The Will to Might.

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The Will to Might.

Postby Sauwelios » Sun Sep 23, 2007 2:37 am

In section 617 of The Will to Power, Nietzsche says:

"To stamp the character of Being on Becoming - that is the highest will to power."

If this is the highest will to power, what is the will to power as such? Two sentences onward in the same passage, Nietzsche gives a clue as to the answer of this question:

"That everything returns [wiederkehrt] is the closest approximation of a world of Becoming to a world of Being: - summit of the meditation."

The word here translated as "meditation" is Betrachtung. This word contains the verb trachten, cognate with "try". So the summit of the attempt to think through a stamping of Becoming with the character of Being is not such an actual stamping, not a reconciliation of both said worlds, but only an approximation of the two. The summit is the closest approximation, which follows from the highest will to power - the will to actually reconcile the two. Nietzsche, the philosopher of will to power, embodied this highest will to power and expressed it in the doctrine of the eternal return of the same (which is really the same return of eternal Becoming, but nevermind that now).

If the highest will to power expresses itself as the closest possible approximation of a world of Becoming to a world of Being, then the will to power as such is the will to approximate Becoming to Being.

Thus the will to power is the will to affirm (make firm) Becoming. The Nietzschean verb usually translated as "to affirm" is bejahen, "to say Yes to". And "yes" literally means "so be it", using a form of the s-root of "to be"- which root was originally a different verb, which meant "being" in the Parmenidean sense, whereas the b-root rather meant "being" in the Heraclitean sense (Becoming/phusis). So saying Yes to something is to express the wish that that - Becoming - may be (endure, remain firm). But the German ja, as the English "yea", does not contain this s-root of "to be". It just means "so, thus". It implies the wish that "so shall it be" - "thus!" (as it is now).

I propose to translate Wille zur Macht ("will to power") as "will to might". For "might" (which is cognate with Macht) is related to "make", which etymologically signifies a "kneading". Thus the formless and only relatively solid material of Becoming is "kneaded" into forms, "made firm", by the will to might. This always seeks to approximate Becoming to Being, to create "something" (a "thing", a "being").
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Postby Dan~ » Sun Sep 23, 2007 2:51 pm

This has been interesting to read.

It sounds to me like an open affirmitive world-view towards all becoming of the universe.
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Postby Sauwelios » Sun Sep 23, 2007 5:31 pm

My innovation is my conception of the will to power (and every will is will to power, according to Heidegger) as the imposition of Being on Becoming. Thus the will has an important imaginative element: the will forms an image (German Vorstellung) of Being, creates the illusion of "thinghood". For there is no Being, there are no "things" - there is only flux.

Nietzsche created an image of that flux as a great ring - a thing: the Being of Becoming, the ring of recurrence.

In Hindu thought there are the three gunas, or modes of nature. They are rajas, sattva, and tamas. The highest of these is sattva, the lowest, tamas. Let us first consider the middle one, rajas. Rajas is cognate with the Latin rex, the English "ruler". It is the "lust to rule" or "passion for power" (Herrschsucht) praised by Zarathustra in his speech Of the Three Evils. It is the will to power - the will to dominion (lordship).

"Will" is a resultant. It results from a coordination of forces, which stimulate each other. If these forces are not well coordinated, or if they are simply lacking, the result is a chaos or absence of forces, respectively. In both cases, the result is tamas, inertia. So tamas is the lowest level of will to power - the impotence to power, as Nietzsche calls it in The Antichristian.

Sattva on the other hand is the highest level of will to power. The 's' in "sattva" is the same 's' as the 's' in "is" - it, too, is from the s-root of "to be".

The related Sanskrit word Sat means "Being": as in Sat-Chit-Ananda, "Being-Awareness-Bliss". For there to be awareness (consciousness), there must be (the illusion of) Being, of thinghood: awareness needs an object to be aware of.

"How does the perspectival sphere, and error, come into existence? In so far as, by means of an organic being [Wesen], not a being, but struggle itself seeks to preserve itself, to grow, and to be conscious of itself."
[Nietzsche, Nachlass.]

To be conscious of itself, the struggle - Becoming - needs the illusion of Being (peace, harmony - the latter word being the usual translation of sattva). Only in destroying Being (relative persistence) and the illusion of Being (absolute persistence) can Becoming be conscious of itself and celebrate itself.

"Happiness at Becoming is only possible in the destruction of the real, of "existence", of beautiful appearance, in the pessimistic shattering of illusion: - in the destruction of even the most beautiful appearance does Dionysian happiness reach its summit."
[ibid.]

