What did Friedrich Nietzsche mean by Slave Morality?

Quora is seriously beginning to suck, given that they’re deleting factual responses to questions now. It’s a fact that Nietzsche used the example I wrote down in his books; evidently, basing answers off facts that hurt Christian moral sensibilities is no longer allowed.

Update just now: It’s now collapsed, albeit restored. They asked for attribution even after I edited it with listed citations. This was my answer to the question: “According to Friedrich Nietzsche, what is an example of a slave moralist?

My answer was as follows, and I’ve added the attributions at the bottom. I’ve decided to place it here if anybody is curious about what Nietzsche actually meant by slave morality, the example he used, and why:

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Shin Megami Tensei Discussions with Beadman

Spoiler Warning: This discussion contains spoilers for the mainline Shin Megami Tensei series and other MegaTen related series such as: Majin Tensei I and II, Digital Devil Saga Duology, the Persona series, Devil Survivor series, and well . . . potentially everything MegaTen / Shin Megami Tensei related, but those are the main video game series that get spoiled.

Content Warning: In general dialogue with others online, I tend to use expletives. Not in a way to insult in this context, but as a general habit of discourse. I don’t mean any insults towards Beadman, and apologize if any such comment was inferred or directly made by me. I do admit to purposefully using expletives to properly articulate by annoyance with Eirikjrs in this discussion at one instance. More importantly, Beadman and I have an outspoken and frank discussion on Abrahamic religious theology, its plausibility, and its history based on the evidence given by modern Western academics. I hold very negative views and am frank in my crass humor when talking about religion in general. Although, if you’ve checked my blog, then you probably knew that already.

Below is a backstory if you’re curious to learn more about who Beadman and I are, why I decided to have this lengthy discussion and asked Beadman if it was okay to share it with you all, and why I believe such discussions have value. If you would like to skip it due to lack of interest, please just scroll down below to the slideshow. 

For those who may be curious or hold interest in learning about either of us more personally, I am a self-described Hindu Atheist and Beadman is a Transtheist and Surrelativist (an identifying name for the position of Emerging Theism). We had a separate discussion about how he defines his personal beliefs, but I felt it was wrong to add that to the discussion as I don’t want this to be construed as an attempt to shame or insult his beliefs as that is not my intention.

Having thought over the SMT discussion, I couldn’t help but ruminate on the many, many changes on both my beliefs and my interactions with Beadman over such a short span of time. I first met Beadman in 2013 and we had thoroughly diametrically opposed views on the Neutral ending of Shin Megami Tensei IV on the MegaTen Reddit website. He couldn’t believe that the people of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado could be herded through Naraku in a mass exodus without casualties and criticized them all fitting into Cafe Florida at the end of Neutral. I felt he was focused on the wrong details, making a mountain out of a molehill, and quite liked the ending. I stopped following Shin Megami Tensei for awhile, because I was under the false impression that there wouldn’t be another game for another 9-10 years due to the trackrecord of mainline games usually being that far apart on initial releases. To my pleasant surprise, I was wrong, and I got to enjoy a duology from the mainline series. And… a bunch of extremely personal stuff involving my near-death from a car crash happened, and I was not in the best of emotional states because my family basically told me that it didn’t matter that I almost died, didn’t believe I was in severe pain, didn’t believe I’m suffering from lifelong neck pain no matter how many times I tell them clearly and calmly, and well…. I took it out on Beadman at one point. I repeatedly apologized to him since then, but to my surprise, he didn’t remember the incident and he generally gives me the impression that he’s aloof from such things. I think it was because he was practicing Stoicism at the time, but I don’t think that he does anymore and I think he’s better off from it. He seemed to have his own bottled up annoyances, and I don’t believe that it was due to me, per se. I didn’t inquire though, but if there is anything of substance, I sincerely wish him the best in dealing with it.

I came to terms with my own personal issues upon recognizing my family, specifically my parents, are completely awful at articulating that they care in explicit terms. They’re the unique kind of… special that can’t verbally articulate or explicitly show they care, but instead do so with actions… and ignoring social problems deliberately because they’re awful at dealing with stress; but still support me through and through. It’s a very bizarre relationship; I’m living it and I don’t know how to fully describe it. I don’t go into too much detail because they have this fear and paranoia of being judged by the public that I never quite understood so on the off-chance they ever read this and know its from me, I’ve made sure to keep terms vague, because I just don’t want to deal with any potential future melodrama from them. I’m of the personal opinion that it largely doesn’t matter, anything you say about your life to the public will be absorbed for like five minutes of conversation, maybe an insulting text or a slew of insulting texts for a little while, and then promptly forgotten about because nobody truly cares about such gossip or melodrama beyond feeling better than some stranger online for however long the emotional superiority feels good to an individual.

