Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pluralism Bitches

Evil Within Faith- Nietzsche and Connelly
Philosophy 009
Grace Byrne
Why are wars started often by people who don‘t believe war is good? Why is there so much spiritual hate, when so many religions are based on love and peace? Why so much confusion if morality is written in texts, or upheld by individuals’ leaps of faith? According to Connelly, because of the opportunity for evil within faith. Evil within faith is portrayed in circumstances when any individual or group acts upon what they consider to be evil in response to evil. This sounds so contradictory yet intuitive, and displayed in the very word immoral. When an amoral person, if one were to exist, slaughtered innocent, if purely innocent existed, the question resolves itself. However when one is immoral, then they have morals they have betrayed for a variety of reasons. Such as the Tibetan Buddhist monks who were cast into shadow by the Chinese government for acts of violence across the border due to long term oppression, even against their faithful promises. Thus is evil within faith.
The reasons are usually self evident, red flares such as necessary evil, or contrasting beliefs systems are uncomfortably common, known, and an integral part of most cultures and governmental tactics. Connelly, as discussed in class, believed the appropriate preventative mindset to reject evil within faith is of pluralism. Connelly’s pluralism in its most basic element is a hospitality towards other beliefs, while placing depth and importance on one’s own faith. Any contrasting belief system would be accepted for its respective importance. If effective this mindset could potentially reject evil within faith in its various forms. The ability to respect other beliefs can allow for secluded but promising activity within any given faith, and prevent disobedience to that faith purely for the sake of destructing the conflicting actions of others.
My own approaches were there after reconfirmed in Connelly’s healthy explanation of pluralism. However, many points, perhaps the most crucial and difficult problems of application remain. These problems are aged and worn, thought through a philosopher may end up just staring through one the many holes in apparent vain as they age and mold. For if what a pluralist considers evil is allowed to proceed in others with different beliefs limits of acceptance must eventually be made. These limits could disintegrate into relativism by finding the evil as one’s own good, and further disarraying any existential lines. Or the limit could become harshly defined into the shape of absolutism, which can be dangerously overbearing, confrontational, or single minded. Even with all the terminology of philosophy, exact definitions become blurred, situations only brought in to focus in retrospect, and the definitions shaped by those who made them alone.
In pondering how I would like to focus my own image of my moral surroundings, and understand my own relationship to evil within faith given my experiences I sought a comparative text. Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Moral’s hopes to delve in to this very issue, to give an explanation attached to reality and history as much as it is personal opinion.
Nietzsche had a more simplistic approach than Connelly, beginning with the word good itself. Good in origin is related to god in many languages, and is usually traced back to nobility and aristocracy. Those with nobility have usually considered themselves to be good because they are privileged to be good. The masters and the powerful affiliate themselves not only with good, but with truth. Therefore the common man inevitably is seen as bad or a liar.
To show examples of this through out time, Nietzsche portrayed several different time periods and the morality of them. He begins with what many consider to be the origin of the English empire, the Roman conquerors and the Gaelic invasions. Labeling this as the ’warrior period’ this is what he feels to be the beginnings of the white blonde haired man as good. The man who is promiscuous, brave, and violent is powerful and therefore good. Bad is created in opposition as cowardice. The ideas of rough, what many think of as manly, and often bisexual in practice was accepted in the warrior mentality.
The highest caste slowly infiltrated the dominant power in a transfer to the priestly ideals of good and evil. Good translated to pure, and bad to impure in turn. The pure man from the beginning being someone who is hygienic, and forbids himself certain luxuries the warriors rivaled in, such as sex. It is ironic that there is nothing medicinal about being pure, a priest in essence is unhealthy. Abstinence and non sensual orientations to purity or good are scientifically unsound. It is here at the same time that Nietzsche claims man became complex, because man “rose above” his instinctual self and became complex with good and evil no longer corresponding to any physical interpretation, but more over related to metaphysics and theology. It is evident the priestly caste and warrior caste were at war with each others ideals.
The priestly will be oppressed by the warriors, because the purity of religion is unsuccessful in the context of war. Nietzsche wrote this is how religion became the “most evil.” In the repression of any group of people there will be a revolt of spiritual essence. Nietzsche’s most predominant example is the Jews because of the reversal of morality that resulted from their revolt. The noble ideas of good translated to the powerless and the dirty being the good, with aristocracy representing evil. Eventually the slaves became victorious, as did the attached morality.
Nietzsche’s ideas of resentment birthing values are similar to Connelly’s regarding the vertical dimension of faith when confronted. “ Every noble morality develops from a triumphant affirmation of itself, slave morality from the outset says no to what is “outside”, what is “different” what is “ not itself” and this No is its creative deed. This inversion of the value positioning eye, this need to direct one’s view outward instead of back to oneself is of dehiscence of resentment: in order to exist, slave morality always first need a hostile external world, it needs, physiologically speaking, external stimuli in order to act at all-- its action is fundamentally reaction.” This was not written very favorably of slaves, mainly because Nietzsche was anti-Semitic. Despite this, if the book were written from an unbiased perspective his following statements would suggest a pluralist perspective.
Nietzsche uses the resentment of slaves to outline his interpretation of the ability for faith to overcome evil, “To be capable of taking one’s enemies one’s accidents, even one’s misdeeds seriously for very long-- that is the sign of strong full natures in whom there is an excess of the power to form, to mold, to recuperate and to forget.“ I extract from Nietzsche’s statement that all of these misfortunes are as complex as one’s own nature and should be studied, hence the adverb “seriously.” The cure for evil within faith is further provided as the ability to directly face fears, and one’s power to form and mold the future in order to recuperate from the experience of evil. If all experience produces morality, and there is a respect paid to that experience, the experience of contrast in Nietzsche’s terms would require a pluralism. To adhere to the beliefs within this quote the warrior, the priestly, the slaves, even the speaker himself could have all been much more peaceful.
Connelly’s Pluralism obviously isn’t in complete synchronization with Nietzsche‘s Genealogy of Morals. Nietzsche believed morality was relative to power, and if it had not been for his prejudice would have successfully treated that power as a pluralist. However the two authors correspond to each other because of their similar determination to encompass morality. As Nietzsche can be a pluralist, so can Connelly be a part of Nietzsche’s genealogy. If the genealogy were to examine the power dynamic today in relation to Americas morality I believe a new period would be demonstrated by our government. For who is noble and who is a slave in an ideal democracy? Are Americans warriors or priests? Neither, for our country is built on diversity. The pluralism to which Nietzsche wished, and Connelly digressed is a direct product of what would be ideally a non-existent power dynamic within our country. Connelly is neither the powerful or the slave, but the moral representative of a democratic nation wishing a non specific morality of acceptance. The contrasting focus of these two narratives gives me faith not only in diversities ability to produce pluralism, but caution in judgment.

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