File spoon-archives/nietzsche.archive/nietzsche_2003/nietzsche.0311, message 18


Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 19:15:44 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Re: wise cracks and gender stereotypes


Some time ago, on this list, I recall Eric defining
revenge as ego. 

Eric:
isn't cruelty a special province of the weak, a way
for the weak [..] to compensate for being less
powerful? 

Ruth:
It is revenge that is the province of the weak, 
defined as hostility to the strong, not cruelty


I am trying to understand your comments in relation to
passages on revenge and cruelty in the Geneology of
Morals. Here, cruelty is "a genuine festival" (cf. The
Dawn, "Cruelty belongs to the most ancient festive
joys of mankind"), whilst revenge is too difficult and
painful to fathom. "To ask it again: to what extent
can suffering balance depts or guilt? [...] How can
making suffer constitute a compensation?"

I have always interpreted these passages as
suggesting, as Ruth says, that cruelty is not
reducible to active/reactive forces, but revenge is. 

However, two questions remain: how are we to
understand this "festive joy" in cruelty; and why does
making suffer constitute a compensation for the
avenger? 

Nietzsche stops tantalizingly short of giving us
answers - reasons for this are suggested elsewhere,
but certainly, more can be said. Any takers?


 

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