Will to Power

I was reading this article on Nietzsche, and towards the middle the author discredits any advocacy of WTP as a foundation of Nietzschean philosophy.

plato.stanford.edu/entries/nietz … political/

"Second, the view at issue presupposes an unusually strong doctrine of the will to power: a doctrine, to the effect, that all life (actions, events) reflects the will to power. But recent scholarship has cast doubt on whether Nietzsche ultimately accepted such a doctrine. The single most famous passage on will to power in the Nietzschean corpus, for example, is the concluding section (1067) of The Will to Power, where he affirms that, “This world is the will to power — and nothing besides! And you yourselves are also this will to power — and nothing besides!” Although a favorite of commentators for many years, the passage has now been conclusively discredited by the leading scholar of the Nachlass, the late Mazzino Montinari. Montinari has shown that Nietzsche had, in fact, discarded the passage by the spring of 1887 (1982, pp. 103-104)! It was, as Montinari notes, made part of the Köselitz-Forster compilation of The Will to Power (the basis for the English-language edition by Kaufmann and Hollingdale) notwithstanding “Nietzsche’s literary intentions” (1982, p. 104).

Finally, Maudemarie Clark has argued that Nietzsche could not have accepted the very strongest form of the doctrine of the will to power — namely, that all force, animate and inanimate, is will to power — given the putative argument he gives for it. Clark points out that the only argument for this doctrine of the will to power in Nietzsche’s published works — in Section 36 of Beyond Good and Evil — is cast in the conditional form: if we accept certain initial hypotheses, then, Nietzsche thinks, the strong doctrine of the will to power follows. But one of the antecedents of this conditional is the “causality of the will,” and Clark argues that Nietzsche clearly rejects such causality elsewhere in his work (e.g., GS 127, TI II:5, TI VI:3). Therefore, this section can not constitute an argument for the strongest doctrine of the will to power that Nietzsche, himself, would actually accept! Rather than embracing the strongest form of the doctrine, Clark argues that Nietzsche is, somewhat ironically, illustrating the very flaw of philosophers he warns against in the surrounding passages: namely, their tendency to propound theories of the essence of reality that are just projections of their own evaluative commitments "

The rest of the article is a very good read… It goes on the show that Nietzsche has a sort of evalutive perspective and regards things(to the degree of how good or bad they are) according to “taste”… since no thing has a value in itself.

This leads me to believe that Nietzsche advocacy for health(while not being social Darwinian) still promotes the “fitness club” type of body… an actual physically strong body… because the promotion of this “type” of being coincides with “good taste” and is ascetically pleasing… but this is besides the point… I’m more concerned with WTP.

"“Precisely if all views of the world are interpretations, i.e., acts of the will to power, the doctrine of the will to power is at the same time an interpretation and the most fundamental fact, for, in contradistinction to all other interpretations, it is the necessary and sufficient condition of the possibility of any ‘categories’.”

“In this way the will to power teaching can account for itself and for all other interpretations without losing its character as interpretation, without falling into dogmatism. Its character as interpretation enables it to claim precedence or to say “so much the better” to all who retort “this too is only interpretation” [BGE 22]. It remains a claim; it never ascends to certainty. But it has an arguable and plausible superiority as an interpretation, and it is able as well to account for both the world of concern to us and the world in itself.”

These are quotes from sauwelios yahoo group.

While this interpretation of WTP never falls into dogmatism…Doesn’t it betray an “evaluative commitment” that is non-existent in Nietzsche’s evaluative perspective?

I mean… Might the claim that WTP “has an arguable and plausible superiority as an interpretation” be wrong? Where is the evidence(in Nietzsche’s published works) that interpreting the world as WTP(even if never dogma) is itself the “strongest” most superior way of interpreting?

It could be that for him the metaphysical evaluation of WTP is reflective of the kind of person he wants. If such dogma is a projection of philosophers’ inner persons, he would rather have a strong, life-affirming philosopher than a weak one. So maybe it is that the Übermensch precedes the will-to-power rather than the other way around. We know quite handedly what his moral philosophy was; perhaps we could extrapolate a metaphysics from that.

I’ll get back to this after I read that article.

If it is the case that interpreting the world as the will to power is not the case for Nietzsche, in light of a lack of evidence in Nietzsche’s published works, wouldn’t there then have to be an alternative? In other words, what would be the best way to interpret the world?

Brian Leiter is one of a group of “old school” analytical philosophers who have started taking Nietzsche very seriously as a conventional philosopher in recent years. No more than he deserves too I think. Thanks for the link really looking forward to reading it.

