Master-Slave Morality is a concept introduced by Nietzsche where he debunks the basis of Judeo Christian morality by reducing it to postmodernism. He explains that the virtues promoted in the Bible are not in fact based on objective truths. Rather, morality has become an empty label, a term defined only by those who use it, based on characteristics that would favor them.
Master morality is defined by “those who love adventure and delight in creativity and their own sense of purposefulness and assertiveness. Slave morality is defined by those who feel weak… victimized… those who are chronically passive”. The weak then come to rationalize their morality because they are weak, passive, and humble. Their own version of morality is particularly the one the Bible has eventually come to favor, such as humility — “being on the side of the weak and downtrodden” a.k.a. people “just like you”; being like the least of the least, patience and obedience are a virtues, because they can’t do their own will; non-interference; “When someone slaps you on the cheek, lend the other cheek; vengeance is the Lord’s”, charity, lending all you have to the poor. The opposite of these must then be evil — aggressiveness, pride, independence, being physically and materially successful. This is the rationale of socialism (Stephen Hicks, 2017).
It’s not that either set of morals are wrong. The problem rests in that the basis and supports of these morals are mere rationalizations, not objective truth. Steven Hicks, a Canadian-American philosopher who teaches at Rockford University, uses the same concept against Postmodernism for a change, by pointing out that Postmodernism never actually debunks the possibility of objective truth per say.
The modern version of this can be seen in how postmodernists who claim to champion equality attack Western culture where it matters to them most: “the West’s sense of its own moral worth”. “What do they do if they can’t win? They attack where it counts: pride”. They use labels such as “racist”, “sexist”, “Christian”, “nationalist”, “conservative”, “Islamophobe”. Stephen Hicks calls this the “Nihilist Explanation”.
This is why it’s no longer enough to know the truth. We have to know why we believe what we believe.
If we think freedom is an end in itself, then we are deluding ourselves because no one can handle freedom.
If we don’t realize that the real purpose of truth is to protect what we love, then it becomes just that: pride.
About the Artwork
The artwork features a vintage television set because one characteristic of postmodernism is its constant reference to the past. In the case of the artwork, the use of the vintage television is a statement that this all happened before — that is, slave morality — and the fact that we can all watch it in the past, and ever more so in the present, might suggest that we can anticipate it in the future as well if we know what we are to look out for. On the contrary, if we are to focus on the damage to our pride, it may be easy to be distracted by rationalizations; and so the television replaces the head of the figure in the center of the painting, portraying the subject’s loss of ability to think for himself and to think objectively. Hence the television in the artwork has no signal. Lastly, the fingers are pointing to the television, which also serves as the head of the subject along with accusatory labels as if to show who’s in charge.
(2017, August 01). Retrieved March 18, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbA9ALOrHaA