents in a
great game of human ability. These rulers welcome
competition, believing that it builds character
and teaches valuable lessons. After a battle, they
study their failures and openly admit the
strengths of others.
Nietzsche wrote that such
leaders do not see a right and wrong, only a
superior and inferior combatant. In stark contrast
to the ruling class, the subservient populations
embrace a moral code based upon a mythical
equality of individuals. Knowing this, the
aristocrats claim to acknowledge this equality in
various empty manners — such as equality under
the law, which applies seldom in reality. The
subservient, slave class eventually realizes that
life cannot be equal, so a religion is developed
promising that they are actually superior to those
in power on earth. often become leaders in the
aristocratic class — proving they do not believe
in this religious myth. The slaves demean sex,
human desire, and teach humility instead of
respect for power and authority.
believed this was a repression of resentments. A
minority of religious leaders are either true
believers or individuals seeking power, but unable
to admit this due to their own repressed natures.
Master Morality, Slave Morality 10) In his
profound critique, The Genealogy of Morals (1887),
Nietzsche presented the basis of Christianity and
its morality as being “ressentiment” (revenge and
resentment). Nietzsche branded Christianity as a
great “No- saying” attitude toward life; it
negates the value of this world by placing
emphasis on the afterworld. Nietzsche’s
explanation of the development of Christian
morality further emphasized the life-negating
powers of the priestly class: It was the Jews…
(one of Nietzsche’s priestly classes)…, who with
such awe-inspiring consistency dared to invert the
aristocratic value- equation (good = noble =
powerful = beautiful = happy = beloved of the
Gods) and to hang onto this inversion with their
teeth, the teeth of the most abysmal hatred (the
hatred of impotence) saying, ‘The wretched alone
are good… and you, the powerful and noble are,
on the contrary, evil.’Ref.7 (11) Christianity had
inherited this attitude and reinforced it with the
hopefulness of an afterlife, further negating
existence in this world. As can be demonstrated
historically, it is the priestly man whose revenge
has triumphed through the prevalence of Christian
Thus, Nietzsche arrived at the concept
of the “slave revolt in morality.”.
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