It does seem to me that WTP while you might not quite go so far as seeing it as the central feature of Nietzsche’s universe (is that even a fair term for some one who hated metaphysics?) it is an absolutely crucial part of his philosophy. My worry is that if you just reduce it to individual taste you loose Nietzcshe’s unique force (and Schopenhauer too I guess) and end up back with kant " Spider of Königsberg"'s Critique of Judgement
You loose everything distinctive about Nietzsche

OK hopefully I’m totally wrong there - I’ll give it a read over me lunch!


From what I’ve read of the article so far, Leiter isn’t dismantling Nietzsche at all. I believe he’s just showing how Nietzsche’s thought evolved and changed regarding the WTP. I get the strong impression that it had something to do with Nietzsche’s idea of types and the problem of the higher man.

I have always thought that the expression of will is energized and defined by one’s personality type. However, my view of types is derived from Jung and the Enneagram as it developed out of Gurdjieff through the work of Oscar Naranjo. Also, the expression of a type depends on whether it is coming out of light or shadow as well. I particularly like the Catholic take on types, which are manifestations of nine divine virtues in the light, and nine deadly sins or vices in the shadow. Each one of us personifies a type and, from what I understand, spiritual evolution involves an integration of all the types and, ultimately, a transcendence of types in a more holistic spiritual transformation.

Nietzsche comes out as a classic type four, by the way. That is my type too, so I understand Nietzsche to the bone.

Hi Jonquil I’m very ignorant on Jung so can say no more - the type facts idea of Leiter is not bad - nor his trying to link Nietzcshe to naturalism in Philosphy.

I liked the article in one way in that he was trying to pitch Nietzsche as a serious moral philospher - but for the exact same reason it also annoyed me!
This was the way he seemed to be just trying to squeeze Nietzsche into a whole load of pre established theories in more analytical moral philosophy and he lost something in the squeezing for me - maybe it just took some of the fun out!
The line on WTP though was actually very good - Nietzsche would hardly be a very good Nietzschian if WTP was somehow the metaphysical basis, the “fuel” of his Universe.

Good read overall.


I only read the first part. It looks as though you got a lot out of it. I definitely think Nietzsche can be over-read. His original style is so powerful, I think sometimes that it should just be experienced and allowed to permeate the mind first, before attempting to understand or analyze it.

However, it’s always good to read the real Nietzsche and not his sister’s version. Kaufmann is good for discriminating the differences there and re-establishing Nietzsche as he really was.

Note the phrase I’ve made bold.

Consider the first part of the first sentence of BGE 36:

[size=95]Supposing that nothing else is ‘given’ as real than our world of desires and passions, that we can get up or down to no other ‘reality’ than precisely to the reality of our drives—for thinking is only a relating of these drives to one another—:[/size]

The addition between brackets is a statement. Nietzsche states that thinking is only a relating of those drives to one another. Thereby, he argues that it is necessary to make said supposition, as we obviously cannot get up or down to any other reality than the reality of our thinking.—

This procedure is typical of the whole section. Thus he immediately continues:

[size=95]is it not permitted to make the attempt and to ask the question, whether this given does not suffice […][/size]

And a little further on, he says:

[size=95]Ultimately it is not just permitted to make this attempt: it is demanded [or: commanded] by the conscience of method.[/size]

Scientific method—Occam’s razor, to be precise—demands it.

That does not matter. He never revokes what he says about it in BGE 36:

[size=95]Ultimately, the question is whether we really acknowledge the will as effecting, whether we believe in the causality of the will: if we do so—and at bottom our belief in that is our belief in causality itself—, then we must make the attempt of hypothetically positing will-causality as the only causality.[/size]

He never revokes what I just made bold. This does not mean that he was convinced of the metaphysical existence of causality, either then or in the later works! But check out the etymology of “belief” (including the German word Glaube Nietzsche uses): it is not about being convinced, but about attaching value. Thus even around the time of BGE, Nietzsche wrote:

[size=95]‘Attraction’ and ‘repulsion’ in a purely mechanistic sense are complete fictions: a word. We cannot think of an attraction as divorced from an intention [cf. section 550].— The will to take possession of a thing or to defend oneself against it and repel it—that, we ‘understand’: that would be an interpretation of which we could make use.
In short: the psychological necessity for a belief in causality lies in the inconceivability of an event divorced from intent; by which naturally nothing is said concerning truth or untruth (the justification of such a belief)!
[The Will to Power, section 627.][/size]

Indeed, not for the strongest possible doctrine. For that would be as deluded as stating that the Christian God does not exist. It’s about probability (Gmn. Wahrscheinlichkeit, “true-seeming-ness”), not about truth (Gmn. Wahrheit, “trueness”).


