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The Necessity of Perspective: A Nietzschean Critique of Historical Materialism and Political Meta-Narratives

Oliver Hicks

Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche both contributed immensely to 19th century political philosophy and laid the foundation for countless revisions, interpretations, and new theories throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. While they share a common goal of exposing hidden, socially constructed restraints in order to liberate the individual, they differ sharply on both the nature of those societal restraints and what liberation actually looks like. I present these thinkers as foils: Marx guided by a normative approach that sees liberation as an inevitable conclusion of current social conditions, and Nietzsche describing liberation as necessary but ultimately ambiguous. Ultimately, I assert that this ambiguity is a necessary acceptance of true liberation that ought to humble any assertion of truth, morality, or rationality.

I. Introduction

But everything is fair

It’s a paradox we call reality

So keepin’ it real will make you

A casualty of abnormal normality

- Talib Kweli, Respiration (1)

The above remarks are from a verse of the 2002 duet album Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star, in which artist Talib Kweli describes his inner-city New York landscape. The broader context of the song speaks to the harsh and often hopeless reality of a low-income Black experience. It begins with a dialogue from the seminal hip hop documentary Style Wars, in which a New York graffiti artist describes a recent work titled “Crime in the City.” The work implicitly asks the audience whether “crime” is all his city has to offer or if it is simply what one chooses to see when examining the New York streets. Kweli contributes his own perspective in the aforementioned line, in which he calls his reality a “paradox” where everything in this world is fair. Thus, nothing can be unfair with the proper perspective, lending itself to the paradox of never being able to pin down what is truly right or wrong. Kweli speaks of inter-gang violence, where young Black men are pitted against each other for the scarce resources present in their desolate environment. Yes, success is good, but at what cost to the broader struggle of their community? The second part of his stanza questions the efforts of anyone in this world to be truly “real,” as Kweli plays with a definition that is so integral to one’s identity in the hip hop community. Hip hop and rap are built around delivering viscerally authentic, or “real,” stories, usually about struggle, persecution, and ultimately perseverance against an adverse world. Thus, “keeping it real” becomes the idealized form of living as opposed to whitewashed versions of struggle or falsified stories for commercial success. But what does “realness” actually entail, and is it captured by this idealization? Kweli would answer that it is less objective than it might seem. Any attempt at authenticity is undermined by another perspective, and thus the vanity that accompanies an allegedly “real” individual instead makes them a casualty: they are not truly real, authentic, nor honest versions of themselves, but rather they are only “real” by an externally defined perspective, one that society wants for them. Kweli is inverting a pillar of rap culture by arguing that what is deemed true “realness” by people in the city is actually defined by the same subjective standards used to define its opposite. Put simply, the inner-city stories to which Kweli is referring are authentic as defined by what is expected of the storytellers: to be hard, cold-blooded, and insensitive to the harsh world around them. But does this produce genuine versions of who these individuals could be given different circumstances? Or are they simply buying into the “abnormal normality,” one defined by social constructs that is ultimately abnormal to whatever their “real” selves might be?

The question of authenticity amidst veiling social norms is one discussed by a variety of modern political theorists, all seeking to understand who we are in order to understand who we ought to be—and how we ought to be governed. From descriptions of a primordial state of nature proposed by early contract theorists to Karl Marx’s world-encompassing system of historical materialism, these modern thinkers attempt to sketch out the natural, psychological, and social undercurrents of our behavior. Though Marx was the first to usher in a hermeneutics of suspicion by critiquing existing philosophical norms in search of hidden truths, he did so with the intent of outlining his own normative conception of humanity's goal (or his own end point on the linear timeline that is progress): communism. Decades later, Friedrich Nietzsche claimed “we are unknown to ourselves, we men of knowledge” in his preface to On the Genealogy of Morals. He proposed a philosophy that sought to interrogate reigning value systems that presented themselves as natural or self-evident without replacing them with his own explicit normative solution (2). Nietzsche recognized the limitations of philosophical inquiry while operating within the system he was critiquing. Humans lack a basic sense of what is good as enshrined in the concept of natural law or historical materialism because our entire system of moral values is a product of changing power dynamics. More importantly, we cannot see any semblance of truth unless we shed these artificial moral constructs. The relativity inherent in our ability to make judgements of ourselves and fellow citizens ultimately moves the goalposts of political theory itself: we are no longer moving toward that ideal form with which Plato was so obsessed because we cannot accurately define it. There are no political meta-narratives, no slate of criteria with which we can accurately and objectively identify our deepest human nature—to do so would be to dismiss far too many factors and make far too many assumptions. Rather, we must instead work to interrogate our unwavering beliefs in perceived truths or ideal forms in order to understand how we might escape them as they arise.

