In his third essay of the genealogy of morality, Nietzsche combined slave revolt, the feeling of ressentiment and the resurgence of modern reality to develop ascetic ideals. He states that “if one disregards the ascetic ideal” then human lives have no meaning.
Nietzsche claims that, the ressentiment man is reluctant to permit things to build within him. The slight injuries that arise transform into a resentful hatred and he build happiness in a very long process. This man focuses on the future, thus, he is full of hope and cleverness unlike the noble man. In line with Nietzsche argument, this thoughts and much hatred leads to evil concept and the noble man is referred to as “evil."
Nietzsche criticizes slave morality by asserting that it arises due to hatred, denial and escape from the reality. He explains how “the slaves revolt in morality” (§17) as they are denied freedom in their life. . He pities the slave because their hopes are focused in afterlife and not the present. The society disregards the ascetic ideal by ignoring the rights of the slave and they continue suffer. The entire Europe suffers from slave morality and no effort has been applied to solve the disaster.
Any doctrine that contradicts with his argument is treated with contempt as it appears of self-interest and as an exhibition of sickness. The "ascetic ideal" expects a human life accompanied with the will of good and a set of goals. This shapes the level of morality in the society, which the "ascetic ideal" inflicts in people (Nietzsche et.al, 2006). Human beings lived in a different way compared to the meaning of ascetic ideal, “there was no will for man and earth; behind every great human destiny sounded the even louder refrain ‘in vain!’ (III §28).
Nietzsche argues that "ascetic ideal" intends to shed light to bring meaning to human life. He criticizes what people thinks it means and advocates for what it should mean. He states that, human beings "will rather will nothingness than not will" (III §28). The will brings a meaning in life since individual focuses on the best ways to accomplish their goals. His arguments will eliminate poverty and chastity and promote humility among the masses. If one disregards the ascetic ideal, he will only focus on his interests and ignore the rest of the population.
According to Nietzsche, ascetic ideals could also represent a way to eliminate the fear of an unknown. Hence, it would be almost difficult for humankind to survive with this fear. I agree that, for a human to live a life full of meaning, they should be able to embrace ascetic lifestyle. With such lifestyle, an individual can get a way to rid the lack of reasonable purpose for existence. Since ascetic ideal is consequential of healing and protective instincts, the humanity can be able to safeguard them from any suffering, irrespective of the cost. Therefore, if any suffering exists, the individuals are able to determine some measures to neutralize the suffering. These measures are not self-inflicted, but another source produces them. Since people require power to get rid of their suffering, ascetic ideal can be effective in endowing them with power to do so. “The meaninglessness of suffering, not the suffering, was the curse that has so far blanketed mankind, – and the ascetic ideal offered man a meaning!” (§28).
Without the ascetic ideal, people are unable to eliminate suffering and acquire satisfaction. As a result, the demand for power to mitigate this problem rises and consequently this demand causes sickness. This sickness presents “misery” in the society, as the life of the individual losses meaning. This is because the sick people in the society exposes the healthy people into great danger. As Nietzsche stipulated, “The sick are the greatest danger for the healthy; harm comes to the strong not from the strongest but from the weakest” (§14). I agree with this argument because with this ideal of the sick people, humanity cannot be fortunate unless the other people are fortunate. Therefore, in order for individuals to live meaningful lives, they have to embrace the ascetic ideal to help them fight suffering and reduce chances of being “sick”.
As I conclude, I believe that an individual requires ascetic ideals to make their lives meaningful. While individuals are fearful of the unknowns they are able to attain their various goals, and consequently do not attain satisfaction. The ascetic ideal is essential in the life of a human because it elaborates how an individual can utilize their feeling of power by the willing nothingness.
Ansell-Pearson, K., Diethe, C., & Nietzsche, F. (2006). Nietzsche: 'On the Genealogy of Morality' and Other Writings Student Edition. Leiden: Cambridge University Press.