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Severinian

Nietzscheism + reason

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Playing a sort of devil's advocate here - Would it be fair to say that Objectivism's morality is like the morality of Nietzsche, but with an emphasis on reason and long-term thinking?

Nietzsche held that a person should do whatever he pleases, even if it hurts others, even if it means seeking power.

Objectivism holds that we should use and seek power over other species, that it's moral to eat meat and wear make-up (for the sake of enjoyment) even though animals have to suffer and die for this. It holds that in a war, innocents can be killed as collateral damage.

In other words, the one thing that differs Objectivism from Nietzscheism is that Objectivism also says "Pause before you act and think about what really benefits you. If you try to control other human beings in everyday life, you are depriving yourself of the incentive to be a producer and trader, you are also depriving yourself of the benefits  and wealth you can get from leaving them alone and trading with them. Also, they might end up seeking revenge on you if you can't control them anymore, and so forth." 

Agree? 

Edited by Severinian

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That's a fair statement. But your reasoning isn't quite right.

"Nietzsche held that a person should do whatever he pleases, even if it hurts others, even if it means seeking power."

He didn't. He believed it was probably -better- to be that way than to be an entirely selfless person, but he explicitly believed the greatest and most admirable people wouldn't hurt others, on grounds that it is too much concern about other people, that it's a weakness of someone to hurt others. He didn't think one should do whatever one pleases, but he didn't believe in morality per se. Instead, he went for ranking ideas and beliefs, often based on passions, aesthetics, and a strong will to power. Power as in power to control one's life. I can look later today for a passage where he speaks unfavorably of power over others.

You're right, though, about emphasis on reason and long-term thinking. That's unique to Objectivism compared to Nietzsche. At best, he thought reason was of limited use and isn't a critical factor for becoming happy or fulfilled.

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On 5/21/2015 at 3:54 PM, Severinian said:

"If you try to control other human beings in everyday life, you are depriving yourself of the incentive to be a producer and trader, you are also depriving yourself of the benefits  and wealth you can get from leaving them alone and trading with them. Also, they might end up seeking revenge on you if you can't control them anymore, and so forth." 

It's also ultimately futile.

 

Suppose I want to prevent someone from using some drug. I might take it away from them, but they could simply obtain more. I could try to prevent anyone else from selling it to them, but they could always learn how to make it themselves (and the prevention of such sales, itself, would present the same logistical nightmare). I could periodically test them to detect this drug, and threaten them with horrible things if they fail the test, but if they figure out how the test works then they can engineer some way to beat it. Et cetera.

 

All of these problems stem from the fact that forcing someone to act against their own judgement puts you in the position of competing with their mind (just as deception does).

 

Every human mind is in a constant state of expansion. Not all such growth is for the better (such as when children learn about bad philosophies) and everybody learns at different speeds. However, no living mind is capable of literally standing still.

Consequently, no struggle against another person's mind (such as coercion or deception) can ever be won. There may be successful periods, but so long as the victim lives they retain the ability to free themselves; they only have to figure it out.

Life will find a way.

 

This means that attempting to control another person (without destroying them) must necessarily be a lifelong endeavor. And what could be worth that?

 

This is what I believe Rand meant when she wrote that "a leash is only a rope with a noose at each end".

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
Clarity

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