As shown by Talib Kweli in his aforementioned lyrics, the inability to shed the social, moral, and ethical constructs that surround a particular Black experience raises questions regarding the obscuration of truth and the need for a variety of perspectives. Using Nietzsche’s skepticism of philosophy and morality as a foil for Marx’s historical materialism, I will draw on a number of their works to discuss the validity of any proposed political meta-narrative. First, I will present a brief model for viewing history as forward-facing in the pursuit of a realized ideal form, courtesy of Marx. Then, I will use Nietzsche to reject the notion of an ideal form and instead emphasize the need for perspective to understand any type of truth, political or otherwise, in order to escape the social constructs that mystify this truth and enslave us to normative ideals.

II. Historical Progress as Forward-Facing: Marx’s Determinism

Marx famously remarked at the beginning of The Communist Manifesto that “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”(3). More importantly, however, was the history that Marx was proposing henceforth. Communism was not just a prescription for the ills of capitalism, but a prediction of the inevitable collapse of the market economy itself: the contradictions intrinsic to capitalist function would ultimately lead to its own demise. Communism would simply be the final and best option for a post-revolutionary society. In this way, Marx lays a deterministic view of human progress. If humanity keeps moving forward as is, we will reach an inflection point; if we actively work to deconstruct the status quo, we will reach that same inflection point sooner. Though bleak, this notion of progress posits its own normative assumption that society is moving forward: ideology has simply masked antagonistic class divides while capitalism exploits them, but we will inevitably overcome this stain on history to usher in a new and better world.

This deterministic presentation of history, or historical materialism, is one of Marx’s greatest contributions to political philosophy. Using this dialectical approach, Marx identified two main forces that drive historical change: the division of classes and the division of labor. The evolution of class systems is best articulated in the first section of the Manifesto, where Marx focuses primarily on Europe’s transition from feudal to modern societies, namely bourgeois societies. Feudal societies were composed of complex hierarchies: feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs, and more. Among these classes existed a constant dynamic of oppression, wherein higher classes dominated subordinate ones as defined by the material conditions of each (14). Centuries of global exploration, however, produced ever-expanding markets and ever-increasing demand that revolutionized the modes of production and condensed class antagonisms into Marx’s binary: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. This defined the “Modern Industry” that Marx witnessed in the 19th century, wherein “the modern bourgeoisie is itself a product of a long course of development, of a series of revolutions in the modes of production and of exchange” (5).

Underlying this series of class revolutions are developments in the division of labor: first in tribal communities, then ancient communes, feudal states, commercial states, and finally the capitalist state of the bourgeoisie. The division of labor reflects both the growth of the productive capacities of these communities as well as the growth of divided interests among individuals. For example, Marx argues that the division of labor within a nation first leads to the “separation of industrial and commercial from agricultural labor, hence to the separation of town and country… [then] to the separation of commercial from industrial labor” and so on (6). Occurring simultaneously are infinitesimal divisions within these branches “among the individuals cooperating in definite kinds of labor” (7). Ultimately, Marx places the modern industrial state, with all of its complex and specialized divisions, on an historical timeline that inevitably moves toward the maximization of its productive capacities since it is constantly in competition with similarly structured nations. This maximization, however, along with its own internal contradictions, begets its own destruction. The consolidation of “scattered private property” into the consolidation of “capitalistic private property” in the hands of an increasingly smaller elite becomes too heavy to support itself, and the fetters that confine the socialization of labor for exploitation ironically lead to the organization of a massive, oppressed class that revolts against their slave-wage masters (8). This revolution, Marx argues, is a smoother transition than the original consolidation of private property via the socialization of labor, since the latter is the “expropriation of the mass of the people by a few usurpers,” but the former is the “expropriation of a few usurpers by the mass of the people” (9).

