Nietzsche’s foreboding insight


From the outset, it must be said that German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) was a troubled individual who suffered a wide range of afflictions during his relatively short life.   Having said that, in the preface to his work ‘On the Genealogy of Morality’, Nietzsche wrote:

What if a regressive trait lurked in “the good man,” likewise a danger, an enticement, a poison, a narcotic, so that the present lived at the expense of the future? Perhaps in more comfort and less danger, but also in a smaller-minded, meaner manner?

Considering Nietzsche wrote that in 1887, it was a foreboding insight into our modern world and the decline of the West’s morality.   Nietzsche considered it “the danger of dangers” – namely, that all individuals, even those with the potential to rise above the mediocre mass, are pressured into becoming a ‘herd animal’ whose only apparent goal was to please or acquiesce to the rest of the herd.    

This is most evident in today’s social media platforms, often with enthusiastic reinforcement by the MSM, where critical thinkers are hounded when their conclusions don’t match the groupthink.  Globally, Governments have harnessed this phenomenon to keep those individuals in check who dare to question the approved narrative.   Within our small community at the Cat for example, there are numerous individuals who have been subjected to a variety of punitive responses on social media or by government for daring to question the official orthodoxy during Covid. 

Where an individual is independent and questioning the orthodoxy, that person is deemed by the herd to be ‘bad’ and must be hounded into silence.  Alternatively, those who belong to the herd and conform, are deemed to be ‘good’.   Social media, government and the MSM can combine to judge the outspoken individual and on many occasions, the pile-on can be vicious.  At a minimum, the person’s social standing is damaged and for some, their professional standing is destroyed.  Yet this herd behaviour can overturn society’s growth and evolution.  

So, is this a new phenomenon? 

For millennia, humans have gathered together to form societies (whether tribes, clans, villages and so on) and those societies must have rules for peaceful and productive cohabitation.  As many humans were naturally inquisitive and, necessity being the mother of invention, humankind flourished.  

Of course, assorted rumours, speculation and vendettas arose every now and then with terrible consequences for those deemed outside the accepted orthodoxy.   There are near endless examples in our human history of the persecution of minorities for some alleged or even actual ‘slight’ against the established status quo.  But there is also a veritable conga line of independent thinkers from before Aristotle to after Isacc Newton that made vital contributions to society’s evolution, yet many were initially ridiculed or persecuted.    

Whilst we consider ourselves far more civilised today, is the persecution of the outspoken independent thinker via social media really much different to the baying mob armed with pitchforks advancing on the hapless individual?   Those events usually happened with the consent of the local Chief (who may even lead the attack) – why is this different to our government inciting, and in some cases orchestrating, a vengeful mob? 

Social media has a lot to answer for in our modern society with its insidious and destructive impact on our society being fanned and encouraged by every Western government on the planet.  Government recognised the opportunity to frame the narrative in a social media context and apply (un)official enforcement via the mob.   The rate of transformation, and ferociousness of self-imposed enforcement, must exceed their wildest dreams.   

The MSM, for their part, have long recognised their dependence on government largesse via advertising (or ownership) and that their very existence is governed by legislation.  Every one of us can point to numerous examples where journalists have utterly failed to challenge the government’s statements or actions.   The hand inside the media glove unquestionably belongs to the government.    

Will things change?  The malevolence of the vested interests, and sometimes outright contempt for the people they are supposed to govern, would suggest that the voice of those who question the official pathway will continue to be threatened.  Only sites such as the Cat offer refuge.

Although Nietzsche couldn’t have imagined our society, the principle of silencing questioning thinkers remains – in our time it is a cohort of anonymous social media assailants, MSM and government who persecute those who would rise above the dim-witted and complaint masses; how often have we seen a call to correct some perceived inequality coupled with implied allegations of an anti-social phobia for the non-compliant?

Of course, the desire for control extends far deeper and includes the covering up of government excess (even criminality) or collective censorship of legitimate news or opinion.   If it challenges, embarrasses or confronts the official narrative, the attack dogs of social media and the MSM will do their master’s bidding.  

Finally, Nietzsche’s pertinent warning:

Our highest insights must – and should – sound like follies and sometimes like crimes when they are heard without permission.  Why has an anti-natural morality – a poison which has spread through the entire body of mankind – gained dominion over Western civilization?

