Friedrich Nietzsche On The Human Will To Power
In Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Nietzsche presents an unorthodox argument concerning the natural state of humankind and the means of its ultimate decline. Nietzsche claims that individuals do not allow their own natural impulses and desires to guide them, but they rather observe the guidelines of the weak majority. Nietzsche argues that a failure to assert the individual’s will to power grants dominance to the herd and its slave morality which causes humanity’s ultimate destruction.
Nietzsche identifies the creation of values as the natural and rightful ability and vocation of individuals. Rather than accepting the objective truths presented by philosophers and religion, Nietzsche denies the validity of all traditional truths. Therefore, Nietzsche asserts that individuals must brave the abandoned frontier of values and morality without any previously established guidelines. It is up to each individual to discover and create values for himself or herself. Though Nietzsche recognizes the revolutionary, difficult nature of such a task, he maintains that the great, noble beings must engage in the creation of values.
Humankind asserts its natural will to power through the process of creating values. Nietzsche cites the will to power as the most natural aspect of existence and identifies the will to power as the substance of life itself. The will to power ushers in the manifestations of one’s own force in the universe by asserting one’s ambitions and desires. Nietzsche explains that the individuals that have realized their own will to power recognize the false framework of traditional values, and they utilize the will to power in creating their own value judgements according to their own desires and perspectives.
However, Nietzsche recognizes that living in accordance with the will to power proves difficult and unattainable for most humans. Therefore, the vast numbers of weak humans have culminated into groups which Nietzsche refers to as the herd. Belonging to the herd allows individuals to rely on the impulses of the herd rather than asserting their own desires and ambitions. Nietzsche admits that departing from the influence of the majority proves incredibly difficult, so the herd has dominated humankind. The herd orders a morality and compliance to its members, ridding them of the taxing burden of individual will and creation of values. However, Nietzsche believes that joining the herd proves a dangerous negation of human capabilities and power.
Membership in the herd manifests itself in the experience of pity. Pity stands in stark contrast to Nietzsche’s vision of the dominating, autonomous individual that assert his or her own will into existence. Rather, pity is the experience of sorrow over another’s misfortune or injury. To indulge in feelings of pity entraps humans rather than aiding their quest for more power and force. Therefore, Nietzsche instructs humans to always strive in accordance to their will to power and to avoid harmful feelings such as pity. In addition, pity reflects the destructive nature of the herd as it includes empathizing with those that Nietzsche considers the most deplorable members of society. Nietzsche explains that pity encourages a society to stand in solidarity with even those that injure the group. To Nietzsche, experiencing pity negates the natural will to power in humans and results directly from following the impulses of the herd.
The continued domination of the herd results in a great transvaluation of morals that upholds the virtues of the weak majority rather than honoring the natures of the powerful and successful. Nietzsche explains that the weak majority, the slaves, eventually transformed descriptions of their oppression by the powerful to describe righteousness. The difficulty of asserting one’s will to power results in a great majority of weak individuals that still desire to feel virtuous. Therefore, the slaves have uprooted Nietzsche’s true virtue of power and substituted their own sufferings and timidity in its place.
This herd-mandated slave morality proves so detrimental to the human will that it inevitably culminates in the decline of humankind into nothingness. The indoctrination of individuals into the slave morality negates their will to power and smothers the natural autonomy of humans. Nietzsche explains that the slave morality shrinks the world’s possibilities for humanity. For Nietzsche, nothing could prove more horrifying and ominous for humans, and he believes that the limiting of the human will to power and asserting of arbitrary, weak morals will deconstruct humankind into eventual nothingness.
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