What Kind of Relations of Power Does Bad Conscience Produce?
Our conscience holds our actions in check as we as humans have a duty to other humans to treat them in a fair manner. This is because, in our relations, every individual deals with the other as they would deal with themselves. This kind of human relation and responsibility to each other is the origin of guilt. Every injury has compensation due to the pain caused to the one who wrong is done hence once a wrong is done compensation is expected to be granted. The power of an injustice towards another person and the power of compensation provided to the wronged party should be equivalent (Nietzsche 37). Since this system has been there for a long time, we are born into a world of order where we grow up following the set norms. Hence, deviation of our actions from the expected norms is what makes us realize of our need to right our wrongs. Failure to do so results in guilt and bad conscience.
Guilt manifests itself when one fails to perform his duty to his fellow human as is expected, and fails to provide compensation equal to the injury caused. In order to ensure an agreement or a common ground is reached by all parties, there is the existence of justice, which ensures that settlement for wrongs is reached (Nietzsche 42). Bad conscience will occur to both parties, both the wronged and the wrong doer. Without justice, the wronged will develop resentment and spiteful feelings towards the one who wronged him leading to him perpetrating more wrongs as a form of revenge. Bad conscience leads to a cycle of injustices and wrong doings, which will have great power over the actions of humans affecting life in its entirety.
Since justice provides a means in which the wrong can be compensated in equal measure to its magnitude, it acts as a blockade to the power of a bad conscience. However, justice is also an antithesis to the freedom of the wronged man. Each person is innately wild and free, and justice to some extent inhibits the expression of these sides of man. Justice is meant to maintain equivalence to everyone governing their actions and is instilled by the legal system in place. Thus, the bad conscience of a wronged man who may seek individual justice for actions done against him may lead to him lacking a place to vent out his frustrations (Nietzsche 47). This may lead to self destruction where the person feels tortured by his lack of the ability to react. Therefore, a restrained ability to react can do harm to the wronged party as he develops negative feelings towards the legal system as it restrains him from being himself. Hence, a power that bad conscience has is the ability to make man develop negative feelings to his fellow men as he blames them for the introduction of the legal system.
Bad conscience, which was the very reason for the creation of a state-run legal system, has the power because it allows freedom of self, allows one to be themselves and to act out releasing the anger and frustration that, when held back, can be destructive to self. Since bad conscience has been establishing to have power over the human will, it will be inevitable that the justice system in place will face opposition and non-compliance from certain individuals. This shows that there exists a conflict in the relation between bad conscience and the justice system which in time will only intensify as man seeks for freedom that the law does not provide (Nietzsche 50). Since man is forced into compliance by the legal system in place, it may also form a reaction from the party who is on the compensating end. This is because sometimes he may feel that the level of compensation expected from him is higher than he would deem fair if he were to dictate the terms of compensation.
Bad conscience also results as a sense of indebtedness to the former creators of the system of law. We come into a world of organization and have to put our selfish needs aside and honor the law set a precedent to our existence. This means that our freedom is repressed where we are not allowed to be ourselves but have to succumb to the wishes of the law. This can result in negativity, which translates to bad conscience hence intensifying its power. This leads to a clash between our individual wants and the power of the legal system. Indebtedness to the law present before our existence has greatly contributed to the growth of various powers. It has led to the growth in the power of the states as they hold superiority as the creators of the law (Nietzsche 55). It has also led to the origin of gods where we feel indebted to our ancestors, and with the passage of time their reverence grows magnifying their role in society.
Bad conscience to the wrong doer also plays a role in the power it has. When one is unable to compensate another for the wrong done to them, the law prevents them from expressing their frustration at being unable to remedy their issue. They develop a bad conscience as a self-punishment system that results in guilt in them. The formation of a monotheistic religion gives him the stimulant to his guilt as he deems it his religious role to compensate the other due to the wrongs done to him. He welcomes the idea of unforgivable guilt for the wrong done in order to escape from the legal system fixated onto him that provides a solution of equal measure to the wrong done (Nietzsche 65). Therefore, bad conscience has a major influence on other powers such as the state, the origin of gods as well as the introduction of the monotheistic religion system providing an option for eternal reward and eternal punishment.
Nietzsche, Friedrich, “On the Genealogy of Morality and Other Writings”, ed. Keith Ansell-Pearson, trans. Carol Diethe (Cambridge: Cambridge U. P., 2006), pp. 35-67. Print.
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