A book on ethics and philosophy of values

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d) The birth of the creative subjectivism: Nietzsche

If the classical subjectivism can be found in the works of some subsequent authors, their contribution does not seemingly add something significant to this doctrine, as conceived by Hobbes and Spinoza. So I prefer to examine the emergence of the second form of subjectivism, quite different from the first one and leading to an opposite conclusion: the creative subjectivism.

It is in the works of Nietzsche that this doctrine is, I think, presented in a way that reveals its beauty and complexity, particularly in this paragraph of the Gay Science:
It is we, the thinking-sensing ones, who really and continually make something that is not yet here: the whole perpetually growing world of valuations, colours, weights, perspectives, scales, affirmations and negations. This poem that we have invented is constantly internalized, drilled, translated into flesh and reality, indeed, into the commonplace, by the so-called practical human beings (our actors).
Whatever has value in the present world has it not in itself, according to its nature –nature is always value-less, but has rather been given, granted value, and we were the givers and granters!
1.

It leads Nietzsche to break with the paradigm of contemplation, preferring that of action, or, better still, creation: man thinks he is contemplative, whereas he is in fact creator of what he claims to contemplate passively:
The world becomes ever fuller for someone who grows into the height of humanity; ever more baited hooks to attract his interest are cast his way; the things that stimulate him grow steadily in number, as do the kinds of things that please and displease him […] But a delusion remains his constant companion: he thinks himself placed as spectator and listener before the great visual and acoustic play that is life; he calls his nature contemplative and thereby overlooks the fact that he is also the actual poet and ongoing author of life 2.

In contrast, if the man who creates is full of resentment, then the world itself, as being its creation, will axiologically decline: The Christian decision to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad 3.

Resentment decreases the value of the word, for, being a negative passion, it is actually opposed to creation, which, as such, is pure affirmation. Conversely, Nietzsche supports the idea of an affirmative ethics, based on the ‘yes’. This leads him to the famous doctrine of ‘amor fati’, pure affirmation, and acceptation, without resentment, of all events offered by fate: I want to learn more and more how to see what is necessary in things, as what is beautiful in them – thus I will be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love from now on! I do not want to wage war against ugliness. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse the accusers. Let looking away be my only negation! 4.

In fact, this affirmative ethics also includes a refusal, and thereby, a negation; not of the world, but of some doctrines about it, which all deny or blame the very principle on which world is based - will to power: It is my good fortune that after whole millennia of error and confusion I have rediscovered the way that leads to a Yes and a No. I teach the No to all that makes weak--that exhausts. I teach the Yes to all that strengthens, that stores up strength, that justifies the feeling of strength 5.
Nietzsche is opposed to the theories of negation; this negation of negation consists also, indirectly, in an affirmation.

Now we see that the creative subjectivism reaches conclusions opposite to that of the classical subjectivism, though starting from the same premises.


1. The Gay Science, §301
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid., §130
4. Ibid., IV, §276
5. The European Nihilism, §54