Power conceived by nobleman and slaves

Power is a relatively common term nowadays as to what it used to be many years ago. But what we assume the meaning of power is ones ability to control his surroundings or the objects or behaviors or actions or even humans around him. That is why terms of authority, control, influence and so many other related terms are associated with power. But if we go in the depths of this topic we find that there is a philosophical meaning to power which addresses the balancing of power between the two parties i.e. one who exercises power and other upon whom power is exercised.

For many years now, our population is mainly divided into two broad classes noblemen and slaves. The earlier of course is dominant class as the name suggests that they are people of some noble status, task or class whereas the latter is considered a lower class.

Both of these are integral part of a society and both are wholly dependent on each other as without noblemen there cant be any slaves and if there are no slaves then who will do work of noblemen. These two classes serve as the two components of the entire system. These are the two parties that form the power system mainly one part i.e. nobleman being in the position to power exercise and authority whereas the other i.e. slaves are those upon which this power is exercised. Through this power both these parties serve each others purpose and together they form and run a system. This system of power must be run with justice so that both the parties get what they deserve according to who exercises power and upon whom power is exercised.

This essay would help us give the different perception of both the parties as to how they conceive power. It would give us clearly how power is conceived first by nobleman and then by slaves. It would then shed light on the difference as in how each of the class conceives power. Power and Justice cannot work without each other. Only if they are brought together can the just be powerful and the powerful can be just (Blaise Pascal, n.d).

A lot of debate has been going on about the origin of good or goodness and of good people. Good has not got the right meaning to it when we say that someone who shows goodness is a good person. The good people have rather been defined as to people with power, noblemen, who have higher ranking and status, higher thinking of ideas, who consider their actions to be good as opposed to lower and vulgar actions.

As they consider themselves of higher order and rank therefore they also believe that the right to make values and rules lie with them. Along with that they believe that they have right to seal every object they wish to possess. Therefore in simple terms we can say that the definition of good that has been associated with power is not morally right. This implies the value judgment and value system is faulty.

In a brief way we can say that there is no proper definition of good and the definition which is applied for the good as being noble and high ranking is not appropriate. The slaves are the instruments who suffer for this fake cause as they are the one who have to bear the brunt of the noblemans power and the values they create from it.

Friedrich Nietzsche is the philosopher who has done the most extensive bulk of knowledge on this subject of good vs. evil or we can say in other words, Nobleman vs. Slaves. According to Friedrich Nietzsche, morality is of two basic kinds Master morality and slave morality. For Nietzsche, morality and culture are interlinked strongly and he explains that morality causes the formation of any culture, its language, practices, behaviors, customs and every part of culture. He also believes that morality is man created thing and the two fundamentals of master and slave comprise this man made formation. According to him master-slave morality is the main basis of European and Western culture and thoughts (Johnston n.d.).

We will look at each of the morality separately so that we can find out the difference in their way of conceiving power.

As discussed before that master here refers to the nobleman, those that are considered good people and are strong. Hence Nietzsche also describes the master morality as the morality of those that are in power and are willed strongly. Nietzsche was against the opinions which has its history back in British Ideology that anything which is helpful is considered good whereas harmful is a result of something bad.

He puts forth his counter argument by giving the justifications. According to him the above mentioned view is far away from the origin of real values. According to him this view only holds true if the good is in terms of habitualness i.e. in other words usefulness is goodness as a value.

According to Nietzsche, morality or in other words value or non value of the action was to be determined by its results. But that does not true hold in this case. So this can be said in other words or in words of Nietzsche we can say that there is only interpretation of the moral phenomena, the moral phenomena itself is not there.

So for the strong willed and powerful people, good is that which powerful, with strength and nobility whereas bad is the timid, weak, and coward. So the concept of morality of master circulates around term which is called nobility. So the morality of master is constructed to protect the values of the strong willed and powerful.

For both the slaves and the master, the fear is the mother of morality. So mainly, master morality revolves around the nobleman with the central theme of good, then systematically to the idea of bad which is something that is not good.  Apart from fear there are other qualities that are held important and are valued in the moralities of master are bravery, honesty, open and broad mindedness, trust and a true sense of self-worth.

For a nobleman, he considers himself as the authority of determining the values. He does not consider the fact that he requires approval for this determining of values. He considers himself and solely himself as the determinant of these values. For him what is beneficial to him is the value that is beneficial in itself and what is harmful to him is harmful in itself.

His created values are not subject to the approval from others. For him it is himself that provides honor to things and by providing this honor to things they become value. Thus the nobleman considers himself creator of values.
In this sense, the concept of master morality is the complete awareness that the master or the nobleman is the measure of all things. There is an element of selfishness in here because we see that if something is helpful and beneficial to the strong willed nobleman so that is what holds value for him and therefore he considers it the value without approval of others. He just considers that as it is helpful to him therefore it is a good value. As it is helpful to him therefore these things are good.

This concept shows the status and class difference between the nobleman and slaves. All these shared value system reflects the different classes that exist in this system. This is exhibited by the ruling and owning class of the system who exercise rather enjoy this will to exercise power. But these values arent as good as they are termed good because this power is exercised in form of autonomy, dictatorship, self-control, self enhancement, domination, greed, mercilessness, acquisitiveness and other poor consequences of this will to exercise power (Partridge 2007).

This was just the explanation of what morality of master is. It brings along with its many implications in the real world in context to the use of power or more specifically will to power.

Nietzsche thinks that Will to Power is a must for this organic function. The rationale that he has given for this is that if people are exploited and there is witnessed the Will to Power by the powerful class only then people can know about the sentimental aspect of the situation and can be aware of the inequality due to this. So therefore he thinks that until and unless this Will to Power which he also calls for this purpose as the Will to Life is present, there cannot be a developed society.

