Talk:Will to power

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Free Will[edit]

Expert needed: It seems logically that a pre-requisite to "will to power" is an ability for free will on the part of the organism, an agency in the individual. I know Beyond Good and Evil touches on Nietzsche's views on free will but can anyone summarize his views here in the article as a pre-requisite for what is to be a dicussion on free will? Seems germane. --1000Faces (talk) 06:42, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

The introduction to the page claims that it is a "prominent concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. The will to power describes what Nietzsche believed to be the main driving force in man" I edited it to "is widely seen as a prominent concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. The will to power describes what Nietzsche may have believed to be the main driving force in man", the former statement is certainly a commonly held view, but not necessarily true: Brian Lieter, a Nietzsche scholar, argues that it is a misconception of his work to believe that it was so prominent. He argues that the reasons for this misconception are that: he mentions is a few times in his works, but that towards the end of his life, when he wrote summaries of all the most important concepts in each of his work's, he did not mention it. Furthermore, whilst he mentions it a lot it his notes, much of what he wrote he never published, suggesting that it was an idea that, on re-reading, he didn't fully believe in. Thirdly Nietzsche himself had an elitist view of who should read his work: this shows that he understood that his writing was prone to misunderstanding and misrepresentation and fourthly that his sister, who was his literary editor, had her own agenda. (talk) 10:37, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
One implication of the will to power is a denial of free will. Given the amount of OR that creeps into the Nietzsche pages, it might be better to find a reliable source this discusses the will to power and free will than to invite editors to summarize his views themselves. RJC Talk Contribs 21:39, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
True. Will to power is the replacement of free will. Man does not want to "choose", man wants to affirm himself. Besides, will to power essentially assumes determinism, because one conclusion from determinism is that nothing is excluded from power. If, for example, randomness was included in the process of becoming, then it is every time a (fatalistic) denial of power and will to power. Consciousness is generally about calculating power (coming from desired effects to necessary causes; thinking = willing = aiming = planning = predicting = teleology)... More conscious thinking (predicting) arises by connecting various less conscious thoughts, so that the result predicts even more intensively. (talk) 14:07, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Please see The Gay Science where Nietzsche directly deals with several fundamental issues underlying even the question of "Free Will". Certain metaphysical structures or frameworks are assumed prior to the discussion of free will which typically are distilled into either Determinism or Fatalism. For the purposes of this discussion, the main difference between the two being cause and effect underling determinism and some deity underling fatalism however in both systems mans choices are either chosen for them or tightly limited. (In the classical Greek understanding the "Fates" or lesser gods could influence mortals and the outcome of their lives.)
One of Nietzsche's goals is to call into question the entire metaphysical pursuit and to show that it is an error and contrivance by the herd used as a type of weapon. In The Gay Science he attacks the ability of science to make definitive knowledge claims and questions our comfort with claiming we know the causes of said effects having assumed the causes act in accordance with certain laws that we can know with certainty. Also, he attacks the idea of the world being compared to "A Machine" or the world as it could be read viewed with deterministic lenses. He states that a world that acted like a machine would of necessity be a meaningful world and would in essence bring us right back to seeking another world of meaning beyond or behind this world, it is essentially world/life denying.
As everyone is familiar with the madman's proclamation in the market regarding God, obviously fatalism with its deistic structure is a non sequitur. Nietzsche insists that man is something to be overcome and that by asserting ones will (contrasted with relinquishing, renouncing, or repenting of the will) the over man can be realized in the process of becoming creators of new values. The only fundamental "cause" or "will" is grounded firmly in the instincts and not any ideal outside this world.
Furthermore, in his view the entire discussion of mans will being limited may very well be viewed as part of the slave morality assaulting the essential purpose and nature of the over man in that the discussion both begins and ends in a metaphysical pursuit that is world and life denying (a slow suicide). (talk) 13:51, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

In fact, Will to Power is no free or slave will (from Nietzsche's mouth, in Human, too human around) : it is kind of situationnal will, because of everything, according to his definition of freedom in the Twilight of idols as a perpetual pragmatical and metaphorical conquest. That's why you find strong- and weak-tempered people, strong- and weak-will - in Nietzsche terms. A strong will can be in a small little guy, it doesn't matter : for Nietzsche this guy will be stronger than Hulk, in this perspective, because the true strength is will-like. And that's why Nietzsche doesn't celebrate brutality, just talking of it genealogically at the beginnings of humanity : the "blond-headed ones" berserkers, whom will was - according to Nietzsche - really pure, even they couldn't be obviously Hulks (thin but brave, for example). -- Malcolm S. Cooper (MP) 08/07/16 à 23:20 (CEST)

Expert Needed[edit]