In another note, Nietzsche explains this further:

"My first solution: Dionysian wisdom. Joy in the destruction of the most noble and at the sight of its progressive ruin: in reality joy in what is coming and lies in the future, which triumphs over existing things, however good."
[The Will to Power, section 417.]

Thus Heidegger says:

"[B]eing is in its very ground perpetual creation (Becoming), while as creation it needs what is fixed. Creation needs what is fixed, first, in order to overcome it, and second, in order to have something that has yet to be fixated, something that enables the creative to advance beyond itself and be transfigured. The essence of being is Becoming, but what becomes is and has Being only in creative transfiguration."
[Heidegger, Nietzsche, Volume Two.]

Thus Becoming can be conscious of itself, understand itself, as a Being in the process of being destroyed or created (depending on its perspective). So even if it is shattering illusion, it can only understand itself as an illusion being shattered: for there is only consciousness of Being, not of Becoming. Thus Becoming stamps the character of Being on itself even in the very destruction of (the illusion of) this Being. This is its transfiguration.
Last edited by Sauwelios on Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Addendum.

Postby Sauwelios » Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:26 pm

Sattva, the state of harmony and bliss, is described by Nietzsche as "wisdom" (the Brahmins, who were supposed to be in sattva, were indeed understood as sages):

"Philosophy [understood] as love of wisdom, up to the sage as the most blessed, most powerful [Mächtigsten], who justifies all Becoming and wants to have it again, - not love of men, or of gods, or of truth, but love of a condition, of a spiritual and sensual feeling of perfection: an affirmation and benediction out of an overflowing feeling of organising power. The great distinction."
[Nietzsche, Nachlass.]

The reference to the spirit and the senses also occurs in the second sentence of section 617 of The Will to Power, whose first and third sentences I quoted in my opening post:

"Twofold falsification, on the part of the senses and of the spirit, in order to preserve a world of Being, of that which persists, is equivalent etc."

In the phrase "organising power" (gestaltender Macht, "shaping power") we can also discern the sense of "might" I introduced in my opening post (cognate with "making").

PS: And in the words Weisheit ("wisdom") and Weiser ("sage"), we see the root of the word "vision" (cf. veda), which ties the will to might with the imagination of Being (cf. Schopenhauer's Welt als Wille und Vorstellung). Read my comments on "brightness" in an older thread - read all my comments in that thread for that matter.
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"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Postby Lollipop King » Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:57 pm

I agree with all of this.

My only caveat concerning it is relation to the term 'power'.

Nietzsche adopts from Schopenhauer the 'Will' , as the underlying thing-in-itself, and then gives it a purpose so as to give it meaning.

My disagreement is with the exclusive focus on the concept of 'power' as being the only purpose and meaning.
This is a very limited interpretation.

In my view the term 'power' refers us as to a Becoming towards an ideal or an Absolute.
It is a direction to a destination which is absent in any completeness and so imagined and indefinable.

The term itself is arbitrary and can be replaced by a number of other terms with their own particular flavors and so nuanced directions towards the same absent Absolute.

The term Power can be, for example, replaced by the term 'Beauty' or 'Perfection' or 'Order' or 'Freedom' that all refer us towards the same absence but each possessing its own slight divergence.

A more precise depiction of the Will, and here I differ with Schopenhauer as well, is that we can only speak of Will when there is a mind, a directing, focused motive, would be a Will towards the Absolute.
For me the universe lacks any of this to be produced by a play of Wills.
The only rules governing unconscious matter is the law concerning the path-of-least-resistance and the constant interplay of forces, which we can only define as temporal directions and speeds, interacting with one another.
That these forces are fragmenting themselves results in this Entropic decay we perceive as a temporal disordering direction which we resist and which we measure using the human invention of time.

Time is merely this fragmentation, this constant change, given a tempo so as to order it into comprehensibility.

There forces, we can only surmise, are but the product of the same near absolute, almost singular force towards completion or total stability or what we may refer to as perfection.

It is this Will towards completion which an then be labeled suing many names: God, Perfect, Beautiful, Power, Knowledge, Stability, Uniformity, Nirvana, Self, Freedom and so on and so forth.

But why does it have so many names?
Because it refers to what is absent and what is absent can only be imagined by being simplified and given particular imprecise characteristics.

What characteristics we choose gives it its nuanced flavor and defines our idealization of it.
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Postby Sauwelios » Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:59 am

Satyr wrote:I agree with all of this.

My only caveat concerning it is relation to the term 'power'.

Nietzsche adopts from Schopenhauer the 'Will' , as the underlying thing-in-itself, and then gives it a purpose so as to give it meaning.

My disagreement is with the exclusive focus on the concept of 'power' as being the only purpose and meaning.
This is a very limited interpretation.

