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A Will to Power

By | April 2008
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A Will to Power

This essay is in response to question #4
“That is your entire will, you wisest of men; it is a will to power; and that is so even when you talk of good and evil and of the assessment of values.”(pg.224) This statement from section #203 of the Nietzsche Reader, not only illustrates what Friedrich Nietzsche feels is the origin of value but also culminates his philosophy on what is the meaning and secret to life. This “will to power” seems to be what Nietzsche feels is the driving force behind all humans, pushing them to better themselves and in essence, the world around them. The world is made up of many different kinds of people, all from different walks of life. Each of us possesses various strengths and weaknesses, but underneath it all lies our inherent “will to power.”

Upon first reading Nietzsche’s philosophy, one would perceive that he has a pretty negative and somewhat barbaric outlook on life. He attacks the idea of selflessness, claiming that those who preach virtues such as “industriousness, obedience, chastity, piety, and justness,” (pg.101) simply do so to benefit themselves. “One’s ‘neighbor’ praises selflessness because he derives advantage from it!” (pg.101) He refers to a person who lives by these virtues as a victim. The statement, “treat others as you wish to be treated” would hold very true for Nietzsche, but in a much more cynical way. He is basically saying that there is no such thing as a purely selfless act; people do not act for the greater good of society as a whole. Our selflessness is simply motivated by a self-seeking desire to create a better living environment, following a “what goes around comes around” mentality. Nietzsche feels that one’s strength and reason should be “expended on their own preservation, evolution, elevation, advancement, and amplification of power.” (pg.101) His image of a perfect world seems to be one that is driven by a “dog eat dog” attitude; a world where every man should...
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