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Sol Goldberg

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PHL217H1-11 The question of ascetic ideal The title is ironic, but we will return this point momentarily. The first essay of the genealogy of the origins concerns the good and bad, the origins of morality, no morality, Romans, slave morality. Second essay focuses on guilt, and other moral valuations that characterizes our slave morality. What you get from both is a concern for origins, the genealogy of things, but at the end of the third essay, we see it's less about genealogy, but how it continues to the present, how we continue live in it. All this is to say, that the key word, is "mean", and the question what do ascetic ideals mean, we ask what do they mean to us. Nietzsche makes the surprising claim that modernity is a continuation of Christian morality. There is another sense of "mean" in the title, the meaningfulness of human existence. Ascetic ideals give meaning to existence. But why is it that ascetic ideals, this prohibition of desire, play such a profound role in history when the ideals seem to rob human life of meaning? Ascetic ideals seem to be what has given meaning to life. But where do we get meaning in life? The apparent self contradiction in ascetic ideals The human will needs an aim, or prefer to will nothingness, rather than not will at all. To call the priest life the embodiment of ascetic ideals seems pretty straight forward, priests, monks, all these people try to deny secular life. But the ascetic life seems to be without values, its contradicted by this self denial of the secular life, as if everything in life is sin and corruption. Therein lies the contradiction. How does this ideal prosper with such a great self denial of life? In fact, the life denying ascetic ideal springs from the protective spirit of life itself, the priest is a testament to life in its sickness, just as an invalid takes bedrest and denial in sickness. The priest is protecting itself from all these thing that it cannot handle in its sick condition. It is only an apparent contradiction. N will go on to explain in the final sections, is this sickliness, that our suffering seems meaningless. What the ascetic ideal does is gives meaning to our suffering, and that it gives so much meaning that humans embrace their suffering as the meaning to their life. The suicidal nihilism is kept at bay by the ascetic ideal. But this cure brought more intense suffering, this intense hatred of anything worldly in the human, as the meaning of life, as life's goal. It's important to see the solution of the apparent meaninglessness of suffering that leads to the ascetic ideal Techniques of self denial: those of the weak versus those of the strong The main distinction we will get is guilty and innocence in this self denial. But we talk of weak and strong first. We talk about techniques of the weak such as mindless obedience from diversions, deflecting our own issues by engaging in other things like helping others. A third technique is herd organization, where the sickly out aside their depression and join others in a group. If we get together and live as a species we lose the peculiarity of our own suffering. The life and power of communal life is the fourth characteristic or technique. Communal life, organizational life can deflect peculiarities of individual suffering. In contrast to them N contrasts the strong will to power. N lists strong emotions, and also the ascetic ideal,
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