© Michael Lacewing Nietzsche on master and slave morality Beyond Good and Evil §260 describes the fundamental division between the morality the moralities of the ‘herd’ and of ‘higher’ people. While the contrast is stark, Nietzsche says, at the outset, I would add at once that in all higher and complex cultures, there are also apparent attempts to mediate between the two moralities, and even more often a confusion of the two and a mutual misunderstanding… - even in the same person. So his descriptions are ‘idealized’, while identifying the diverse origins of our actual morality. MASTER MORALITY In a master or noble morality, ‘good’ picks out exalted and proud states of mind, and it therefore refers to people, not actions, in the first instance. ‘Bad’ means ‘lowly’, ‘despicable’, and refers to people who are petty, cowardly, or concerned with what is useful, rather than what is grand or great. (Notice that none of this depends on the idea of free will.) Good-bad identifies a hierarchy of people, the noble masters or aristocracy and the common people. The noble person only recognises moral duties towards their equals; how they treat people below them is not a matter of morality at all. The good, noble person has a sense of ‘fullness’ – of power, wealth, ability, and so on. From the ‘overflowing’ of these qualities, not from pity, they will help other people, including people below them. Noble people experience themselves as the origin of value, deciding what is good or not. ‘Good’ originates in self-affirmation, a celebration of one’s own greatness and power. They don’t need others to say they are good. They revere themselves, and have a devotion for whatever is great. But this is not self-indulgence: any signs of weakness are despised, and harshness and severity are respected. A noble morality is a morality of gratitude and vengeance. Friendship involves mutual respect and a rejection of over-familiarity, while enemies are necessary, in order to vent feelings of envy, aggression and arrogance. All these qualities mean that the good person rightly evokes fear in those who are not their equal and a respectful distance in those who are.