As you can well imagine, I had to work on my own existential dread for awhile and my ire with politics, which I think affected me more deeply than most people since I am a political scientist albeit a low-level one, Beadman has publicly mentioned on Reddit that he minored in Philosophy while majoring in a STEM related field. For my part, I’ve read every major book of Friedrich Nietzsche’s and criticized his depiction of Nietzschean philosophy as it seemed to be based on Bertrand Russell’s godawful strawman depiction rather than genuine Nietzschean philosophy. At the same time, I’ve had to modify my views on Consequentialism and Utilitarianism, because that was his main focus and he clearly knows far more about it than I do. Due to Beadman’s influence, I read and finished John Stuart Mill’s Three Essays on Religion and I find it to be a fairly good critique of the failings of religion connected to State politics, but I also discovered that Mill was a racist moron. Beadman had once criticized Atlus for the “unclean” but I pointed out that if he’s right and I’m wrong about contentions I had against Law being Utilitarianism, then Atlus was completely justified in depicting Angels borderline racists against Japanese people. Mill repeatedly, and I do mean nauseatingly so, goes on and on about how Asians are untrustworthy thieves and diseased. Even if one were to argue that Atlus should focus on the philosophy and not the person, you have to keep in mind that if they did read Mill, it would be earnestly taking the time to read this man’s philosophy while he goes on paragraph upon paragraph about how diseased their culture is, how they aren’t worth trusting and should be looked upon with suspicion, and how their culture and society is a garbage heap. Atlus depicting Angels saying Japanese are “Unclean Ones” or “the Filth” is . . . incredibly benevolent and mild compared to the asinine comments that John Stuart Mill wrote repeatedly about Asian culture. Please believe me when I say that I’m not overstating this. It’s the equivalent of I, as a US-born and raised person, reading a book which falsely claims that the US is a disease-ridden group of morons with no moral values or positives repeatedly strewn across various paragraphs while a foreign person is passionately discussing their moral philosophy. It might credibly be the case that Atlus is trying their best to depict Utilitarianism in a neutral context from the standpoint of what Mill actually said about Asian societies as a culture and people in his own very homogenized context. Please keep in mind that I actually liked what I read about John Stuart Mill’s philosophy when he kept focus on the philosophy itself, but when he went into foreign cultures . . . it got very stupid, very fast. This judgment of mine is also based upon one small book of his, I have no idea how Mill addresses Asians within the context of his larger philosophical works. Nevertheless, I now realize I misunderstood what Beadman meant since I thought he was saying Law was focused on John Stuart Mill’s Pleasure-Pain principle, but in fact, he places more emphasis on Bentham before John Stuart Mill. To the best of my knowledge and based on what I read from Mill about his own personal teacher, Bentham’s views are more vague and less focused on pleasures in his Consequentialist ideology. Mill is the one who fleshed out the philosophy to be more coherent and it seems Beadman was emphasizing the more vague version of Consequentialist ethics when critiquing Law.

Anyhow, before I began the discussion presented below, I had given him my explanation for why Nietzsche has a very big emphasis with Atlus’s work. I’m fairly sure my essay had an impact as I showed the various forms of symbolism and allegories to Nietzschean philosophy throughout the Shin Megami Tensei IV-IVA duology. I had always wanted this sort of discussion with him because I feel such a discussion, and publicly sharing such a discussion, has far more to offer than the nonsensical travesty that has become Eirikrjs blog. To emphasize this further, and to give more credence to my argument about the Anarchy route foreshadowing from a year ago, consider the fact that Dagda’s Theme is a remix of The White’s Theme.

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A Thematic Analysis of Shin Megami Tensei IV

Warning: This topic contains immense spoilers for the video game, Shin Megami Tensei IV and other Shin Megami Tensei games. The main focus will be upon SMTIV but the topic may verge into comparisons with other SMT games.

For the Thematic Analysis of Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse: Part 1 and Part 2

Shin Megami Tensei IV

Merkabah: is self-explanatory, God’s chariot that assists to bring forth one’s full light and it is representative of an ascended believer who has connected with the “higher realms.” We pretty much see this in the three routes, as either a dungeon or observing the transformation. Jonathan gives-up his freedom and willpower to follow the path of God and sacrifices himself to merge with the angels. There are symbolic implications to religious self-sacrifice.