However, the light at the end of this tunnel that is capitalism and the driving force behind this expropriation of the few by the many is Marx’s concept of “species-being.” As human beings, Marx considers our most basic and fundamental essence to be our drive to engage in productive activity; it is our “working-up of the objective world,” in which “[man] duplicates himself not only, as in consciousness, intellectually, but also actively, in reality, and therefore he contemplates himself in a world that he has created” (10). This creative process, when done freely, consciously, and socially, is what separates us from animals and satisfies our life purpose: we choose what to make and when to make it in order to survive. Capitalism disrupts this process by commodifying labor and subsequently alienating the laborer first from their product, second from their process, third from themselves, and finally from each other (11). As a result, the worker becomes antagonistic to the entire system of private property: they are resentful of the bourgeois capitalist, suspicious of their fellow worker, and disillusioned with themselves, all because of alienation from their species-being. The rediscovery of our species-being is the natural epilogue to the implosion of capitalism.

And yet, this conclusion relies on Marx’s own crypto-normativity. Like the early contract theorists who came far before him, Marx is simply making his own normative assumption regarding human nature: we live to create the world around us, and are only satisfied by seeing ourselves in that world. One could argue that the exploitation of this process is a violation of a Marxist natural law, and that a communist revolution is a means of retributive justice. As noble as it may be to argue that communism is the inevitable end point of a history structured by material conditions, Marx’s theory is limited by its own dogmatic assumptions. However, he was not alone in proposing human history as a deterministic teleology. Marx built his theory off the critique of Hegel, who argued a similar conception of history driven by conflicts in ideas rather than material conditions. Adam Smith falls into this same category, emphasizing the ability to improve society through the accelerating efficiency of mutually beneficial economic transactions and production (he even titled his magnum opus The Wealth of Nations—“Nations” being plural to suggest collective benefit in pursuing capitalistic ends). Immanuel Kant believed in the ability of individual societies to develop the faculties of humankind over time, leading again to the upward trajectory of progress and the inevitable achievement of our full potential. However, each of these thinkers suffer from the same flaw: they boldly claim to know the end stage of humanity and the final form to which political philosophy strives while being limited by their own historical context and intellectual horizons.

III. Rejection of the Pure Form: Nietzsche’s Response

Though his work is filled with a multitude of social and moral critiques, Nietzsche claimed that “the worst, most durable, and most dangerous of all errors so far was… Plato’s invention of the pure spirit and good as such” (12). Consistent with Nietzsche’s long-standing critique of religion was his belief that Christianity had become “Platonism for ‘the people’” by providing an ideal form to which, by restricting one’s indulgences and taking leaps of faith, one could strive and achieve a good moral life. To Nietzsche, however, faith extends far beyond theology: it applies to every corner of philosophy and knowledge. Philosophers’ pursuits of knowledge are done in vain, since each proposes an alleged “cold, pure, divinely unconcerned dialectic” that is, in reality, simply “an assumption, a hunch, indeed a kind of ‘inspiration’... that they defend with reasons they have sought after the fact” (13). A particularly heinous example of this prejudice is Kant’s “discovery” of a new human faculty, one that allowed him to argue man’s capacity to make synthetic judgements a priori. Nietzsche argues this discovery was in fact not a discovery at all, but a lazy leap of faith that compelled him to answer his own questions “by virtue of a faculty” and essentially invent his own causa sui (14). Consequently, Nietzsche argues that we ought to approach knowledge with suspicion. By questioning the value of truth and certainty in the face of their opposites, Nietzsche rejects the idea of proposing a fully contained and explanatory system for any type of knowledge, since “in the philosopher… there is nothing whatever that is impersonal; and above all, his morality bears decided and decisive witness to who he is” (15). Dogmatic philosophy and its ideal forms, therefore, are less interesting to Nietzsche than the necessity of our belief in them. Rather than ask what our beliefs say, a better question to pose is what these beliefs say about us.

