will to power

See also: will-to-power


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Alternative formsEdit


A direct translation of the German Wille zur Macht.


will to power (uncountable)

  1. (philosophy, Nietzscheanism) The vital energy in all living things which propels them to seek to grow, create, and thrive.
    • 1915 April, William Mackintire Salter, "Nietzsche's Moral Aim and Will to Power", International Journal of Ethics, vol. 25, no. 3, p. 377:
      Yet the driving force of the whole process from humblest plant to possible superman is will to power, will not to be, but to be more.
  2. The forceful desire, especially in human beings, to aggressively overcome, conquer, and dominate others.
    • 1915, D. H. Lawrence, "England, My England":
      But he had a certain acrid courage, and a certain will-to-power. In his own small circle he would emanate power, the single power of his own blind self.
    • 1983 June 26, Robert Nisbet, "The Will to Power" (book review of Modern Times: A History of the World from the 1920s to the 1980s by Paul Johnson), New York Times (retrieved 11 May 2015):
      By far the greater part of Mr. Johnson's book is concerned with precisely that, the will to power, as it has been made manifest since the end of World War I—first in Europe, then on a rising scale in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the United States.
    • 2001 Sep. 20, George W. Bush, address to the U. S. Congress (quoted in "The Bush Speech: How to Rally a Nation" by Frank Pellegrini, Time, 21 Sep. 2001):
      "By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions, by abandoning every value except the will to power, they follow in the path of fascism, Nazism and totalitarianism."

Usage notesEdit

  • The concept was never systematically defined in Nietzsche's work. The sense of "forceful desire to dominate" was embraced by proponents of Naziism and is considered by almost all philosophical thinkers to be a misinterpretation of Nietzschean philosophy.


Further readingEdit