[size=95]“Will to Truth” do ye call it, ye wisest ones, that which impelleth you and maketh you ardent?
Will for the thinkableness of all being: thus do I call your will!
All being would ye make thinkable: for ye doubt with good reason whether it be already thinkable.
But it shall accommodate and bend itself to you! So willeth your will. Smooth shall it become and subject to the spirit, as its mirror and reflection.
That is your entire will, ye wisest ones, as a Will to Power; and even when ye speak of good and evil, and of estimates of value.
Ye would still create [schaffen, cognate with “shape”] a world before which ye can bow the knee: such is your ultimate hope and ecstasy.
[Thus Spake Zarathustra, ‘Self-Surpassing’. Compare BGE 9.][/size]

“Will to power” is a human referent for that which makes the unthinkable thinkable. Nietzsche’s doctrine of the will to power simply suggests that all existence is nothing but this unthinkable thinkabiliser.

I apologize if you have, but if you haven’t read, Deleuze’s reading of Nietzsche is superb. An overview of Will to Power starts on P. 49 and continues with the next section on Nietzsche’s Terminology, P. 52:

books.google.com/books?id=eo7FHO … &q&f=false

I found Leiter’s “type facts” argument to be flawed. If our character unfolds determinately due to our “type facts”, then there is no chance of altering our behaviour. What happens, happens because our character determined it that way. The transfiguration arguments Nietzsche makes, in the light of Leiter’s view, is an impossibility.
I am not sure how Leiter can come to this view when a large part of Nietzsche’s corpus is about transfiguring ourselves. Leiter does what many Nietzschean scholars do, they cherry-pick his texts to support their position.

Hi Fent

I actually think Leiter’s on to something (in his slightly boring and methodical fashion) with type facts
(less so in some of his other ideas.)

  • You can read Nietzsche in many ways (of course!) and certainly it is to be psychologically transformativce for the small group of great ones
    (tho’ more on the level of appealing drives then as a rational/political program for “domination”).

However its very hard to read Nietzsche and not see the amor fati every few lines and the continuous condemnation of the notion of both free will and the of a subject transparent to itself and ready for “christian” judgment to be applied their “free” actions.
(God created us imperfect and then generously donated us free will to “sin” or not)

The argument, for me, is not whether Nietzsche is committed to some form of determinism but what sort of determinism this is.

I think Leiter’s take here gives a reasonably liberating view as the type facts are not determining, at least for a small group - as far as “the herd” are concerned we are pretty much determined and would be psychologically the happier by accepting this for N-Dawg!!

I must say it took me a long time to realize that Nietzsche is no apostle of some sort of free subjective creativity - such was my “need” to think he was. Certainly there’s some limited room for self creation for a very select few only though.

Btw I’d like you to convince me here as I’d dearly love to find justification to return to this sort of view!
(call it my all to human weakness!)


Hi Krossie,

Yeah, you are right, it’s the select few who only possess room for creation. He comes at this problem a number of ways over the course of his writings. The first I believe is in Schopenhauer as Educator. He tells us to ‘know thyself’, that is, what is it we have loved up until now, what is it that has raised our spirits. N tells us to set up a hierarchical structure of what activities we as individuals has made us unique. Another angle he uses is found in Dawn 109. It’s about gratifying and weakening drives. We gratify those drives we believe will maximize our strength and starve those that will weaken it. Another angle, which, really is more of an outgrowth of the drive psychology he has developed previously, is in GM II: The sovereign individual and his ability to make promises and take control of his bad conscience.
Leiter’s ‘type facts’ theory only works if we contiually ignore the constituion of our unconscious. Although Nietzsche often disparages ‘consciousness’ and praises ‘unsconsciousness’, his whole transformative philosophy doesn’t work unless we as individuals know the internalized social morals we carry around with us. This is what the lion is in the 3 metamorphoses in TSZ. The lion fights the internalized dragons of the past two millenia.


I like that formulation – maybe Nietzsche is more dialectical then he appears or its one of his masks at any rate.

