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Hicks — Egoism in Nietzsche and Rand


the Jews in Egypt. The significant result of the Jews’ being enslaved for a long time was the development and internalization of a moral code suitable for surviving slavery.

Suppose that you are a slave: how do you survive? By contrast, what actions will kill you? What actions will increase your chances of staying alive? And if you have children who are born into slavery, what survival strategies will you teach them?

In order to survive, a slave must obey the master. This does not come naturally. So the first lesson is: you must stifle your nature. Suppose the master strikes you—the desire for revenge comes naturally—but you have to stifle it. Suppose the master tells you to wait—being inactive does not come naturally—but you must suppress your desire for activity. Suppose the master tells you to do something you do not want to do—you must override your desire to do what you want and obey. Generalizing, you must train yourself to restrain your natural impulses and to internalize a humble, patient, obedient self. You know you must do this because slaves who do not end up dead. Consequently, Nietzsche asserts, slave virtues have survival value: obedience, humility, forgiveness, and patience are good for slaves. And those are the traits slaves will drill into their children if they want them to survive. Over time, the slave virtues become cultural values.

Thus, Nietzsche argues, the slave values became the internalized cultural values of the Jews and were precisely what enabled them to survive their long enslavement (GM, 1:14).

In every generation many people are sheep-like and do not

especially mind Nietzsche tells

being slaves. But becomes darker.

others resent it, and here the story Some of those slaves are living

human beings with a human being’s one is—all humans have the will to

desire to live, grow, express who power. But what if they cannot

express it? Then survive they must the expression of

they must live in constant frustration: in order to direct their natural strength and assertiveness against their own strength and assertiveness. This naturally

leads them to resent the master strongly—but themselves for doing what the master says and suppressing themselves. But, psychologically,

they also start to hate for their own role in hating oneself causes

unbearable pressure was inhibited . . .

inside: [and]

“the outward discharge [of the turned backward against man

instincts] himself.

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