I doubt that Nietzsche could have imagined, even in his wildest dreams, the extent to which our social structure has deviated nor the depths to which our morality has descended.  Indeed, many of those who contributed greatly to our developing society over the millennia would struggle to be heard in our enlightened ‘modern age’.     

Battle on Cats, battle on.   

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billie
billie
February 28, 2023 1:44 pm

prescient ..

The American society is polarised completely along these lines of intolerence and both parties declare that democracy is at risk if the other mob gets to vote at all in 2024.

The way anyone questioning the covid thing here were demonised and attacked was horrendous, and the ones who didn’t want the vaxx .. wow, right wing extremists etc

I still can’t believe Dan Andrews got back in, mind you, all the media was on his side, they adore him.

rickw
rickw
February 28, 2023 1:50 pm

I still can’t believe Dan Andrews got back in, mind you, all the media was on his side, they adore him.

My guess is election fraud. It’s happened elsewhere, why not here?

Morsie
Morsie
February 28, 2023 2:10 pm

I asked my mobile phone once what was the meaning of life.The response “nothing that Nietzsche couldn’t teach ya”

mem
mem
February 28, 2023 2:14 pm

Coincidently, spent the morning reading up on the concept of “a purity spiral”.
The first article:
Written by Gavin Haynes in 2020 appeared here; https://unherd.com/2020/01/cast-out-how-knitting-fell-into-a-purity-spiral/
What is a purity spiral -“It is a social dynamic that plays out across that community — a process of moral outbidding, unchecked, which corrodes the group from within, rewarding those who put themselves at the extremes, and punishing nuance and divergence relentlessly.”

Vicki
Vicki
February 28, 2023 4:40 pm

I have always believed, and acted upon, the assumption that the human species is fundamentally tribal. We originally came together in groups for protection from various threats – be they from wild animals, starvation or other humans. If you work from that premise – most of the vagaries of human behaviour make sense. They are not always pleasant – far from it – but they explain a lot.

Unfortunately, few people – particularly nowadays – understand the influence of tribalism on our behaviour – from small communities to actual nations. In respect to Covid and its repercussions, tribalism helps to explain the way so many people closed ranks in respect to both the regulations and the vaccination program. They felt the ultimate threat of a plague which they did not understand, and sought “shelter,” of a kind, in the government orders.

There will, of course, always be the “outliers” in any tribe. These are the tribal members who habitually consider all options and are more self reliant. They are the famous 30% in the Milgram Experiment who refused to partake in procedures that would cause pain to their fellows simply on the “say so” of the self appointed experimenter.

Katzenjammer
Katzenjammer
February 28, 2023 4:53 pm

If global warming was a genuine danger then pragmatic solutions would be welcome. Instead it was turned into a moral cause, which entails those not complying must be to some degree evil. Ditto for the wuhan virus, and weird gender theories. The left, because there’s a complete absence of evidence of the problems they nominate, can’t propose pragmatic solutions, so take recourse in self righteous slander of those who dispute either their propositions or their imaginary solutions.

Anchor What
Anchor What
February 28, 2023 6:27 pm

As a male year 12 teenager I read Nietzsche and drew from it that society was scared of sex, particularly anything approaching free sex. That’s how one might feel at that age.
Later, I came to appreciate how valuable the family, the christian ethos, the stability of society was and is.
What we are seeing now is a range of attacks on everything that buttresses or underpins civilisation.
It has gone so far now that one has to ask: what would Che Guavara do?
I don’t think many of those who wore the oh-so fashionable t-shirt knew that his role in Cuba devolved to lining up the “enemies of the revolution” against a wall and shooting them.
They would disown it.
But given the state that the USA is in, can it be rescued without bloodshed?

Rabz
February 28, 2023 7:48 pm

As a male year 12 teenager I read Nietzsche

To quote my best mate’s dear ol’ mum* when she found his copies of “Thus Spake Zarathustra” and “The Antichrist” back when we were in year 12: “Who is this Nyeechee person?!”

*Still with us and going strong in her nineties.

Alamak!
Alamak!
February 28, 2023 8:19 pm

Among many great quotes from the master this one seems relevant to the site & its purpose.

