A Will to Power Essay Sample
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A Will to Power Essay Sample
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 Nietzscheвs 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. Oneвs в? neighborв 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 oneвs 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 fight to better himself and every aspect of his life. This is what Nietzsche means by a will to power, the will to have complete command of yourself and life. This philosophy could be perceived as a bit barbaric, in that one could interpret it as Nietzsche encouraging man to constantly wage war against his fellow man in an effort to remain superior. Although Nietzsche does urge us to strive for positions of power and command of our lives, he does not believe that men should wage constant war against one another.
What Nietzsche means by command is that the greatest people, or as he refers to them, the wisest of men, (pg. 224) should have a complete comprehension of themselves and the world around them. You must look within, at all aspects of your life, the good and the bad. To have command of your self you must understand and accept all of your strengths and weaknesses, your lust and desires. You must look around you and understand your surroundings; recognize your social status, history, and ancestry. Once you comprehend and accept all aspects of your being, you can then create value from within. He who cannot obey himself will be commanded.
That is the nature of living creatures. (pg. 225) When a person creates value from within they allow themselves to, in essence, pave their own path. Once someone has reached an understanding of himself and the world around him, they must question the values that they have lived their life by. Nietzsche discusses how there are many institutions, such as organized religion, which impose values on people. While these religious values may set guidelines, which help people maintain a level of self discipline, Nietzsche claims that the wisest of men challenge these values, looking within themselves to find what they know is right.
One must answer to oneself, challenging himself to maintain self-discipline and drive. To hold oneself accountable for maintaining the values of an outside source would deny ones will to power. He must become judge and avenger and victim of his own law. (pg. 225) Nietzsche states that commanding is more difficult than obeying. (pg. 225) He maintains though, we all possess a will to power. Although not everyone may respond to this will and drive himself to gain command of his life, it is still an inherent part of each person.
Where I have found a living creature, there I found will to power: and even in the will of the servant I found will to be master. (pg. 225) He explains that we are all capable of answering this will and if we do so, we can push ourselves to take command of our life. The evolution of a person responding to the will to power and eventually gaining command of himself can be described by the three metamorphoses of the spirit. Nietzscheвs three metamorphoses of the spirit (pg. 37) illustrates how a personвs spirit transitions through three metamorphoses as they progress in fulfilling their will to power.
These three metamorphoses are the camel, the lion, and the child. The camel metamorphosis is the more obedient stage, where a person first starts to recognize their will to power. They are not quite sure what it is, but something is driving them to do their best. In this stage, the person begins to look at himself and the world around him, realizing that he wants more. Nietzsche describes the camel as the weight-bearing spirit and states, What is the heaviest thing, you heroes? So asks the weight-bearing spirit, that I may take it upon me and rejoice in my strength.
The camel pushes itself to carry the heaviest load it can and feels pride in its accomplishments. As time goes on, the camel begins to look at itself and see the strength that it has. It looks at the world around it and realizes it wants more, its will to power pushes it to gain command of itself and its life. At this point, the sprit transitions into the second metamorphoses, the lion. The lion metamorphoses is the point in which a personвs will to power has driven them to look at themselves and the world around them, deciding to pursue more.
But in the loneliest desert the second metamorphoses occurs: the spirit becomes a lion; and wants to capture freedom and be the lord in its own desert. (pg. 37) They want to break free of the life that has been bestowed upon them and fulfill their will to power. At this point they are not yet able to look within themselves to create values, but are able to question the values that have been bestowed upon them. To create new values – even the lion is incapable of that: but to create itself new creation в“ that the might of the lion can do.
As they break free of the traditional values they have known and they further their understanding of their life they transition onto the third metamorphoses, the child. The childвs metamorphosis is the point in which the person has nearly grasped a complete comprehension of who they are and the world they live in. They have embraced their will to power and struggled to improve themselves and their life by succeeding in everything they do. They have freed themselves of obedience by questioning the traditional values they have known. They can now look within and create their own values; they have achieved a complete command of themselves.
It is as if they have achieved a new beginning allowing them to create a new foundation of values to live by. The child us innocence and forgetfulness, a new beginning, a sport, a self-propelling wheel, a first motion, a sacred Yes. Yes , a sacred Yes is needed, my brothers, for the sport of creation: the spirit now wills its own will, the spirit sundered from the world now wins its own world. (pg. 38) Throughout Nietzscheвs discussion of manвs attempt to achieve complete command of himself and the three metamorphoses of the spirit, there is a single driving force, which is the catalyst for all of this change.
This driving force is manвs inherent will to power and it is what Nietzsche seems to think is the source of all value. The will to power is what causes this entire transition, pushing oneself to be all they can be, eventually reaching the point where they can look within themselves to create values. The step, which Nietzsche claims a person takes, leading to the creation of values, fully embodies what he seems to think is the secret of life. Nietzsche states, And life itself told me this secret: behold,в it said, в? I am that which must overcome itself again and again. (pg.225)
What he means by this is that the secret of life is to constantly overachieve and strive to better oneself in all aspects of life. If a person listens to their will to power constantly striving to better themselves, they have found the secret to life. Nietzscheвs discussion of manвs inherent will to power and the steps one takes in the creation of value, in addition to how this relates the fulfillment of the secret of life; clearly illustrates a comprehensive perspective on the world and on the human disposition towards it. (see last page) Thus directly relating to and supporting Nietzscheвs task.