I'm reading Nietzsche and he had this interesting idea that all lives tend to expand their influence on the world as much as possible. And for human beings, that means seeking to start a family, or to get a promotion, etc.. But it also appears that most people do not abide by this rule. Some people just lie on their bed all day doing nothing. And the truth is that most people don't work nearly as hard as they can.
Does this mean this "will to power" idea is total nonsense, or is people "slacking off" consistent with Nietzsche's framework?

  • some people have more sense than to want more than they need. Or to try and compete with sociopaths for the throne. If the sociopath on the throne makes things too difficult for those sensible people... they'll work harder.. but you wouldnt want that. – Richard Feb 10 at 2:49
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    Well, maybe because Nietzsche is not god and the universe does not act under his instructions. But your examples are not good ones. Nietzsche, for example, did not seek family or promotion. But I think that Nietzsche's will to power is oversimplifying things, like will to live or will to meaning do. Human have drives and intelligence. Intelligence studies drives and the world and produces principles. Principles cause motives. – rus9384 Feb 10 at 9:11
  • @rus9384 And let's not forget emotions. They can mess with drives, principles, and motives. – Joachim Feb 10 at 13:27
  • @Joachim Pretty much they do not affect principles themselves. Only drives and drives often are higher than principles and motives. – rus9384 Feb 10 at 13:35
  • @rus9384 Hence emotions can indirectly influence principles and motives. <br>But I think they can even do so directly: just imagine what people will do to still their hunger or save their friends or family. Many principles are cast aside when our primal urges and needs take over. After all, all is fair in love and war. – Joachim Feb 10 at 13:42

all lives tend to expand their influence on the world as much as possible

I'd be interested to see specific quotes where you see Nietzsche putting forth this view. My understanding has been that Nietzsche's concept of the will to power was more prescriptive than descriptive, that is, more about what we should be than what we are. For example, in The Antichrist Nietzsche writes:

What is good? — All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man. What is bad? — All that proceeds from weakness. What is happiness? — The feeling that power increases — that a resistance is overcome.

So clearly, power is good for Nietzsche, and it produces happiness. But it doesn't follow that every individual actively and effectively peruses these ends.

In The Gay Science Nietzsche frames happiness (and by implication then, also the will to power) as a choice:

You have the choice: either as little displeasure as possible, painlessness in brief … or as much displeasure as possible as the price for the growth of an abundance of subtle pleasures and joys that have rarely been relished yet? If you decide for the former and desire to diminish and lower the level of human pain, you also have to diminish and lower the level of their capacity for joy.

So for Nietzsche a more passive and lazy approach to life is a trade-off, easily understandable if ultimately unwise.

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