Nietzsche is one of the most important philosophers of the nineteenth century, along with other prominent figures such as Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx. These thinkers have been called “philosophers of suspicion” for their desire to unmask falsehood hidden under the enlightened values of rationality and truth. In particular, Nietzche spoke of the will to power.
According to Nietzsche, Western culture is vitiated by having sought to establish rationality in all aspects of life. Already since the beginnings of Western culture in Greece, rationality represents a symptom of decadence. Everything that opposes the values of the instinctive and biological existence of man is decadent.
To understand Nietzschean philosophy, we must not lose sight of his harsh criticism of Plato for postulating the world of ideas. His philosophy rejects these metaphysical traps: the rational world, the moral world and the religious world. The fundamental principle of the Nietzschean theory is the concept of life. To understand what this thinker understood by “life” one should not lose sight of the absolute negation of the Platonic rational world.
Nietzsche and the concept of life
For the German philosopher, life is based on two basic principles: the principle of conservation and the principle of increase.
It postulates that there is only life insofar as it conserves itself. Of course, this capacity for conservation is due to the constant movement, the need for increase. If what is preserved does not increase, it dies. Life is preserved because it increases thanks to the achievement of what makes us have more life.
All this vital space, whose principles we have echoed, is understood as the will to power.
The two vital principles of the Nietzschean philosophy are conservation and increase. If we do not try to increase what we have, we can not keep what we have.
The will of power in Nietzsche
The will to power is the same evolution of life. It could even be said that life is the will to power because it is she who conquers what we long for, who tries to obtain what we want and who dominates what we possess.
The will to power is the life ejected towards a horizon in which we find and obtain what we want. Therefore, he wants things and wants to increase what he has. But it is essential to say that the will to power, before wanting anything, must love itself; only in this way will you want to increase what you have to keep what you already have.
Imagine that we want to buy a car but, at the moment we want it, we do not have sufficient liquidity to obtain it. The conservation of that desire will only be possible if we work to try to increase our savings in order to pay for the desired car. If we did nothing to achieve that goal, that desire would disappear as a desire and as a motivation.
The will of power wants itself
Once the will to power wants its own conservation, it also understands that everything it has conquered will not be able to maintain it if it only conserves it. In order to conserve, we must increase, we must continue to conquer ground.
The will to power is intentional and projected towards the world of life, the only place where you can get what you want. The nature of this will is movement, never stopping, continuing to expand. According to Nietzsche, if we settle for what we have at this moment and do not try to increase it, we die (in a metaphorical sense in which the will to power petrifies).
“There are no facts. There are only interpretations.”
Where, then, lies the truth? For the German philosopher, it is clear that he is in the will to power. There is a very close relationship between truth and power.
Imagine that a certain media outlet publishes a news item in the morning. All other media are echoed, and each tells the story from the perspective of their ideology. It is probable that each person takes as true the “fact” that publishes that means of communication that best fits with their ideas.
Now imagine that given the different versions of the media, the controversy arises and, at night, people of the different media come together on a set to discuss what is for them the truth of what has happened (The truths collide precisely because there are only interpretations of the facts). It is at this moment that a critical mind will understand that Truth is the daughter of power.
This being so, it is obvious that the hegemonic truth will always be backed by power, it is a powerful expression of the will that wants to increase to conserve itself (to understand this, let’s think about the totalitarian regimes whose truth was the Truth).
For Nietzsche, any will to power that does not intend to increase to conserve is just a life imbued with nothing: what we understand today by nihilism (the word nihilism comes from the Latin nihil, undefined undefined pronoun meaning “nothing”).