This passage is taken from first treatise on “Good and evil”, “good and bad”. This treatise looks at the judgment given in the deriving of values (Nietzsche et al. 10). That is it looks at how the values are formed and how they can be judged to be real values of humanity or not.
This poses the question of how values really come to humanity and if they are representative of all people and of equal value to those who are required to uphold them. The quote describes the distance that has come between those who are rankled high and the masses who are ranked lowly (Nietzsche et al. 10). There is an indifference towards the masses and the transformation model that Nietzsche’s offers demands the pathos of distance.
The distance can change with the slave revolt to morality if the human image is overcome. Humanity has become embedded I nihilism. This leaves it vulnerable to spiritualization and looking to the external to indicate its morality. However if humanity’s self image is broken and the spirit set free it can work with the intellectual to find greater and otherwise unknown comprehension of the human nature.
The right to create values was taken by those in high ranks who became the ones to judge what is good based on their own experience (Nietzsche et al. 10). They based their perception of what is good on what they received and deemed good while the masses were obliged to accept that as common and if common then as the norm of the values.
Usefulness itself would refer to the utility of the values. If those who are ranked highly give a value that is not of use to humanity or disregards those considered lowly then it has no value and it is useless to have such a value. This passage presents the philosophical arguments on values.
This passage is located in the preface. It is the starting point of Nietzsche’s discourse. It sets the stage for Nietzsche’s philosophical thoughts. By beginning to consider the human person in relation to the self, the thoughts about humanity can be better understood since humanity is made up of the sum of the individuals.
The ‘we knowers’ in the passage refers to those who think and feel that they are in the know based on their knowledge, education and experiences. They regard themselves as rather less ignorant that the other people and believe they know it all as philosophers (Nietzsche et al. 1).
Nietzsche introduces some reasons as to why we are unknown to ourselves. It would seem that we are unknown to ourselves being that we do not look for ourselves. It would be hard to find that which we are not concerned with. There is no attention to the self and as such self awareness escapes us. The main concern seems to be with able to find and bring something (Nietzsche et al. 1). The attention is outside ourselves and there is little room for inward glance.
The second reason is that experiences do not form part of what is taken seriously understood and treasured (Nietzsche et al. 1). There is no concern to internalize the experiences. They just keep adding up in life without being meaningfully utilized because there is little time to pay attention to them. Life is rushed about and experiences do not form a concrete part of our lives.
For these two reasons people are not their own knowers. They are more concerned with the outside world and even when they get experiences that should resonate with the inside they do not pay attention. This passage sets the stage for the next passage that introduces the beginning of the problem that Nietzsche discusses in the book.
This passage is located in the preface page three. It is the point from which Nietzsche begins to lay down the philosophical content of the treatise. It presents the problem that will be explored in the following treatise.
The original problem that Nietzsche considered was the question what in fact is the origin of our good and evil? Where does it comes from? However the original problem is soon transformed into the problem of the circumstances man was in while he came up with value judgments of good and evil (Nietzsche et al. 3).
In addition the new problem also examines the value of the judgment particularly in their effect on human growth and condition. Have they beneficial or harmful to the fullness of man? The original question was reframed through philosophy by abandonment of the theological and concentration on answers that would not be found in the mere outside world.
Nietzsche talks about ‘under what conditions’ (3) since the human values were not made at once but rather evolved. They were formed over time and in different manner. As such humanity came up with values is response to certain circumstances. Human being are the ones who attach value to the values they hold (Nietzsche et al. 3).
This is important to know in philosophical study since it can be understood how values have changed with time and how they will continue to change with time. This is a good understanding in studying humanity and shed light on human condition.
After this passage Nietzsche goes on into the first treaty whereby he talks about good and evil and how humanity came to develop their values as well as what is at the heart of the values that have been developed so far. Do they truly represent what humanity values and are they truly valuable to humanity?
Nietzsche et al. On The Genealogy of Morality. Indianapolis: IN: Hackett Publishing Company, 1998. Print.