The Moral Decadence In Nietzsche’s Philosophical Writings (A Critical Approach)
THE IMPACT OF MORAL DECADENCE IN NIETZSCHE
2.1 The demise of God
Nietzsche boldly prophesied the exorcism of God by man, a slogan that is found in Hegelian declaration: “God is dead”. This proclamation provoked serious thought instead of giving answers to questions. According to Heidegger, this expression originated from Plutarch and recurs in paschal and in Hegel himself. With the advent of science and technology, Nietzsche sensed an approaching period of nihilism. The nihilistic tendencies in Nietzsche turned to the aesthetic dimension of human nature as the most promising alternative to religion when God could no longer be the goal and sanction of human conduct. In his book, the gay science, it is written:
With God gone, the sea, our sea, was never more open, never more alluring, n
In other words, decay of belief in God opens the way for man’s creative energies to develop fully; the Christian God, with all his prohibitions and commands will not remind them again of final end of man or towards the other world rather the ‘hic et nunc’ of this present world. Nietzsche, remarks that philosophers and ‘free spirits’ feel irradiated as by the new dawn by the report that the ‘old God is dead’, their hearts overflow with gratitude, happiness, jubilation, astonishment and expectation.
You higher men, this God was your greatest danger. Only since he has lain in grave have you again resurrected. Only now does the great noon tide come, only does the higher man become Lord and master!2
Since European culture was founded on the Christian religion, the demise of God in their hearts meant, for Nietzsche, the tragic collapse of the foundation of their culture. It is well articulated in the famous book: the joyful Wisdom, entitled “The Madman” and reads:
Have you ever heard of the madman who on a bright morning lighted a lantern and ran to the market place calling out unceasingly: I seek God! I seek God! As there were many people standing about who did not believe in God, he cause a great deal of amusement why? Is he lost? Said one. Has he strayed away like a child said another, or… does he keeps himself hidden? Is he afraid of us? Has he taken a sea voyage? Has he emigrated? The people cried out laughing, all in a hubbub. The insane man jumped into their midst and transfixed them with glances. Where has God gone? He called out. I shall tell you. We have killed him-you and I. We are his murderers3
Nietzsche took himself to be the madman in question who has lost God. This means that some time in the past he believed in God but now he no longer, so he refutes Him: In the book, the joyful wisdom, it is stated:
Do we not hear the noise of grave diggers who are burying God? Do we not smell the divine putrefaction? For even gods putrefy: God is dead! And we have killed him. How shall we console ourselves, the most murderous of all murderers?4
It is further stated that the madman made his way into different churches on the same day, and there intoned his Requiem aeternam deo. When led out and called to account, he always gave the reply that they are tombs and monuments of God. Nietzsche’s general attitude is that the belief in the God of the Christian religion is hostile to life, and that when it expresses the will to power, the will in question is that of the lower types of man. He recognizes that there have been great men who were believers, but he maintains that nowadays at least, when the existence of God is no longer taken for granted, strength, independence, intellectual freedom and concern for the future of man demand atheism. Therefore, any sign of belief is weakness, cowardice and decadence. According to Paschal, it either prevents the growth of superior individuals or ruins them. In the Nietzsche’s book, The Anti-Christ, it is stated that:
The Christians conception of God – God as God of the sick, God as a spider, God as a spirit – is one of the most corrupt conceptions of the divine ever attained on earth … God degenerated into the contradiction of life, instead of being its transformation and eternal yes!5
In Nietzsche, we see the turning point in the history of man and his existence. Before Nietzsche, most philosophers viewed the world and history as being meaningful, rational and just.
