I was having a conversation with my shrink (ie I was in therapy) and he said in the past there were rules that govern how we act. Now with the advent of psychology, we have consciousness, personal decisions dictate how we act. I do not live my life according to the book of Leviticus (some people do and that is ok). However I live my live according to my consciousness. My shrink said that this is what is meant by a Nietzsche transvaluation of values. I was never a big fan of Nietzsche, although perhaps I should reconsider that stance.
What is the transvaluation of values? It is NOT the adoption of unethical behaviors. It is NOT like a Kantian radical evil where I act in exact opposite to the moral imperative. Rather, as I see it, in a transvaluation of values that there is no more moral imperative. The moral imperative is relative to your own value system, everyone is free to make their own value system. Does this mean relativism. No. There are some value systems better than others, I believe. And here I am influenced by Ken Wilber who says something like the more depth (wholistic/encompassing) a system has the more correct it is.
With transvaluation of values there is no more blind acceptance of rules, instead there is conscious decision making on a day by day basis. This is not unethical or antithetical to ethics, it is about a personal ethics based on consciousness and interiority. We can all think of countless examples of unethical behavior carried out in the name of “following orders”.
If we look at the history of religion or society they are all structured by rules. And if we look at the social contract theorists like Hobbes and Locke, some how we leave the state of nature (either bad or good), because we create a set of rules that allows us all to live together. The transvaluation of value is one of many things: rejection of these values as ethical, a creation of a personal set of values, a recognition that desires do not have ethics (in my interpretation only actions do).
I have been binge reading Ken Wilber and Claire Graves and so I wonder perhaps it is unwise to undergo a transvaluation of value unless your values are in some sense transpersonal (ie honor another individual’s sovereignty). If your transvaluation of values are based in your ego or id (these are Freudian terms not Wilber or Graves terms but I am just mashing it all up), then I can imagine some nasty antisocial behavior.
So now I can imagine what are my values, and then I can act in according with my values. What do I desire? Do they reenforce or contradict my values? Then I can decide how to act?
But what are my values, this is a hard question. For now I have come up with this: freedom, poetry, sovereignty.