The Will to Power, Book I and II An Attempted Transvaluation of all Values

By Friedrich Nietzsche

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recognised the
necessity of making a more unequivocal appeal to his public than
the _Zarathustra_ had been, that is to say, from the spring of 1883,
his work in respect of _The Will to Power_ suffered no interruption
whatsoever, and that it was his chief preoccupation from that period
until his breakdown in 1889.

That this span of six years was none too long for the task he had
undertaken, will be gathered from the fact that, in the great work he
had planned, he actually set out to show that the life-principle, "Will
to Power," was the prime motor of all living organisms.

To do this he appeals both to the animal world and to human society,
with its subdivisions, religion, art, morality, politics, etc. etc.,
and in each of these he seeks to demonstrate the activity of the
principle which he held to be the essential factor of all existence.

Frau Foerster-Nietzsche tells us that the notion that "The Will to
Power" was the fundamental principle of all life, first occurred to her
brother in the year 1870, at the seat of war, while he was serving as
a volunteer in a German army ambulance. On one occasion, at the close
of a very heavy day with the wounded, he happened to enter a small
town which lay on one of the chief military roads. He was wandering
through it in a leisurely fashion when, suddenly, as he turned the
corner of a street that was protected on either side by lofty stone
walls, he heard a roaring noise, as of thunder, which seemed to come
from the immediate neighbourhood. He hurried forward a step or two, and
what should he see, but a magnificent cavalry regiment--gloriously
expressive of the courage and exuberant strength of a people--ride
past him like a luminous stormcloud. The thundering din waxed louder
and louder, and lo and behold! his own beloved regiment of field
artillery dashed forward at full speed, out of the mist of motes, and
sped westward amid an uproar of clattering chains and galloping steeds.
A minute or two elapsed, and then a column of infantry appeared,
advancing at the double--the men's eyes were aflame, their feet struck
the hard road like mighty hammer-strokes, and their accoutrements
glistened through the haze. While this procession passed before him,
on its way to war and perhaps to death,--so wonderful in its vital
strength and formidable courage, and so perfectly symbolic of a race
that _will_ conquer and prevail, or perish in the attempt,--Nietzsche
was struck with the thought that the highest will to live could not
find its expression

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Text Comparison with Human, All-Too-Human: A Book for Free Spirits, Part 1 Complete Works, Volume Six

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The supposition of plurality always presumes that there is something which appears frequently,--but here already error reigns, already we imagine beings, unities, which do not exist.
Page 33
" This theory, hardened and sharpened under the hammer-blow of historical knowledge, may some time or other, perhaps in some future period, serve as the axe which is applied to the root of the "metaphysical need" of man,--whether _more_ as a blessing than a curse to the general welfare it is not easy to say, but in any case as a theory with the most important consequences, at once fruitful and terrible, and looking into the world with that Janus-face which all great knowledge possesses.
Page 34
First, all single actions are called good or bad without any regard to their motives, but only on account of the useful or injurious consequences which result for the community.
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soil of the _ruling_ tribes and castes.
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in the truth of everything that is visibly, strongly believed in.
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Zeus did not wish man, however much he might be tormented by the other evils, to fling away his life, but to go on letting himself be tormented again and again.
Page 69
--As soon as a religion triumphs it has for its enemies all those who would have been its first.
Page 72
This desire misleads us to accept bad reasons for good ones.
Page 100
For this reason we must not torment a poet with subtle explanations, but must take pleasure in the uncertainty of his horizon, as if the way to further thoughts were still open.
Page 101
--The thinker, as likewise the artist, who has put his best self into his works, feels an almost malicious joy when he sees how mind and body are being slowly damaged and destroyed by time, as if from a dark corner he were spying a thief at his money-chest, knowing all the time that it was empty and his treasures in safety.
Page 105
In this respect our ear has grown coarser.
Page 113
--The fettered spirit does not take up his position from conviction, but from habit; he is a Christian, for instance, not because he had a comprehension of different creeds and could take his choice; he is an Englishman, not because he decided for England, but he found Christianity and England ready-made and accepted them without any reason, just as one who is born in a wine-country becomes a wine-drinker.
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To give an example: a German statesman knows quite well that the Catholic Church will never have the same plans as Russia; indeed, that it would far rather be allied with the Turk than with the former country; he likewise knows that Germany is threatened with great danger from an alliance between France and Russia.
Page 178
How man organising forces have already been seen to die out! For example, that of the _gens_ or clan which for millennia was far mightier than the power of the family, and indeed already ruled and regulated long before the latter existed.
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" 627.
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Conviction is belief in the possession of absolute truth on any matter of knowledge.
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On the whole, scientific methods are at least as important results of investigation as any other results, for the scientific spirit is based upon a knowledge of method, and if the methods were lost, all the results of science could not prevent the renewed prevalence of superstition and absurdity.