Of course to my view Nietzsche is available for appropriation by us (well me anyhow!); the weak and the herd – but the bulwark against this for him is precisely that the “we” aren’t constitutionally suited for any such re-engineering as far as he’s concerned.
I believe he may be wrong there, though, and I would preach my own democratic re-valuation/re-appropriation of the self-creation bits of Nietzsche! :banana-dance:
But this is (as the continentals like to put it) to do great “ violence” to his thought and you have to admit this in attempting to democratize/rabblize Nietzsche.
In fact many would argue it hollows out his thinking so much as to destroy it in favour of some new Nihilism – its certainly what N-dawg himself would say!

So type facts aren’t set in stone – the stronger ones are open to altering their sub conscious drives.
But I think though that’s why he uses a weak term like type facts rather than say “biological make up” or some such thing.


Morton D. Paley wrote an essay on Blake entitled “What Did Blake Mean by Innocence and Experience?” (1969). In this essay Paley discusses Blake’s view of Innocence and Experience and the three-part trinitarian movement in a person’s life, from Innocence to Experience to a New Unity achieved through the energy of the Tyger. To cite Paley:

I do not think it is a stretch to see the connection between the three stages of life as shown in the Paley exposition of Blake, and three stages as shown by Nietzsche in Thus Spake Zarathustra: camel, lion, child.

One says we move from Innocence through Experience to Wisdom and a new Unity by means of the energy of the Tyger; the other says that we grow from yielding to and obeying the burdens of society to a new kind of childlike center, through the energy of the lion.

Nietzsche’s Camel can be seen as a beast burdened, loaded down with the demands and moral strictures of society, symbolized by that biblical taboo, Thou Shalt Not. The later stages occur after the individual has assimilated society but does not yield to its inhuman demands.

Somebody named H. Miller was quoted as saying:

Interesting take, yes? In actuality, some of these fellows did not go insane, certainly not Blake or Dostoevsky, who never lost their essential humanity. And as for Nietzsche, as much as that description fits, he also fought against losing his essential self to the bitter end, and managed to find humanity in ways that definitely put him in conflict with the anti-Semitism of his era.

As for the types, Nietzsche was definitely onto something, but only in a vague, generalized way. Type and depth psychology has advanced greatly since then, with Jung’s great work and the later work of Gurdjieff and Oscar Naranjo on the Enneagram. I would agree that the expression of will is largely determined by one’s essential type, and that the goal of spiritual and psychic transformation would be to individuate and transcend types. There the trinitarian movement of life’s energies speak well to us, whether Blakean, Nietzschean, Hegelian, etc.

Most spirits are not even camel spirits. The camel spirits are the great obeyers—and the great obeyers are the great commanders. The camel spirits are those who heed the moral commandments of their society best. In a Christian society, for instance, they are the ones who heed the Ten Commandments best—including the commandment to truthfulness… We could see Christianity as a scorpion with only six walking legs (ten extremities in total). The tail is then the commandment to truthfulness, which eventually stings the body—the Christian God—to death. In the context of Christianity, this is the lion spirit’s killing the dragon. But this lion spirit, the free spirit in the Nietzschean sense, is still unfree in that he still believes “that God is the truth, that the truth is divine” (GM III 24). Like the Buddhist ruled by the desire to extinguish all his desires, who must therefore ultimately extinguish precisely this desire, the lion spirit who relinquishes his faith in the Christian God because He appears unbelievable to his truthfulness must ultimately relinquish his faith in the identity of the true and the good.

But Zarathustra’s speech of the three metamorphoses of the spirit does not just speak of truthfulness, but of heroism in general. The camel spirit is the spirit who seeks to take upon himself what is heaviest (schwerst, also “most difficult, hardest”). But what is hardest for the camel spirit is to throw off all burdens:

[size=95]To assume the right to new values—that is the most formidable assumption for a load-bearing and reverent spirit. Verily, unto such a spirit it is preying, and the work of a beast of prey.
As its holiest, it once loved “Thou-shalt”: now is it forced to find illusion and arbitrariness even in the holiest things, that it may capture freedom from its love: the lion is needed for this capture.[/size]

What is hardest for the camel spirit is to throw off all burdens, and the hardest burden to throw off is not any of the “Thou-shalts” he has willingly burdened himself with, but the “Thou-shalt” that sets him apart from those who do not even have the camel spirit: the conscience (of which the intellectual conscience is a particular form) that demands from him that he be good as opposed to “evil”. The camel spirits do not originate among the lower types, but among the higher types of man; not among the many, but among the few; not among the barbarians from the depths, but among the barbarians from the heights (WP 900)—the blond beasts. It is, to use some phrases I’ve coined, not a negative ugliness but a positive ugliness that in him becomes a negative beauty. But he must rise again into positive ugliness so that he may one day become positively beautiful. The camel spirits are those who are negatively beautiful and whose beauty compels them to overcome their negativity. For more on this, see these two threads:

groups.yahoo.com/group/human_sup … essage/241
groups.yahoo.com/group/human_sup … essage/253

The lion spirit is already beyond good and evil. But because he is beyond good and evil, he cannot preserve his conscience. That is, he will have to lose his righteous indignation at the slave revaluation of values:

[size=95]Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burden’d air;
Hungry clouds swag on the deep.

