Here are the two formulae: "I am good, therefore you are evil" - "You are evil therefore I am good". We can use the method of dramatisation. Who utters the first of these formulae, who utters the second? And what does each one want? The same person cannot utter both because the good of the one is precisely the evil of the other. "There is no single concept of good" (GM 111); the words "good", "evil" and even "therefore" have several senses. We find, once again, that the method of dramatisation, which is essentially pluralist and immanent, governs the inquiry. Nowhere else can this investigation find the scientific rule that constitutes it as a semeiology and an axiology, enabling it to determine the sense and value of a word. We ask: who is it that begins by saying: "I am good"? It is certainly not the one who compares himself to others, nor the one who compares his actions and his works to superior and transcendent values: such a one would not begin . . . The one who says: "I am good", does not wait to be called good. He refers to himself in this way, he names himself and decribes himself thus to the extent that he acts, affirms and enjoys. "Good" qualifies activity, affirmation and the enjoyment which is experienced in their exercise: a certain quality of the soul, "some fundamental certainty which a noble soul possesses in regard to itself, something which may not be sought or found and perhaps may not be lost either" (BGE 287 p. 196). What Nietzsche often calls distinction is the eternal character of what is affirmed (it does not have to be looked for), of what is put into action (it is not found), of what is enjoyed (it cannot be lost). He who affirms and acts is at the same time the one who is: "The root of the word coined for this, esthlos signifies one who is, who possesses reality, who is actual, who is true" (GM 15 p. 29). "He knows himself to be that which in general first accords honour to things, he creates values. Everything he knows to be part of himself, he honours: such a morality is self-glorification. In the foreground stands the feeling of plenitude, of power which seeks to overflow, the happiness of high tension, the consciousness of a wealth which would like to give away and bestow".11 " 'The good' themselves, that is to say, the noble, powerful, high-stationed and high-minded, who felt and established themselves and their actions as good, that is, of the first rank, in contradistinction to all the low, low-minded, common and plebeian" (GM 12 pp 25-6). But no comparison interferes with the principle. It is only a secondary consequence, a negative conclusion that others are evil insofar as they do not affirm, do not act, do not enjoy. "Good" primarily designates the master. "Evil" means the consequence and designates the slave. What is "evil" is negative, passive, bad, unhappy. Nietzsche outlines a commentary on Theognis' admirable poem based entirely on the fundamental lyrical affirmation: we are good, they are evil, bad. We search in vain for the least nuance of morality in this aristocratic appreciation: it is a question of an ethic and a typology - a typology of forces, an ethic of the corresponding ways of being.
"I am good, therefore you are evil": in the mouths of the masters the word therefore merely introduces a negative conclusion. And this latter is merely advanced as the consequence of a full affirmation: "we the aristocrats, the beautiful, the happy" (GM I 10). In the master everything positive is in the premises. He must have premises of action and affirmation, and the enjoyment of these premises in order to conclude with something negative which is not the main point and has scarcely any importance. It is only an "accessory, a complementary nuance" (GM 111). Its only importance is to augment the tenor of the action and the affirmation, to content their alliance and to redouble the corresponding enjoyment: the good "only looks for its antithesis in order to affirm itself with more joy" (GM I 10). This is the status of aggression: it is the negative, but the negative as the conclusion of positive premises, the negative as the product of activity, the negative as the consequence of the power of affirming. The master acknowledges himself in a syllogism where two positive propositions are necessary to make a negation, the final negation being only a means of reinforcing the premises - "You are evil therefore I am good." Everything has changed: the negative passes into the premises, the positive is conceived as a conclusion, a concluon from negative premises. The negative contains the essential and the positive only exists through negation. The negative becomes "the original idea, the beginning, the act par excellence" (GM I 11). The slave must have premises of reaction and negation, of ressentiment and nihilism, in order to obtain an apparently positive conclusion. Even so, it only appears to be positive. This is why Nietzsche insists on distinguishing ressentiment and aggression: they differ in nature. The man of ressentiment needs to conceive of a non-ego, then to oppose himself to this non-ego in order finally to posit himself as self. This is the strange syllogism of the slave: he needs two negations in order to produce an appearance of affirmation. We already sense the form in which the syllogism of the slave has been so successful in philosophy: the dialectic. The dialectic, as the ideology of ressentiment.
"You are evil, therefore I am good." In this formula it is the slave who speaks. It cannot be denied that values are still being created. But what bizarre values! They begin by positing the other as evil. He who called himself good is the one who is now called evil. This evil one is the one who acts, who does not hold himself back from acting, who does not therefore consider action from the point of view of the consequences that it will have for third parties. And the one who is good is now the one who holds himself back from acting: he is good just because he refers all actions to the standpoint of the one who does not act, to the standpoint of the one who experiences the consequences, or better still to the more subtle standpoint of a divine third party who scrutinises the intentions of the one who acts. "And he is good who does not outrage, who harms nobody, who does not attack, who does not requite, who leaves revenge to God, who keeps himself hidden as we do, who avoids evil and desires little from life, like us, the patient, humble and just" (GM 113 p. 46). This is how good and evil are born: ethical determination, that of good and bad, gives way to moral judgment. The good of ethics has become the evil of morality, the bad has become the good of morality. Good and evil are not the good and the bad but, on the contrary, the exchange, the inversion, the reversal of their determination. Nietzsche stresses the following point: "Beyond good and evil" does not mean: "Beyond the good and the bad", on the contrary . . . (GM I 17). Good and evil are new values, but how strangely these values are created! They are created by reversing good and bad. They are not created by acting but by holding back from acting, not by affirming, but by beginning with denial. This is why they are called un-created, divine, transcendent, superior to life. But think of what these values hide, of their mode of creation. They hide an extraordinary hatred, a hatred for life, a hatred for all that is active and affirmative in life. No moral values would survive for a single instant if they were separated from the premises of which they are the conclusion. And, more profoundly, no religious values are separable from this hatred and revenge from which they draw the consequences. The positivity of religion is only apparent: they conclude that the wretched, the poor, the weak, the slaves, are the good since the strong are "evil" and "damned". They have invented the good wretch, the good weakling: there is no better revenge against the strong and happy. What would Christian love be without the Judaic power of ressentiment which inspires and directs it? Christian love is not the opposite of Judaic ressentiment but its consequence, its conclusion and its crowning glory (GM I 8). Religion conceals the principles from which it is directly descended to a greater or lesser extent (and often, in periods of crisis, it no longer conceals anything at all); the weight of negative premises, the spirit of revenge, the power of ressentiment.
Gilles Deleuze/ Nietzsche and Philosophy/ Is he Good? Is he Evil?
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