First Essay (5 Pages)
Your first short paper (due: March 3) requires that you use one of the books in class to address the importance of the end of the world in one of our readings. Explore how it works in the text. Keep your work tightly focused on a single thesis.
Make sure that your essay has a thesis and is supported by specific examples drawn from the text. Make sure you also set out (probably in the first paragraph) the significance or importance of your topic for the reader.
Importance of the End of the World
This essay aims to explore the concepts used in Nietzsche’s Daybreak: Thoughts on the prejudice of morality. The main theme of the paper revolves around his campaign that goes against morality and how the concept of morality gives rise to independence of the human civilization, ability of power and the strength of willingness. The essay introduces the main topic of concern and relates it to the philosophy of Nietzsche’s perspective in Daybreak. In the latter part of the essay it follows an insight of the core concepts used. Lastly, I reflect my understanding of the lessons in accordance of the paper.
The increment in human interaction acts as the basis that leads to savaging the environmental surroundings which preserves life. Due to increase in the environmental destructions and bloodshed, numerous ecological activists have lost faith in policies set by governments to safeguard nature. According to WWF, in the early 1980’s scientists were successful in discovering diverse range of organic creatures and insects in the tropical forest. As per a study conducted in Panama, 80% of 1200 species discovered were unknown to the scientific world. However, it today’s time we are facing a rapid loss in the extinction of our species. Experts estimate, each year the loss is between 1000 to 10,000 times higher than the natural rate of species extinct. It is also estimated by experts that 0.01 and 0.1% species will diminish each year (wwf, 2016). More so, the world is going through other disasters such as recession (leading to financial collapses), end of reigning empires, such as Egypt, and an increase in the natural disasters such as tsunami, earthquakes, etc. The end of the world is very near and the fact is of great concern to us humans, as it will be not long to make our own existence extinct. The world that we validate upon is build around our selfish motives that has led us to reevaluate our moralities (wwf, 2016)
Daybreak, also known as ‘The Dawn’, by Friedrich Nietzsche, a great German philosopher of the late 19th century. His area of interest lied in the improvement of individuals, cultures, power, life and its realities. Daybreak is referred to one of his most intellectual and profound work of all times (Wicks, R. 2011). It revolves around the Christian moral evaluations. There are many themes covered but most important is his ‘campaign against morality.’ The philosopher is determined through his writings to prove that moral motives are unegoistic. They are rather more refined as expressions of egocentricity or self interest and, hence, devalorized moral values by portraying what are taken as ethical or intrinsic (independently motivated) values should be understood as extrinsic or instrumental (contributory) value. According to David Owens’s interpretation of the book Daybreak, the philosopher has admitted to moral motivations. This is due to the proposition on the account of the originality of morality that lies in five different chronicles. First, morality identifies ethical or moral actions in accordance to the custom. Second, it debates that these customs are interpretations of the relationship a community holds with its environment. This further evaluates and ranks these actions in terms of their efficacy and disadvantages or harmfulness to the communities self sustentation. Third, it claims that our moral agency is governed by a belief of principled sentiments which is driven by our actions. Fourth, the morality suggests that in the past, our societies were dominated by exorbitant traditions and customs that led to the rule of accepting the rule. Lastly, is the claim that morality of customs is implied due to a belief ignored disappointments (Owen, D. 2003).The account of moralities origin provides Nietzsche to reject identification of other philosophers on moral actions and unegoistic action (Owen, D. 2003).
Furthermore, in Daybreak, Nietzsche’s principle of morality does not reflect as to how humans have identified morality with actions performed out of democracy or just selfless motives. This theme sheds light on the importance of our main topic. Out of altruistic motives, we as humans tend to perform actions that go against moral values (independent, societies) and ethics. For example, hunting down rare species for the sake of monetary rewards, business or pleasure can be justified as immoral. Intervening in the ecosystem can lead to disruption at all levels. Our activities consume resources and create waste, thus increasing the ecological footprint on the earth’s ecosystem. Hence, in the future the human civilization will be left with no species (animals) to feed upon for survival (Caldwell, R. 2008).
