Critically discuss Nietzsche’s “will to Power” as a way of overcoming nihilism

Critically discuss Nietzsche’s “will to Power” as a way of overcoming nihilism

Nihilism is the doctrine that life is meaningless, senseless and useless and thus, there are

no meaningful goals in existence. Nihilism holds that traditional beliefs and values are baseless.

In short, this doctrine refutes there is any objective basis of truth and particularly regarding moral

truths. Nihilism captures two forms regarding existence including disorientation and despair. As

such, Nietzsche’s philosophy on how to overcome nihilism takes a bi-analysis approach. In this

case, disorientation refers to an individual’s lack of self-assurance in the beliefs and values one

holds. According to Nietzsche, disorientation results from anti-realism or the belief that there is

no objective value in human existence. To a disoriented individual, human existence is senseless

because nothing has real value and therefore nothing is objectively worthwhile. Despair is the

result of the belief that what is important to an individual is unachievable.

Nietzsche philosophy on overcoming nihilism is based on an attempt to reevaluate it in

terms of will to power. Will to power is a desire for overcoming resistance in the search of a

determinate high-level desire. Will to power pursues both resistance and the power to overcome

it. This impression makes Nietzsche’s will to power to take a contradictory structure because its

satisfaction results to its own dissatisfaction thereby implying that suffering is worthwhile. Since

will to power is will to overcome resistance, it must also will for resistance to overcome.

Suffering in life is understood within the context of resistance. Therefore, will to power actually

desires displeasure. This makes will to power to undermine its ability as a basis for overcoming

nihilism, which is the intention of revaluation.

Nietzsche’s aim is to defeat despair that results from people’s belief that moral values are

not objective or realizable. However, will to power cannot be satisfied if three major conditions

are not fulfilled. There must be a first-order yearning for a certain determinate end, resistance to

achievement of that end, and actual success in trouncing this resistance (Reginster, 2006).


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