In my view the term 'power' refers us as to a Becoming towards an ideal or an Absolute.
It is a direction to a destination which is absent in any completeness and so imagined and indefinable.

The term itself is arbitrary and can be replaced by a number of other terms with their own particular flavors and so nuanced directions towards the same absent Absolute.

The term Power can be, for example, replaced by the term 'Beauty' or 'Perfection' or 'Order' or 'Freedom' that all refer us towards the same absence but each possessing its own slight divergence.

A more precise depiction of the Will, and here I differ with Schopenhauer as well, is that we can only speak of Will when there is a mind, a directing, focused motive, would be a Will towards the Absolute.
For me the universe lacks any of this to be produced by a play of Wills.
The only rules governing unconscious matter is the law concerning the path-of-least-resistance and the constant interplay of forces, which we can only define as temporal directions and speeds, interacting with one another.

But we have to anthropomorphise these "forces" in order to make them intelligible for us: hence Nietzsche's projection of the will to power (which he discerned everywhere in organic existence) to the inorganic, as well. These forces must themselves be understood as "wills".


That these forces are fragmenting themselves results in this Entropic decay we perceive as a temporal disordering direction which we resist and which we measure using the human invention of time.

Time is merely this fragmentation, this constant change, given a tempo so as to order it into comprehensibility.

There forces, we can only surmise, are but the product of the same near absolute, almost singular force towards completion or total stability or what we may refer to as perfection.

It is this Will towards completion which an then be labeled suing many names: God, Perfect, Beautiful, Power, Knowledge, Stability, Uniformity, Nirvana, Self, Freedom and so on and so forth.

But why does it have so many names?
Because it refers to what is absent and what is absent can only be imagined by being simplified and given particular imprecise characteristics.

What characteristics we choose gives it its nuanced flavor and defines our idealization of it.

Nietzsche derives the concept of will to power from organic existence, where power is never absolute. Thus "power" must from the first be understood as relative power, relative superiority within a greater system (on which the "superior" depends).

That this will to power lays the object of its striving beyond its possibilities, as a virtual, ideal object, follows from the fact that all imagination is falsification, simplification. Imagination never corresponds to reality, but is a flawed image of an organism's perception of reality.

If absolute power - God, Perfection, Stability, Uniformity, etc. - could be attained, it would - as you yourself in a way noticed - be the absolute absence of power. If the will to power, that is, if Becoming, would realise its ideal goal (note that the word "ideal", by the way, is also related to "vision" and veda etc.), if it would actually become Being, then this state would immediately give rise to the need for, the will to, Becoming:

"Becoming, experienced and explained from the inside, would be the continuous creation [on the part] of an unsatisfied one, an over-rich one, an infinitely tense and pressed one, of a God who overcomes the torment of Being only through constant transformation and change: - appearance as his temporary, at-every-moment-attained redemption; the world as the succession of divine visions and redemptions in appearance."
[Nietzsche, Nachlass.]

The "world" is here understood as Becoming, and this in turn as appearance (as in certain Indian schools of thought). So Nietzsche here inverses the idea that Becoming - flux - is the real constitution of existence, whereas "Being" is purely imaginary.
Last edited by Sauwelios on Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Postby Sauwelios » Tue Sep 25, 2007 3:13 pm

The point is that, in the latest passage I quoted from Nietzsche's Nachlass, Being gives rise to the will to power, arouses the pathos (passion) that is the will to power. And "power" is here understood as Becoming, as "constant transformation and change". And this will to power is indeed the will to might, the will to make, as it manifests itself as "continuous creation". Thus Heidegger says about it:

"[B]eing is in its very ground perpetual creation (Becoming), while as creation it needs what is fixed. Creation needs what is fixed, first, in order to overcome it, and second, in order to have something that has yet to be fixated, something that enables the creative to advance beyond itself and be transfigured."

Though it is only a translation, the word "transformation" explains why creation needs what is fixed: it needs forms to make and to unmake. It goes from one form to the next, and must always regard the next form as a "thing", a Being. This is why Nietzsche says that the "redemption" of this "God" is both "temporary" and "at-every-moment-attained": it is temporary because it consists in the transformation process between one form and the next; and it is attained at every moment, because at any time this God is busy creating a new form. He always needs something new to create, a new form to imagine and strive to realise.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Postby Lollipop King » Tue Sep 25, 2007 5:28 pm

Sauwelios wrote:The point is that, in the latest passage I quoted from Nietzsche's Nachlass, Being gives rise to the will to power, arouses the pathos (passion) that is the will to power. And "power" is here understood as Becoming, as "constant transformation and change". And this will to power is indeed the will to might, the will to make, as it manifests itself as "continuous creation". Thus Heidegger says about it:

"[B]eing is in its very ground perpetual creation (Becoming), while as creation it needs what is fixed. Creation needs what is fixed, first, in order to overcome it, and second, in order to have something that has yet to be fixated, something that enables the creative to advance beyond itself and be transfigured."

