Nietzsche’s Naive and Narrative Interpretation

Several criticisms of Nietzsche tend to go for the psychological or moral side of his philosophy. His critics attack him the basis of “he thinks he is better than everyone else because he understands this or that…” This can not be further from the truth. Even some historians pointed out that Nietzsche’s psychotic breakdown period drew connections to his writings where he constantly criticized his own weakness and failures as the basis for his philosophy. I want to do justice to his metaphysics and ontology rather than his moral statements. Many know him because of his concept of The Eternal Recurrence. For those who watches Todd May’s lecture of Deleuze’s interpretation of The Eternal Recurrence, it has an ethical interpretation and an Ontological one.

Starts at 16:18

The Naive Interpretation

The naive interpretation of Nietzsche is where one confuses his ontology for his ethical one. They often think of the will-to-power as earned or attainable. This is because ethical choices leads to rewards for being good or consequences for being bad. The Naive interpretation attributes ressentiment, bad-consciousness, and the ascetic ideal to the feeling of impotence caused by the powerful imposing their authority. As opposed to those who hold the power to enslave the weak, the powerful is the cause for evil. Especially when referring to murder, rape, and torture, to the naive interpreter, these are caused by the powerful or the weak’s impotence to hold up. Here, the reactive powers (ressentiment, bad-consciousness, and the ascetic ideal) are assigned a psychology; a response mechanism to being downtrodden. Reading On the Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche made it clear that he despises the English psychologist so much so that he mentions it at the very beginning of the book.

The other is the Narrative interpretation of Nietzsche where the reader understands the will-to-power through a series of moves. The “narrative” moves comes from the 3-structured polemic on On The Genealogy of Morals. The polemics are well structured pieces of prose that takes the reader on a series of thought. One can read it forwards and backward and derive clareboyancy from reading the book unconventionally. I will explain these interpretations by first going over the naive interpretation then explaining the narrative interpretation. In fact learning the naive interpretation is essential to understanding the narrative interpretation as it is embedded in it.

Ressentiment: The Naive interpretation

The naive interpretation goes like this… Two hypothetical tribes come unto contact with an unconquered tribe and the strongest tribe conquers both. The dominant tribe becomes the master class and the losers become the slave class. When Nietzsche reaches the the transvaluation of values in the middle of the first polemic, the naive interpreter can develop pity for the slave class, then hope in their overthrowing of their oppressor’s values. The values which belonged to the master class were defined as “good” then flipped to “bad” by the slaves. “Good” in ancient Greece or Ancient Rome did not have any moral connotation to it. Good was equivalent to clean, nobel, dominant, masculine, and powerful. Most importantly, “good” was the ability to assign and interpret meaning and not the consequences for utility. Or as the psychologists would say, “‘good’ is good because it is useful, it helped to serve society grow and function well.” The “bad” or slave class had no choice but to work in the shadows or learn to love secrets and work in dark corners. In a way, the naive interpreters are right, the slave class did not have freedom to make their own choices. But they’re wrong to say that they did not hold will-to-power. Both master and slave class hold equal will-to-power. With it, the slave class enacted that “spiritual revenge” on their masters because of the their weakness that infected the whole majority of society with ressentiment.

So then why if both classes held the will-to-power does one class (master class) dominate the slave class? It has to do with the slave class self-deprecating themselves. We’ll get to this when we get to the narrative interpretation. The naive interpretation continues into the second polemic and it has to do with how the slave class will identify themselves. The slave class re-identified themselves to be anything but their oppressors. The consequence is that the slave class pretends to enjoy what they do have and pretend to not enjoy what they don’t have. All they can do is resent the master class “have’s” at a distance. The slaves pretend to be fine with “have nots.” Already the naive interpretation develops a psychology of “sour grapes.”