For Nietzsche, this does not represent the true picture of the world; the philosophical and religious worldviews are only but expressions of man’s need to avoid chaos. The reality is without form and it is chaotic. The metaphysical systems are but expressions of man’s philosophical alienation and Nietzsche’s effort so far is regaining what he accepted had been alienated from human beings. Nietzsche’s hatred of Christianity proceeds principally from his view of its supposed effect on man, whom it renders weak, submissive, resigned, humble or tortured in conscience and unable to develop himself freely. But, he still maintains that Christianity has developed the sense of truth and the ideal of love. Equally, a lot of strong men and genius have come from Christianity. Yet, Nietzsche insists that the sense of truth ultimately turns against the Christian interpretation of reality and the ideal of love against the Christian’s idea of God. If Nietzsche had not maintained one-sided argument in this situation, his works would have been watered down. This is because he would add nothing to philosophy. That is why he insisted. But, secularized forms of Christianity, such as democracy, and socialism, have tried to maintain a considerable moral standard in the society
- The Revaluation of All morals
According to Nietzsche, “Whoever must be a creator of values should first of all be a destroyer of values”6. Therefore, when Nietzsche wants to create new values he first of all went into destructive act. Equally, before we could do this, we must examine and question the significance of old values. This destruction is two fold in nature: the denial of traditional morality with its absolute standard of value and an attack on Christian morality. And the same resentment is attributed to the democratic and socialist movements, which Nietzsche interprets as derivatives of Christianity.
Nietzsche rejected the concept of a uniform, universal and absolute moral system. If slave morality originated in resentment and revenge, then there must be the revaluation of all morals. Also, because the traditional morality is a perversion of original natural morality, revaluation should help in rejecting it. The herd is welcome to its own set of values, provided that it is deprived of the power of imposing them on the higher type of man who is called upon to create his own values which will enable man to transcend his present stage in life.
Consequently, Nietzsche attacks philosophers of absolute morality as enemies of life in as much as absolute morality is itself enemy of life hindering the development of the higher man like Socrates and Plato. Nietzsche viewed his own thinking as reversed Platonism or as revaluation of all values. Therefore, he maintained that there is no substance or actual reality beyond space and time, no intelligible world and no eternal ideas. In Nietzsche’s book; thus spoke Zarathustra’ he exhorts:
I implore you, my brothers, remain true to the earth and do not believe those who talk to you of celestial hopes! They are poisoners whether they know it or not. They are contemptuous of life dying off and poisoned by themselves, let them go their way.7
Thus, Nietzsche basically said that Heraclitus was right that unchangeable being is an empty fiction, everything is in flux and the so-called true world, is a fiction. Therefore, he turned the basic metaphysical presuppositions of western world upside down. Metaphysics as he understood it had devalued the world that reveals itself to us and replaced it with an imaginary world, a fiction that purports to be the real world. Philosophy sees the main enemy of thought in the senses and in the sensual. Since what is external and imperishable cannot be in the sensory world, philosophy appeals to a transcendent world that is furnished with the highest properties. Metaphysics on the other hand constructs a series of binary opposition in which one link is seen as positive and other negative. The soul for instance has a positive value while the body has a negative value. The various phenomena are thus determined by an absolute standard. With the Nietzsche’s introduction of ‘God is dead’ makes it possible to overcome this understanding of existence. He said also that there is no absolute value; all values are man’s creation – expressing a certain perspective. There is no quality in them, which can be called ‘good’ or ‘bad’, all names as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are simply images and metaphors. Hence, morality consists simply as an instrument in the service of the will to power.
The point is that Nietzsche’s revaluation does not mean a table of new value, nor an attempt to proffer us such a table. It is all about the reconstruction of all the accepted valuations. Thus, Nietzsche says:
All the stronger motives are still extant, but that they now appear under false names and valuations, and have not yet become conscious of themselves. It is not necessary to legislate new values, but only to reverse values once again.8
Nietzsche, when assessing his relationship with other regulating philosophers, prides himself as the herald and precursor of the philosophers of the future”9. According to him, the standard of all values, which in Platonism, Cartesianism, and Hegelianism belongs to reason, is nothing but mere exaggeration. He maintains that in moral evaluation, “asking for reasons upsets the conscious sureness of instinct, and any stable prosperity of life request that some things are not discussable; and analysis kills, abstraction ignores historic individuality, therefore the desire for a reasoning virtue is not reasonable”10. Nietzsche armed himself very well to restore the value and significance of man. Nietzsche’s problem was the possibility of replacing our moral values with The Will to Power
Nietzsche asserted that each person is unique therefore he rejected the notion of universal and absolute system of morality. For him, to conceive of morality in universal terms is to disregard basic differences between individuals. One thing that characterizes all human beings is the drive to dominate the environment. This is the “Will to Power” and one possible interpretation of this is that it is a process of expansion and venting of creative energy that he believed was the basic driving force of nature. Therefore, it is the driving force of all natural phenomena and the dynamic to which all other causal powers in the world could be reduced. This interpretation would align itself with a Neo-Kantian epistemology in this view, that it is a basic means through which living things interpret or interact with the world and the world would be “Will to Power”. Nietzsche accepts the fundamental notion of Schopenhauer that the will is the principle of existence, but this will for power’, he conceived not merely as the will to live. Thus Nietzsche asserts:
the strongest and the highest will to life does not find expression in a miserable struggle for existence, but in a will to war, a will to power, a will to overpower!
