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> Nietzsche's Will to Power, a discussion of the major themes and significance of the work
lucid_dream
post Jul 08, 2007, 11:51 AM
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This is meant as a discussion of the major themes and significance of Nietzsche's Will to Power, which were a collection of notes published by his sister post-humously. I have read this work through several times in my youth, years ago, and have recently begun studying it again. In my opinion, the work is superior to Thus Spoke Zarathustra in that is represents more mature thought. To start things off, here are a few excerpts to give a flavor of the work.

From Nietzsche's Will to Power, section 11A:

QUOTE
Nihilism as a psychological state is reached, secondly, when one has posited a totality, a systematization, indeed any organization in all events, and underneath all events, and a soul that longs to admire and revere has wallowed in the idea of some supreme form of domination and administration (-if the soul be that of a logician, complete consistency and real dialectic are quite sufficient to reconcile it to everything). Some sort of unity, some form of "monism": this faith suffices to give man a deep feeling of standing in the context of, and being dependent on, some whole that is infinitely superior to him, and he sees himself as a mode of the deity.-"The well-being of the universal demands the devotion of the individual"-but behold, there is no such universal! At bottom, man has lost the faith in his own value when no infinitely valuable whole works through him; i.e., he conceived such a whole in order to be able to believe in his own value.

In other words, there are psychological reasons for believing in an Absolute, or a Unity, but this does not imply it is in fact the case. Further, belief in the Absolute, or a Unity, is seen here as a sign of weakness, as a crutch for living life. So the question becomes, to what extent, if any, do we need this belief in an Absolute, or a Unity?

Here are Nietzsche's thoughts over Buddhism, from section 23 of Will to Power:
QUOTE
Nihilism as a normal condition.
It can be a sign of strength: the spirit may have grown so strong that previous goals ("convictions," articles of faith) have become incommensurate (for a faith generally expresses the constraint of conditions of existence, submission to the authority of circumstances under which one flourishes, grows, gains power). Or a sign of the lack of strength to posit for oneself, productively, a goal, a why, a faith.
It reaches its maximum of relative strength as a violent force of destruction-as active nihilism.
Its opposite: the weary nihilism that no longer attacks; its most famous form, Buddhism; a passive nihilism, a sign of weakness. The strength of the spirit may be worn out, exhausted, so that previous goals and values have become incommensurate and no longer are believed; so that the synthesis of values and goals (on which every strong culture rests) dissolves and the individual values war against each other: disintegration-and whatever refreshes, heals, calms, numbs emerges into the foreground in various disguises, religious or moral, or political, or aesthetic, etc.


And here is some additional food for thought from section 11B of Will to Power:
QUOTE
Final conclusion: All the values by means of which we have tried so far to render the world estimable for ourselves and which then proved inapplicable and therefore devaluated the world-all these values are, psychologically considered, the results of certain perspectives of utility, designed to maintain and increase human constructs of domination-and they have been falsely projected into the essence of things. What we find here is still the hyperbolic naiveté of man: positing himself as the meaning and measure of the value of things.
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Kaloa
post Aug 01, 2011, 03:24 PM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Jul 08, 2007, 11:51 AM) *

In other words, there are psychological reasons for believing in an Absolute, or a Unity, but this does not imply it is in fact the case. Further, belief in the Absolute, or a Unity, is seen here as a sign of weakness, as a crutch for living life. So the question becomes, to what extent, if any, do we need this belief in an Absolute, or a Unity?


Interesting! I've been wanting to read this book. Thats good food for thought. Thank you for sharing that. I have had both feelings of oneness and of isolation, detachment, seperateness and the like that were not allways negative. This makes me think of a Taoistic perspective of oneness that I ran into which stated that oneness comes from emptiness, which then is seen, perceptually, as two opposites (yin and yang) and then breaks down into the four images (not sure what they are) and breaks down again into the eight trigrams of the I Ching (an anchient Taoist classic work). Lao Tzu said, " Truth is paradoxical." which makes good sense to me. I allways enjoy experiencing and reading things that spur me to looking deeper into different aspects of paradoxical truths if that makes any sense.

Thanks lucid dream!

Perhaps the only absolute is that--there isn't one. I think that once the mind has established some 'absolute' that it loses freedom and adaptability along with other stuff that is essential for spiritual advancement/evolution, I think. To me freedom of absolutes is very important anyways. I see people and-myself get fixated on an idea of what simply MUST be, some more ignorantly or tenaciously that others, and then lose freedom in that very moment to look into the crazy vaccum of emptiness/nothingness/mystery and other such beautiful things... I ramble. Sorry smile.gif

P.S. Are you dreaming?
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