Bad-consciousness: The Naive interpretation

Nietzsche asks the question where does guilt originate from. To the Naive interpreter, it came from the master class enforcing their power over the slaves. Spontaneity, potency, abundance laughter, over-indulgence, wealth, aggressiveness, joy, eccentricity, sexual fitness and availability, freedom, vigor, and demonstrative extroversion, all these life-affirming values would have to be compressed and buried deep inside the poor slave if he is to exercise power over their master’s values. Already it stinks of psychology. And not the good kind. The naive interpreter has to say that his heavy load of compressed life must be negated, rejected, and then purified to be washed clean. The ritualistic symbolism of baptism represent the washing of the dirty soul as a filthy, degenerate and impure human for the very fact that he was born. Thus the beginning of the Christian conception of the soul was born.

Before I get to the narrative interpretation and the materialization of the soul, I have to explain how the slaves managed to self-flagellate their symbolic souls. Nietzsche said that the start of society happens somewhere at first instance of trade. There’s no reason to trade an apple for another apple if one can trade an apple for two oranges. Trade is where people can measure oneself against another, that is to say, one can show their surpluses of life outward as a status symbol. It’s easy to fall into the trap of utility-psychology of this hypothetical society, arguing for fairness in commerce or organizing society into a fair state. Trade is a science and a useful one to the naive interpreters. It can be studied, tuned, and worked on in favor of a prosperous society. A society’s success is based on one’s commitments and obligation to fulfill his or her commitments. Those who break their commitments or promises are punished by those who control it.

When a creditor punishes a debtor, the creditor does so because of the debtor’s inability to pay off the debt. During the torture, the creditor can feel pleasure off the pain of the debtor’s suffering. The pleasure of watching someone suffer was the exchange of the missing payment. The debt must always be paid if society is to become resilient and reliable enough. Through torture and punishment, the creditor makes sure a memory is implanted into the mind of the debtor. The naive interpreter says, “ah! operant conditioning, a classical behavioral response. The punisher simply pairs up with pain with a condition to ward off unwanted behavior… See! The powerful abuse their power! The slaves are no more different than Pavlov’s dogs!”

The Ascetic Ideal: The Naive Interpretation

In the naive interpretation, a priest from the master race has to descend the slops to preach to slaves. The reason is the keep slave morality locked up and contained. If slave morality gets out, it could infect the larger population and cause an uprising. So the Priest becomes and ascetic prest. Asceticism is a practice where one abstains from pleasure and comfort for religious or spiritual reasons. The logic of the naive interpreter proceeds from before, if the master race contains the crowd, they can control these instincts for experiencing life. That’s why the ascetic priest preaches to the choir: the slaves already carry guilty or bad conscious, they were punished into submission because of their weakness and they denied themselves inwardly. The job of the ascetic priest was already made easier by this point. The slaves don’t want to feel or experience the pleasures of life, they want to be saved. The priest tells them what to do and how to do it. Guilty souls do not get saved unless they repent and purify themselves. They tell them that the carnal pleasures are “bad,” in the sense that the slaves made themselves bad, evil

The Narrative Interpretation: The Ascetic Ideal

Here is where we flip the hour glass and things fall into place. Because if the slaves created evil, then the priest can use this to their advantage. But what if the slaves wanted it in the first place? First we must understand what we have in front of us. Nietzsche only gave us half of the story if we read On the Genealogy of Morals from cover to cover. Early on, we sense Nietzsche give us clue on how the think genealogically. And that is when he said in his second polemic that the debtors actively seek their own punishment. In fact they welcome it. We can say, “of course they want it, the priest told them so, or “of course they want it, they turned themselves inwardly during their encagement process of negating life.

In any case, the end result was the overthrowing of the master class during the slave revolt. During rise of Christianity, the crucifiction of Christ marked the complete 180 degree flip of values. Good turned to bad and labeled “evil.” And bad turned to good and labeled “divine.” One could say “they had it coming.” But what if the slaves wanted someone to preach them? What if they desired it so much so that they welcomed in the priest to guide them and tell them what to do. One can argue, “of course they did, after generation of generation of torture, murder, rape, and suffering, they were intergenerationally traumatized.