The body and its instincts are the ‘big reason’ and the mind is merely an instrument in the hands of instinct, of the will for life and power. But, not just instincts but also higher-level behaviours (even in humans) were to be reduced to the will to power. This includes both such apparently harmful acts as physical violence, lying and domination are on one hand, and such apparently non-harmful acts as gift giving, love and praise on the other. Nietzsche says;
That slave morality is essentially the morality of utility, where goodness refers to whatever is beneficial to those who are weak and powerless, for slave morality the person that arouses fear is “evil”, but, according to the master morality it is precisely the “good” person who is able to arouse fear.12
Also, the will to power is meant to explain more than just the behaviour of an individual person or animal. The will to power can also be the explanation for why water flows as it does, why plant grows and why various societies behave as they do. Furthermore, according to Adler; it was his position that the principal drive in human beings is what is called “the will to power” which means “the individual undeniable tendency to surpass others, to rise above others.”13
By this, every human being possessed this strong and primary drive. They try to make up for the inferiority which in Adler’s idea every human being experiences. It is just a social inferiority whereby each person feels inferior to other in a society. But, it is relative rather than absolute thing. In order to compensate this, we have what is called will to power, will to conquer. This will to power will put you above every other person in the society and you will become a master. Nietzsche being a far-seeing thinker founded ‘the will to power’ which is a classical expression in the psychological theory of Alfred Adler. But, he failed to reconcile the distinctions between ascending and descending life, higher and lower men thereby giving rise to objectivity of values, which he rejected. Nietzsche equally failed to give the requisite prolonged consideration to the question of how the subject can impose an intelligible structure on the flux of becoming when the subject is itself resolved into the flux and exists as a subject only as part of the structure, which it is said to impose.
Also, his attitude towards Christianity is based on his inability to do justice to his foe. So, he himself put it, he had the blood of theologians in his veins. We can vividly say that his attack on Christianity forms part of his general campaign against all beliefs and philosophies, such as metaphysical idealism, which ascribe to human existence, a meaning or purpose or goal other than the meaning freely imposed by man himself
- The Superman (Ubermensch)
Nietzsche said that knowledge is the instrument of power. The role of knowledge here is not just to know for its own sake, but to master. Nietzsche was not a systematic philosopher as such but a moralist who passionately rejected western middle class civilization. He believed that everyone should utilize his abilities and overcome every other person. Man is something which must be surpassed; man is a bridge and not a goal, is a myth and a goal for the will. Therefore, superman is the meaning of the earth. Nietzsche does indeed assert that:
Man is a rope, tied between beast and over man; a rope over an abyss, a dangerous looking back… and what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end.14
It is not that before man evolves into superman, it must be by inevitable process. But, let your will say, superman is to be the meaning of the earth. Superman cannot come unless superior individuals have the courage to transvalue all values and eliminate old values that hindered the development of higher men. Unless man overcomes all these, he will certainly plunge into the abyss of animality.
