What is good? Everything that heightens the feeling of power in man, the will to power, power itself.

Instead of asking what is good, I found myself asking myself what 'power' is. How does Nietzsche's understanding of "power" differ from his predecessors? Could any difference there be what sets Nietzsche apart from his so called "herd"? Did he believe he had completely worked out what it was, so that everyone else can only interpret (or misinterpret) him?

  • Nietzsche's will to power can be partly understood through his intellectual dialogue with Spinoza's ideas about "conatus", see karolinum.cz/data/clanek/1205/Interpret_2_2013_05_Wiesmann.pdf (in particular the section starting on p. 55 about what Spinoza meant by the idea). I get the impression that Spinoza's conatus was partly motivated by his monism--A.C. Grayling's History of Philosophy says that Spinoza wanted to answer questions like "how can human beings be different from each other if they are really all part of the one thing that exists?"
    – Hypnosifl
    Nov 24 at 5:31

Power before Nietzsche was an aspect of the One, for example, in both Islamic and Christian philosophy snd hence orientated to the Good. Its also part of Platos pgikosopgy and before him, Pythagoras.

With Nietzsche it is detached from that, as he denies the One - part of his infamous 'death of God' rhetoric. With that eliminated as well as the notion of the Good, as part of his 'beyond Good and Evil', power simply becomes capricious and this is why Orff in his opus, the Carmina Burana, and which was influenced by Nietzsche speaks of capricious fortune.

I'd say that capricious power is simply tyrannical power. And Nietzsche bows down before that. This would be simply diabolical in the old way of thinking - as well as today, if only peiple would draw out the full implications of what he had to say. In fact, Ronald Beiner, a philosopher who was infatuated with Nietzsche in his youth, in his book, Dangerous Minds, says exactly that and with one eye on todays political climate.


Nietzsche's usage of power stems from modern philosophy's usage of it. Think Hobbes, Machiavelli, Bacon. Once reason is denied its telos, it becomes a handmaid to the passions, and so the issue is how to best satisfy your passions. Thus power is important, as there is no end for man as such. Read Leo Strauss and Allan Bloom.

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