The Narrative Interpretation: Bad-consciousness

We can say that the it is the fault of the master class for punishing their slaves into revolt. But the creditors did not punish their debtors out of revenge, but for the sake of restoring a balance. Maybe at the beginning, the slaves did suffer unjustifiably so. But as mentioned before, they welcomed their punishment. Why did they welcomed their own torture? Because they wanted to turn inward. They wanted to negate life and cage themselves into a weak and pathetic servant. They wanted to be guilty in a way to be saved. So they felt better after being flogged, whipped, burned, maimed, dismembered, slashed, suffocated, hanged or even killed. Nietzsche even said that life back then was brighter, greener, and more peaceful, not because of catharsis or psychological principle, but because both master and slave served with meaning.

This goes hand in hand with Foucault’s interpretation of discipline and punishment. Foucault’s accounts punishment is that torture happened in public squares and open spaces. A place where everybody can see the torture of the transgressor. The purpose of making torture public was to deter the population from committing the same acts of crime. When the population looked up to the torturer with sympathy. The scene was made into a sign of revolution. Punishment served the opposite effect. Now crimes could be committed for the purposes of being the one with the nose around the neck for everyone to see you. People got a hit out of watching public executions. Think of the French Revolution where the guillotine beheaded more and more people not less. Foucault said that torture moved inside buildings for only a select to see. But when internal revolution occurred because of it, torture and punishment moved into private cells.

The narrative interpretation: Ressentiment

We can sense from moving backwards that the slaves had supplied their own demand. They loved to be shamed and humiliated because they negated life. Like a disease, the world is infected with frugality, timidity, stoicism, limitation, moderation, purity, chastity, servitude, modesty, and forgiveness. They wanted more and more suffering for more repentance. All this for the hope of salvation of their souls because one day live they’ll live in peace and calm. They created heaven and hell from the very beginning and secretly wished their opponents to burn in Hell. They wanted a life that didn’t exist and negated the life they actually had. The infection that spread was the spirit of revenge. A creative revenge, a revenge where the master class would one day betray his own conscious and give up on life. This was the creative plan of the slave revolt The slaves created psychology. It is no wonder psychology is largely negative and filled with a sense of nihilism. Psychology steamed from the slave’s legacy. Nietzsche never choose a side, but it’s clear which side he despised and which side he feels a deep nostalgia for. But there isn’t any reason to suspect that Nietzsche’s life was somehow great or remarkable enough to despise christianity in his time. He was the son of a pastor and attended church regularly. He was constantly disappointed with life, love, and was constantly neurotic. If anything, he should show signs of being resentful of life. But held on to truth. He did something that the herd could not, stay truthful to oneself.

Some notes on the Life-force

The parts of life worth living are cowardly movements that crawl under subterranean battlegrounds. That’s why living life to the fullest is cowardly at it’s core – one always takes advantage of another soul’s flow of life-force. I’ve said that the life-force is the life one takes away from someone else’s “soul” in order to self-feel. Self-feeling is the feeling of worthiness. Let’s say someone insults you (and for argument sake, you got your feelings hurt). We’ll talk about symbolic dying latter. If that person who insulted you wins the argument, then that person has the luxury of self-feeling off of your humiliation. And the sociatital contract is that you must recognize the transaction under the assumption that he or she was owed life-force. There’s was an impasse somewhere and someone had to take on the job of losing. So then if you believe you had nothing to do for you to accrue your opponent’s life-force, why then isn’t being the better man (or women) a viable option? To simply walk away like these mature adults say they do. Or pretend to feel offended while in fact your just playing the part for the sake of moving on? Why can’t you simply walk away and bite the bullet?

The infinite hell

You can walk away. The incorrect answer always attributes walking away to emotional intelligence. The reasoning goes like this: “as long as you are physically alive and well, you’re fine to just walk away and let him or her deal with the problem. It’s their problem, not yours” says the psychologists. If you look into today’s self-help literature, recent trends urges people stay honest like in the book “Radical Honesty” by Brad Blanton. Meaning you don’t walk away if you genuinely feel insulted. Radical Honesty instructs readers to show true emotion and stay with the uncomfortable emotions. Otherwise, this argument rests on yielding to emotional outrage. This is where the rationalists come up with a scientific explanation of using emotional intelligence. While they got the science of the emotional brain right, it’s merely a quantitative symptom of the reactive brain. The science takes credit for the underground battle that genealogical dose at a societal level. The adult will try to investigate the motivation of the aggressor to go off on him. This is exactly what the aggressor wants. The aggressor, bully, or sadist savors on this type of hell. Hell of infinite regression

