What Nietzsche Taught

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The influence of "environment" is nonsensically over-rated in Darwin: the essential factor in the process of life is precisely the tremendous inner power to shape and to create forms, which merely uses, exploits "environment." 127

The feeling of being surcharged, the feeling accompanying an increase in strength, quite apart from the utility of the struggle, is the actual progress: from these feelings the will to war is first derived. 128

A living thing seeks above all to discharge its strength: "self-preservation" is only one of the results thereof.... 128

The most fundamental and most primeval activity of a protoplasm cannot be ascribed to a will to self-preservation, for it absorbs an amount of material which is absurdly out of proportion with the needs of its preservation: and what is more, it does not "preserve itself" in the process, but actually falls to pieces .... The instinct which rules here, must account for this total absence in the organism of a desire to preserve itself.

The will to power can manifest itself only against obstacles: it therefore goes in search of what resists it—this is the primitive tendency of the protoplasm when it extends its pseudopodia and feels about it. The act of appropriation and assimilation is, above all, the result of an additional building and rebuilding, until at last the subjected creature has become completely a part of the[Pg 315] superior creature's sphere of power, and has increased the latter.... 130

Why is all activity, even that of a sense, associated with pleasure? Because, before the activity was possible, an obstacle or a burden was done away with. Or, rather, because all action is a process of overcoming, of becoming master of, and of increasing the feeling of power? 135

Man is not only an individual, but the continuation of collective organic life in one definite line. The fact that man survives, proves that a certain species of interpretations (even though it still be added to) has also survived; that, as a system, this method of interpreting has not changed. 152

The fundamental phenomena: innumerable individuals are sacrificed for the sake of a few, in order to make the few possible.—One must not allow one's self to be deceived; the case is the same with peoples and races: they produce the "body" for the generation of isolated and valuable individuals, who continue the great process. 153

Life is not the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations, but will to power, which, proceeding from inside, subjugates and incorporates an ever-increasing quantity of "external" phenomena. 153-154

Man as a species is not progressing. Higher specimens are indeed attained; but they do not survive. The general level of the species is not raised.... Man as a species does not represent any sort of progress compared with any other animal. 157

The domestication (culture) of man does not sink very deep. When it does sink far below the skin it immediately becomes degeneration (type: the Christian). The[Pg 316] "wild" man (or, in moral terminology, the evil man) is a reversion to Nature—and, in a certain sense, he represents a recovery, a cure from the effects of "culture."... 158

The strong always have to be upheld against the weak; and the well-constituted against the ill-constituted, the healthy against the sick and physiologically botched. If we drew our morals from reality, they would read thus: the mediocre are more valuable than the exceptional creatures, and the decadent than the mediocre; the will to nonentity prevails over the will to life.... 159

That species show an ascending tendency, is the most nonsensical assertion that has ever been made: until now they have only manifested a dead level. There is nothing whatever to prove that the higher organisms have developed from the lower. 160

Man as he has appeared up to the present is the embryo of the man of the future; all the formative powers which are to produce the latter, already lie in the former: and owing to the fact that they are enormous, the more promising for the future the modern individual happens to be, the more suffering falls to his lot. 161

The will to power is the primitive motive force out of which all other motives have been derived. 162

From a psychological point of view the idea of "cause" is our feeling of power in the act which is called willing—our concept "effect" is the superstition that this feeling of power is itself the force which moves things.... 163

Life as an individual case (a hypothesis which may be applied to existence in general) strives after the maximum feeling of power; life is essentially a striving after more power; striving itself is only a straining after more[Pg 317] power; the most fundamental and innermost thing of all is this will. 165

Man does not seek happiness and does not avoid unhappiness. Everybody knows the famous prejudices I here contradict. Pleasure and pain are mere results, mere accompanying phenomena—that which every man, which every tiny particle of a living organism will have, is an increase of power. In striving after this, pleasure and pain are encountered; it is owing to that will that the organism seeks opposition and requires that which stands in its way.... Pain as the hindrance of its will to power is therefore a normal feature, a natural ingredient of every organic phenomenon; man does not avoid it; on the contrary, he is constantly in need of it; every triumph, every feeling of pleasure, every event presupposes an obstacle overcome. 172

Man is now master of the forces of nature, and master too of his own wild and unbridled feelings (the passions have followed suit, and have learned to become useful)—in comparison with primeval man, the man of to-day represents an enormous quantum of power, but not an increase in happiness. How can one maintain, then, that he has striven after happiness? 174

"God" is the culminating moment: life is an eternal process of deifying and undeifying. But withal there is no zenith of values, but only a zenith of power. 181

Man has one terrible and fundamental wish; he desires power, and this impulse, which is called freedom, must be the longest restrained. Hence ethics has instinctively aimed at such an education as shall restrain the desire for power; thus our morality slanders the would-be tyrant, and glorifies charity, patriotism, and the ambition of the herd. 186

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When the instincts of a society ultimately make it give up war and renounce conquest, it is decadent: it is ripe for democracy and the rule of shopkeepers. 189

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