The will to power is the central concept in the philosophy of the late F. Nietzsche. In 1901, a year after his death, P.Gastom with the brothers E. and A. Hornefeeram published the book “The Will to Power”, announced “the main work of Nietzsche.” The book came out as the next, 15th volume of the Collected Works and was supposed to be the continuation of the previous six volumes united by the common work title “Unpublished” (indicating the time of appearance and completion of the published text) according to the initial plan of the publishers. Under pressure from the sister of the philosopher and the leader of the archive, Elizabeth Förster-Nietzsche, the title of the volume was: “The will to power. Experience re-evaluation of all values (research and fragments). ” The decision was of a purely pragmatic nature, corresponding to the general myth-making strategy of the archive, to present to the public Nietzsche as a taxonomist (contrary to his aphorism from “Twilight of Idols”: “I do not trust all systematics and I care for them.) There is a lack of honesty for the system”.
In 1906 the second, expanded edition was published, edited by E. Fisher-Nietzsche and P. Gast, which became canonical. Although already at that time the first warning voices were heard (Lamm Å. Friedrich Nietzsche und seine nachgelassenen “Lehren” .- “Süddeutsche Monatshefte”, 1906, September), but only half a century later the book entitled “Will to power” ceased to be “the main philosophical work” Nietzsche and re-appeared in its original authentic version: in the form of fragments and rough drafts that have no unity, except for the purely chronologically arranged material from the heritage of the 80s, K. Schlecht, who in 1954-56 published a three-volume Nietzsche (with the dismantled “Will to power “in the third volume), with He spent his philological postscript, whose purpose was to expose fake concocted by the archive, and the abolition of the myth of the “philosophical system” of Nietzsche. Schlecht’s publication was distinguished by an emphatically negative attitude not only to falsifiers but also to the philosopher himself, which, incidentally, was quite natural against the background of the post-war rush around “Nietzsche in the dock in Nuremberg.” What it essentially was, is the substitution of one, “heroic” myth, by another, “anti-heroic”, a kind of belated “ressentiment” of liberalism, taking advantage of the opportunity to settle accounts with a philosopher whose danger is for “peace, progress and culture” the influential politicians of the Entente (Bertram E. Nietzsche, Versuch einer Mythologie, Bonn, 1985, p. 375) have witnessed since the time of the First World War. The controversy that arose around this publication (sharply criticized, in particular, by R.Panvitz and K.Levit) did not affect, however, the reception of this new myth about Nietzsche. In the critical academic edition of J. Colley and M. Montinari published since 1967, the text of the so-called. “Will to power” finally dissolves in fragments of the heritage (almost 9000 fragments on more than 3200 pages).
Presented in such a disembodied, “Will to power” form fully corresponded to the standards of post-war denazification. The philosopher from the former GDR, who called it the “giant cloaca” (Harich W. Revision des marxistischen Nietzsche-Bildes? – Sinn und Form, 1987, Sept./Oct., S. 1035), only in the unmasked form expressed the dominant tendency of Nietzsche’s accommodation conditions of the Brecht era.
It would be wrong to absolutize the philological significance of what happened to the detriment of the philosophical side of the matter. The “written”, even in the form of fragments, clearly shows through the contours of a certain rigorous concept (“system in aphorisms”, according to the accurate definition of K.Levit.-Lowith K. “Nietzsche”, Sämtliche Schriften, Bd 6. Stuttg., 1987, S. 111-123). In the end, even the four books that make up the fabricated whole (“European Nihilism,” “Criticism of the Earliest High Values,” “The Principle of New Assignment of Values,” “Education and Selection”) only reproduce exactly one of Nietzsche’s many plans, dated March 17 1887 (Nietzsche, Kritische Studienausgabe, Münch., 1988, Bd. 12, S. 318). Summarizing the philological sensation, you can in a somewhat paradoxical form to say that the book itself was not a fake, but only its text, or rather, the compilation of its constituent texts. Understanding this “Will to power” ceases to be only the title of the book, but it under any circumstances remains the main concept of Nietzsche’s philosophy. For the first time the concept of “will to power” appears in the second part of the book “So said Zarathustra” (chapter “On self-overcoming”):
“Wherever I found a living, I found the will to power.” Despite the fragmentation, fragments of heritage allow us to recreate a fairly consistent picture of the whole. Nietzsche interprets the will to power as the principle of everything that exists. Confirmation of his thoughts, he seeks in any material available to him analysis: in philosophy, religion, art, psychology, politics, science, up to everyday life. The universalization of this principle entailed a total revision of the entire value and significant, primarily religion, morality and philosophy (the choice of the title of the proposed book ranged between “Will to power” and “Revaluation of all values” with an equal preference for both). The philosophy of Nietzsche is reduced in this section to a certain technique of exposure with a prearranged trap, which psychoanalysts will later use under different indices. The striving for truth, cognition, justice, virtue, freedom, peace, obedience, tolerance, equality, conscience, faith, a sense of duty, love, ideals of every kind are revealed here; all these are “disguised forms of the will to power” (ibid., S. 275). The problem begins where these masks usurp reality or impersonate it. Everywhere, where the will to power is weaker than the illusions that cover it, life and culture are in decline.