“There are two different types of people in the world, those who want to know, and those who want to believe.”

jupes
jupes
February 28, 2023 9:31 pm

I doubt that Nietzsche could have imagined, even in his wildest dreams, the extent to which our social structure has deviated nor the depths to which our morality has descended.

I doubt any Australian from the last century could have imagined any of that either. It blows my mind the depths of depravity this country has sunk to.

Petros
Petros
February 28, 2023 10:29 pm

I think it was Leo Strauss who said that Nietzsche was the step-grandfather of Nazism.

Anchor What
Anchor What
March 1, 2023 5:52 am

Nietzche fell out with Wagner due to the latter’s anti-semitism; Hitler on the other hand was a huge Wagner fan.

Rafe Champion
March 1, 2023 6:20 am

Be encouraged by Moira Deeming, a Victorian Liberal,
https://www.spectator.com.au/2023/02/moira-deeming-former-labor-party-princess/?

TPL001
TPL001
March 1, 2023 7:21 am

Nietzsche reached the dizzying height of a dunce: he had to presuppose Christianity, and the God of creation, to attack and deny him. What a fool (Ps 14:1). He went insane in the end. No wonder, when one holds such an anti-reality philosophy.
Follow the money: there is no society, just individuals. Groupthink is propoganda used to control the zeitgeist. To what end? Initially, it is for their version of self-defined “social” justice, which spells equality of outcomes (i.e. more for me and less for them). That is not justice, which is the restoration to the state that existed before a harm was committed; positive action to maintain a just state is being a good neighbour: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom 13:10). Equalitarianism is an unattainable goal. It means using the coercive power of the state to take from the productive and re-distribute to the unproductive (in the name of “social” justice). This creates a class of self-appointed, opinionated, “democratic” socialist, syndicalist, greedy, power-hungry, self-righteous and corrupt, rent-seekers.

Anchor What
Anchor What
March 1, 2023 9:07 am

Dunce? Hardly.
He was incredibly well-read, including theology, and ventured into philosophical issues in a daring and perceptive manner, including his predictive parable about the death of God.
While his personal life can be regarded as at first very successful ( “…youngest person ever to hold the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel in 1869 at the age of 24.” ) his later life became increasingly messy.
But when all’s said and done he did many things that the modern academic can only envy.

Fast Bowler
Fast Bowler
March 1, 2023 10:06 am

Vicki says “There will, of course, always be the “outliers” in any tribe. These are the tribal members who habitually consider all options and are more self reliant.

Totally agree. It is sad to see so many otherwise smart people succumbing to propaganda without question. At the end of the day maybe we are a bunch of loners in need of our own tribe and space.

Zipster
Zipster
March 1, 2023 10:22 am

My guess is election fraud. It’s happened elsewhere, why not here?

what the last 3 years has shown me is that the west is just as corrupt as any 3rd world shithole, the only difference is our corruption is well concealed through systemic loopholes

Rococo Liberal
Rococo Liberal
March 1, 2023 4:11 pm

I don’t think fraud was the cause. It is simply that many VIctorians suffer from Stockholm syndrome. The way such people look at things, it didn’t matter that Andrews was a ridiculous authoritarian throughout the covid scare. The important thing was that he cared. Also all that stuff is in the past. WHat I notice about many voters susceptible to lefty nonsense is that it is alwyas the light on the hill that is important not the million cockups made by Labor in the past.

Gilas
Gilas
March 1, 2023 7:59 pm

Anchor What says:
February 28, 2023 at 6:27 pm

A bit late to this thread… but I have been saying it, and agree with your last point.

It is simply inconceivable that the morally corrupt, violent, censorious power structures in place now would somehow see the errors of their ways, “listen to reason” or “the people” and reverse the course to perdition they’ve led for the last 4+decades.
It just ain’t gonna happen, human nature will see to that.

Just as human nature will lead to violent rebellion after too many lines in the sand have been crossed.
The consequences ain’t gonna be pretty, technology will not save them.
I can’t wait for it.

  1. Excellent post. Thanks, Peter. Who are the multinationals clipping the ticket on this brain fart? Who in Australia has ties…

  2. Biden is leading by 9 points with voters 65 years and older; the demented vote no doubt: Biden’s senior momentum:…

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