How much more sensible is that contrasting theory (which is not therefore closer to the truth—) advocated, for example, by Herbert Spencer: he proposes that the idea “good” is essentially the same as the idea “useful” or “functional,” so that in judgments “good” and “bad” human beings sum up and endorse the experiences they have According to this theory, good is something which has always proved useful, so that it may assert its validity as “valuable in the highest degree,” as “valuable in itself.” This path to an explanation is, as I said, also false, but at least the account itself is inherently sensible and psychologically tenable.
direction by the following question: What, from an etymological perspective, do the meanings of “good,” as manifested in different languages, really signify?
Is it a secret, malicious, and common instinct, perhaps one which cannot be acknowledged even to itself, for belittling humanity? The pathos of nobility and distance, as I mentioned, the lasting and dominating feeling, something total and fundamental, of a higher ruling nature in relation to a lower type, to a “beneath”— is the origin of the opposition between “good” and “bad.” (The right of the master to give names extends so far that we could permit ourselves to grasp the origin of language itself as an expression of the power of the rulers: they say “That is such and such”; they seal every object and event with a sound, and in the process, as it were, take possession of it.) Given this origin, the word “good” is from the start ).
Or something like a pessimistic suspicion, the mistrust of idealists who’ve become disappointed, gloomy, venomous, and green? And if one is permitted to hope where one cannot know, then I hope from my heart that the situation with these men might be reversed, that these investigators and the ones peering at the soul through their microscopes may be thoroughly brave, generous, and proud animals, who know how to control their hearts and their pain and who at the same time have educated themselves to sacrifice all desirability for the sake of the truth, for the sake of every truth, even the simple, bitter, hateful, repellent, unchristian, immoral truth. And even then, it takes a long time until this instinct in the masses becomes master, so that moral evaluation remains thoroughly hung up on and bogged down in that opposition (as is the case, for example, in modern Europe: today the prejudice that takes “moralistic,” “unegoistic,” and “Secondly, however, and quite apart from the fact that this hypothesis about the origin of the value judgment “good” is historically untenable, it suffers from an inherent psychological contradiction.
They may also freely edit the text to suit their purposes. Now, first of all, it’s obvious to me that from this theory the essential source for the origin of the idea “good” has been sought for and established in the wrong place: the judgment “good” does originate from those to whom “goodness” was shown!
However, no commercial publication of this text or any part of it is permitted without permission of the translator. Note that in the following text, the words within square brackets have been added by the translator. On the contrary, it was the “good people” themselves, that is, the noble, powerful, higher-ranking, and higher-thinking people who felt and set themselves and their actions up as good, that is to say, of the first rank, in opposition to everything low, low-minded, common, and vulgar.
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In 1887, with the view of amplifying and completing certain new doctrines which he had merely sketched in Beyond Good and Evil (see especially Aphorism 260), Nietzsche published The Genealogy of Morals.
The numbers in curved brackets indicate links to explanatory endnotes provided by the translator.]—These English psychologists, whom we have to thank for the only attempts up to this point to produce a history of the origins of morality—in themselves they serve up to us no small riddle. — unhistorically, in what is now the traditional manner of philosophers. The incompetence of their genealogies of morals reveals itself at the very beginning, where the issue is to determine the origin of the idea and of the judgment “good.” “People,” so they proclaim, “originally praised unegoistic actions and called them good from the perspective of those for whom they were done, that is, those for whom such actions were , always been praised as good, people also felt them as good—as if they were something inherently good.” We perceive right away that this initial derivation already contains all the typical characteristics idiosyncrasies of English psychologists—we have “usefulness,” “forgetting,” “habit,” and finally “error,” all as the foundation for an evaluation in which the higher man up to this time has taken pride, as if it were a sort of privilege of men generally. From this they first arrogated to themselves the right to create values, to stamp out the names for values. Particularly in relation to such a hot pouring out of the highest rank-ordering, rank-setting judgments of value, the point of view which considers utility is as foreign and inappropriate as possible.
By way of a living riddle, they even offer, I confess, something substantially more than their books— of habit or in forgetfulness or in a blind, contingent, mechanical joining of ideas or in something purely passive, automatic, reflex, molecular, and fundamentally stupid)—what is it that really drives these psychologists always in particular direction? This pride humbled, this evaluation of worth emptied of value. Here the feeling has reached the very opposite of the low level of warmth which is a condition for that calculating shrewdness, that reckoning by utility—and not just for a moment, not for one exceptional hour, but permanently.