Though it is only a translation, the word "transformation" explains why creation needs what is fixed: it needs forms to make and to unmake. It goes from one form to the next, and must always regard the next form as a "thing", a Being. This is why Nietzsche says that the "redemption" of this "God" is both "temporary" and "at-every-moment-attained": it is temporary because it consists in the transformation process between one form and the next; and it is attained at every moment, because at any time this God is busy creating a new form. He always needs something new to create, a new form to imagine and strive to realise.
I don`t follow.

For me Will to Power is no different than Will to God or Will to Truth.

Here power can only alude to Omnipotence as its ideal; its finality.
The Becoming is simply the towards, the to in Will to Power.

The Will represents the consciousness which lacks; the Power the ideal it strives for and is absent and the to the movement.

Will to Completion and so self-annihilation since the attainment of it would mean an end.
It is the to that is the affirmation of life.

Since unconscious matter has no consciousness its towards is not guided, it has no imagined unattainable ideal, but only flows along the path of least resistance endlessly.
Its flow is aimless and so disoredering into chaos, as consciousness falls behind the process of fragmentation and is unable to construct moels or find patterns to abstract into comprehensible ideas what is occuring.

Technology becomes a compensation.
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Postby Jakob » Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:19 am

Satyr, what I don't follow is if entropy is what functions as the cause of the drive to organize, to compensate for entropy, where does the ideal, the goal - power, god, unity, beauty, order - come from? How is something rooted in entropy able to project an image of structure?
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Postby Sauwelios » Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:45 am

Jakob wrote:Satyr, what I don't follow is if entropy is what functions as the cause of the drive to organize, to compensate for entropy, where does the ideal, the goal - power, god, unity, beauty, order - come from? How is something rooted in entropy able to project an image of structure?

I think it is because there is slower and faster entropy. Comparatively very slow entropy is perceived by a comparatively rapidly entropying organism to be free from entropy - fixed - "Being".
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Postby Sauwelios » Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:55 am

Satyr wrote:
Sauwelios wrote:The point is that, in the latest passage I quoted from Nietzsche's Nachlass, Being gives rise to the will to power, arouses the pathos (passion) that is the will to power. And "power" is here understood as Becoming, as "constant transformation and change". And this will to power is indeed the will to might, the will to make, as it manifests itself as "continuous creation". Thus Heidegger says about it:

"[B]eing is in its very ground perpetual creation (Becoming), while as creation it needs what is fixed. Creation needs what is fixed, first, in order to overcome it, and second, in order to have something that has yet to be fixated, something that enables the creative to advance beyond itself and be transfigured."

Though it is only a translation, the word "transformation" explains why creation needs what is fixed: it needs forms to make and to unmake. It goes from one form to the next, and must always regard the next form as a "thing", a Being. This is why Nietzsche says that the "redemption" of this "God" is both "temporary" and "at-every-moment-attained": it is temporary because it consists in the transformation process between one form and the next; and it is attained at every moment, because at any time this God is busy creating a new form. He always needs something new to create, a new form to imagine and strive to realise.
I don`t follow.

For me Will to Power is no different than Will to God or Will to Truth.

Here power can only alude to Omnipotence as its ideal; its finality.
The Becoming is simply the towards, the to in Will to Power.

The Will represents the consciousness which lacks; the Power the ideal it strives for and is absent and the to the movement.

Will to Completion and so self-annihilation since the attainment of it would mean an end.
It is the to that is the affirmation of life.

I agree with, and admire, everything you've said in this post so far.


Since unconscious matter has no consciousness its towards is not guided, it has no imagined unattainable ideal, but only flows along the path of least resistance endlessly.

Unconscious matter has by definition no consciousness. However, how do you know there is "matter" (or force) which is unconscious? Is consciousness not simply the reaction of something to something else? And is not human (self-)consciousness a most complex, and chaotic - in the sense of "chaos theory" - combination and interrelation of such forces? Which all seek the "path of least resistance"? I.e., if we apply Nietzsche's anthropomorphism, to seek power over that over which power is attained most easily first?


Its flow is aimless

Is it aimless? Can we eradicate "action at a distance" from our principles?
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"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Postby Jakob » Thu Sep 27, 2007 2:59 am

I once posted a picture of myself as a 3 year old looking at a sandpile I had constructed with my mother. I was holding a little shovel looking out while my mom did all the work. I remember feeling proud to be part of this work; a fortress against the tide functioning as agent of entropy.
At this time the Ford factories were closing down here, and protesters has signs with 'Ford Moet Blijven' - [Ford must stay] I took 'Ford' to be 'fort' - fortress in dutch, and I exclaimed that slogan when the sea came threatening.

