Nietzsche: The Will to power

The Will to power at the heart of Nietzsche’s Philosophy

The will to power is the title of an unfinished work, begun to 1883, which was intended to reflect on the transmutation of values. But expression appears only in the last phase of the evolution of Nietzsche‘s thought. This concept refers to the overall dynamics of our instincts. Once there is life, there is will to power because life is only alive if it is intensified. The will to power is a laboratory test by which life is an artist, a designer, a conqueror. It is a field of experience: nothing is impossible.

Therefore, it is clear to Nietzsche that life is a desire to increase. However, some beings  are not able to support this exuberance of life in them. They are sick and want to destroy life. This is, according to Nietzsche, the case of the ascetic who relied on God’s will. The Will to Power covers an extremely complex reality. It was firstly seen as a vital force that was not limited to animate the human beings only but would act at the same time in the world of the living things and that of matter. Conquering power only part of a growth perspective, this drive becomes increasingly ambivalent in Nietzsche. He considered then it can reverse its course upward and become decadent, even self-destructive. Morality is a sedative power of the will to power that has turned against itself (Human, All Too Human § 138) and allowing the low to keep the disease. But this disease is dangerous because contagious. It acts as a poison by inoculation of bad conscience to the strong, cutting off the power of his inventiveness, preventing him from being the artist’s own life. When nihilism triumphs, the will to power no longer means “create” and that is why we always have to defend the strong against the weak.

I issue the theory that the will to power is the primitive form of passion, all the other passions that are transforming the will, there would be greater clarity in place, instead of the idea of eudémonistique happiness, the idea of ​​power: the power to suck in more power “, the joy is only a symptom of the feeling that power is reached, is the perception of a difference that all force is will to power, there is no other physical force, or psychological dynamics. ” (The Will to Power, § 302).


Is it possible to question the meaning of life? Search for meaning in life, or measure the value, assumed to have a standard, a reference that is external to life itself. The man in his lifetime may be outside of life, otherwise it is not … he died. Nietzsche makes the finding in The Twilight of the Idols: “The value of life can not be assessed. Not a living because it is a party, and even in dispute, nor by a death, for any other reason. ” Judge objectively the meaning of life requires them to extract, which is impossible. This does not mean that we have a view, a worldview, but it will always be under the influence of our interpretation. Thus, Nietzsche is no revelation. No transcendent truth is waiting for us somewhere in the world behind. Nor does the order itself. It is a human product, for the world, before being interpreted, is chaotic: “The general nature of the world is contrary to all eternity chaos, not in the sense of the absence of necessity, but in the sense of lack of order, articulation, form, beauty, wisdom and anthropomorphism of our aesthetic whatever name they are given. Judging from the perspective of our reason, it is unfortunate that the shots are the rule, exceptions are not the secret purpose and all the chime repeats eternally its air, which does not deserve to be called a melody. ” (The Gay Science – Nietzsche). Thus the world as it stands before us, is our image. Moreover, the concepts of chaos and order do not escape representation. There are human in all reality, with all the diversity that leads because everyone is different from its neighbor. However, Nietzsche distinguishes a universal principle, which applies to all people, but to all living beings, and the plant world, and why not to matter as a whole: growth. We are expanding, growing, for example in the first part of our lives, and also age throughout our lives. In a more general, life does not stabilize, it is moving toward the front. Only the end stop this progress. Nietzsche refers to this principle: the will to power: “But what is life? On this point, a new, more specific concept of “life” is necessary: ​​on this my formula is called life is will to power “(Fragment posthumous 1885-1886 – Nietzsche).

Life, according to Nietzsche, consists in always wanting more. Life is more than the will to live, because we do not want what one already has. It is not only no longer an exclusive struggle for survival. Life is passing. In other words, it is not satisfied with what it is or what she has. Therefore survival is a demonstration of weakness is only to maintain a state. The will to power or force, is to extend or exceed what is, to achieve something stronger still. And even if we consider that the “growing” in some ways it is immoral and thus strives to condemn this approach, the sentence is nevertheless still an expression of the will to power by the censor . Even obedience and sacrifice his. Obey is to submit an order to take advantage of the power shared collective. His sacrifice is to give his life to meet with death, an unexpected power as a living, “For while you are sacrificing and enthusiastic you sacrificing yourself, you enjoy the intoxication that comes from thinking not to do that now, with the powerful, be it god or man, which you spend, you are drunk with the feeling of power that has just confirmed a new sacrifice. Indeed you sacrifice only in appearance, because the thought you rather Transform gods, and you enjoy yourself as if you were the gods “(Dawn – Nietzsche).

We can not of course depart from the will to power. Nietzsche finds the value of life, the only sense that applies to all and therefore can not be faulted, however: “What is good? – All that student a sense of human power, the will to power, power itself. What is wrong? – Anything that comes from weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome “(The Antichrist – Nietzsche). However, it must be admitted that the will to power determines the rights, which suggests that it is instinctive and so, we would hardly different from the animal, being predestined by a natural force that no one can escape? Nietzsche says no, considering that the will to power, to respect rights, expressed in an order that has set. The agency man somehow things by giving them a meaning, and only he is the holder of this arrangement. It recognizes the human being a liability, even if it is not totally free. Moreover, when the will to power is violence, he blames it on low, that is to say to those who are unable to be strong by themselves, pushing them to grab and the energy of others. The will to power is not the war, even if Nietzsche’s thought was captured by warlike spirit. Nietzsche goes so far as to associate the will to power and giving. The fort is one who shares the overflow of power in him, such as the artist who delivers the listener to approach his work or the result of illuminating thought, “What height alone is not forever doomed to loneliness and not only from itself forever, that the mountains come down to the valley and the winds of the heights down to the depths “(Thus Spake Zarathustra – Nietzsche).


Cite this article as: Tim, "Nietzsche: The Will to power, April 25, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, April 25, 2012,

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