Everybody wants the same thing, nobody wants to want different things anymore

All successful self-feeling happen within the Modus Operandi. That’s why the default route of western civilization is the capitalist one. The only reason why someone would want socioeconomic status, is to stand objectively in a world in order to understand it. This understanding of the world is robust enough to assemble a modus operandi. These operations are reactive spiritual revenge but on a deep powerful level. But why would anyone want to do this? This is the same question rationalist ask when they learn about sociology. Their reasoning goes: “someone insulted you? Who cares… As long as you’re physically alive, your feelings shouldn’t matter…” Or worse, “you got your feelings hurt?? Oh boohoo, grow up.” What they fail to understand is that self-feeling is necessarily cowardly at its deepest… Look at my post on vitalism. Except that in an individualist society, being cowardly is not highly regarded as. So cowardly moves must assembled and regarded as worthy. That’s why someone who wants to be worthy of life must make his life harder on purpose. He wants a worthy enemy.

The only solution is the IDGAF solution.

Animalistic determinism is binary. In nature, the winner of an encounter would kill or seriously injure an intruder, competitor, or a predator. This is nature’s equivalent of remaining worthy. Remaining worthy indicates the organism is alive. An organism doesn’t get to experience loss as they’re already dead or eaten up by the time they get “depressed”. Primitive societies gain social intelligence but there is still a binary system. The bigger male gets the resources, food, and mates. There are no “if, ands, nor buts” and if someone challenges the alpha male, they must win by force. As societies progresses into hierarchies, then states, then to current civilization, this binary disintegrates and worthiness can be won by arguments. Socially intelligent mammals like humans and chimpanzee stop going after their natural enemies and create artificially complicated ones. Intelligent animals learn how to read each other and regard the future as well as the past. They must brace themselves in order to survive. They internalize their instincts and recognition are stored in their symbolic inner self. This is what is known as the materialization of the soul

What the State does with life-force and how commerce collects it

But what does this look like? It’s not that there’s an imaginary health bar at the top of each person’s head during a verbal argument. Or a conveyor belt between two people’s soul in a tug-o-war fighting for life-force. The life-force transaction is instantaneous. It’s like a one time payment. To the contenders, it is a fight to the death. Taking it back to Nietzsche’s hypothetical credit-debit system, when the creditor inducess pain onto the debtor, then the creditor can self-feel as the torture incurs. Once the creditor self-feels, the creditor has received the debtor’s payment. This movement of life-force is so intrinsic to us that it is responsible for our species ability to live peacefully in society. When these forces “spill out,” we experience contention and spiritual instability. With the Death of God, the state allocates the same amount of life-force at the start of life with no discrimination. Commerce works with altruism to manipulate dignity to hold on the this life-force. The more capitalistic a society is, the more communistic the life-force is felt. Everyone is worth something and no one should be treated inferior, because that’s a cowardly move.

It is in territorialized space that people give up their permission to be treated with respect and allowed for supperiors to insult them so they could “learn to be better men.” If someone insulted you and a person receives pleasure off your bad-hurt, he or she is called a sadist. But in territorialized space, where everyone acts like an adult, the insult would train the one who was insulted to become more resilient, in other words, there is no such thing as words that can hurt you, only ones that build you up. So the sadist became an altruist in territorialized space. This is the spirit of capitalism. This spirit is desired by everyone that wants to injure a person without them knowing. This is the insult at it’s finest. Being able to injure a person internally is the stencil of modern day revenge. But to do it in a way that the plane of which their enemy’s inner city, crumbles as time moves on. There’s a catastrophic calamity that puts the enemy into a depressive state where the initial conditions where set up by the sadist. The capitalist drives oscillate around sado-masochism. The relation between the sadist and the masochist become more creative as the life-force necessary moves between winner or loser, never communally shared.