The point I want to make with this is that I can see my defense of structure related itself to the world of grownups as a higher authority. I hoped my parent's big people would invoke the entropy to stop. So I seek ever higher authority, and surmount in God. Not at all, of course - I keep seeking for an ever higher God.
On the other hand, I relied on my own authority by standing there and presiding over it. I deeply felt that watching it kept it safe. I took my own subjective epxerience as a proof of order. That is something your (Satyr's) theory doesn't cover - the completeness of the world of a child.
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Postby Lollipop King » Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:28 pm

Jakob wrote:Satyr, what I don't follow is if entropy is what functions as the cause of the drive to organize, to compensate for entropy, where does the ideal, the goal - power, god, unity, beauty, order - come from? How is something rooted in entropy able to project an image of structure?
The ideal is a human invention.

It comes from nowhere because it is absent. It is invented by the human mind as a consequence of how the mind thinks.

We feel in ourselves an absence, a lack, and we try to fill it by creating or imagining an ideal that will fulfill us and give us meaning.

Organizing is simply a way of resisting the decay.
A reaction to an action or to an activity.

It begins as an accident, a chance occurrence in the flow of constant change.
But power or order attracts just as mass attracts. And so some order commences which slows the entropy by providing a resistance to it.
An emerging unity is born.

The more ordered it becomes the more it resists and drops away from the flux or separates from it.

We are able to project an image of structure by taking what we know as a pattern for what we don`t.

We take what structure there is in us, in self-knowledge and self-awareness and we project it into the unknown.
But even here there is incompleteness.


Sauwelios
Unconscious matter has by definition no consciousness. However, how do you know there is "matter" (or force) which is unconscious? Is consciousness not simply the reaction of something to something else? And is not human (self-)consciousness a most complex, and chaotic - in the sense of "chaos theory" - combination and interrelation of such forces? Which all seek the "path of least resistance"? I.e., if we apply Nietzsche's anthropomorphism, to seek power of that over which power is attained most easily first?
Of course you can never know for certain but only deduce it.

For me consciousness is matter focusing its energies into a cohesive unity with a common motive.
Consciousness is not only a reaction but a focused one - a more efficient reaction. This focus with a motive is the Will.
This is why consciousness can only choose the path-of-most-resistance as an act of Will.

Because I cannot perceive a focused motive behind the flux of all matter but only see it as a constant flow along the paths-of-least-resistance I call it unconscious. I see coincidence of flow, like a river, attaining a cohesion due to this coincidence and shared flow with a shared resistance and force but I cannot say that this is focused or that it has a motive or a goal.

What motive I find I place there as an explanation derived from self-consciousness or self-awareness.
My abstractions are artificial absolutes which help me understand what I am experiencing.

Because consciousness is focused energy it requires a focus, a destination. The abstraction becomes one.
If none is available then it constructs it...in higher organisms, as an ideal it strives for and which characterizes it by its striving.

But yes we seek to overcome that which is more easily overcome, most of the time. It`s part of our nature.

Is it aimless?
If it is not then I must conclude that the entire universe is conscious.

But aren't we the universe becoming conscious?

One of the principles of consciousness is awareness through negation.
I identify myself or anything by what it is not.

Can we eradicate "action at a distance" from our principles?
I don`t understand.
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Postby altd&s » Sat Oct 20, 2007 4:33 pm

You must simplify the concept of "power" in order to disengage it from anthropocentrism. It is no longer as essence of anything, since it can be used to describe contrary parts, as in the the case of entropy as a power....and order as a power. Which is the true power if each opposes the other? There is no thesis/antithesis to validate a correct conceptualization of "power". Power has become a metaphor where it should only be a term used to describe an aspect of the physical. Inertia, momentum, rigidity, solidarity, motion, ....none of these are psychological descriptions. None of these have will.

Nietzsche describes power as a "will" to become predominant, to seize, control, expand, etc. These are anthropocentric interpretations. It is true that the organic world, as it consists of atomic bodies, retains an identity as long as possible...so to speak. We would say that the "thingness" of a rock remains until its atomic structure is acted upon by a force or body. But here we are limiting our interpretations to describing "power" as a tendency to resist change and alien forces. Is not, then, the "power" of a body only a reaction to forces which are expressing power by influencing change? Do you see the interchangeability of the concept here?