Nietzsche maintained that history is moving not toward the emergence of some abstract developed ‘humanity’ but toward the emergence of some exceptional men. Ergo he believes is the ability of the strong to dominate the weak and this implies the exercise of power in such a way as is deemed natural. According to Nietzsche, the New God- superman is immanentized in time, preparing man for a heaven here and not one in the non-existent hereafter. The transcendent is nothing more than the immanent and hereafter should be hic et nunc. He believed that it is only in shedding off his God- skin and Christian clothing that man can regain his self-conquest, and earth exude new fragrance and bring new tidings. In the book “Thus Spake Zarathustra”, Nietzsche asserts:
Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift be love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth. Thus, I beg and beseech you. Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away so that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meanining15
The significance of the cathartic atheism of Nietzsche is the expulsion of God so that the superman may live. With the expulsion or exorcism of God, man could hardly be looked upon as the metaphysical or spiritual
“Imago Dei”. So, an “imago nihilis” – the image of nothingness was brought in by Nietzsche as a nice replacement. He aimed at the elimination of the old metaphysic and of Christian theology, in order to make room for the new conception of being as ‘life’ (Leben). Nietzsche in his book ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’ asserts:
Behold I teach you superman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him? And do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the age of man… the superman is the meaning of the earth. People are warned to remain true to the earth and not to believe those who spoke of super terrestrial hope …16
Ubermensch or superman (Zarathustra) is not superior in breeding or endowment but in power and strength. He makes effort always to conquer his world and not to be swallowed by the daily activities. In the book, “Thus Spake Zarathustra” Nietzsche proclaims: “Not ‘humanity’ but superman is the goal”17
Man is something that must be suppressed; man is a bridge and never a goal. Nietzsche went on to point out what he meant by superman though not in clear description. He describes him as ‘The Roman Caesar with Christ’s Soul’. He described Superman also as Goethe and Napoleon in one hand, and as god appearing on earth. Superman would be the highest possible development and integration of intellectual power, strength of character and will, independence, passion, taste, and physique. He would be highly cultured, skilful in all bodily accomplishments, tolerant, strength, regarding nothing as forbidden unless it is weakness either under the form of ‘virtue’ or under that of ‘vice’. He is the man who has become fully free and independent and affirms life and the universe.
Nietzsche’s much emphasis on the advent of superman inevitably boils down to the very questions: what are the codes of conducts of this superman? And what task has Nietzsche set out for him to fulfil? Nietzsche’s opinion about superman is the one who will over throw the rule of the church and her priest-directed slaves. He will restore the strange to power. The superman will rescue the earth from the “the despisers of life” who poison themselves and others with the arsenic of other worldliness.
Nevertheless, the superman and his followers will be cruel, hard, ruthless, pitiless, deceitful, boastful, translucent, and sensual and frivolous. Nietzsche repeats straightforwardly the Hegelian dictum: most evil is necessary for the superman’s best and is necessary for the realization of the superman. Superman is strong, courageous and dominating, he contains no place for weakness or the virtues that are from weakness. It is the sign of superman to take risk, face danger and love adventure, not to love pleasure, happiness, comfort, and security, like in the traditional and Christian morality. Man’s goal according to Nietzsche is to become a superman; the natural man, not god; the supernatural. In our eyes, God still remain the supernatural being while we still become natural superman. This dilemma will not be understood unless one realizes that the new elite neither professes nor practices in the view of Nietzsche any absolute moral code. The reason is that such an absolute moral code is the fruit of religious resentment. It also arises from the attitude of nay saying to life in this world.
Nietzsche said those virtues that slave-morality extols such as kindness and humility is beneficial only to the society of the weak and the powerless. The strong independent individuals regard them as dangerous and evil.
Though, at times, Nietzsche seems to be inconsistent. This is because instead of practicing boastful, truculent, pitiless, ruthless, cruel, he said they should be brave, honourable, strong, lofty, serious and ascetical
He even disagreed with Schopenhauer saying that pitying the downtrodden or the weak is not the source of all morality. In his opinion, pity makes the strong weak.
OTHER PHILOSOPHERS VIEWS AND THOUGHTS
This is just an x-ray of all the philosophical thoughts on morality beginning from ancient philosophers till contemporary philosophers. The ancient period was distinguished for their singular interest in cosmology and the constitution of the physical world, without much interest in man’s moral behaviour. Medieval philosophers centred their morality on God who is the creator of the universe. Modern philosophers were occupied with making science and philosophy consistent with each other. Then, contemporary philosophers had conviction that there must be a close connection between thinking and doing. These contemporary philosophers were mostly pragmatist and existentialist.
3.1 ANCIENT PERIOD
This era began when human’s curiosity cause the ancient philosophers of nature to ask questions, “What are things like” and “how can we explain the process of change in things?” This period marked the formal beginning of western philosophy. This period was an intellectual activity, for it was not a matter only of seeing or believing but of thinking. Philosophy meant thinking about basic questions in a mood of genuine and free inquiry. The first philosophers of nature are called either Milesians or Ionians because philosophy began from there.
