Someone who has reduced his mind and life and soul and personality to meager or minor things -- someone marked by "mikropsychia" or in Latin "pusillanimitas" -- has a petty-souled outlook on life that no one but him ingrained in him. It is not great wealth or great power that makes a man "great," but "makropsychia" or "magnanimitas," great-souledness, a distinctively aristic virtue, a primal determination to rupture the finite and reductivist structures that habits and mechanical intellect tend to erect in our lives. The lust of most people to live in a trivialized and finitized or ordinarized world is patent; it is a way of achieving security, making oneself safe from threats, challenges, criticisms. And the lust of aristoi to live in a world of greatness, of monumental issues and questions that are made of the kind of bronze that will endure for ages to come, that is also patent: it is a way for capacious souls to furnish their minds with just the right scale or magnitude of challenges, of intellectual and moral instruments with the right heft for their wills to wield.
Nietzsche is a determinist like Spinoza, a fatalist like the Greeks: character is fate, we only become what we already are (Aristotle's more genteel expression: no one achieves arete IN SPITE OF his base of natural potential, only because of it). Aristic moral "fiber" must exist first of all as an instinctive imperative, and second as an imperative of character, before it can be cultivated by an appropriate directorial culture. The resources that make human beings ultimately philosophical or spiritual (Aristotelian eudaimonia) are so profound and structural that of course they cannot be "learned"; if one has them, they can be developed and cultured, but that is not the same thing as "acquiring" them.
Nothing in the matter-of-fact or finite order of experience is directly or obviously grounded in actual authoritative principles; phenomena do not permit us to see through them to their infinite preconditions, and certainly not even to comprehend or conceptualize what kinds of things those preconditions may be. It is only through holistic and variably stressed principles that we can see the formation or architectonics of finite realities, in accordance with those lawful and ordering forces. There is no empirical path to principles, no psychological route to values or ultimate duties or essential character: hundreds of millions of human beings may despair of not having "salvation" who do not and cannot ever comprehend what the issue even is, i.e. the onslaught of the finite order that threatens to make our ambiguously finite/infinite spirit into just another finite particle within the finite world. We have to be always carrying out our self-education dialectically, with one eye on each domain, the finite and the infinite, each of which demands its own peculiar modus of intelligence and insight from us.
Only once one has understood the aristic ethos will one comprehend that there are many ways of mistreating or abusing another person that one cannot permit oneself, not merely because the other has rights (in his limited status, and specific to that status) and long-term needs to be properly taken care of, but also because oneself is an aristos and absolutely has to be above all such intemperate and myopic behavior. We are talking about something incomprehensible to most moderns, an ethics of character: an autonomous ethics, enforced out of one's sense of shame and guilt at not being true to oneself--not a heteronomous banausic or slavish sense of shame in the eyes of others' opinions about oneself. To have higher expectations of oneself is the decisive thing.
No one can look either our planet or our societies in the face and imagine humans are in any respect as rational as they have been mass-bamboozled into believing that they are. All the abstractions in terms of which we "think" about ourselves are free-floating and autonomous conformisms and orthodoxies, irrationalist self-complacencies and self-flattery that manifest the disconnectivity and dissociativity typifying banauseia; we will continue past the several points-of-no-return imagining in abstracto that, of course, we must necessarily possess the faculties to reverse any mistaken policies and cure any destruction. But the problem does not lie ultimately anywhere outside our own intrinsic and self-biased idiotia, our primordial and primally blind characters. To have a character blithely oblivious to the nature and concept of one's character is the doom of the vast majority of "mankind."
Greek culture understands the key to understanding nature, instinct and organism as consisting in the endowment of each creature with some distinctive "excellence" or talent (arete). Among humans there is great controversy whether (because of the diversity among different character-types and the clash of different political and philosophical perspectives) there is at all such a unitary, universal or congruent thing as "excellence" for man per se. There are many aspectival or specialized excellences; but does man in general have a defining purpose or a metaphysically obligatory excellence that everyone, just insofar as he is human, is obligated to cultivate and pursue? --Or do we have a problem here in trying to extend the term "human" to creatures who really have little substantial in common with one another?
(The terms douloi, banausoi and aristoi) are in a way more precise, but what is more vital and valuable, they are more comprehensive: they project a concept of psychic order that embraces entire fields that we have no other way of seeing all together as the working of a single principle. If we think of the human domain as the collaboration and the conflict of these three diverse character-types, we can understand the weave and the stress and polemics of their very different basal teleologies or ultimate governing purposes of life.