Merkabah, Oneness with God

The Great Spirit of Hope: is an interesting one. It seems to have ties in Greek and Roman mythology. An interesting fact that I learned was that the ancient Greeks were divided on the meaning of the spirit of Hope’s story. Hope, in the context of ancient Greece’s story “Expectations in life”, was seen by some as the only positive personification to come out of Pandora’s box and by others it was seen as subjecting humanity to the worst suffering through self-deception. The negative perspective gives us a pernicious meaning to hope’s existence. Yet, this Ancient Greek divide fits so well with theme of the Neutral Path in Shin Megami Tensei IV.

This divisive perspective coincides with the White’s message in the Neutral path: “Your will which rejects our salvation is the cause of your suffering.”

The argument, in both the game and in ancient greek literature, comes down to the question: “Is hope a salvation or is it a self-deception?”

Spes/Elpis, the Great Spirit of Hope

Ancient Roman Goddess, Spes

I haven’t found much on the Great Spirit of Goodwill or the Great Spirit of Spite. I’m guessing it’s derived from Judeo-Christian lore and not Greek mythology. Merkabah itself seems to fit the concept of “Goodwill” based on it’s mythology but I’m unsure if Lucifer fits “spite” or if that’s more derivative from Greek mythology.

The White: seem to be a reference to the Jewish ritual of passover, but in a morbid and bizarre manner, they’re an inversion of the custom of passover. Passover is suppose to be representative of Jewish people freeing themselves from Egyptian slavery under the glory of God. In the context of Shin Megami Tensei IV, this inverse is represented to the player by obliterating the entire multiverse to escape being a prisoner of God’s expectations.

The four – despite Isabeau – seem to represent the four sons of the Passover Seder through how they’re organized from left to right.

The Four Sons

The first son is the wise son who knows most about the religious tradition, the first White uses Abbot Hugo’s form.

The second son is wicked and somewhat deviant but still toes the line of following the traditional ways when it comes time. Perhaps it’s a stretch to call K this but it actually does fit. If you speak with him at his tavern in the Chaos ending, he says that he isn’t surprised by the destruction of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado and even finds it fitting that a citizen of Mikado was the one to bring about it’s destruction. He implies that he really doesn’t care that everybody is doomed.

The third son, Issachar, is the simple one. He follows along with no real animus towards the other sons. He finds the tradition exciting. He learns about what the passover is truly about through life experience.

The fourth son is where this becomes rather odd. The fourth son either represents one that’s too bashful to speak during passover, understands everything but is afraid of looking like a fool, or is represented as a quiet observer with no emotional connection to the Seder. It might be the reason why the fourth White was chosen to be female. A female representative isn’t customary and is defiant of expectations by virtue of not being a man.

(Note: I am not attempting to say anything negative about the Jewish ritual of passover. I’m just listing possibilities of what it could mean for the game itself. This is not, in any way, a criticism of Jewish traditions or the Jewish people.)

Apart from being female, Isabeau’s characteristics follow the fourth son’s description accurately, specifically in her inability to make a choice and either joining you or being forced to react to your choice in the game. Her quiet and reserved nature fit the fourth son’s characteristics.

The fifth son is the most interesting of all. He’s somewhat of an unknown except for the more in-depth Jewish theologians. He represents an ignorance towards the tradition. He doesn’t know nor acknowledge the history, the culture, and ultimately doesn’t care about it. He’s the most deviant and scornful by virtue of his ignorance to the significance of the Seder and Jewish tradition.

The Fifth Son

The religious significance of the Fifth Son

That is your main character should you choose Law, Chaos, or Neutral. You recognize the problem, but you decide that you don’t give a damn about what the White’s perspective is. As the battle with Sanat seems to imply, the main character doesn’t care and hasn’t concerned himself with the problems of different dimensions even after seeing them. What’s more, choosing neutrality – believing in hope – will mean the inevitable return of future struggles but the main character seems to accept that.

The deceiver: I want to add that the “son”  representative of the deceiver who then admits to certain negative aspects about the ritual might actually be White Isabeau. I thought it was White Issachar but he furiously holds to his beliefs in the meaninglessness of struggle and actually tries to make you feel guilty for not choosing his side: the real Issachar asked you to kill him, White Issachar – who admits to using Issachar’s form – says he wanted to be saved.

