I guess the German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche is still getting a bad rap for recognizing, in the late nineteenth century, that belief in Christian dogmas was in a steep decline. And then, he added fuel to the fire by condemning what he called Christian ‘slave morality’, arguing that such a stance undercuts the abilities of the capable among us from exercising the strength and knowledge necessary for social advancement.
Unfortunately for our philosopher certain totalitarian regimes, have, over the years taken this philosophy as a justification to terrorize and exterminate populations of peoples of their choice. It’s all so unfortunate because the valuable message Herr Nietzsche gave to us all is that we need to rethink our moral values, find true ground for our personal moral values rather than rely whole-heartedly on a two thousand year old text.
So, anyway, what got me thinking about this was an article I read recently that suggested our moral values can be thought of as having a firm grounding in evolution. For life as we know it cooperation has always been the key; on a molecular level single cells join together to form complex organisms, which, of course, are basically us. Cooperation is primary to the survival and flourishing of animal life, from acquiring basic needs to the care and protection of off-spring, and is found everywhere. In humankind our inherent cooperative tendencies manifest as love, compassion and altruism. The aberrations hate, lust, greed are fairly looked upon in a negative light.
So, perhaps we should all thank Charles Darwin for having the strength and courage to bring to light the true basis for our humanity.