Memory in Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil

1479 WordsOct 25, 20136 Pages
In Beyond Good & Evil, Friedrich Nietzsche seeks to develop the idea of moral philosophy beyond basic pleasures, how they relate to the general population, and further into our own personal intricacies and how they create a set of rules that apply to most individuals. Throughout the book, Nietzsche articulate well over 200 epigrams, each of which highlights a different aspect of human morality. Nietzsche’s 68th epigram dictates: “‘I have done that,’ says my memory. ‘I cannot have done that,’ says my pride, and remains inexorable. Eventually--memory yields.” When assessing this aphorism, it is not only important to assess why our memory yields and what ensues as a result, but also what would occur if we didn’t. One could argue that we must…show more content…
“...The intention...still requires interpretation--moreover, a sign that means too much and therefore, almost nothing.” (Nietzsche, 44) Because of this, he concludes that much more is concretely said in our unintentional actions. The first notion shows an individual that intentionally recalls their mistakes and unintentionally becomes part of a cycle of guilt that prevents moral progression. The second shows an individual who unintentionally yields his memory to his pride and is, as a result pushed forward. Because of Nietzsche’s stressed importance of consequences and actions rather than the intentions of an individual, it is clear that although the notion of remembering our mistakes may be considered worthy, the second interpretation provides a far more morally strong and consequential reality. Beyond the question of intention and consequences, one must also wonder how important the accuracy of one’s memory is to how they react to it. When thinking about morality and guilt, it would seem as if honesty would be one of the most, if not the most important factor. But if a memory is untrue or inaccurate, how does that factor into its eventual succession to pride? similarly to his response to general moral philosophy, Nietzsche also admonishes the idea of objective truth and recognizes untruth as a “condition of life.” Nietzsche rejects the idea of repelling what is untrue stating that we must accept

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