Nietzsche’s concept of morality was described as a natural human factor based on the societal urges of the individual – something he refers to as herd instinct. Social media displays a plethora of references to the masses of modern society as sheep – and the participants could easily have gotten this notion from Nietzsche; he said, “With morality the individual is instructed to be a function of the herd and to ascribe value to himself only as a function” (116). Humans require motivation to perform actions, but Nietzsche saw this as a biological expression not afforded nature, in other words – nature would not be defined by man’s laws.
He viewed the universe as accidental chaos, or a lack of order and said, “… in no way does [nature] strive to imitate man! In no way do our aesthetic and moral judgements apply to it! It also has no drive to self-preservation or any other drives; nor does it observe any laws” (Nietzsche 111). He viewed matter as an error and therefore an exception to what should be natural law. Nietzsche called for a re-evaluation of a de-deified nature – allowing room for nature and species to continue to change along it’s exceptional chaotic path. I see it as workings of evolution. Morals belonged to the herd instinct and were not dependent on religious factors, or God. Humanity itself, with the natural adaptive qualities of an organism, adapted to become godlike, erasing the need for God – Nietzsche felt the concept of deity would become a thing of the past, but he noted that the time he spoke was too soon; he told a parable of the madman: “This tremendous event is still on its way, wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. … This deed is still more remote to them than the remotest stars – and yet they have done it themselves!” (125).
Nietzsche saw culture as a product of social experience, but morality as an active motivator for the human species – accredited to the overriding demands of the community. Nietzsche held “…where need and distress have for a long time forced people to communicate, to understand each other swiftly and subtly, there finally exists a surplus of this power and art of expression, a faculty, so to speak, which has slowly accumulated and now waits for an heir to spend it lavishly” (354). Culture was what expression caught from experience, and though he felt artists lacking, it was their responsibility to form culture for society.
People are often upset when reading Nietzsche. Is this because we are still, even in the modern sense, not ready to accept natural lessons?
Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Gay Science. Ed. Bernart Williams. Trans.
Josefine Nauckhoff and Adrian Del Caro. Cambridge, United
Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
Thank you for the picture: https://jackflacco.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/zombie-herd-mentality2.jpg