Once meek, and in a perilous path,
The just man kept his course along
The vale of death.
Roses are planted where thorns grow.
And on the barren heath
Sing the honey bees.

Then the perilous path was planted:
And a river, and a spring
On every cliff and tomb;
And on the bleached bones
Red clay brought forth.

Till the villain left the paths of ease,
To walk in perilous paths, and drive
The just man into barren climes.

Now the sneaking serpent walks
In mild humility.
And the just man rages in the wilds
Where lions roam.

Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burden’d air;
Hungry clouds swag on the deep.

[Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.][/size]

The lion is akin to the dragon:

[size=95]Learn what the doves of Diana are, who conquer the lion with caresses; the green lion, I say, who in truth is the Babylonish dragon who kills all with his venom.
[Introitus Apertus.][/size]

The raging lion must become the laughing lion with the flock of doves (TSZ ‘Old and New Tables’ 1; ‘The Sign’):

[size=95]Elsewhere [than in the Koran] we read of heroes, like Siegfried in the Nordic legend, who understands this language of the birds as soon as they have overcome the dragon, and the symbolism in question may be easily understood from this. Victory over the dragon has, as its immediate consequence, the conquest of immortality, which is represented by some object, the approach to which is barred by the dragon, and the conquest of immortality implies, essentially, reintegration at the center of the human state, that is, at the point where communication is established with higher states of being. It is this communication that is represented by the understanding of the language of the birds.
[Guenon, The Language of the Birds.][/size]

In Qabalah, the center of the human state is Tiphareth, “Beauty”, which is also called “the Christ-center”. The laughing lion with the flock of doves is the Roman Caesar with the soul of Christ (WP 983):

[size=95]On Zarathustra’s convalescence there stands Caesar, inexorable, kind:—the gap between being-a-creator, kindness, and wisdom has been annihilated.
[Nietzsche, Nachlass Autumn 1883.][/size]

See also http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=2149637#p2149637.

Very interesting post, Sauwelios. I have a couple of questions and a couple of comments.

First, what is Introitus Apertus. Is it a work from which you are quoting?

Second, about the language of birds, is that in the Koran as well as the Norse legend of Siegfried? There is most definitely a Persian tradition in that regard. Attar’s “Conference of Birds” also deals with stages in a life journey, seven in fact, the first being hardship and dismay, and the last being annihilation in God: quest, love, insight into mystery, detachment, unity, bewilderment, and poverty/nothingness.

As for the dragon, the lion must slay it in order to move forward, but that is after the camel stage has been overcome and passed. What does this dragon represent? Is it the fire of Satan that guards the deadly sin of greed and rapacity within our own selves? Or is it the monster that guards the treasure of immortality itself, that must be slain to achieve it? It looks to me as though divine immortality is something that is ours by birth but the dark side of our natures makes us forget or prevents us from seeing it or accessing it. Hence, slaying the dragon is slaying the reptile energy within us and re-activating our oneness with all that is holy and divine.

In both Nietzsche and the Sufis then, annihilation seems to be the ultimate stage of life and spiritual transformation. If you want to call it the “Christ-center” or “Christ-consciousness” as some do, that is fine. Whatever we call it, in essence, it is that place in life and in the spirit where a person loses the self completely in unity with all. I always did think that Nietzsche had a strong mystical inclination, but I also believe that it has to be sifted out from his more flawed and confused views about power and morality. Thus, it helps to place Nietzsche’s views within other mystical traditions in order to find the insights and truths that are so valuable.

