r/K Selection, Master-Slave Morality, and the future of the West

“I am a forest, and a night of dark trees; but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks of roses under my cypresses.”

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

To some, he was a powerfully insightful thinker, seeing deeper and farther than any man who came before him or since.  To others, he was a raving, syphilitic, madman whose thoughts provided the ideological basis for National Socialism.  Love him, revile him, or ignore him though, it is hard to deny that he was one of the truly influential thinkers of our age.

This October 15th marked the 169th birthday of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.  I personally feel that Nietzsche goes under-appreciated by most reactionaries.  Our love affair with men like Burke, Evola, and Carlyle has left little room for this philosophical giant, yet I see plenty of room in the reactionary fold to incorporate some of the ideas of this great German philologist.

(As a quick aside: Nietzsche was perhaps my first step towards reaction, now that I think about it.  One of my university courses had me read The Genealogy of Morals, my first introduction to his writings, which was a key step in my transition away from more liberal, progressive ideas and toward a more traditional, reactionary mindset)

The most obvious example I can think of is that of master morality versus slave morality.  To quote Wikipedia here: “Slave morality values things like kindness, humility and sympathy, while master morality values pride, strength, and nobility.”  Obviously, that misses a lot of the nuance, but the general idea is sufficient for our purposes here.

Slave morality is not about cultivating the strength within oneself to ultimately become the master, it is about subverting the master so that everyone is on the same level.  To be superior is to necessarily be evil somehow, and it must have been accomplished through trickery, oppression, or some other unearned means.  Anyone familiar with Anonymous Conservative should be seeing the traits of the r-types right now (and by extension, liberal-leaning folk).

To highlight a recent example, someone who tends toward master morality will prefer being fit, strong, and athletic over being fat and weak, and is likely to shame others into keeping themselves in a state that they perceive to be “better”, while someone who tends toward slave morality will seek to convince others that there is no appreciable difference between being fat and being fit and that both should be accepted and respected.  Something like fat-shaming is anathema to the r-types, who react viscerally and emotionally when confronted with k-type fat-shamers.

Master morality, with its emphasis on strength and capability, is that which revels in hierarchical systems in which one can prove themselves.  Master morality is that which believes only in the good and the bad, the judgement of which mostly depends on what is helpful towards one goals.  Courage, truthfulness, and open-mindedness are also important facets of Master morality.  It is a morality that is frequently found within (and not often found outside of) the Natural Aristocracy.

So is Master Morality necessarily an ideal to strive for?  While I certainly believe it to be superior to slave morality, I don’t think that’s the correct takeaway here.  Master morality can fall too easily into ruthless Machiavellianism and “anything-goes” tactics, simply by virtue of how “good” is considered to be whatever is of benefit.  It’s not hard to rationalize pursuing a course of action that benefits you, no matter how destructive the consequences may be to others.  The world of “Game of Thrones” is filled to the brim with Master morality, and while it is not difficult to run across individuals who would much prefer to live in that fantasy world as opposed to this one, there is not exactly an overwhelming horde of people who would consider Westeros to be the best of all possible worlds.

Additionally, in a society in which the individual is the ultimate ideal (one in which, as Nietzsche out it so well, “God is dead” and man elevates himself into the role of God), master morality can easily be sublimated into pursuing selfish ends.  One who is successful in achieving material goods and pleasures of the flesh manifests Master morality, but is that really all we are meant to strive for in life?  I don’t fault people who seek to achieve their own ends, but I don’t believe it is optimal to pursue nothing further than the gratification of primal urges.

I propose that an ideal society is not one in which there is an abundance of either Master or Slave morality, but on in which both types achieve some sort of optimal balance.  Nowadays, we appear to have an excess of slave morality, directing resources and effort into achieving an equality of sex and race that deep down we know can never be achieved.  An invigorating dose of master morality would collectively do our society some good, but too much and the medicine becomes a poison.

Perhaps this will occur naturally, however.  Master morality tends to thrive in times of uncertainty, while slave morality is most comfortable in times of security and plenty (again, we see the r/K selection connection expressing itself here). Given how it seems likely that in the future, we will begin a descent into more turbulent times, we might very well see a recurrence of Master morality to deal with the societal perturbations.  Perhaps the growth of the Neoreactionary community is a symptom of this paradigm shift…

So how should this resurgence of Master morality be channeled?  The first step will be to form small societies and communities capable of weathering whatever lies ahead for the West.  The second will be to begin patching up the damage of putting into place new societal structures and superstructures to ensure that our descendants will have a civilization of their own to eventually destroy (I jest…somewhat).  Changing demographics, the inability of the US government to pay back its debts, and progressive ideologies all stand foreboding on the horizon, threatening to undermine the future of Western Civilization.

Potential hang-ups aside, we need ideologies that bow to the ideals of Master morality.  We need strength, cunning, and resourcefulness if we are to ensure our survival in the coming times.  When building a society, careful attention must be paid to ensuring the proper and delicate balance between the strength and nobility of Master morality and the charitability and humility of slave morality.  However in times of trouble, Master morality offers a more optimal set of principles for weathering the storm of uncertainty.

Strength. Courage. Nobility.  Masculinity.  These traits will be sorely needed in the coming future.  But how to cultivate them within oneself?

This is the question I began this blog to answer, and one that I shall begin the process of tackling within the coming months.

SPQR

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10 thoughts on “r/K Selection, Master-Slave Morality, and the future of the West

  1. infowarrior1 10/23/2013 / 4:28 AM

    I wonder if christianity is just slave morality.

    • Legionnaire 10/23/2013 / 10:03 AM

      Nietzsche certainly considered it to be so. He criticizes Christianity very heavily for this in his book “The Antichrist”.