According to Nietzsche, nobleman is the person with power and he is beyond any good or evil. He is not the subject of morality of other meek and timid people. These meek and timid people speak of morality and good and evil in terms of equality. Whereas the noblemen do not speak of it in this way. These people are beyond good and evil (Nietzsche 2002).
Morality of slaves is also called morality of herd. As the nobleman considers himself as of higher order and status he is not mere subject to the morality of the herd. This point has been stressed upon by Nietzsche as well because he says that morality is most favored if there is mediocrity. So morality would be favorable if one is beyond good or evil, so that is why nobleman goes beyond good or evil so that they are above the herd. (httpphilosophy.lander.eduethicsnotes-nietzsche.html).

Masters are creators of morality slaves respond to master-morality with their slave-morality. As the masters are instruments with power therefore they create laws, rules, regulations and values to which these slaves or herd have to oblige to. The herd begins to act towards these values with resentment. Both of them i.e. master morality and slave morality cannot coexist as the herd try to seek to force their own values universally.

After taking a detailed look towards the master morality, or the way power is conceived by the nobleman, we will now be looking at slave morality which would automatically provide us with differences as how power is differently conceived by nobleman and the slaves.

We will not be just explaining the slave morality here but side along we would also be highlighting the differences in both of these moralities.

Slave morality is an opposite version of master morality. It can be justified in this way that if master morality seeks towards sentiment then slave morality goes for opposite in the sense that they go for re-sentiment or in simpler words the slave revalues the thing which the master values.

As we read in the master morality that for them morality tends to be based on the valuation of the actions based on their results or consequences. As this is revalued here in case of morality so the sense changes. The sense strays away from valuation based on consequences to the valuation of actions on their intention.
Contrary to master morality whose origin was from the strong and powerful, the slave morality originates from the weak. For slaves the master morality is oppression so the morality of slaves is a resultant reaction to oppression. Slave morality goes against its oppressors. So in essence, slave morality is opposite of master morality as it is against the oppressors who oppress slave morality.
We will now see how it is opposite to master morality, why power is conceived differently by slaves by explaining the characteristics of the slave morality.

Slave morality is characterized by its opposition to towards the values regarded as good by the master morality. Not only that. Slave morality is also characterized by skepticism and pessimism. As opposed to master morality, slave morality does not seek to exert ones will by power and strength rather it seeks to exert will by proper and careful subversion. Subversion means here to overthrow or over run the authority. By overthrowing of authority in this case refers to the authority of the masters.  It should not be mistaken though that the slaves do not want themselves to transcend or rise above the masters. They want these masters to become the slaves as well (Nietzsche 2006).

Contrary to master morality whose idea revolved around the nobleman and its main essence was nobility, the idea of slave morality revolves around slaves and main essence of slave morality is utility. The element of selfishness is not present in this case contrary to master morality which considered a value as to that thing which is good for him. In case of slave morality, the idea of utility is selfless i.e. the thing is good is it is most useful for the entire community, not just for the strong.

Nietzsche finds a gaping hole in this and says that this is contradictory. He explains this theory by saying that there cannot be a common good at all because what is common necessarily has little value to offer. At the end of the day, great things remain for great people, that in power and with strength. He has given further explanation of this by shedding light on what becomes of the slaves.

He explains that as powerful are fewer as compared to the huge masses of the weak therefore weak have to gain power by corrupting and making the powerful believe that the causes of slavery due to the will of power are evil and bad. If the strong believe this and also that those qualities which they could not pick and chose for themselves because of their weaknesses are evil too then they can gain power in this way.

Through the above way and by committing that slave admit to humility voluntarily, slave morality would avoid admitting that this humility was enforced upon them by masters. Even the Bible says that charity, humility and pity are consequences of the universal plight of slaves on the entire human being and thus they also result in the enslaving of the masters even (Nietzsche 1996).

 According to Nietzsche, the meek, timid and powerless are identified by vanity which is their trademark.  This can be explained as in terms of the urge and cry of holding and speaking out good opinion for themselves, but not being able to set their own values.

The praise that slaves get is in the disguised form of flattery. They are aware of this fact that they do not deserve praise but yet when the praise is given to them in form of flattery they accept and believe this piece of flattery as they are unable to form their own values. So thus, vanity is inevitable as it is a resultant of inferiority (Philosophy Lander n.d.).

There has been a struggle between both of these moralities and its history goes way back long in the ages of ancient Greece and Roman societies. Both of these societies were grounded completely in master morality. But then there was a revival as master morality faced defeat at the hands of slave morality as we saw the spread of Christianity throughout the entire Roman Empire. Historically, master morality was defeated as the slave morality of Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire.

According to Nietzsche, he condemned the triumphant success of slave morality by saying that as weakness conquered strength i.e. the slave conquered the master he termed it as revenge by the slaves by acting vindictively to avenge for their jealousy against the powerful. For Nietzsche, the aim of this was to make the entire society slaves and for this he thought that both democracy and Christianity was responsible. But on the other side he was not in favor of master morality as a source of code of behavior. He suggested that if both the morals are revaluated then the insignificance and the differences between them can be removed but yet master morality was still preferable over slave morality (Nietzsche 1999).

In a nutshell both of these moralities can be summed up in a way that master morality is a morality where good is noble and bad is one that deserves contempt. Master is the owner and creator of value. Slave morality or herd morality is of the opinion that something is advantageous or beneficial to the entire community involving the powerless as well and not just for strong. For them strong people are evil and their virtues mainly involves humility and sympathy. The history suggests that these two morals have ever been conflicting and the coexistence is impossible.


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