By accusing all philosophy of being dogmatic, Nietzsche is drawing attention to the philosophical limitations of any single individual. As such, a new generation of philosophers ought to embrace “the dangerous ‘maybe’ in every sense,” instead putting their faith in possibilities rather than certainties (16). To recognize one’s own inability to offer an all-encompassing system for the world is to endorse the necessity of perspective, the variety of which is the only way to understand the true nature of anything. To deny this necessity, which Nietzsche calls “the basic condition of all life,” is to instead continue the pursuit of that Platonic good spirit or ideal form (17). Rather than working to defend knowledge as we come to understand it, philosophers should be constantly interrogating knowledge in an attempt to free themselves from their own prejudices. In doing so, one rejects the idea of truth as purely objective and “knows how to employ a variety of perspectives and affective interpretations in the service of knowledge” (18). Nietzsche draws attention to the fact that there is no view from nowhere: “there is only a perspective seeing, only a perspective ‘knowing’; and the more affects we allow to speak about one thing, the more eyes, different eyes, we can use to observe one thing, the more complete will our ‘concept’ of this thing, our ‘objectivity,’ be” (19). Put differently, one can liken Nietzsche’s concept of truth to a statue: any singular view of the statue only provides a singular picture of it. The view from the front of the statue will give a completely different image than that from the back, assuming we could even agree upon which is front and back in the first place. A plethora of angles upon which to view the statue, therefore, is necessary to truly understand it since any individual view is inherently limited by their position relative to the object. “Free spirits,” then, unlike those who throughout history have proposed their singular view of the statue as correct, are that new generation of individuals who constantly question their own prejudices and adopt new angles (20). In this way, one could argue that Nietzsche rejects the concept of Truth altogether, and perspectivism becomes a practical tool for understanding the world around us as we develop our own concepts of knowledge. At the very least, Nietzsche seems to suggest that regardless of the existence of any Truth, we cannot even begin to understand Truth unless we prioritize an ensemble of perspectives over any individual one. In doing so, we can use the former to prevent us from being limited by the latter.

Once again, Nietzsche’s perspectivism has less to do with its relationship to truth (capital-T or otherwise) and more to do with its relationship to the individual and their inherently limited perspective. This concept of agency and power in the face of social restraints is consistent throughout Nietzsche’s works, and one of the most obvious ties is in his critique of Christianity. Nietzsche makes explicit his disdain for the church in The Genealogy of Morals by arguing that the church itself pioneered a type of slave morality that inherently limits the capability of man by suppressing his instincts. Throughout history, however, this morality was used strategically by the weak (namely priests) to seize some semblance of power from the nobility, whose morality is entirely self-affirming, contemptible towards things outside itself, and emphasizes power over restraint (21). Not unlike Talib Kweli’s description of his catch-22 lifestyle as a gangster in inner-city New York, Nietzsche asks us to consider a bird of prey and a lamb: “there is nothing strange about the fact that lambs bear a grudge towards large birds of prey—but that is no reason to blame the large birds of prey for carrying off the little lambs” (22). In fact, he continues, the lambs would be perfectly well off to regard anything like a bird of prey as evil, since it is the source of violence against them; the bird of prey, however, might view this “somewhat derisively, and will perhaps say: ‘we don’t bear any grudge at all towards these good lambs, in fact we love them, nothing is tastier than a tender lamb” (23). The perspective that is intrinsic to these qualitative judgements of good and evil both undermines their objectivity and highlights a cornerstone of Nietzsche’s philosophy: will-to-power. With regard to Marx, Nietzsche dismisses one of his most basic assumptions using this concept of the will-to-power:

… life itself is essentially appropriation, injury, conquest of the strange and weak, suppression, severity, obtrusion of peculiar forms, incorporation, and at the least, putting it mildest, exploitation; —but why should one for ever use precisely these words on which for ages a disparaging purpose has been stamped? Even the organization within which, as was previously supposed, the individuals treat each other as equal—it takes place in every healthy aristocracy—must itself, if it be a living and not a dying organization, do all that towards other bodies, which the individuals within it refrain from doing to each other: it will have to be the incarnated Will to Power, it will endeavor to grow, to gain ground, attract to itself and acquire ascendency—not owing to any morality or immorality, but because it lives, and because life is precisely Will to Power… “Exploitation” does not belong to a depraved, or imperfect and primitive society: it belongs to the nature of the living being as a primary organic function; it is a consequence of the intrinsic Will to Power, which is precisely the Will to Life (24).