In addition, Nietzsche approaches the naturalistic criteria to further evaluate moral values. It is through self preservations, as he sees it. However, this point does not fit into the way human activity takes place in form of risks or self destruction by individuals, societies and communities. To put it another way, this does not fit rightly in terms of growth or expansion for individuals/communities that do not work towards preserving resources for self sustenance (Owen, D. 2003)
In Nietzschian terms, we humans act like animals. Mostly, because of our instincts. We are neither superior over other animals nor privileged. Rather, we are also part of the same web and cycle as other animals are. Besides self preservation, he points out another important factor such as will power. The concept under his philosophy does not exercise will as free or unfree, but rather terms it as strong will and weak will. From a human’s point of view, we see the world as an existing universe for the sake of human’s beings. We can relate this point to our main area of concern. Is it out of free will that humans are causing disruption to the environment and moving towards the end? Or, is it a matter of being strong willed? The concept of free will may have been rejected by Nietzsche but it is a strong driving force for individuals to take any action, when combined with a strong will as well. It is further argued by Nietzsche that human beings are, “continuous with other organic creatures in terms of being characterized by will to power” (Owen, D. 2003), stressing the fact that human are also defined by self consciousness, which makes them different from other organic creatures in terms of the way in which they will to power exhibits. This implies upon the fact that the trait of self consciousness as animals, lies in humans. The feeling of power and the degree of power are not interrelated, nor do they have any connection in expression. The philosopher is trying to point out that human beings are self conscious creatures; the feeling of power is through the panorama in terms of which they actually understand themselves. Hence, the moral actions, evaluation, ranking of actions are all expressed under this aspect (Schatz, 2012).
To further prove his point, Nietzsche comments, “You want, if possible (and no ‘if possible’ is crazier) to abolish suffering. And us? – it looks as though we would prefer it to be heightened and made even worse than it has ever been! Well-being as you understand it –that is no goal; it looks to us like an end! – A condition that immediately renders people ridiculous and despicable – that makes their decline into something desirable! The discipline of suffering, of great suffering – don’t you know that this discipline has been the sole cause of every enhancement in humanity so far?” (Owen, D. 2003). Through this, he claims that suffering cannot be abolished, and the idea is just imaginary. This raises the question, if the feeling of power leads to the actual powers of agency.
Our essay is based on the work of Nietzsche in Daybreak, where the philosopher reflects and explores on the problems moral values, individuality and the actual power that the human’s exercise. In relation to our readings related to the end of the world, Nietzsche’s point of view gives an insight as to how we as humans are paving way for doomsday. Organic creatures and human beings share the same cycle and universe. We are dependent upon other creatures and nature for sustenance, as pointed out in the book. Societies as a whole may never be successful in halting the practices that lead to threatening of organic creatures and animals. When people see how certain actions, practices and policies risk the survival it will help to evolve the universe in a different manner. To make this happen, we have to hold our moral values high in regard to the environment which will lead to sustainability and simultaneously help in delaying the end of the world. More so, this would require strong will, as noticed by Nietzsche. Without strong will, actual power and moral values, we are bound to become extinct in our specie. This is not to mean that we are going to live forever. But, this certainly promises a harmony for all around us (Schatz, 2012). As Nietzsche states in his book,” Man and things. – Why does man not see things? He is himself standing in the way: he conceals things.” Human beings are well aware of their actions and also consequences, yet they chose to conceal, ignore or forgo at the account of the other bets thing. Therefore, to conclude, our moral values along with our humanly powers that help us make decisions, should be utilized in the best possible way to understand the importance that lies in the factors leading to the end of the world.
Caldwell, R. (2008). Nietzsche and Morality. Retrieved March 02, 2016, from https://philosophynow.org/issues/70/Nietzsche_and_Morality
How many species are we losing? (n.d.). Retrieved March 02, 2016, from http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/biodiversity/biodiversity
Marvin, J. (2011). An Aesthetic Phenomenon: Bishop and Nietzsche Justify Existence. Worcester Review, 32(1/2), 55-61
Owen, D. (2003). Nietzsche, Re-evaluation and the Turn to Genealogy. European Journal of Philosophy, 11(3), 249. doi:10.1111/1468-0378.00186
Tai, K. C. (2008). Will to individuality: Nietzsche’s self-interpreting perspective on life and humanity.
Wicks, R. (1997). Friedrich Nietzsche. Plato.stanford.edu. Retrieved 2 March 2016, from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nietzsche