3.1.1. Milesians Philosophers
They centred mainly on the explanation of the external world. They did not deliver much into the moral values of the people. But, from the activities around them, they describe the rigorous order in nature to which everyone and everything must be subordinated. Earlier, Milesia had produced the genius Homer whose epic poetry projected upon the cosmic scene mount Olympus, where the gods interfered in the affairs of human beings. The Homeric gods would punish people for their lack of moderation and especially for their pride or insubordination.
However, it was Hesiod 8th century B.C, who altered this concept of the gods and “fate” by removing from the gods all capriciousness, ascribing to them instead a moral consistency.
Although, Hesiod retains the notion that the gods control nature, he balances this personal element in the nature of things with an emphasis upon the impersonal operation of the moral law of the universe. For Hesiod, there is moral order in the universe. This idea shows that there is impersonal force controlling the structure of the universe and regulating its process of changes without reference to the gods.
Thales of Miletus (Ca 624-546) declared this impersonal force to be water which controls the structure of the universe. Thales was astonished at the changes in the nature. The clouds, oceans and things around were changing from time to time. Thales confirmed this from his observation of simple events, “perhaps from seeing that the nutriment of all things is moist and that heat is generated from the moist and kept alive by it. He got his notion from this fact and from the fact that the seeds of all things have a moist nature and water is the origin of the nature of moist things”.1 Also, evaporation or freezing suggests that water takes on different forms.
Anaximander (600-548 B.C) said that this basic stuff is neither water nor any other specific or determinate element. He argued that water and determinate element is offshoot of something which is more primary. Therefore, he said that the basic stuff is indeterminate boundless. Anaximenes (about 585-528 B.C) was the young “associate of Anaximander. Anaximenes posited air as the source of all things. According to him,
Air that is condensed forms winds…. If this process goes further, it gives water, still further earth, and the greatest condensation of all is found in stories2
Pythagoras (Ca 525-500 B.C) said that everything consist of numbers. The true number is the proper balance of all the elements and functions of the body.
Numbers, then, represents the applications of limit (form) to the unlimited (matter) and the Pythagorean referred to music and medicine only as vivid illustrations of their larger concepts, namely, that all things are numbers.3
Heraclitus (Ca 504-501B.C) posited a new problem, the problem of change when earlier philosophers concentrated upon describing what things consist of, he shifted attention to a new idea. His chief idea was that “all things are in flux” and he said “you cannot step twice into the same river”.4 This nobleman from Ephesus described the process of change as a unity in diversity. Parmenides (451-449 B.C) said that all things are changeless that is everything is permanent. Then, Empedocles galvanizes all the theories of his predecessors. He came out with four elements; water, air, fire and earth as the source of all things. Anaxagoras (500-428 B.C) agreed with Empedocles that all coming into and going out of being consists merely in the mixture and separation of already existing substances. Leucippus (490-430 B.C) and Democritus (Ca 460-360 B.C) formulated a theory about the nature of things that bears an astonishing resemblance to some twentieth century scientific views. They hold that atoms are the constitutive elements of all things.
Socrates changed the old system of moral philosophy. He was sure that people could attain reliable knowledge which is the proper basis of morality. In Socrates’ moral thoughts, knowledge and virtue was the same thing.
If virtue has to do with making the soul as good as possible, it is first necessary to know what makes the soul good.5
Therefore, goodness and knowledge are related, for to know the good is to do the good. Other philosophers are the sophists like Protagoras (490-421 B.C) asserts that “man is the measure of all things’, of the things that are, that they are, and of the things that are not, that they are not. Then Gorgias (483-375 B.C) propounded the extra ordinary notion (1) that nothing exists, (2) that if anything exists it is incomprehensible, and (3) that even if it is comprehensible, it cannot be communicated. He was certainly convinced that there could be no reliable knowledge and certainly no truth. Thrasymachus on his side, reduced morality to power, when he asserted that injustice is to be preferred to the life of justice.
Plato follows Socrates in maintaining that the goal of human life is happiness and that the only road that leads to it is through a virtuous life. Only a virtuous man can be happy.
