Nietszche's Will to Power?

Just thought I'd ask what everyone's thoughts on Nietszche's idea of the will to power are.


interesting idea encouraging people to have the courage to be free (at
least that's what i took from it) which was very badly misconstrued & used
to support a very non-compassionate form of social darwinism. very
useful to the few who took something positive from it, awful
consequences once the nazis ran with it.

that said, it's been awhile since i've read N, & i don't have his books in
front of me right now.

I don't agree that his writing was misconstrued anymore than Marx's was with communism in Russia and China.  Its just that the negative consequences are what happens when people think like Nietszhe.

If you look at the thread on the OG about evolution a bunch of people are sad that natural selection does not appear to be killing off the weak.  They want to perceive that what matters most is strength.  This obviously stems from a fear of death. It also stems from an odd assumption that if conditions were more harsh they would still be alive.  A long of strong adults never would have made it to adulthood in Third World conditions. 

But Prof. points out something about the OT that I think applies here.  If you think that something is evil it is better to trust that than to change your view just because you think the OT teaches it.  The same applies for Darwinism or Nietszche.  The Nazis grabbed his thinking just like a racist would grab the theory of a Eugenicist.  All of it gives them permission to accept something that was being held back by conscience. 


i believe i read marx quoted somewhere as saying "i am not a marxist"
which would lead me to believe that he at least thought his ideas were
misconstrued. i have thought similarly to N (sorry, i hate spelling it) in
many regards, & i have found the effects to be more liberating than
pessimistic. i don't adhere strictly to his philosophies, but it did help
me gain the freedom of consciousness to take my next step forward.

admittedly, when a writer contradicts himself as often as N does, you
have to extract from it what you want or need at the time.

that said, his glorification of war & the sloppy language he used in
discussing the will to power left the gates wide open for a variety of
interpretations, & he should be held accountable for that. which is
ironic, since one of the main messages i took from his writing is that
we must be accountable for our own actions & destinies.

also worth noting that he had no love for anti-semites, or even the
german nation as a whole. but these are not the passages the nazis
latched on to.


very true, but he was an irrationalist. his ideas were never meant to be
followed to their logical conclusions. N might argue that nothing has a
logical conclusion.

"if you want to be happy, believe. if you want to know, then inquire"

-N, in a letter to his sister

N was an atheist who recognized (as many religious folks do) that the
world doesn't function very well. i think his rants were possibly a
scramble to assign meaning (derived from the self) to a world without any
meaning. scary task without a deity or religious experience to fall back

"please tell that to all those geeky freshmen who worship him"

i would, but i can't stand going to the bohemian/gothy coffee shops
where they hang out & bemoan the meaninglessness of existence while
smoking filtered light 100s & sipping their 4th mocha.


Thanks all. He has some interesting things to say on values such altruism and loving ones' enemies.

He says they are basically impossible and it is of immense cruelty to oneself to attempt to live up to such impossible ideals.

And yes he disliked nationalism, anti-semitism and Nazism in general. However I think it was Nietszches' sister who told hitler that he was the "ubermensch".

And I am with jarrod in finding N's writings very liberating.

thanks for posting joe ray, interesting thread.

But Hitler and the Nazis were very much taken with his idea of the will to power, though for them it merely meant dominance over others. For Nietz it had a much more wide ranging meaning.