Yes, it’s a work by someone who wanted to stay anonymous:


Yes, it is in the Koran as well. Thus Guenon writes:

[size=95]There is often mention, in different traditions, of a mysterious language called the language of the birds. […] The Koran, for example, says, “And Solomon was David’s heir and he said, ‘O men, we have been taught the language of the birds and all favours have been showered upon us’” (27:15).
[Guenon, ibid.][/size]

In what is obviously a prose version of ‘The Three Metamorphoses’, Nietzsche writes:

[size=95]The road to wisdom.
Pointers toward the overcoming of morality.
The first stage. To venerate (and obey and learn) better than anyone. To gather all things worthy of veneration, and let them struggle with one another, within oneself. To carry all heavy things. Asceticism of the spirit—bravery, time of community.
The second stage. To break the venerating heart, (when one is most tightly bound). The free spirit. Independence. Time of wilderness. Critique [or: criticism] of all venerated things (idealisation of the unvenerated), attempt at inverse valuations.
The third stage. Great decision, whether fit for the positive position, for affirmation. No god, no human being any longer above me! The instinct of the creator who knows where he intervenes. The great responsibility and the great innocence. (In order to enjoy anything, one must benedict everything.) To give oneself the right to act.
[Nachlass Spring-Autumn 1884 26 [47], entire.][/size]

The subtitle, “Pointers toward the overcoming of morality”, implies that the lion is still moral. In that sense, then, he is still like the camel, and the camel has not been completely overcome and passed.


[size=95]What is the great dragon which the spirit is no longer inclined to call Lord and God? “Thou-shalt,” is the great dragon called. But the spirit of the lion saith, “I will.”
“Thou-shalt,” lieth in its path, sparkling with gold—a scale-covered beast; and on every scale glittereth golden, “Thou shalt!”
The values of a thousand years glitter on those scales, and thus speaketh the mightiest of all dragons: "All the values of things—glitter on me.
All values have already been created, and all created values—do I represent. Verily, there shall be no ‘I will’ any more. Thus speaketh the dragon.
[TSZ, ibid.][/size]

Compare Crowley:

[size=95]We must understand first of all that the root of Moral Responsibility, on which Man stupidly prides himself as distinguishing him from the other animals, is Restriction, which is the Word of Sin.
[Little Essays toward Truth, ‘Silence’.][/size]

The dragon is precisely the notion of ‘sin’. Compare Blake:

[size=95]All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following Errors.

  1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul.
  2. That Energy, call’d Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, call’d Good, is alone from the Soul.
  3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.
    [The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.][/size]

All the so-called ‘deadly sins’ are Energies one may follow.

Well, ‘immortality’ is only a metaphor, of course. And you are prevented from accessing it precisely because of your morality. The ‘dark side of our natures’ must be affirmed! Everything is holy and divine. Thus Crowley immediately continues:

[size=95]Indeed, there is truth in the Hebrew fable, that the knowledge of Good and Evil brings forth Death. To regain Innocence is to regain Eden. We must learn to live without the murderous consciousness that every breath we draw swells the sails which bear our frail vessels to the Port of the Grave. We must cast out Fear by Love; seeing that Every Act is an Orgasm, their total issue cannot be but Birth. Also, Love is the law: thus every act must be Righteousness and Truth.[/size]

Note that he is not saying here that every act ought to be righteousness and truth, but that every act is of necessity righteousness and truth. Compare:

[size=95]Each Event is an Act of Love, and so generates Joy: all existence is composed solely of such Events. But how comes it then that there should be even an illusion of Sorrow?
Simply enough; by taking a partial and imperfect Vision.
[Crowley, ibid., ‘Sorrow’.][/size]

Ironically it is you who take such a partial and imperfect vision, in wanting to “slay the reptile energy within us”. Note that Jung said that snake dreams tend to occur “when the consciousness strays from its instinctive basis” (On the Psychology of the Child-Archetype, 2E):

[size=95]The lower vertebrates are traditionally favourite symbols of the collective psychical basis, the anatomic localisation whereof coincides with the subcortical centres, the cerebellum and the spinal cord. Together, these organs form the snake.

A snake dream is thus a warning that the consciousness is straying from its basis. And you would promote such straying by claiming that that basis be base!..