A virtuous man is a wise man whereas a wicked man is foolish. Only knowledge can produce virtue because it is ignorance or false knowledge that has produced evil. For Aristotle, “Happiness is the end which is sought for its own sake, and whatever a person seeks as an end or as a good, he seeks it as a means to happiness”.6
3.1.2 Hellenistic Philosophers
Epicurus (342-270 B.C) asserts that pleasure is the standard for judging actions as right or wrong, and all our actions are guided through pleasure. Epicurus idea of pleasure is inner calmness, mental tranquillity or peace of mind. He discourages the amassing of wealth and advocates contentment with little possessions. With peace of mind one can be happy even in the midst of bodily torture. “Though he is being tortured on the rack, the wise man is still happy”.7 Epicurus used his ill-health as an example;
On this truly happy day of my life, as I am at the point of death, I write this to you. The diseases in my bladder and stomach are pursuing their course, lacking nothing of their usual severity, but against all this is the joy in my heart at the recollection of my conversation with you. Do you, as I might expect from your devotion from boyhood to me and to philosophy, take good care of the children of metrodorous8.
Epicurus abstained from luxury and comfort and lived on bread and water.
I am thrilled with pleasure in the body when I live on bread and water, and I spite on luxurious pleasure, not for their own sake, but because of the inconvenience that follow them9
The Stoics like Seneca, Cicero and others believed that man should live in accordance with the laws of nature.
- Medieval Period
Here, God was the centre and initiator of all things. The churchmen were
both philosophers and theologians. They believed strongly on the common adage “faith before reason” that is ‘Credo ut intelligan’. They are; St Augustine (354-430), who has a deep natural yearning for happiness. Thus, St. Augustine lamented:
Thou have created us for thyself, O God, and our hearts are restless until it finds the happiness it seeks10
For William of Ockham, morality is absolute dependent on the authority of God. Then, man as a creature of God is completely dependent on him to obey the moral law. St Thomas said that we have a natural tendency imparted to us by nature and by which we naturally and spontaneously grasp the fundamental principles of morality. This natural tendency is called synderesis.
- MODERN PERIOD
This was the age of science. Here, we witnessed two warring camps; Empiricism and Rationalism. Empiricism accepted that knowledge is
gotten through experience while rationalists assumed that only what they could thinks clearly with their minds, exists in the world outside of their minds. Examples of the rationalist philosophers are Descartes who was the founder of modern philosophy, Spinoza and Leibniz.
John Locke (1632-1704) based morality on the command of God. He maintains that good actions tend to cause pleasure while bad actions tend to cause pain. Morality is the law of God.
That God has given a rule whereby men should govern themselves; I think there is nobody so brutish as to deny it. It has a right to do it, we are his creatures: he has goodness and wisdom to direct our actions to that which is best and he has power to enforce it by rewards and punishments, of infinite weight and duration in another life: for nobody can take us out of his hands. This is the only touch stone of moral rectitude.11
David Hume (1711-1776 B.C), says that morality is not based on reason rather on speculative truths, such as those of physics and mathematics. There are determinant factors like sentiments, natural feelings, natural tendencies and the passions.
Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them12
Kant says that only one thing is good without qualifications, and this is good will. All other goodness can be misused like wealth, courage, intelligent, etc. In his categorical imperative, the foundation of morality is rational will. Karl Max and Engel were cultural avant-guards who believed that the foundation of morality is based on economic relations. For the utilitarian such as J.S. Mill, Jeremy Bentham assumed utility as the basic morality. Those actions that produce or tend to produce pleasure are good while those that produce or tend to produce pain are bad. J.S. Mill was in opposition with Bentham’s Psychological hedonism that man is always pursuing pleasure in everything he does. But, mill maintained that is only pleasure that man pursues, for he desires spiritual perfection.
- Contemporary Period
Philosophers under here include; Jean -Paul Sartre who is very much committed to the question of human freedom. According to him, existence precedes essence, which means that no man is born with fixed essence or manner of living. In other words, man acts freely and actualizes itself in nature. No man dictates other person what values to adopt; therefore man must assume full responsibility for his life. But, when a person shy away from responsibility, it is bad faith says Sartre. Sartre’s moral theory leads to antinomianism which states that man is free to take his own decision without any guiding moral laws.
Also, C. L. Stevenson in his ethical theory hold that a moral statement does two things, it expresses one’s personal feelings or attitude towards an action, and aims at evoking similar feelings from other people13. For instance, I can influence other people to believe with me that abortion is bad. Also, A. J. Ayer was in support of Stevenson. Ayer asserts “those moral statements are expressions of feeling and calculated attempts to arouse feelings similar to one’s own, and thereby stimulate action”14.