By arguing that exploitation is not inherently evil, it is easy to dismiss Nietzsche as equally normative with different assumptions. The difference, however, is that Nietzsche’s critique does not lead him to propose a political solution or theorize a political meta-narrative meant to end suffering as he sees it, for that would be replacing one restraining superstructure with another. Will-to-power, according to Nietzsche, is not a facet of human nature that must be complemented by politics nor economics: the will-to-power is a means to finding that solution. It is the unaffected and unfettered ability of truly “free spirits” to escape the confines of “good” and “evil” themselves. As discussed above, no philosopher is truly impartial nor void of their own prejudices, and political meta-narratives such as Marx’s unwavering rejection of exploitation cannot exist to serve their purpose without accepting some degree of dogmatic assumptions. Nietzsche himself is no exception, which is why he hypothesizes these free spirits rather than identifying with them. But continuing to engage in philosophy, particularly political philosophy, without interrogating these assumptions and prejudices is distracting; we cannot begin to construct new worlds until we have deconstructed old ones.

Earlier in Nietzsche’s career, we see a similar critique of Christian morals in a different context. In On the Advantages and Disadvantages of History for Life, Nietzsche argues that Christianity seeks to define an end point for humanity by predicting “an end to life on earth… and [condemning] the living to live in the fifth act of the tragedy” (25). By limiting the scope and potential of humanity, Christianity restrains the true potential of the strong and capable, or those who might have the potential to transcend the social or moral limitations they have inherited. Moreover, Nietzsche argues that “Christianity would like to [destroy] every culture which incites to striving further and takes for its motto memento vivere… [it] rejects with a shrug of the shoulders everything in the process of becoming, and spreads over it the feeling of being very late arrivals and epigoni” (26). Though Marx’s calls to action for the proletarian revolution seem counterintuitive to a feeling of being “late arrivals” or “epigoni,” Nietzsche’s critique holds true with regard to Marxism’s crypto-normative, deterministic approach to social organization. Marx provides an all-encompassing system that is meant to both explain and predict the movement of human progress, which owes itself entirely to factors and conditions that are beyond the individual. In a way, this parallels Nietzsche’s diagnosis that we are products of our society to a degree much higher than we realize. The difference, however, lies in their prognosis.

Marx believed that the course of these societal effects, namely material conditions, would inevitably lead to the implosion of the status quo that, if properly prepared for, could usher in his optimal form of social organization. Individuals, therefore, might not be “late arrivals” nor “epigoni,” though Marx certainly seems to think that these individuals are entirely at the behest of their own material conditions. The asymmetrical influence that these material conditions have on us—the proletariat being exploited by these material conditions and the bourgeoisie benefitting from them—leads Marx to draw moral conclusions: exploitation is bad and satisfaction of species-being is good. What Marx fails to do is recognize that he is a product of his own material conditions, and so are his theory and determinations of “good” and “bad.” The quasi-utopian society that is only permitted by the revolution is itself borrowing descriptions from the idealized lifestyles of the bourgeoisie. In The German Ideology, Marx suggests that man in a capitalist society is “a hunter, a fisherman, a shepherd, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his livelihood,” which is true for most working-class individuals. He then adds that in a communist society that same man may “hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as [he has] a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic” (27). The ability to actively satisfy one’s species-being, or to do as one pleases without the alienating incentives required by capitalism, is simply the universalization of bourgeois life—it’s not hard to imagine that these hypothesized jacks-of-all-trades did exist in 19th century Europe, they just happened to be the elite. He who can labor (or engage in any productive activity) without being defined by that labor is a privilege of the ruling class—and one that Marx identifies as good and therefore preferable. In other words, a communist society destroys class conflicts by creating the conditions of one class for all classes. This is not to say that Marx is proposing an egalitarian utopia as his positive project, since he does believe in a relatively heterogeneous society living by the mantra “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”(28). Moreover, the concept of class itself is theorized to dissolve post-revolution, but this does not mean that Marx’s ideal conditions for all human beings aren’t plagiarizing the conditions of a single class as observed pre-revolution. When workers own the means of production rather than capitalists, they will have the resources, leisure time, and material conditions to produce in accordance with their species-being and satisfy Marx’s normatively defined purpose (or achieve his own concept of “good”). Like Kant, Marx is creating his own causa sui. A Nietzschean contribution to Marxism might argue, then, that capitalism must be deconstructed in the same way that we might deconstruct Christian morality: not with the intent of replacing these superstructures with our own normative solution, but by interrogating them to essentially see where it takes us. Again, the elusive free spirit is not an indirect, self-congratulatory description of the value of Nietzsche’s own theories, nor is it a pessimistic and nihilistic acceptance that nothing truly matters. Rather, it is a new theory in itself—one that considers the possibilities of a new generation of entirely self-affirming thinkers stripped of their prejudices and social restraints.