[size=95]Vicious is every kind of antinature. The most vicious kind of man is the priest: he teaches antinature. Against the priest one does not have arguments, one has the house of correction.
[Nietzsche, The Antichrist, ‘Law Against Christianity’, first principle.][/size]

Yes, it is ‘ultimate’ all right: in the sense that the last man is ultimate! Otherwise, it seems you are confusing Nietzsche with Schopenhauer…

Oh please. Losing the self completely can never be the goal. Thus Jung says:

[size=95]Naturally there can be no question of a total extinction of the ego, for then the focus of consciousness would be destroyed, and the result would be complete unconsciousness. The relative abolition of the ego affects only those supreme and ultimate decisions which confront us in situations where there are insoluble conflicts of duty. This means, in other words, that in such cases the ego is a suffering bystander who decides nothing but must submit to a decision and surrender unconditionally. The ‘genius’ of man, the higher and more spacious part of him whose extent no one knows, has the final word.
[Aion, ‘Christ, a Symbol of the Self’.][/size]

This “‘genius’ of man, the higher and more spacious part of him whose extent no one knows”, is what Nietzsche’s Zarathustra called the Self (in ‘The Despisers of the Body’)—the deeper part of man.

You are trying to present Nietzsche as a Buddhist!.. But the Nietzscheist is the Aryan opposite of the Buddhist:

[size=95][T]he longing for a unio mystica with God is the longing of the Buddhist into the nothing, Nirvâna—and nothing more!
[Nietzsche, GM I 6.][/size]

Nietzsche was only a practical Buddhist in his decadent periods. Much better than Christianity! But life affirmation is even better. And this includes embracing difference, separation, war, etc.! The highest ideal is the innocently cruel ‘child’. Hail Heraclitus!

Given that the Will to Power is how the world works, I would be interested in seeing this general formula for all action split up in a system of methods. This interest comes from a fully practical need to overcome my own personal situation, but I think it would be interesting for everyone.
It is for me far more difficult to conceive of an actual modus operandi based on full acceptance of the will to power, than to understand the basic logic of it and recognize it in everything that is done and made in nature.

Some qualities leading to power that come to mind:

-knowledge of mechanism
-pleasure in good things
-displeasure in bad things
-understanding context
-clarity of will
-desire compatible with rational aims [/size]
That last one is important - I wonder if this is a matter of good fortune / birth, or if it can be manipulated. But none of this amounts to a system or a method. I’d expect most people here to also still be in the phase of the camel, a Lion would not spend time his time debating and arguing. But perhaps some have passed through phases of Lion-hood, and came back with experience, knowledge of methods to rise to power.

Yes it can be manipulated to create a relative heavenly route rather than a dauntingly chaotic labor camp. That is, if you have the good fortune to learn how. :mrgreen:

Hi Sauwelios, I hope your day is going well. Onto the thread and your informative reply, along with some comments.

To open, as you and others here already probably know, I think that Nietzsche should be read with one’s critical thinking cap firmly attached. That is how I read Nietzsche anyway, not as a kind of power-guru who is always right on everything, but as a brilliant aesthete and potential mystic who had some amazing and wonderful ideas to consider, along with some very flawed ideas due to the psycho-drama he felt compelled to play out to the very end, a psychology which included a rather confused and mistaken idea about power and the nature of humans. Perhaps one should realize that Nietzsche himself would not want idolizing groupies, that he would demand disagreement, as Zarathustra makes clear. He challenges his disciples to leave him, and only once they have gone out on their own will they find the way back to him. When they come back they will be changed, for they will have given value to their own lives instead of having that value given to them.

To continue, thank you for the link to the alchemy website, entitled “An Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King by An Anonymous Sage and Lover of Truth,” which appears to have been written in the mid 17thc and first published in Amsterdam in 1667 (the same years as Milton’s Paradise Lost was published, I believe). Alchemy is such an interesting subject. Jung wrote a great deal on psychology and alchemy, and your latest post, as it seems to me, has a certain alchemical energy, especially fiery at the end.

I also appreciate your very fine synopsis of Nietzsche’s three metamorphoses: camel, lion, child. In my previous post, it appears that I was pointing to more than one view of the dragon, not just Nietzsche’s, so it’s good to make a distinction there. The Nietzschean dragon that the lion must kill is the one of moral and social strictures implanted in childhood, symbolized by the sign “Thou Shalt,” and that is the way to the realization of the third metamorphosis of the “I Will,” the innocently ‘cruel’ child as you put it. It is this child, the idol of the primal will of the individual, that can make the great affirmation of life, move past ressentiment and revenge, and move towards the culmination of the Ubermensch by creating a better future.

