Long before man ever became civil under the rules of what we call today “society”, he was at his purest form of human that ever existed. With no laws, no formal structure, no binary concepts of what is wrong and right, and no forms of structural pathways that obliged them to follow as a means of hope for bettering their lives. As the evolution of humans progressed, humans started to develop their own belief systems and forming societies in which individuals were capable of living together as an organized and orderly community. In return for this organized society, humans had to leave behind what nature has implemented in them; wilderness and human nature instincts so that they can become civilized. This agreement can be traced back to what we know today; The Social Contract. People gave up some of their freedoms and natural rights. Their attitudes and behavior changed, new ideas and theories emerged, we became civilized following an ideal social structure. With the formation of communities humans became conditioned and we, among other idealistic systems, were introduced to the most important concept of all; Religion.
Now, the way I see things religion has transferred itself into many things that we associate ourselves with every day. One of the things that I have seen a resemblance with religion is how corporations and even small businesses have adopted the perception of religion into the workplace. For instance, people are constantly giving all their effort in order to be compensated for their work. And do they? Well… sometimes but not quite. See it’s not how much we get compensated but how grateful we are that the company has giving us an opportunity to work in their company. In the book, The Genealogy of Morality by Friedrich Nietzsche he explains a concept in which all humans have developed through the social structures that has shaped the way we live and think. Say a person didn’t do something that he or she was supposed to do and they feel bad about it.
Where does this feeling come from?
Society has shaped people into individuals with a promise to carry out responsibilities that we are handed down to. As Nietzsche argues that “is precisely what constitutes the long history of the origins of responsibility. That particular task of breeding an animal with the prerogative to promise includes, as we have already understood, as precondition and preparation, the more immediate task of first making man to a certain degree necessary, uniform, a peer amongst peers, orderly and consequently predictable” (36).
We have already been conditioned to carry out responsibilities that we are handed down to and if we fail, we have failed as an individual of society and failed those around us. In the example of the companies or businesses towards their employees sometimes firing them is not the smart choice but rather the impulsive choice that the ‘master’ gives. [Let’s understand that master is someone who is of a hierarchical position and has will power over the submissive individual, in this case the CEO or boss of the company]. Instead, employees might be given a second chance for “redemption” to carry out the task that once was given to them and to compensate for the wrong he/she has done.
The will to compensate for a wrongdoing comes from the feeling of “sadness accompanied by the notion of a past event which turned out contrary to expectation” giving this feeling a name which it’s known as “bad conscience” and bringing this concept into existence (56). The “debtor” as Nietzsche explains becomes in debt with the “creditor” and is more willing to manifest itself through bad conscience and redemption than being isolated and marginalized from society. Having a bad conscience has given the individual the formal way to carry out oneself in society and towards life. We have been conditioned to follow either of the two binary concepts of principles in life; which is the right way and get rewarded or the wrong way and suffer the consequences.
Through the use of religion, individuals have been tamed from their natural instincts and from human nature “all instincts which are not discharged outwardly turn inwards — this is what [Nietzsche] call the internalization of man: with it there now evolves in man what will later be called his ‘soul’ (57). As the employee works hard trying to accommodate to the chiefs expectations in order to get his approval and for him to feel good about himself, the ‘master’ uses morality, bad conscience, and responsibility from the employee to his own advantage continually creating his own way of progress, ironically, using his human nature instincts. In short, as Nietzsche proclaims “that anything in existence, having somehow come about, is continually interpreted anew, requisitioned anew, transformed and redirected to a new purpose by a power superior to it; that everything that occurs in the organic world consists of overpowering, dominating, and in their turn, overpowering and dominating consist of re-interpretation, adjustment, in the process of which their former ‘meaning’ [Sinn] and ‘purpose’ must necessarily be obscured or completely obliterated” (51).
When a person, or in this case an employee, is constantly working hard to gain the admiration and approval of a hierarchical individual, that person has gradually repressed its meaning in life. They have forgotten their true meaning of his or her existence and their purpose in life, hence the concept of Existentialism has no room in their lives. Moreover, the ‘master’ has in a subtle way embedded the idea of slave morality in which the individual becomes loyal to the one trying to gain acceptance from because of guilt and conscience they have. To a greater extent, people who have become like this have transformed themselves into obedient beings hence, making themselves docile beings within society.