mercredi 9 mars 2011
Der Wille zur Macht
I think Nietzsche's famous phrase "Der Wille zur Macht" has many possible interpretations. The most banal -- and the most fatal -- of these is the political-military one. Here, the hero is the fair savage ready to kill, destroy. Power here means power to do to other people what one doesn't want to be done to himself, blatant, sadistic negation of the "golden rule". This notion of the will to power was turned into an ideology, and we, children of the XXth century, know what this meant in practice. It is one of the paradoxes connected with interpretation of Nietzsche. There are others. Let's think of his well-known hatred for the German nationalism, "Vaterländerei", his attempts to find Slavic or Jewish ancestors. The facts that were ignored when Nietzsche was more or less proclaimed the philosopher of the German military (in the beginning of the Ist World war every officer got a free copy of the "Also sprach Zarathustra") or the Nazi gang leaders. But I would propose a different interpretation: I would like to compare Nietzsche to the shamans, to these (often as eccentric and ailing) men and women who were also striving to get more power. This meant power to enter other worlds, to bring back souls stolen by spirits, to heal, to see the unseen. This power was called śart in Ostyak (Khanty), it was called vägi in Estonian. There are many parallels in European languages, although I hesitate to say that the Latin numen or Greek pneuma (or Hebrew ruach) meant the same thing. Egon Fridell has written that Nietzsche was the last great Father of the Church. Perhaps. But we can also say that he was the first proto-neoshamanist, one of the precursors of the New Age. He too did not think intellect is our most precious, our highest gift. This highest gift is precisely the power, the pneuma, the vägi. This was one of his messages to us, a message a Siberian shaman would agree with. The difference with most New Age would-to-be shamans and prophets and Nietzsche is that he had the power, and he was able to use it to deconstruct most of the classical philosophy, to use intellect to blow up the edifice intellect had built during the last millennia. He understood that in real power there is intellect too, although intellect is not power. But abandoning intellect, abandoning science doesn't give us power. Intellect by itself is not power, but neither is absence of intellect power.