It's now July, and noone has addressed this page. How about we let an expert handle it, and then decide how little we like his views? Gyro Copter (talk) 07:10, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

What are you suggesting? An "expert" tag on the article? RJC Talk Contribs 07:23, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
That's what I had in mind, wasn't sure how to add it though, so thanks. I guess I didn't read Template:Expert-subject carefully enough. Live and learn. Gyro Copter (talk) 07:31, 10 July 2008 (UTC)


I just went through and cleaned up a number of errors in spacing and formatting in the article, including incorrectly formatted book titles and references. There are still a large number of references that are formatted peculiarly and not at all in keeping with Wikipedia guidelines. This needs to be addressed, and should be a group effort. Anyone have any thoughts? ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 23:32, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

In I removed the following sentence "The relevance of gender and cultural differences in the application of these theories to universal humanity and non-human life is a source for serious concern among many scholars." I've no opinion on it's validity, but the original author failed in communicating any meaning. Can someone with more knowledge re-add it to the introduction? Muxxa (talk) 21:37, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

What IS the "will to power?"[edit]

The article doesn't have a section that explains its ideas, implications, etc. The definition might be in the article somewhere, but one would have to wade through to find it. I'm not an expert on Wikipedia's article layout methods, but I think it should be concisely explained somewhere near the top, in its own section. (talk) 02:06, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree. The article begins with Schopenhauer's perspective on the Will and the Will to Live, from there it goes on with explanations of different influences in Nietzche's life that may have developed his idea, but the idea is not explained. This article is more a discussion about the influences on Nietzche's "Will to Power" than it is on "Will to Power" itself. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:00, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

I also agree. I came to this page to see how Nietzsche 'got around' his problem of nihilism arising from the death of God (see God is Dead) and got nothing easily accessible (in stark contrast to the page that led me here). Furthermore, I suspect that many others have and will follow the same route and find no logical explanation, leaving feeling less enlightened than when they came. So please, if you know anything about the Will to Power, write something (anything) about it! -- (talk) 13:21, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

  • I added a bit to the lead. Hope this helps a little. Maybe an expert will come along and go deeper into the meaning of "will to power".  .`^) Painediss`cuss (^`.  15:18, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
I came to this talkpage to raise this same point, so I still consider it an issue. The lead section currently describes aspects of the concept, but doesn't appear to define it. Dissecting it (partially out of boredom):
  1. "a prominent concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche" we now know the category of the concept, and we know that it's important (vaguely WP:PEACOCK, but no big deal.
  2. "describes what Nietzsche believed to be the main driving force in man" we now know it's one of many driving forces, particularly the main one, according to Nietzsche.
  3. "achievement, ambition, the striving to reach the highest possible position in life, these are all manifestations" manifestations are subsets of a concept, but this does nothing to describe what unites them.
I presume the definition would be something like "the 'will to power' is the term used by Nietzsche to refer to the driving force of man to have control over his environment" but this is just an educated guess. It can't possibly be that hard to find a citable source that clearly defines the term. -Verdatum (talk)

In The Gay Science Nietzsche states the Will to Power is a will to survive however this is not merely to avoid death (Schopenhauer's and/or Buda's renunciation of life) or to procreate rather it is a will to be a cause (the desire which possibly lies behind procreation). We are to thrive (contrasted with survival) by ever becoming a more autonomous and self caused being defined by our own table of values and not those of another. According to Nietzsche, this type of person should be able to stand back from their life and say, "Thus have I willed it" according to their own categories and tastes. The thought may very well be amorphous intentionally to allow for flexibility, although the idea seems to have several distinct phases.

  1. At first blush the will to power is a will to live life to its fullest pursuing mastery over oneself and the world around us.
  2. One obtains mastery by breaking the old tables of values and freeing themselves to be creators understood as breaking free of the old, baseless, and life denying (suicidal) moral judgments, categories, and calculations of the herd or slave morality.
  3. Redefining morality in ones own terms (by ones instincts) as a result of seeing morality as a control devise to lower man closer to animal more than they already are.
  4. Developing the over man who will overcome and surpass man in his current evolutionary iteration.

The story of the tight rope walker in Thus Spoke Zarathustra illustrates the fact that man is in transition somewhere between animal and the over man and the difference is the will to power. That rare will to be self caused and free of both good or evil ever moving toward the over man even if it results in death as it does for the tight rope walker who Zarathustra caries away and buries. (talk) 13:36, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Helpful links[edit]

Since we still don't have an explanation of this, I thought it'd be good to list some good links on the subject.