Finally, both of them are major exponents of emotivism. The criticism levelled against this emotivism is that it reduces morality to pure subjectivity and removes completely objectivity from it.
CRITICAL EVALUATION AND CONCLUSION
4.1 CRITICAL EVALUATION
Morality is all concern with the question of right and wrong in human behaviour. Thomas Hobbes defined moral philosophy as “the science of virtue and vice. It is not whatever that gives happiness is morally right. This could be seen as the moral decadence of Nietzsche, because he followed one-sided notion of morality, which leads him to atheism. To live a moral life is a second nature of man. In other words, an immoral way of life is a self-destructive way of life. An immoral person has missed the way that leads to purer internal harmony, peace of mind, happiness and self-fulfilment. An immoral society is a sick society whereby everybody is dodging responsibility. An immoral society can be permeated with corruption, dishonesty, fraud, selfishness, embezzlement of public funds and other immoral acts. Life in such a society becomes extremely difficult, unbearable, insecure and unhappy. It is only moral regeneration of selfishness, and others like that could stabilize the society. Morality and law have both similarities and dissimilarities. Whether law is to be obeyed or not is an ethical question. There are certain laws that infringes on the rights of the people. There are equally unjust laws, which we ought not to obey. Law must conform to morality in its entire ramification.
The moral decadence in Nietzsche was as a result of limitation in human mind to ascertain what is beyond. Man’s inability to reconcile divine providence with the existence of evil resulted to atheism. Modern man wants only the finite goods of this earth rather than the absolute. But, before modern period, men regard God as a catalyst of man’s moral energy and as an indispensable being. But, during this new age, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer proclaimed pure will to be the essence of being, and transcendental assignment for man. This will to life or will to power became the prime mover of all activity. On this note, Nietzsche proclaimed to the whole world, the death of God. According to Heidegger, this expression comes originally from Plutarch and recurs in Paschal and in Hegel. Nietzsche compares the exit of God to a solar eclipse. Nietzsche asserts that God is dead because man has killed him.
God saw all man’s secret failures and man couldn’t allow such a witness to live. Modern man wants freedom to do whatever he wills but existence of God controls him. When they had succeeded in exorcising God from the world, they were very happy. They intone his ‘Requiem aeternam deo’.
Infact, we philosophers and ‘free spirits’ feel ourselves irradiated as by a new dawn, by the report that the ‘old God is dead’ our hearts overflow with gratitude, astonishment, presentiment and expectation. At last the horizon seems open once more, granting even that it is not bright; our ships can at last put out to sea in face of every danger; every hazards is again permitted to the discerner; the sea, our sea, again lies open before us; did such an ‘open sea’ exist.1
However, from critical evaluation of Nietzsche’s works, it points out what is boggling the mind of human beings. Could we be free from the fear of death, hell and so many other things, with the death of God? But, if there is no God, this world will be in a state of anarchy, and survival of the fittest thereby increasing our unhappiness. Also, we shall be in hell in this world. There is also a tendency of man forgetting God out of pride, because of their improvement in technology, arts, science and so on in this present age.
Following the concept of superman, man would like also to be a super god, owner of the universe. This is because man by nature is insatiable and would like to be the creator of the world. Man aspires to be above every other thing or person, in other words would like to own the world and control everybody. Man can also like God to be dead so that he can do whatever he feels good for himself without considering others. Nietzsche is the apostle of modern time. The answer is simply because Nietzsche keeps on fulfilling a prophecy about what he would do for mankind. Nietzsche wanted to prevent a situation whereby man will forget about God, because of recent development in science and technology. Dostoyevsky would say: “the west has lost God, that is why it is dying, that is the only reason”. Therefore, the only available remedy is for man to be led back to the love of God. It is only in embracing this “transcendental reality” that man can rediscover sanity and unfathomable wisdom of life.
A true philosopher constantly experiences, sees, hears, suspects, hopes, dreams about extraordinary things. He is a man who lives in himself and brings out a guiding principle for the world to choose. Nietzsche’s principle of radical creative individualism was a force that contributed to European development and at the same time, moral nihilism. Having so far toured the gamut of Nietzsche’s moral thought and other philosophers’ notion of morality, we come to realize that each person was talking from his inner thought. They were also speaking from observed facts and from their different schools of thoughts. The most important thing is that they were all saying the same thing, ‘the good musavoide