Power and "will" cannot have "purpose", because purpose implies a teleological end. There is no such end in nature. This perhaps is what confuses those who entertain the possibility of the Eternal Recurrence.
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Postby Sauwelios » Sun Oct 21, 2007 5:10 pm

altd&s wrote:You must simplify the concept of "power" in order to disengage it from anthropocentrism. It is no longer as essence of anything, since it can be used to describe contrary parts, as in the the case of entropy as a power....and order as a power. Which is the true power if each opposes the other? There is no thesis/antithesis to validate a correct conceptualization of "power". Power has become a metaphor where it should only be a term used to describe an aspect of the physical. Inertia, momentum, rigidity, solidarity, motion, ....none of these are psychological descriptions. None of these have will.

All of them are the result of "quanta" of force interacting. To understand force, we must anthropomorphise it: ascribe an inner will to it.


Nietzsche describes power as a "will" to become predominant, to seize, control, expand, etc. These are anthropocentric interpretations. It is true that the organic world, as it consists of atomic bodies, retains an identity as long as possible...so to speak. We would say that the "thingness" of a rock remains until its atomic structure is acted upon by a force or body. But here we are limiting our interpretations to describing "power" as a tendency to resist change and alien forces. Is not, then, the "power" of a body only a reaction to forces which are expressing power by influencing change? Do you see the interchangeability of the concept here?

Action is always reaction, yes. The will to power is a pathos, i.e., something that is aroused.

"The question is ultimately whether we really recognize the will as efficient, whether we believe in the causality of the will: if we do—and at bottom our faith in this is nothing less than our faith in causality itself—, then we must perform the experiment of positing the causality of the will hypothetically as the only one."
[Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, section 36.]

Causality - the idea of cause and effect - is a simplification of the flux of Becoming. In order to be conscious of anything at all, we have to simplify it. Note that "simple" etymologically means "single": we have to discern "entities" (units or unities) within the flux, which are really only relatively different and separate. This is what logic is. Logic simplifies Becoming to interactions of "Beings" (entities). Nietzsche's insight is that we can only explain (rather than merely describe, i.e., model) these interactions by conceiving these Beings as having a "will": we say this Being behaves such and such because it wants to do this or that. We can understand this - empathise with this - because we humans know what it is to will: will is what is immediately intelligible to us, because we "know" it firsthand - feel it. We cannot explain this feeling; it's just there. We can understand that it is aroused by something - by an image, an image of Being, toward which we then want to become -, but we cannot explain the nature of this pathos by any other, "deeper" analogy.


Power and "will" cannot have "purpose", because purpose implies a teleological end. There is no such end in nature. This perhaps is what confuses those who entertain the possibility of the Eternal Recurrence.

There is no such end in nature, but there is the illusion of such ends. The will is aroused by an image (German Vorstellung) - an image of "Being" (in the Parmenidean sense): an image of perfection, absoluteness - an ideal.

Eternal Recurrence means Becoming forms a great ring of Being (in a higher dimension). So Becoming does not become Being, but Being - the Ring of Recurrence - consists of Becoming.

Becoming, however, can only be understood as the result of the will to Being (the will aroused by an image of "Being", which then strives to realise this image).

As I said, Nietzsche says the highest will to power is to stamp Becoming with the character of Being. This means will to power is always a will to approximate Becoming to Being - for instance, by simplification. So the simplification of the flux of Becoming into entities which affect each other must already be understood as an effect of the will to power. And this presupposes the existence of relative entities; the simplification consists in falsifying these as "absolute" (thus the idea of absolute duration and unity - "Being" in the Parmenidean sense - is a simplification of the actual occurrence of relative duration and unity).
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Postby altd&s » Sun Oct 21, 2007 6:16 pm

All of them are the result of "quanta" of force interacting. To understand force, we must anthropomorphise it: ascribe an inner will to it.


I understand how Nietzsche defines his idea- the smallest entity in substance, what is knowable, is what he called the "quanta". This is really an ambiguous term as he used it. Quantum physics states that the smallest unit of substance is the particle. Here one could ask Nietzsche if the particle is the result of "quanta" interacting. According to Nietzsche, a "particle" could not exist...because it is only a composition of "quanta in flux". Eventually, Nietzsche would have to admit that he was using the term "quanta" only to describe a hypothetical entity, or, admit that the smallest know unit of substance known to man is not a result of a state of flux but instead is highly ordered..."determined" and casual, if you will.

This "inner will" must be either the definition of a singular, universal state of motion that all things are animated by, or a quality that only a transcendent thing has (in this case you are a dualist), such as the psyche, the "consciousness", which does not act as inorganic material does.