The universal expression of decadence is nihilism, the genealogy of which occupies a central place in the whole philosophy of the will to power. Nietzsche discovers his origins in Socrates and especially in Christianity, and the beginning of his heyday dates back to the New Times: “Beginning with Copernicus, a person slides from the center into X” (ibid., S. 127). Man transfers the purpose and purpose of his existence outside, into a kind of “otherworldliness”, anyway: religious, moral or natural science, and for a long time believes in the guaranteed meaning of one’s own life and death. When, at last, time comes not to believe, but to know, he, to his horror, recognizes the otherworldly as “nothing” (in the projection of religion as a deceased God, in the projection of morality as a virtue tartyufy, in the projection of natural science as “the eternal return of one and the same same “). The will to power distinguishes three types of nihilism: passive, reactive and negative (Deleuze G. Nietzsche et la philosophie, P., 1991, p. 169-170). In passive nihilism, “knowing nothing” is logically and practically identical with “not knowing anything,” therefore “wanting nothing” is tantamount to “not wanting anything.” This “European Buddhism” is opposed to the second type of nihilism, which is no longer passive, but not yet active, namely reactive. He reacts to life values with a bare negation of them, not seeing that his very existence is guaranteed by the existence of the latter. Finally, in the third form of nihilism, the “nothing” itself is in demand, which reveals itself no longer as an absence of being, but as a being of absence, in a moral aspect: not as a lack of value, but as a value of absence, primarily lack of morality itself. The accent of this (third) nihilism is moved from “nothing” to “want,” so that even where there is “nothing” to want, he “prefers to want nothing more than nothing to want” (Nietzsche).
Nihilism arises and affirms when it comes to choosing between life (will to power) and its cultural masks (values), and the choice is made in favor of masks.
“Why does the ascent of nihilism seem necessary from now on?” Because it is our previous values that draw our last conclusions; because nihilism is the thoughtful logic of our great values and ideals, because, finally, that we must survive nihilism to guess what, in fact, was the value of these “values” … Someday we will need new values ”(Kritische Studienausgabe, Bd. 13, p. 190). Overcoming nihilism can become, therefore, only a re-evaluation of all values and the creation of new ones. But reappraisal and creation are inconceivable without a re-evaluator and creator, in the language of Nietzsche: “the supreme man,” or “Superman.” If this latter is expected, it is by no means in the theatrical and eschatological topic of some deus ex machina, but in the realities of the corresponding pedagogy. Typical is the style of description, the purpose of which was, as it were, preventive prevention of the theme from all sorts of mystical, lyrical or metaphysical aberrations, destiny was also full of political aberrations. Nietzsche’s “supreme man,” the victor of God and Nothing, is in the competence not of Revelation, but of upbringing, not of the classically humanistic (Erziehung), but of the rigid-disciplinary (Zucht), which Nietzsche, in the purely Darwinian paroxysm of thought, Züchtung (deducing), so that the educator combines the function of not only the supervisor but also, as it were, the man-guide. The “supreme man” is conceived as a certain Sisyphus of meaning in a meaningless world, moreover, in a world whose nonsense is repeated without end (the “eternal return of the same”), but which by these repetitions provokes creative will for equally endless acts of meaning creation.
The spectrum of the receptions of Nietzsche’s “will to power” in the philosophy of the 20th century fluctuates between political interpretations in the spirit of A. Bohmler and metaphysical exegeses in the manner of M. Heidegger. Meanwhile, in the light of textual revisions, it is timely to restore not only texts but also contexts, namely: taking into account, along with written, as well stimuli, impulses, motivations of Nietzschean thought. The philosopher of the will to power moves in this light to a different (perhaps less heroic, but no less tragic) dimension, determined not by the Pythagorean-Gnostic tradition to which, according to some researchers, the philosopher of “eternal return” belonged, and the less historically- philosophical meditations around Parmenides or Holderlin, in which, according to Heidegger’s will, he had to declassify his mystery the philosopher of “nihilism,” and the world of modern natural science. Characteristic in this respect is the whole middle period of Nietzsche’s creative work, from “Human, too human” to “Gay Science”, where the naturally scientifically oriented way of thinking appears in an explicit form. But even in the works of the last period, there is a clear tendency to solve primordially metaphysical problems with constant alignment with the world of natural science. (Among the notes dated to the beginning of 1886, there is even a sketch of the title “The Natural History of the Free Mind” – an incredible combination given that the competence of “natural history” extended to any living creature, but not to the free mind that traditionally always belonged to “an unnatural history”).
It is interesting to note in this connection that the idea of” eternal return “, which, along with” nihilism “and” superman “, is key to the whole of Nietzsche’s philosophy, was borrowed from Dühring’s” Course of Philosophy “. In the personal library of Nietzsche there is a copy of this book with traces of careful reading: “The positivist Dühring, when formulating the idea of” eternal return, “immediately rejects it as absurd.” Nietzsche emphasizes the passage, attests the author with an unflattering word and completely adopts the idea (this was first pointed out by R. Steiner, who worked in his younger years in Nietzsche’s archives and studied not only the manuscripts of the late philosopher but also comments made on the margins of the books he read. Die “sogenannte” Wiederkunft des Gleichen von Nietzsche, Gesamtausgabe, Dornach, 1989, S. 549-571). If not all decisive points of the philosophy of the will to power so demonstratively reveal their natural scientific background, then all of them are somehow conditioned by it. In this sense, Nietzsche did not complete Western metaphysics, however seductively this formulation sounded, but fought with the thought in the web of scientific materialism. The philosophy of the will to power stemmed from the same source as the modern Neo-Kantian philosophy; different were only the reactions of both to the world of science and the resulting fate. In one case, it was a logically grounded, objective tendency to take scientificity under strict transcendental-philosophical control. In another case, the desperation from scientificity, which replaced religion and who failed to place faith and morality (these former masks of will to power), was anything but objective, except for a new mask of proud agnosticism.