Hi all, I hope everyone is keeping well. I wanted to talk about power today, specifically the will to power. What does it mean when I say, the will to power is the will power over the self? Power is described as the act to produce an effect, to have control over others or the ability to effect systems. In some definitions it is legal or official authority, capacity or right. Nietzsche uses it differently I think the will to power he describes it as the fundamental human drive, it can be summarised as self-determination and growth. To have strength to determine one’s own fate— not having it determined by others. This seems to be at odds with definition of power, in as much as the definition of power is the ability to extend one’s will over other and other systems. Nietzsche’s “will to power” is open to interpretation as it was never clearly defend leaving it open to interpretation. It is very easy to misinterpret what Nietzsche thought.
Self-overcoming is self-mastery, the mastery over oneself. A fight in a sense to overcome the passions and emotions that govern our lives and control our fate, to have self-control. To grow. Nietzsche’s premise was the fundamental driving force of life was the desire to manifest power, it’s hard to understand what exactly such a statement means. In a unthinking capacity it is easy to think it might mean something like the will to effect systems, to change and mould the environment to fit an end. In “Beyond Good and Evil” he says “Above all, a living thing wants to discharge its strength – life itself is the will to power…” which contrast to what I interpret the self-overcoming to mean. Yet it comes back to something that confirms my interpretation in expressing that the ultimate end of all living things is growth. This I take to mean not just progeny but personal growth, self-betterment. As described, I think as the perishing of leaves. The perishing of leaves I think is the changing self, the self that comes with self-knowledge perishes the former ignorant self. As one grows, one enviably changes, one transform every spring. New growth means we are not identical to the former. This is the self-overcoming, and it must be a conscious process, as we change ourselves individually and grow—it amounts to a different aesthetic of man. That is what we can call progress.
So, for me the whole is embodied in one statement: “it can be shown that every living thing dose everything it can not to preserve itself but to become more…” (The Will to Power) by changing and having power over ourselves we change systems. This is the power of self-determination; it is not to have power over others but rather to have power over ourselves. To say that all living things have an insatiable desire to manifest power is to say that they have an insatiable desire for unending growth. It is in overcoming resistance that stands in the way of attaining a great passion (growth) that individuals fulfil this basic desire of all life. That being said we often are our own worst enemies, change and growth are difficult precisely for the reason we resit ourselves. Hence, we must overcome ourselves in order to grow, this is the self-overcoming and the perishing of leaves—we must overcome ourselves again and again. It is about overcoming our own limitations; our limits and choices define who we are. For Nietzsche the ideally powerful wasn’t someone physically storing or even someone that had power over other, it was someone that was psychologically and spiritually strong.
Anyway, thanks for reading my rebelling’s. A good source of information on this topic is from an article by Academy of Ideas “Nietzsche and Self Overcoming”. What are your thoughts on the topic? I’d love to hear them, so leave a comment. Stay well all.