In the former, the organic and the inorganic are synonymous. Equal as both materials which consist of moving parts. Since any part of a thing, if you divide it up, must be part of the overall body that is in motion, the only common feature that all material bodies share is their tendency to move, while they can be very different in attributes..."physical" characteristics. "Movement" is not an attribute or a quality...it cannot be exclusive to only specific things.

In the latter, the universal force of movement is not an example of "will' because as the "mind" is not material, it is not capable of movement, and therefore cannot exist in, or as, substance. You would need a different term for each category- "will" in immaterial things is "the pathos", "will" in material things is force (which is movement, or will be movement).

If you call it pathos, then you cannot also call the physical characteristics of material things pathos, since they are in motion. Therefore, the will of the mind is expressed in "intention" while the will of substance is expressed in its durability and its movement through space. The pathos, which exercises the will in consciousness, is intentional and real only in so far as there is motive in the act, in the "being" of it- whereas- the nonintentional act of consciousness is not an example of its own expression of force. The force of the pathos, the will, is in the intention of the consciousness...the "cognition" in awareness. The will of immaterial things...the simple movement...is not motivated. It is gratuitous...we can only say that it "is" without an end in mind. Ends exist only where there is motive and intention. You can say that the pathos is teleological, but not the will of immaterial objects, not the case of motion.

"The question is ultimately whether we really recognize the will as efficient, whether we believe in the causality of the will: if we do—and at bottom our faith in this is nothing less than our faith in causality itself—, then we must perform the experiment of positing the causality of the will hypothetically as the only one."


I bolded "efficient". Nietzsche is saying here that because he can deduce all things existing to a one, fundamental thing such as the "flux of quanta", he can therefore say that the will itself is something certain, something stable, something not also subject to flux. No. As I described above, he comes to a problem of definitions themselves being unstable...and in this sense says nothing intelligible.

By "efficient" he really means "I am satisfied with my lexicon here".

In order to be conscious of anything at all, we have to simplify it.


Of course, but what he did not also say is that we cannot but simplify it. When you read this statement, you automatically presuppose there is something other than the simplification given to experience. This suggests inadvertently that behind our experience there is something more of what we experienced that we cannot be aware of. This is a fallacy. He is positing a negative as a hypothetical. Where is this noumenal will? It isn't anywhere....because it is only this unstable and ambiguous idea of the "quanta in flux".

I cannot comprehend "flux". I only know it as a hypothetical absence of order, which is something I have never experienced.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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Postby Sauwelios » Sun Oct 21, 2007 6:40 pm

Well, whatever. In any case, what Nietzsche called "quanta" are not the smallest particles in physics, but rather that of which these particles consist. So indeed, such a smallest "particle" would be the result of the interaction of quanta. Neither Nietzsche nor quantum physics believe in "substance", as the smallest particles of "substance" can themselves be destroyed (e.g., by nuclear fission).

"The concept of substance is a consequence of the concept of the subject: not the reverse! If we relinquish the soul, "the subject," the precondition for "substance" in general disappears. One acquires degrees of being, one loses that which has being."
[Nietzsche, The Will to Power, section 485.]

Quantum means "how much", of course. We might also say: "to what degree".

"The degree to which we feel life and power (logic and coherence of experience) gives us our measure of "being," "reality," not-appearance."
[ibid.]
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Postby altd&s » Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:02 pm

What about this, then. Let's try something new for a moment.

How do you claim that in a finite universe, there is chaos? This doesn't work. If the entire universe is always existing toward a point where it will collapse, then there can never be a state of real chaos within that universe, since all events must be part of the summary of all events that are leading to the end of the universe. Understand? Okay, think of a circle. The duration of its existence is finite....it, as a line, will occupy a former position eventually. Any single moment or event is either after a former moment or event, or will be before a moment or event. The only time it can be the former case is if it is the first moment and event. If this is so, there had to be a first moment and event, and therefore there will be a last (when the circle reaches a former point). If this, in turn, is the case, there is no point on the circle that is truly chaotic or disorganized or in "flux". Nonlinearly, the same principle applies. Every moment is precisely in order with the necessary effect it shall have after being affected itself. This system is airtight...not a moment or event escapes this causal relationship.

There is no real chaos where there was a beginning and where there will be an end. Agree?

An infinite universe, on the other hand......
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Postby Dionysus » Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:12 pm

altd&s wrote:What about this, then. Let's try something new for a moment.