IV. Conclusion

Marx’s ultimate conclusion is that a history of society determined by material conditions leaves us no choice but to reject our current modes of production in favor of a society that complements the satisfaction of our species-being. If we don’t, then capitalism will destroy itself anyway. Marx certainly presents himself as a revolutionary determined to unite the working men of all countries toward a common purpose, but it’s difficult to reconcile this call for individual agency toward a collective purpose with the material conditions that seem to govern us regardless of that agency. Marx’s own logic is, again, itself determined by the superstructures he seeks to identify; he is no more or less a product of them than any of the characters in his theory. The vain assertion of a universal truth that is species-being simply uses his own normative definition of what is good by borrowing language from those who have already determined what is good: the bourgeoisie. Consequently, we see his proposed political meta-narrative, that contradictory principles of capitalism inevitably lead to the realization of human emancipation, is at best incomplete and at worst deeply flawed.

In the case of the former, we can at least use Marx’s critique of capital to understand how material conditions have shaped our world views: they can determine incentives, exploit workers based on factors beyond their immediate control, or assign value to both people and commodities. These are invaluable critiques that have wide-ranging implications, but they are nowhere near close enough to providing an all-encompassing system of human behavior.

In the case of the latter, however, we are met with the dangerous hubris of which Nietzsche is so suspicious. The true nature of anything can only be understood by simultaneously interrogating our prejudices and assumptions while recognizing the need for multiple perspectives. Truth ought to be sought after, but it is extremely elusive and mystified by social constructs, whether they be political, material, moral, sexual, racial, or otherwise. From a postmodernist perspective, Nietzsche was perhaps prodigal. Today, we live in a pluralist world that is constantly challenging the normative assumptions that structure so much of our interconnected lives. Critical race theory has interrogated the fundamental principles of our facially neutral laws; emerging disciplines of queer and feminist studies have reshaped the way we understand and perform our gender and sexuality; successive generations of increasingly agnostic individuals have undermined religiously-grounded social norms to further liberate the arts and create a vibrant pop culture. Social media alone has become one of the greatest conduits for self-expression and has created channels of communication that the world has never before seen. Everything from college campuses to corporate boardrooms have acknowledged the importance of representation and diversity in order to create more inclusive communities. The 21st century is an era of interrogation that requires one to accept a multiplicity of perspectives. Ultimately, it could be said that we are unified by a common obligation to better understand each other.

In a way, Marx becomes the casualty to which Talib Kweli is referring in his verse. The idealization of a satisfied species-being is arguably a normality defined by what is expected of human beings in a capitalistic world: to enjoy their work. It is not difficult to imagine that this is actually abnormal, and the entire concept of labor as we understand it could transform or even wither away in the epochs to come due to technology, climate change, or some other unforeseen development. Nietzsche therefore becomes a critical theorist superseding even Marx, for he seeks to critique not just one superstructure but all the superstructures that limit our ability to define for ourselves what is good, bad, evil, true, rational, or authentic. Political philosophy ought to continue elevating the voices that provide these pointed critiques and encourage generations of free spirits as they come. As Kweli might argue, to truly engage in philosophy is to suspect any normality as actually abnormal, and not suffer as a casualty of its misleading assumptions. Rather, we ought to use these suspicions in the service of life and work towards the most ideal form of social organization we can find while recognizing that there is always work to be done.

