*Picture explained at the end.
So I started a post in response to this article from The Star Tribune. It reminded me of the concept of Master and Slave Morality that I learned about last semester and the paper I wrote about it. As a sort of prequel I decided to update and share that paper with you.
Weakness is the lack of strength, power, or determination. A weak willed person, by definition, cannot be a leader, the one in charge, or take the initiative to accomplish a given task. This, according to Friedrich Nietzsche is the essence of slave morality. The opposite to this, master morality, encompasses a strong will and the notion that what is good is helpful. Taking a look around our immediate surroundings, we are able to find people who fall into either of these two categories. Not many people who think highly of themselves would put themselves in the slave morality category. The thing is, I see more and more people who do fall in this category everyday. This country is shifting from a “master” country to one full of “slaves” and it is having a negative impact on everyone.
As a kid playing football I witnessed this first hand. At the time I had no idea about what was happening, but after reading a little about the topic I can look back and see it vividly. During the first two years, an older man ran the league in his seventies. At the end of the year the team with the best record received trophies while the rest of us received nothing.
After this gentleman died, a younger man took over for my last year. All of a sudden, we all received trophies, even my team who had not won a single game the entire season. Some will argue that this approach was better for the “common good”. At this point I have to agree with Nietzsche and say that “common good” is a contradiction. “What can be common has ever been but little value” . The players who use to get praise and recognition for their work and ability are now receiving the same praise as those who just show up and contribute nothing. Why not treat the best flag football team on a similar scale to the best NFL team? Yes, some kids and their parents are going to be offended, but from here you can see who is weak willed and who is not. The weak willed quit and start something new, the strong willed will work to get better and improve their abilities. This can be applied to all sports at all levels.
On a bigger scale, I have also seen master and slave morality during my time in the military. Looking back I can see myself shift from mostly master morality to more slave morality depending on which unit I was associated with at the time. In basic training it was all master morality. From the Company Commander to the little ole’ Private like me. The common theme was do what you have to do get finish the task. If it’s over a hundred degrees and you have to carry your “wounded” battle buddy 200 meters through the woods there is no acceptable answer accept getting him there in a timely fashion.
After I had completed basic training, my Officer training began through ROTC. Going from a master morality grounded organization to one grounded in slave morality was a shock. The same scenario of getting your “wounded” battle buddy to medical attention was now leisurely jog with the “wounded” using his own power to help you help him. Here again we see the “common good”. The weak willed knows that if it was him who was carrying the “wounded” he would want help, so he helps out in hopes that the favor will be returned when he is doing the carrying. The favor is returned and eventually the norm becomes the “wounded” walking under their own power. What is helping to greater good (the ROTC cadets) will now end up hurting the few (those actually wounded in combat) at some point down the road.
While the positives of a slave morality are fairly obvious (happiness, equality, etc.), what price are we paying for them? As humans we are the only sentient living beings on this planet, so let’s take a look at some non-sentient living beings. Every fall in upstate New York we experience the mating season for whitetail deer. The goal is simple for the buck, find a mate and reproduce. Just as in humans, the female holds the power to choose who she mates with. So what is the ideal mate? They would have no deformities, be able to defend themselves and have the necessary survival skills. This is instinctual among deer and a doe will only mate with a strong buck that will provide a strong offspring, ensuring the survival of the species. This is master morality, what is beneficial is good. If the doe were to exhibited slave morality, like 98% of humans, she might act on a “first come, first served” and mate with the buck who approached her first, regardless if he will contribute to a healthy, strong off spring or not.
Play this scenario out over and over again and you will see the vitality of the deer population begin to drop. Fawns are being born with deformities that won’t allow them survive, or they have a degenerative trait that shows up later on and the species breeds themselves into extinction. What was done for the “common good” is now harming the society as a whole.
No matter how nice the “common good” sounds it can have a massive negative affect on our lives. Everything from grocery stores to modern medicine has been created to serve the greater good. We no longer have to work for our nourishment, we just go to Wegman’s and buy food loaded with unnatural substances and processed, making it cheaper and widely available so everyone can eat. We don’t take care of our bodies in an attempt to avoid illness; we pump our body full of drugs so we don’t feel uncomfortable while our body fights off a virus. Take a look at most 1st world countries today; they are filled with unhealthy people. The “common good” has created a society full of people who wouldn’t have made it past age 5 no less than 150 years ago. Compare this to self-sufficient tribes in the Amazon, Himalayas and African plains and you will see that even without our advances in medicine and readily available food, they are overall much healthier than we are. The catering to the weak is weakening our country and our world as a whole, it will only be a matter of time until nature catches up and we can no longer survive.
Loved it? Hated it? Did it make your eyes bleed? Let me know in the comments, they are always appreciated.
**I couldn’t think of a picture that would remotely make any sense attached to this post, so I threw up the most incredible awesome album cover you will ever see. EVER! Click here and check out Four Year Strong.**