Here's one:

This link indicates that explaining the will to power is problematic. I curious what people make of the link's assessment (I haven't studied Nietzsche much). Byelf2007 (talk) 1 June 2012

Skip to TOC[edit]

I added the {{skiptotoctalk}} template to the top of this discussion page for those who like to "get right down to it".  .`^) Painediss`cuss (^`.  18:36, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Adlerian will to power[edit]

That was a good revert, RJC. I was coming back later to heavily clean it up, because I also feel it was too much about Adler and not enough about the Adlerian will to power. So next time you see it, hopefully you'll find it acceptable. I'll sandbox it for a while longer.  .`^) Paine Ellsworthdiss`cuss (^`.  14:40, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

The section on Adler's contribution has been cleaned and polished. And I redesigned it as a subsection for the Interpretations section. The brief piece is now much more about the subject matter, the will to power, and much less about Adler. I did try to stay focused on what would be most important to the article for it to remain readable (legible), and interesting and informative to readers.  .`^) Paine Ellsworthdiss`cuss (^`.  16:48, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. And I've included a quote from Adler, which shows the relation between his psychology and Nietzsche's will to power. --D.H (talk) 20:28, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Great! Definitely adds dimension to the subsection. Sorry about the Cquote; as much as I like 'em, WP says to only use them with pull quotes. Editor RJC and I had an edit conflict while trying to remove the "C". I think they look great, but if striving for FA is a realistic goal, Cquotes must be excluded.  .`^) Paine Ellsworthdiss`cuss (^`.  21:07, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

A good revert, yes, but not enough (look forward Article really mattering). Sorry and bravery. -- M.S.C. (MP) 09/07/16 à 00:50 (CEST)

Check your sources?[edit]

Nietzsche does not say: "in intellectual beings that pleasure, displeasure, and will are to be found" in §110. That quote is from the end of §127, I'll fix the error. -- (talk) 20:03, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

Reference to "has been identified in nature"[edit]

The "will to power" has been "identified" in nature in the dominance hierarchies studied in many living species.

Hi everyone. I just read this article, and I feel the line above is dubious without sources, or clarification that at least defines what has been "identified" and how it relates to "Will to power". The dominance studies article it refers to makes no mention of a "will to power" as far as I can see, but rather seems to be about the reproductive success of the genetic material that build organisms best suited both for in-group competition. While it might be a valid interpretation, I would suggest that without a source clarifying, this line is not credible and should be removed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Knutsi (talkcontribs) 11:19, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

"Has been identified." - Phrase clearly makes reference to a scientific study or some sort of empirical evidence which is not cited. Suggest deleting the part with 'identified'? Ausphexx (talk) 10:14, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

It is misleading at best[edit]

It even seems to contradict the text later on...

Elsewhere in The Gay Science he notes that it is only “in intellectual beings that pleasure, displeasure, and will are to be found,”[7] excluding the vast majority of organisms from the desire for power.

There is also a clear distinction made in the introduction between the will to life and the will to power. Although dominance hierarchies can be thought of as power structures, it's not clear within the context of the article how one would go about decoupling the will to life from the will to power in any given biological situation. I see it as unhelpful, if not factually incorrect.

Futhermore, there has been no citation added in the more than two years that it has been tagged for.

Lucaswilkins (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 22:22, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

Background Section[edit]

In the last sentences of this section the Will to power and amor fati are directly related to one another . These last few sentences seem to digress from the main body of 'Background'. I suggest rewriting, finding sources, deleting or rephrasing the last few sentences.Ausphexx (talk) 10:11, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Aggression cloaked in philosophical terms[edit]

Will to power is just aggression put into philosophical terms. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:26, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Do you feel better after writing this "ignoreledge" bull**** ? If so, that's OK. -- Malcolm S. Cooper (MP) 08/07/16 à 23:30 (CEST)

Article really mattering[edit]

Hello, Despite my surname, I'm a French Wikipedian, trying to improve the French article looking at the EN, and I am kind of a Nietzschean specialist. But the fact is that Will to power is not just a human energy to succeed, as your article explains. Have a look at §36 of Beyond Good and Evil : Will to Power is quite the principle of everything. And have a look at Zarthustra's behavior, or chapter the Creator's ways (I translate from French, so excuse the eventual matter) - not God, but man as a creator - and also chapter the Victory on oneself : it clearly seems that Will to Power is a motion or a movement, leading "everyself" forward. Mostly : the German Wille zur Macht indicates like an empowerment of oneself. So, I advise the curious & interested ones to look this way beyond. But I think you are right when integrating Alfred Adler : Will to Power is kind of a deep psychology, certainly for humankind ; but the fact is that Adler moralises it in "community feeling" Nietzsche could not accept easily. Thank you and bravery to you : Nietzsche matters in the entire world. -- Malcolm S. Cooper (MP) 08/07/16 à 22:50 (CEST)