Endnotes 1 Black Star. “Respiration (feat. Common).” Track 11 on Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star. Rawkus Records, 1998, CD. 2 Nietzsche, Friedrich. “On the Genealogy of Morals.” Essay. In Basic Writings of Nietzsche, translated by Walter Arnold Kaufmann, 451. New York, New York: Modern Library, 1967. 3 Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels. “The Communist Manifesto.” Essay. In The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, 473. New York, New York: Norton, 1978. 4 Ibid, 474. 5 Ibid, 475. 6 Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. “The German Ideology.” Essay. In The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, 150. New York: Norton, 1978. 7 Ibid, 150. 8 Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. “Capital, Volume One.” Essay. In The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, 437. New York, New York: Norton, 1978. 9 Ibid, 438. 10 Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. “Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844.” Essay. In The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, 76. New York, New York: Norton, 1978. 11 Ibid, 72-77; Marx describes species-being at length throughout the Manuscripts. 12 Nietzsche, Friedrich. “Beyond Good and Evil.” Essay. In Basic Writings of Nietzsche, translated by Walter Arnold Kaufmann, 193. New York, New York: Modern Library, 1967. 13 Ibid, 202. 14 Ibid, 207-208. 15 Ibid, 204. 16 Ibid, 201. 17 Ibid, 193. 18 Ibid,. 555. 19 Ibid, 555. 20 Ibid, 242-243. 21 Nietzsche, Friedrich. “On the Genealogy of Morals.” Essay. In Basic Writings of Nietzsche, translated by Walter Arnold Kaufmann, 472–479. New York, New York: Modern Library, 1967.; Nietzsche describes his master-slave dichotomy of morality throughout the first essay of his Genealogy, though particularly in sections 10, 11, 12, and 13. 22 Ibid, 480. 23 Ibid, 481. 24 Nietzsche, Friedrich. “Beyond Good and Evil.” Essay. In Basic Writings of Nietzsche, translated by Walter Arnold Kaufmann, 393. New York, New York: Modern Library, 1967. 25 Nietzsche, Friedrich. On the Advantages and Disadvantages of History for Life. Translated by Peter Preuss. Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett Publishing Co., 1980. 44 26 Ibid, 45. 27 Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. “The German Ideology.” Essay. In The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, 160. New York: Norton, 1978. 28 Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. “Critique of the Gotha Program.” Essay. In The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, 531. New York: Norton, 1978.


Black Star. “Respiration.” Track 11 on Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star. Rawkus Records,

1998, CD.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. “On the Genealogy of Morals.” Essay. In Basic Writings of Nietzsche, translated

by Walter Arnold Kaufmann, 437–601. New York, New York: Modern Library, 1967.

Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. “The Communist Manifesto.” Essay. In The Marx-Engels Reader,

edited by Robert C. Tucker, 469–500. New York, New York: Norton, 1978.

Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. “The German Ideology.” Essay. In The Marx-Engels Reader, edited

by Robert C. Tucker, 146–200. New York: Norton, 1978.

Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. “Capital, Volume One.” Essay. In The Marx-Engels Reader, edited

by Robert C. Tucker, 294–438. New York, New York: Norton, 1978.

Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. “Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844.” Essay. In The

Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, 66–125. New York, New York: Norton, 1978.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. “Beyond Good and Evil.” Essay. In Basic Writings of Nietzsche, translated by

Walter Arnold Kaufmann, 179–435. New York, New York: Modern Library, 1967.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. “On the Genealogy of Morals.” Essay. In Basic Writings of Nietzsche, translated

by Walter Arnold Kaufmann, 437–601. New York, New York: Modern Library, 1967.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. On the Advantages and Disadvantages of History for Life. Translated by Peter

Preuss. Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett Publishing Co., 1980.

Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. “Critique of the Gotha Program.” Essay. In The Marx-Engels

Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, 525–542. New York: Norton, 1978.

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