from Will to power


552 (Spring-Fall 1887)

Against determinism and teleology.– From the fact that something ensues regularly and ensues calculably, it does not follow that it ensues necessarily. That a quantum of force determines and conducts itself in every particular case in one way and manner does not make it into an ”unfree will.” ”Mechanical necessity” is not a fact: it is we who first interpreted it into events. We have interpreted the formulatable character of events as the consequence of a necessity that rules over events. But from the fact that I do a certain thing, it by no means follows that I am compelled to do it. Compulsion in things certainly cannot be demonstrated: the rule proves only that one and the same event is not another event as well. Only because we have introduced subjects, ”doers,” into things does it appear that all events are the consequences of compulsion exerted upon subjects–exerted by whom? again by a ”doer.” Cause and effect–a dangerous concept so long as one thinks of something that causes and something upon which an effect is produced.

a. Necessity is not a fact but an interpretation.

b. When one has grasped that the ”subject” is not something that creates effects, but only a fiction, much follows.

It is only after the model of the subject that we have invented the reality of things and projected them into the medley of sensations. If we no longer believe in the effective subject, then belief also disappears in effective things, in reciprocation, cause and effect between those phenomena that we call things.

There also disappears, of course, the world of effective atoms: the assumption of which always depended on the supposition that one needed subjects.

At last, the ”thing-in-itself” also disappears, because this is fundamentally the conception of a ”subject-in-itself.” But we have grasped that the subject is a fiction. The antithesis ”thing-in-itself” and ”appearance” is untenable; with that, however, the concept ”appearance” also disappears.

c. If we give up the effective subject, we also give up the object upon which effects are produced. Duration, identity with itself, being are inherent neither in that which is called subject nor in that which is called object: they are complexes of events apparently durable in comparison with other complexes–e. g., through the difference in tempo of the event (rest–motion, firm–loose: opposites that do not exist in themselves and that actually express only variations in degree that from a certain perspective appear to be opposites. There are no opposites: only from those of logic do we derive the concept of opposites–and falsely transfer it to things).

d. If we give up the concept ”subject” and ”object,” then also the concept ”substance”–and as a consequence also the various modifications of it, e. g., ”matter,” ”spirit,” and other hypothetical entities, ”the eternity and immutability of matter,” etc. We have got rid of materiality.

From the standpoint of morality, the world is false. But to the extent that morality itself is a part of this world, morality is false.

Will to truth is a making firm, a making true and durable, an abolition of the false character of things, a reinterpretation of it into beings. ”Truth” is therefore not something there, that might be found or discovered–but something that must be created and that gives a name to a process, or rather to a will to overcome that has in itself no end–introducing truth, as a processus in infinitum, an active determining–not a becoming conscious of something that is in itself firm and determined. It is a word for the ”will to power.”

Life is founded upon the premise of a belief in enduring and regularly recurring things; the more powerful life is, the wider must be the knowable world to which we, as it were, attribute being. Logicizing, rationalizing, systematizing as expedients of life.

Man projects his drive to truth, his ”goal” in a certain sense outside himself as a world that has being, as a metaphysical world, as a ”thing-in-itself,” as a world already in existence. His needs as creator invent the world upon which he works, anticipate it; this anticipation (this ”belief” in truth) is his support.

All events, all motion, all becoming, as a determination, degrees and relations of force, as a struggle–

As soon as we imagine someone who is responsible for our being thus and thus, etc. (God, nature), and therefore attribute to him the intention that we should exist and be happy or wretched, we corrupt for ourselves the innocence of becoming. We then have someone who wants to achieve something through us and with us.

The ”‘welfare of the individual” is just as imaginary as the ”welfare of the species”: the former is not sacrificed to the latter, species viewed from a distance is just as transient as the individual. ”Preservation of the species” is only a consequence of the growth of the species, i. e., the. overcoming of the species on the road to a stronger type.

[Theses.] That the apparent ”purposiveness” (”that purposiveness which endlessly surpasses all the arts of man”) is merely the consequence of the will to power manifest in all events; that becoming stronger involves an ordering process which looks like a sketchy purposiveness; that apparent ends are not intentional but, as soon as dominion is established over a lesser power and the latter operates as a function of the greater power, an order of rank, of organization is bound to produce the appearance of an order of means and ends.

Against apparent ”necessity”: –this is only an expression for the fact that a force is not also something else.

Against apparent ”purposiveness”: –the latter only an expression for an order of spheres of power and their interplay.

9. Thing-in-Itself and Appearance



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