    • Dan Poole 11/30/2013 / 10:27 PM

      The Old Testament seems to demonstrate Master morality, and the New Testament seems to demonstrate slave morality. In the Old Testament, God commands the Israelites to literally exterminate the out-groups. Loyalty to the in-group is at a premium. Many of the 10 commandments exhibit Master morality/K traits, such as honoring your mother and father and not committing adultery.

      • infowarrior1 11/30/2013 / 11:23 PM

        Christianity perhaps is a mixture of both as all the moral laws are to be obeyed. But ceremonial laws,circumcision and sacrificial system does not apply.

        • Dan Poole 12/01/2013 / 12:59 AM

          Agreed. There’s a lot of slave morality within Christianity. But I was taking issue with the notion that Christianity promotes slave morality alone. It can be argued that Christianity promotes slave morality more strongly then it does master morality, but there’s enough of the latter to keep it balanced. Jesus even had a penchant for throwing stuff around and for making blistering critiques of the Pharisees/ YKW’s.

  2. House Perspicacity 10/23/2013 / 7:42 PM

    I can’t say I see the utility of this master-slave morality distinction. Rather, it might reflect a more fundamental difference between different categories of humanity.

    Regardless, I’ll have to read some more Nietzche before I throw the concept out completely.

  3. Bob Wallace 10/23/2013 / 10:10 PM

    To me, K is the Four Cardinal Virtues and the Greek concept of eudamonia (flourishing/well-being) which is achieve through arete, or excellence. It is also the original concept of chivalry, which was an armed man willing to do violence/kill the bad guys.

  4. mindweapon 11/30/2013 / 8:54 AM

    Reblogged this on Mindweapons in Ragnarok and commented:
    The most obvious example I can think of is that of master morality versus slave morality. To quote Wikipedia here: “Slave morality values things like kindness, humility and sympathy, while master morality values pride, strength, and nobility.“ Obviously, that misses a lot of the nuance, but the general idea is sufficient for our purposes here.

    Slave morality is not about cultivating the strength within oneself to ultimately become the master, it is about subverting the master so that everyone is on the same level. To be superior is to necessarily be evil somehow, and it must have been accomplished through trickery, oppression, or some other unearned means. Anyone familiar with Anonymous Conservative should be seeing the traits of the r-types right now (and by extension, liberal-leaning folk).

    To highlight a recent example, someone who tends toward master morality will prefer being fit, strong, and athletic over being fat and weak, and is likely to shame others into keeping themselves in a state that they perceive to be “better”, while someone who tends toward slave morality will seek to convince others that there is no appreciable difference between being fat and being fit and that both should be accepted and respected. Something like fat-shaming is anathema to the r-types, who react viscerally and emotionally when confronted with k-type fat-shamers.

  5. mindweapon 11/30/2013 / 9:16 AM

    Wow, excellent article.

    I was just having the same idea — that extraordinary threats will create men with extraordinary powers. The “mindweapon” is my neologism for that man with extraordinary powers.

    I believe that it is cultivated by physical and mental exercise. The physical being strength training, martial arts, and a moderate amount of “cardio,” whether it’s walking, jogging, bicycling, or fighting/hitting the bag/jump rope. And some yoga/stretching/internal cultivation, though I find that when I am weight lifting I am not able to do qigong well. My muscles don’t relax enough or recover enough from the last time I lifted weights to do it properly.

    The mental is doing math for fun. It is hard and tedious at first and can be frustrating or disheartening. But if you get the right materials and use youtube, (PatrickJMT, Khanacademy, theschoolofchuck, mathispower4u) and the Stewart calculus book with a matching student solutions manual, and the Problem Solvers series which shows problems and how they are worked out. So you make sure you understand each step, even if you can’t do it, and you try to do problems from memory. If you don’t solve it correctly, review how it was solved, and try again, until you can do it from memory.

    There’s a common misconception about math, that if you can’t figure out a problem the first time, the second and third time is a “waste,” that you should only try to solve a problem fresh. It’s like a “tough guy” attitude towards math, “you can either do it, or your can’t.” Bullshit! Use memorization, and practice practice practice! You get better. And you know what else? This practice makes you mentally stronger at your job. It makes you more creative, and better at solving practical problems at work and at life.

    Math makes you a mindweapon. Every other skill is just an application of math. You learn enough math and you can become a computer programmer or petroleum engineer, or data analyst, or actuary, or financial engineer, or data miner, or architect/builder, or optimizer of business processes or . . . . the list could go on for days.

    And it’s fun! It’s fun once you give it a chance for a while. I consdiered myself a non-math person until my 40’s. I loved playing violin but didn’t play well, so I gave it up and took up math instead, and it was the best decision of my life. Doing math gets me friggin’ high man! And yet, it also makes me a more practical person, instead of a spaced out druggie.

    I’m one of those people that’s in the Kali Yuga on a mission. I have managed to dodge many of the pitfalls, because I chose to be here in this age. I got tonnes of solid college education (speak a second language very proficiently) with very little student debt, got a happy marriage, a highly functional child (only regret is that I didn’t have more than one). Had some rough patches on the path to enlightenment, but now that I’m here it’s great.

    Some things I notice — I have very little common ground to talk about with the sports fans and mass media followers. It’s hard to find anyone to talk to, besides my wife, who is from Ukraine and grew up in a healthy society. The USSR was a very healthy society for children and families, at least compared to the USA. I long to live in a city like Boston and study Chinese martial arts like wing chun and I Hsing. I’d like to learn Chinese as well, and Spanish, but to do so you have to be around native speakerrs all the time. Right now am in rural New England. It’s nice, but it’s missing some things that I really want to do in this life.

    Anyway, link me on this great site. I’ll make sure I link you if I haven’t already.

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