White Isabeau, by contrast to the other three, admits that God is just a convenience created by humankind and thus disagrees with the presumption that God is an inescapable omnipresent being. Despite that, she argues that humans are too weak to continue the tightrope choice of neutrality. She isn’t wrong either, because she – rightfully – thinks it’ll eventually fall away to Chaos or Law. It’s still an interesting implication because she admits there can be a temporary reprieve. She just doesn’t consider that option to be good enough.

Interesting information to consider: the passover means “The Telling“, The White are telling you the facts of the multiverse so that you become the Messiah – or in a Buddhist sense, you attain the “ultimate realization” – and bring about the long-awaited end of days that the White see as the only salvation of humankind.

Although, in this case, it’s not revival of the dead for the glory of the Abrahamic God to be acknowledged as the one true God. Instead, it seems to reference turning everything into nothing. It’s a pernicious perspective on the Buddhist meaning of “Emptiness” combined with the Seder as a metaphor.

The White take a nihilistic perspective on the concept of “Nirvana” in comparison to the majority of real life Buddhism.

I wasn’t entirely sure why Atlus Japan decided to take this route regarding the concept of Emptiness. As it turns out, I have Friedrich Nietzsche to blame for that. Nietzsche argued in his book, the Genealogy of Morals:

“We simply cannot conceal from ourselves what’s really expressed by that total will which received its direction from the ascetic ideal: this hate against what is human, and even more against animality, even more against material things—this abhorrence of the senses, even of reason, this fear of happiness and beauty, this longing for the beyond away from all appearance, change, becoming, death, desire, even longing itself—all this means, let’s have the courage to understand this, a will to nothingness, an aversion to life, a revolt against the most fundamental preconditions of life—but it is and remains a will! . . . And to repeat at the conclusion what I said at the start: man will sooner will nothingness than not will . . .”

The Ascetic Ideal, in this context, is the ideals of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism in renouncing oneself, renouncing our possessions, and renouncing our sexual desire for the sake of following a “morally good” path for “Oneness with God” as the highest purpose for ourselves as human beings. Nietzsche argued in many of his books that such a path is self-contempt disguised as moral purity. Nietzsche specifically argued in Genealogy of Morals that ancient human civilizations did this because they needed a “meaning” behind their suffering.

Religion is the guidepost for understanding the “meaning of life” for the majority of people. Shin Megami Tensei IV seemed to borrow this analysis and expressed this perspective through the arguments by The White. They couldn’t find the meaning to the suffering in the multiverse so they just gave-up on everything. The protagonist becomes the Messiah of Nothingness, should you choose to agree with them and you end the world. Most religious prophecies argue that the Savior of God will come at the end of the world and thus critics could argue that many believers would yearn for the end of the world.

Overall, it’s a fascinating outlook on religious morals and their utility in life. Shin Megami Tensei IV manages to really ask deep questions about people’s personal beliefs; providing subtle and insightful criticism on religion without the player realizing it. That is why it is one of my favorite games of all-time.


A Thematic Analysis of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Warning: This topic contains immense spoilers for the video game, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, and other Shin Megami Tensei games. The main focus will be upon SMT Nocturne but information may verge into comparisons with other SMT games. 

Notable works: SMT Essay by Sam Hatting

This work is a brilliant artistic analysis on the plot, story, and philosophical themes of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. I honestly cannot recommend it enough. The article makes a strong case for the theme and plot of Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne being inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche‘s philosophical fantasy novel: Thus Spake; Zarathustra. Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne uses the religious themes of Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and other religious faiths to create a narrative about the player surpassing all obstacles and following their chosen “Reason” for the sake of their own existence and the world around them.

Key Terms:

Kalpa: Indian Mythology regarding Time

Hito-Shura: The more precise term would be Demi-Asura and not Demi-fiend. Demifiend becoming a “new demon” really meant Demonic God or Demonic Nature Spirit.

God’s wrath and the coming of the Anti-Christ:

Fierce Battle foreshadowing the True Demon Ending of SMT Nocturne. In this specific context, Satan could mean the Devil or the Enemy.

