But the progress of philosophy in Nietzsches modern age and the progress of science has actually denied the mystery of God and helped create an atheistic period. In such a period where the effort of philosophy is strongly empirical, the soul also has been sacrificed. But because it has been sacrificed, in a way the sacrifice renews religion. People sacrifice themselves to God. This can be seen in the way of Kierkegaard, as he sacrifices his entire will to power to engage a God that has been denied by his rational world. But in Nietzsches world, since that God has been sacrificed by science, there is nothing left but nihilism and pessimism. This tightens the grip upon the lonely and questing individual. Such a thought would only enliven and strengthen the will to power of the self as free spirit.
Nietzsches method is rich and does not stop in its pronouncements. Christianity has made a value of protecting the weak and the sick so much so that to suffer and to be weak become values as against the strength of the strong spiritual man. Because of this Europe has become weakened and its people mediocre. The slave revolt of morality, the track of Judeo-Christian religion, has led to the weakened people resenting the strong and saving their own strength for the afterlife. In this case religion forces the self to deny an aggression that could be rewarding and fulfilling. The self is instead plunged into nihilism. But perhaps even this nihilism has no grounding.
For example, how does one interpret “There is an innocence in lying which is the sign of good faith in a cause.” This is number 180 of the epigrams. All of the one sentence epigrams are written to show the deep conflicts of the self, how on the surface there is one interpretation that can easily lead to its opposite. There is no way to accept an interpretation without meeting its direct conflict. Hence a will to power is extended to crush the conflict and move over it. The effect is like a seesaw in which the self finds itself and then looses itself: “The sense of the tragic increases and declines with sensuousness” (155). If one were a slave to morality, then one would deny sensuousness and accept tragedy, or one would accept sensuousness and deny tragedy. Would the moral person deny tragedy and accept sensuousness? Would the priest?
Yes, the priest would. Because “… when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you” (146). The self takes shape as something which can deny something. The something which is denied and is buried keeps coming out and perhaps keeps changing. The will to power will always re-create it until the abyss is no longer denied, but pursued with a Kierkegaardian leap to faith over it and the expression of a self of free will and inner power.
But how easy it is for the self to lose its questing for the inert peacefulness of the herd. The self continues to pay Comcast Cable TV bills without analyzing them while knowing that the company does everything it can to up the price of the bill. But the self acquiesces to the herd mentality and does not go line by line over the bill. So Comcast can safely assume the macroeconomic principles of growth without being offended by a crazed Nietzschean. Yet for Nietzsche it is for the will to power to turn upon itself and sublimate itself to obedience. Perhaps it is the Dionysian spirit subsuming to the Apollonian spirit. And in the case of true discipline, perhaps great art is created.
The self either expresses the slave or the master morality. The slave must get his appraisal from others, the master draws his appraisal from himself and from the slaves who hate him. The free spirit must force herself from this arrangement and perhaps does for awhile. But then finds it possible and better to wear a mask of subsistence with what is currently in fashion. However behind that mask the self may portray ressentiment, or a gripping personal hatred toward the master, as Nietzsche explains in Genealogy of Morals.
This ressentiment is in danger of being all consuming and creating a nation of wimps, weaklings, the insipid masses. Soon this ressentiment is taken up and removed from the individual by societys creation of justice. Instead of being tortured for a debt, justice places the debtor into a prison. This evolution is an example of how Nietzsche analyses language. Bad was once defined as the person who owed the creditor, apart from its evil definition. Bad was also the plight of the poor who were underneath the good of the masters. Applicable today, the good would be the bankers, and the bad would be those who wanted homes, did not have the money but yet the gall to take a loan that would forever pay money to the good. The analogy becomes strongly Nietzschean when the good, the bankers, are awarded with millions for the their severance pay and the bad, the workers are stripped of their union rights to appeal and strike for better pay and in the end are evicted from their homes. The actions of the workers would be, under Nietzschean terms, illustrating a slave morality.
Nietzschean solutions for the slaves would be to take the animal instinct that had been replaced by a guilty consciousness, and re-enliven it creatively within the breast. Perhaps this means more organizing, such as conducting fundraisers to raise funds to recall the Wisconsin Republican senators. It could mean striking out as a politician oneself. There are a number of things the re-created self can do with a fresh revealing the will to power internally. The self can powerfully and creatively re-create itself by looking at the world and truth from different perspectives. The self must engage the powerful struggle of internal suffering, which is always there under the Apollonian mask of acquiescence. The self can fight internally and with a will to power, move above the negative thoughts of ressentiment that have created and accepted the present morale, and like Zarathustra, become the overman.
One good similarity that Nietzsche does share with Kierkegaard is both their support of the individual as against the mass. Nietzsches will to power is for the individual to express itself as an individual who has not become lost in the work load of the masses enforced by the asceticism of the priest, or the master banker.
Damgaard, Iben, “Review of Kierkegaard and fear and trembling,” Ars disputandi 4 (2004) Web.
Kierkegaard, Soren. Either/or: A Fragment of Life. 1843. Trans. Alastair Hanny. New York: Penguin, 1991. Print.
Kierkegaard, Soren. Fear and Trembling. 1843. Trans.Walter Lowrie. Web. March, 2001.
Kierkegaard, Soren. Repetition: an essay in experimental psychology. 1843. Trans.Walter Lowrie. New York: Harper & Row, 1964. Print.
Lewis, Tess. 2006. “Soren Kierkegaard: A master of refraction,” the Hudson Review, 59.1 (2006): pp. 77-88.
Nietzsche, Friedrich W. The Birth of Tragedy. 1872. Trans W.A. Haussmann. London: George Allen & Unwin, Ltd.,1909. Web.
Nietzsche, Friedrich W. The Portable Nietzsche. Trans. Walter a. Kaufman. New York: Penguin, 1991. Print.
Nietzsche, Friedrich W. On the Genealogy of Morals. 1887. Trans. Walter a. Kaufman. New.