However, that is Nietzsche’s view, not mine. Nietzsche is not the alpha and omega of philosophy or of spiritual and psychic transformation, particularly in light of the fact that his mystical insights get confused with those stemming from his power complex. If you can separate the two, you can get a good grasp of a very fine mysticism revealed through his writings on Dionysus and the early Greeks, because that is where he found the means to give his natural mysticism an outlet. But when it comes to metamorphoses and transformation, there are other views that show us a somewhat different journey, as I pointed out in my evocation of the Sufis. I could just as easily point to other mystics such as Teresa of Avila, who like the Sufis, also described a seven-part journey towards union with God. And it should also be noted that even though there is some similarity between Nietzsche’s trinitarian metamorphosis and that of Blake’s triparite evolution of the human from innocence to experience to a new unity, there are also many significant differences between Nietzsche and Blake regarding society and the place of the human in it. That difference is primarily defined by Blake’s holism and the place of the heart in the alchemy of the psyche and the world, as opposed to Nietzsche’s more primal view of the cruel biological essence of the will to power.

One other matter needs clarifying, and that is the mistaken conflation on your part of the dragon and the snake. They are not the same. I would wholeheartedly concur that the snake is a very important element of psychic and social transformation, both energetically and symbolically. It is a major archetype of the collective unconscious and plays a vital role in dreams and myths as they derive from the human place in the cosmos. As a friend put it, “the serpent can be thought of as a reflection of humanity itself, twining and untwining constantly, wrapping itself around ideas with love, or choking them to death. … the symbol for healing in modern medicine is the Staff of Hermes, with two serpents crisscrossing to face each other in a double-helix pattern that mirrors the structure of DNA. In modern lingo, we call DNA the ‘building blocks of life.’ Funnily enough, the ancients called the Staff of Hermes, the double-helix, the structure of DNA, the ‘Staff of Life.’ The Serpent embodies human knowledge, especially hidden lore, a mystery. The mystery of Life itself.”

Also, don’t forget about the uroborus. From The Dictionary of Symbolism:

“In the symbolism of Alchemy, the uroborus (a snake biting or swallowing its own tail) symbolizes a closed, cyclical process in which the heating, evaporation, cooling and condensation of a liquid helps to refine or purify substances. In this uroborus the single snake is often replaced by two creatures, each biting the tail of the other, the upper one a winged Dragon (a symbol of volatility).”

Also, there is this from my classnotes on “The Waste Land”: Eliot uses Tarot symbolism around the numbers three and seven. The Wheel has Greek letters around it, Hebrew inscriptions, and other inscriptions. Fortune’s Wheel turns, so a person can rise and they can fall. Eliot uses wheels and circles to represent the meaningless activity of the modern human’s life – the cart moves; the wheel only turns in circles. The Native American symbol is that of the uroborus, the snake swallowing its own tail. Here is the relevant quote from Section I, lines 43-59:

Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
Had a bad cold, nevertheless
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,
The lady of situations.
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.
I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:
One must be so careful these days.

Being the poet of the post World War I Lost Generation and the resulting Wasteland, Eliot sees the uroborus differently from the rich mystical views of the shamans and other spiritual masters. Through the ages, snakes have been seen as important life energies and symbols. Joseph Campbell spoke to this in The Power of Myth, saying:

“The power of life causes the serpent to shed its skin, just as the moon sheds its shadow. The serpent sheds its skin to be born again, as the moon its shadow to be born again.” Thus the snake has always been a great symbol for spiritual rebirth among nearly all spiritual modalities.

Last if you look at the tradition of shamanism, you will see vivid descriptions of serpent visions and imagery. Examples can be found in the art of the Peruvian shaman Pablo Amaringo and in the art of the Navajo shaman David Chethlahe Paladin. Also, think of the snake dance as a very important part of native ceremonies and rituals… calling up that great life force and renewing energy.

But to repeat, this is not the same energy as the dragon. The dragon is the reptile energy that must be slain, the symbol of greed and rapacity. In some literature, the dragon guards the treasure horde which, upon the dragon’s slaying, turns out to be something different from materialistic gold, but rather the kind of gold sought as the philosopher’s stone, that of immortality or universal wisdom.

To conclude, Sauwelios, you ended by saying: “life affirmation is even better. And this includes embracing difference, separation, war, etc.! The highest ideal is the innocently cruel ‘child’. Hail Heraclitus!”

Why Heraclitus? Why hail anyone actually? Isn’t that an act proceeding from a slave mentality as Nietzsche would have it?

Why can’t power be the natural birthright of every individual, so that if a person forgets that she or he has it by nature, then they can easily reclaim it without any effort. The universe is both our source and our benign ally on any path that derives from our essential source. Joseph Campbell calls it following your bliss. Do so and the whole world moves your way. Do not and I expect that someone like the Blake of “London” will hear your “mind-forg’d manacles” clanking and hindering you every step of the way.