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Ethics - Essay Example

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As per his analogy, there exists three social classes; the noble, slaves and priestly class. Guided by their subjective inclinations, the noble class defines morality by rendering what they perceive as being favorable to be good and vise versa (Nietzsche, 2010 p. 167). Conversely, those in the slave class remain oppressed by the distinctions made by the noble class; whereby, they live a resigned life serving the nobles with any attempt to progress thwarted. However, Nietzsche recognized that not everyone outside of the noble class remain passive to oppression by the noble class. They belong to the priestly class characterized by their hatred for those in the noble class, and unwillingness to accept a lower position in the social hierarchy (Nietzsche, 2010 p. 171). As a result, they developed a feeling of ressentiment conjured up by a “slave revolt” mentality. Nietzsche defined ressentiment as a reactive feeling to a continuous perceived sense of oppression; whereby, pent up frustrations predispose individuals to creating an “imaginary place” where they can direct these feelings. Discussed below is the origin of this psychological orientation, ressentiment’s role in shaping attitudes held by people today, whether individual’s values stem from this attitude and avenues for transformation to become better (Nietzsche, 2010 p 172). Nietzsche referred to ressentiment as a psychic mechanism. Psychic mechanisms are products of the ego, which result from the ego’s need to protect itself from a situation it perceives as a threat; for example, situations that impact the mood and affect of an individual negatively. Psychologist Sigmund Freud later referred to these psychic mechanisms as defense mechanisms and added more; for example, denial, regression, sublimation and displacement among others. According to him, defense mechanisms acted as coping mechanisms for individuals. Moreover, they functioned to prevent a state of incongruence within an individual. Nietzsche’s ressentiment feeling is no different from Freud’s defense mechanisms because they all function to protect the individual and ensure minimal interference with their internal state of balance. Normalcy in a person’s psychological, physiological, cognitive, spiritual and social realms can only be achieved in the presence of internal balance. In this case, ressentiment functions to preserve balance by providing an outlet for pent up frustrations (Nietzsche, 2010 p. 173). In spite of the good brought about by psychic mechanisms, they also prove unfavorable in the sense that they function to distort reality by cocooning an individual; therefore, preventing them from dealing with unfavorable situations. Ressentiment as a reactive feeling provided an outlet for pent up frustrations; however, it failed to equip the slaves and priests with the strength they needed to overcome the nobles. In fact, the dynamics in the social hierarchy remained unaltered with the nobles living in their blissful state whereas their subordinates living in their pitiful state. People living in today’s society have not undergone a huge transformation in their mindset. In fact, many find themselves taking the easier way out, cowering from confronting issues. This is because stratifications in different aspects of the society are still in present. Arising from these stratifications in the society is a privileged class equipped with resources and the power to define morality in its entirety. The underprivileged, subordinate class ...Show more
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Ethics Name: Institution: Throughout the years, scholars struggled to explain the concept of morality. They tackled issues such as, “good and evil”, “origin of sin” among others in attempt to understand the complexity of morality. Nietzsche was one such scholar…
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