For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo

by Nietzsche, Friedrich (1989)


The great philosopher's major work on ethics, along with Ecce Homo, Nietzche's remarkable review of his life and works. On the Genealogy of Morals (1887) shows him using philsophy, psychology, and classical philology in an effort to give new direction to an ancient discipline.The work consists of three essays. The first contrasts master morality and slave morality and indicates how the term "good" has widely different meanings in each. The second inquiry deals with guilt and the bad conscience; the third with ascetic ideals—not only in religion but also in the academy. Ecce Homo, written in 1898 and first published posthumously in 1908, is Nietzsche's review of his life and works. It contains chapters on all the books he himself published. His interpretations are as fascinating as they are invaluable. Nothing Nietzsche wrote is more stunning stylistically or as a human document. Walter Kaufmann's masterful translations are faithful of the word and spirit of Nietzsche, and his running footnote commentaries on both books are more comprehensive than those in his other Nietzsche translations because these tow works have been so widely misunderstood.

Key Passage

Mechanical activity and what goes with it—such as absolute regularity, punctilious and unthinking obedience, a mode of life fixed once and for all, fully occupied time, a certain permission, indeed training for "impersonality," for self-forgetfulness, for "incuria sui"—: how thoroughly, how subtly the ascetic priest has known how to employ them in the struggle against pain! When he was dealing with sufferers of the lower classes, with work-slaves or prisoners (or with women—who are mostly both at once, work- slaves and prisoners), he required hardly more than a little ingenuity in name-changing and rebaptizing to make them see benefits and a relative happiness in things they formerly hated: the slave's discontent with his lot was at any rate not invented by the priest. (p.134)


Nietzsche, Morality, Machine, Automation, Happiness, Social Class


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