Lucifer and the Lady’s plan as further evidence:

The influence of Zoroastrianism in Nocturne:

Mithra, God of Divine Contracts:

Ahriman, God of Evil:

Ahura Mazda, God of Goodness (skip to 6:09):

Opinion on Demi-fiend:

From what I’ve gathered, the influence of Zoroastrianism and the Anti-Christ are purposefully placed in the game itself. It seems that Atlus Japan noted the ancient hypocrisies of devil worshipers simply being prophets of another God and used it to the full extent. Demi-fiend’s story seems to imply the struggle of the holy prophet of Zoroastrianism, Zoroaster/Zarathustra. However, Atlus is using Zoroastrianism to exemplify the philosophy of Nietzsche based on his philosophical novel. Having read the novel after reading Hatting’s review, I’m inclined to wholeheartedly agree.

The Old and Young woman, Stillness/Loneliness/Strength, Apathy, the destruction of the Manikins for being weak, emptiness, eternal occurrence, surpassing God, and being cursed with a burden are all thoroughly discussed and shown within the aphorisms of Nietzsche’s novel. It isn’t a stretch by any means to say that Atlus was heavily using Nietzsche as a persistent theme in Nocturne. Above all, Nietzsche’s novel is about fulfilling your own self-satisfaction by creating your own meaning in life beyond the strife that you suffer. That’s essentially Nocturne’s main plot and desired goal for most of the endings.

They blend this theme of overcoming and self-surpassing with the religious symbolism and imagery of the Demi-fiend becoming the Anti-Christ for the True Demon Ending. He has accepted Lucifer’s ritual, he will become the black hope of change, and will end the eternal struggle of Law and Chaos.

Opinion upon other characters of the game:

Isamu and Chiaki didn’t join the Demi-fiend and didn’t seek out his protection because they were afraid of his demonic transformation. Think about it from their perspective, they woke-up and were assaulted by demons. Even if they were able to converse with him, how could they know for sure that their former friend wouldn’t go on a murderous killing spree? Demi-fiend wouldn’t even have been able to explain how or why he became that way either. At best, he could say some strange old lady and a young blond kid gave him monstrous power and that would only further put Isamu and Chiaki on edge. There was no way of reconciling this problem either. Chiaki figures it was best to live strongly on her own because she has no other choice in the matter and Isamu just gave-up on believing in other people as a source of hope. Both are lesser known philosophical themes of Nietzsche.

Demi-fiend is taught to give-up on hope from the outside world too. The teacher fails at providing answers and the Demi-fiend can only rely on himself to solve the problems that surround him. The only one who explains anything to him is the Lady in Black. Both she and Lucifer require the Demi-fiend to lack full trust so that the Demi-fiend comes to their side based on his own volition. Kagutsuchi just wants Demi-fiend to pick a Reason and choose a future, Hikawa doesn’t care about the Demi-fiend and just wants his own goal to come to fruition, and the rest of the humans are in a more confused and horrified state than the Demi-fiend himself.
For all those reasons, I don’t think most fans adequately understood the trials that Isamu and Chiaki went through and just why they seemed to go insane for totally justifiable reasons.

Nocturne Drama CD Translation:

The Drama of Nocturne

Notable facts:

– Ryogo, a not-so-close friend of the trio in Nocturne, makes it to the hospital before the apocalypse and was a bullied kid who needed Isamu and Naoki to protect him. He has a crush on Chiaki.

– Isamu notes that Naoki (the Demi-fiend) and Chiaki are very close to becoming boyfriend and girlfriend.

– Naoki states he doesn’t respect the weak and he doesn’t respect bullies. He seems to believe people make their own destiny.

– Ryogo becomes a fiend from Lucifer giving him the demonic parasite just like Naoki in the actual game.

– During a time when Naoki was unconscious in Nocturne, Ryogo, like Naoki, turns into a fiend and attacked Isamu in the hospital. Isamu became wary of trusting anyone after that.

If someone could translate drama CDs 3 and 4, that’d be great. The most I can provide is guesswork. From what I’ve gathered, Kagutsuchi learned that Ryogo was a full fiend from the transformation that Lucifer gave him (not a demi-fiend, a full demon) and decided to kill him while he was still weak. Chiaki, or a hallucination of Chiaki, tells Ryogo about Naoki choosing the True Demon path and Ryogo becomes horrified upon learning of it. I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing that he thought that he could prevent it.

It seems to imply that Lucifer used Ryogo as a sacrifice so that Kagutsuchi would pay less attention to Naoki. The Pixie from the hospital seems to be implied to have been Ryogo’s.

Let me know what you think of this examination in the comments section below. Thank you for reading.