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Nietzsche And Gandhi, Society

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Friedrich Nietzsche and Mahatma Gandhi, two mammoth political figures of their time, attack the current trend of society. Their individual philosophies and concepts suggest a fundamental problem: if civilization is so diseased, can we overcome this state of society and the sickness that plagues the minds of the masses in order to advance? Gandhi and Nietzsche attain to answer the same proposition of sickness within civilization, and although the topic of unrest among both may be dissimilar, they have parallel means of finding a cure to such an illness as the one that plagues society. Nietzsche’s vision of spiritual health correlates directly with Gandhi’s image of industrialism and the self-sufficiency. This correlation prevails by highlighting the apparent sickness that is ubiquitous in both of the novels.

Nietzsche sees our past as replete with decadence and spiritual decay. Oftentimes the values that we blindly accept have a contemptible origin; such is the case with the foundations of good and bad. The definition of good was judged so by ““the good” themselves, that is to say, the noble the powerful, high stationed and high minded, who felt and established themselves and their actions as good” (Nietzsche 25-26). These words, coined by the nobility, are prevalent within our thoughts and did not arise from the actions of man; rather it arose with a direct connection to power and wealth. The value of good, bad, wealth, and poverty are deeply rooted in the core of civilization and therefore convey the advanced state of sickness in society by expressing a weakness of mind amongst the public.

A disruption of values arises as a powerful factor in the creation of Gandhi’s theory pertaining to spiritual sickness and the general decay of the mind. The values in debate here depict the struggle between brute force and passive resistance. Gandhi claims that “passive resistance, that is soul force, is matchless… How then can it be considered a weapon of the weak?” (Gandhi 49) By Gandhi’s standards, it cannot be considered weak if standing up against laws that are disliked; those that are truly weak attempt to find the answer behind brute force. Gandhi claims that “passive resistance cannot proceed a step without fearlessness” and strength of mind. By this standard, brute force, not passive resistance contributes to the sickness of civilization by being void of mental strength.

The professional occupations of man contribute to the spiritual sickness of civilization. Nietzsche isolates the priests as the “most evil enemies” stating that their hatred is both “spiritual and poisonous” (Nietzsche 33). The reason for such a lustrous claim is that Nietzsche believes that priests are responsible for influencing the decisions of the general public, brainwashing the masses to blindly believe church doctrine. Nietzsche accuses the priests and Jewish population of creating a “radical revaluation of their enemies’ values, that is to say, an act of the most spiritual revenge” (Nietzsche 33-34). By reshaping and convincing the masses to believe as the church believes; the priests are contributing to the sickness of civilization. According to Nietzsche, priests do not allow people to think on their own and therefore lull them into a mindless state of blind acceptance. The sickness of civilization, as Nietzsche points out, is developing, and the “progress of this poison through the entire body of mankind seems irresistible” (Nietzsche 36).

Gandhi directly attacks the profession of doctors for fueling the sickness of civilization. By making us “deprived of self control” and “effeminate”, the doctors have put us in a state that fosters sickness instead of healing it (Gandhi 34). Gandhi gives an illustration of how doctors contribute to the mental sickness of civilization by speaking of a specific example of indulgence. “I overeat, I have indigestion, I go to the doctor, he gives me medicine, I am cured. I overeat again, I take the pills again. Had I not taken the pills in the first instance, I would have suffered the punishment deserved by me and I would not have overeaten again” (Nietzsche 33). This situation exemplifies everything that Gandhi was attempting to convey about the over indulgence of man as aided by doctors. Because of the doctoral profession, Nietzsche states, “my body… felt more at ease; but my mind became weakened” (Nietzsche 33). By weakening the minds of the public, doctors are directly contributing to the sickness of civilization.

Nietzsche reveals slave and master morality as a paramount concept, conveying the power of the wealthy and prominent over the poor and downtrodden. Nietzsche states that “In order to exist, slave morality always first needs a hostile external world; it needs… external stimuli in order to act at all- its action is fundamentally reaction” (Nietzsche 37). The weak, passive, cowardly, and sick are reacting to the overbearing nature of the nobility. The lower, sickened class is insecure and unable to act because they know that they are weak. They have the fundamental drive in the universe, the will to power, yet they are unable to act, rather they can merely react to the harsh and unjust situations that external world is placing on them. They harbor a ressentiment towards the elite

The cure of such a sickness



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