The will-to-power drives life-force into souls necessarily, that’s why successful insults are always cowardly and unfair. In territorialized space, this dynamic is clear. There is no arguing back because the insult is treated as a lesson, as a way to build up an average person in the presence of a high status person. There’s a teacher-student dynamic. The active force is the capitalist drive. Capitalists make the world go around. Capitalist are responsible for the flow of resources to impressively hold 7 billion people. Capitalists are creative about their flows of money and capital. They are responsible for the prosperity more people than ever. The unequal distribution relay in their work ethic and their production. Very few capitalists sacrifice most if not all of their lives for the benefit of the average person. They are more altruistic than all the charitable forces and the welfare forces combined. But Deleuze realized that active forces can become reactive-becoming by reactive forces impeding active forces from continuing to produce. The unequal production of flows of the capitalist to the average population is also their blindspot. As the capitalist work to advance civilization to a level no one has ever seen before, the average person who doesn’t even match their work ethic are capable to bring it down. Despite having themselves benefited by the capitalist for generations, the average person will overthrow and claim credit for all the work the capitalist sacrificed for. This is how history has always unfolded. Unfairness beats unfairness. For now the capitalist can love altruistically, meaning all the sadists who recieve pleasure from watching the average person with envy losses this ability to self-feel in territorialized space. Capitalism builds up their workers, civilians, and enemies to their level. Only those with the will to power can tug on the plane, just give it a little nudge to induce rage onto a person. With enough codified feedback loops, socioeconomic status, wit, and whim, the sadist can conduct an inception to just about anyone he or she wants.

This memory that the loser has of himself is informed by the collective negative feedback loops society codified starting from a homeostasis at the beginning of humankind

Everything feedback loops back to the present. Pretending your feelings are not hurt will just upgrade the system to take that into account. It ruins it for everyone else once enough people contribute to the feedback loop. The way people can genuinely self-feel in this complected chess game of life is to use a buffer strategy. An example would be when someone clings to an ideology. There, you can join a winning group and the combined forces of the group can win life-force from another groups’ souls. A political group, a religion, an institution, an ideology, or culture are buffers. A business is not a buffer because businesses and commerce produces physical currency. People are looking to materialize their souls. This roundabout way did not appear intentionally. This is the consequences of negative feedback loop from the weak, those who protect themselves against the wolves. Those who study the reactive brain. Those who hoard the life-force to themselves and poison the entire well. Those with ressentiment.

Let’s say someone identify with an ideology because they want to be on the winning side where they can catch their opponents in a stupid moment. They want a moment where they can humiliate their opponent losing face and self-feel off of their humiliation. As mentioned before, this humiliation can serve for the loser as a learning opportunity. Sadists do not want this transaction to serve as a learning opportunity. The sadists in the community or group want to conduct an inception. Like mentioned in one of my previous posts, an inception is where a memory is formed in the mind of the loser in that he is branded a loser, stupid, or an idiot. Society’s coded contractual agreement has it that the loser recognizes himself inside the mind of the sadist. The sadist agrees to recognize the loser inside of him. The sadist continuously humiliates his opponent through pseudo-telekinetic torture and perpetually self-feels. This memory that the loser has of himself is informed by the collective negative feedback loops society codified starting from a homeostasis at the beginning of humankind. The loser perpetually losses life-force because he is locked into an inception that the sadist implanted in him. Recognition is defined as, “you bear[ing] obligations to treat her in a certain way, that is, you recognize a specific normative status of the other person” As mentioned in the Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. But if the loser becomes a masochist meaning that he genuinely self-deprecates, then the sadist is revealed too much of a coward and no life-force transfers. At its core, the conflict is proper. The conflict is fair in that it is written contractually that the humiliation is welcomed as form of learning experience. The sadist would rather have a worthy opponent in that the opponent is mentally stable and inept so that things naturally unfold. A play where the opponent is willing to self-deprecate indicates the person is mentally unsuited for an inception. So the sadist must build his opponent up before conducting an inception. This is where capitalistic altruism is born. The true capitalist love is building a person mentally well enough for him to torture himself to the fullest.