How do you claim that in a finite universe, there is chaos? This doesn't work. If the entire universe is always existing toward a point where it will collapse, then there can never be a state of real chaos within that universe, since all events must be part of the summary of all events that are leading to the end of the universe. Understand? Okay, think of a circle. The duration of its existence is finite....it, as a line, will occupy a former position eventually. Any single moment or event is either after a former moment or event, or will be before a moment or event. The only time it can be the former case is if it is the first moment and event. If this is so, there had to be a first moment and event, and therefore there will be a last (when the circle reaches a former point). If this, in turn, is the case, there is no point on the circle that is truly chaotic or disorganized or in "flux". Nonlinearly, the same principle applies. Every moment is precisely in order with the necessary effect it shall have after being affected itself. This system is airtight...not a moment or event escapes this causal relationship.

There is no real chaos where there was a beginning and where there will be an end. Agree?

An infinite universe, on the other hand......


Except that there is no end for Nietzsche.


"If the motion of the world aimed at a final state, that state would have been reached. The sole fundamental fact, however, is that it does not aim at a final state; and every philosophy and scientific hypothesis (e.g. mechanistic theory) which necessitates such a final state is refuted by this fundamental fact.

I seek a conception of the world that takes this fact into account. Becoming must be explained without recourse to final intentions; becoming must appear justified at every moment (or incapable of being evaluated; which amounts to the same thing); the present must absolutely not be justified by reference to a future, nor the past by reference to the present. "Necessity" not in the shape of an overreaching, dominating total force, or that of a prime mover; even less as a necessary condition for something valuable. To this end it is necessary to deny a total consciousness of becoming, a "God," to avoid bringing all events under the aegis of a being who feels and knows but does not will: "God" is useless if he does not want anything, and moreover this means positing a total value of "becoming." Fortunately such a summarizing power is missing (- a suffering and all-seeing God, a "total sensorium" and "cosmic spirit", would be the greatest objection to being)."


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Postby altd&s » Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:22 pm

In any case, what Nietzsche called "quanta" are not the smallest particles in physics, but rather that of which these particles consist.


Nietzsche was not alive during the time of the science of quantum physics, so he could not have known what "particles consist of", much less that there are even things called particles.

What I'm trying to explain to you is that his concept of the "quanta" is only a kind of lexiconic anchoring for his brand of metaphysics/epistemology. He is using the term to refer to what he is trying to explain as the smallest, most fundamental unit of substance, of what exists. He can certainly invent such a term, but what it really means, what it really verifies, is in question.

Except that there is no end for Nietzsche.


Dio, are you sure? What does the eternal recurrence infer if not, in the least, an end to new events?

Nietzsche may mean that this repetition is endless, but he cannot mean new possibilities for "being". What happens the "first time" must happen again, ad infinitem.

No?
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Postby Dionysus » Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:28 pm

altd&s wrote:Dio, are you sure? What does the eternal recurrence infer if not, in the least, an end to new events?


No. Heidegger refuted this interpretation -the eternal return of the self-same - quite thoroughly in his essay "Nietzsche's Zarathustra". I don't have time to discuss it - nor do I have the patience to delve into so frustrating a topic at the moment - but suffice it to say that the concept does not actually entail the repetition of given events or moments in time, or even states of energy or 'force'. I'm hoping Sauwelios has the essay on-hand and can jump into it with more vigor than I can muster.
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Postby Sauwelios » Sun Oct 21, 2007 9:32 pm

altd&s wrote:
In any case, what Nietzsche called "quanta" are not the smallest particles in physics, but rather that of which these particles consist.


Nietzsche was not alive during the time of the science of quantum physics, so he could not have known what "particles consist of", much less that there are even things called particles.

This is where you are mistaken. Nietzsche's philosophy is quantum mechanics avant la lettre. Philosophy need not follow science; rather, it can reason out things that science will only confirm later.


What I'm trying to explain to you is that his concept of the "quanta" is only a kind of lexiconic anchoring for his brand of metaphysics/epistemology. He is using the term to refer to what he is trying to explain as the smallest, most fundamental unit of substance, of what exists.

No, that is not true. A quantum is not a particle - neither for Nietzsche, nor for quantum physics. That it can behave as a particle, i.e., can be regarded as a particle for practical purposes is the reason it is meaningful to think of "quanta" of force at all.

As a philosopher, I can reason out that quanta do not exist - that there can be no two equal or even one self-same quantum. Even quantum physics is still thinking in terms of mathematics. Mathematics is Platonic: it does not correspond to the physical world (is a simplification and an abstraction of the physical world).

Except that there is no end for Nietzsche.


Dio, are you sure? What does the eternal recurrence infer if not, in the least, an end to new events?

There are no "new events" for Nietzsche. The recurrence is the original occurrence. The eternal return of the same is really the same return of eternal flux.


Nietzsche may mean that this repetition is endless, but he cannot mean new possibilities for "being". What happens the "first time" must happen again, ad infinitem.

There are no repetitions; there is only one circle.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Postby Impious » Mon Oct 22, 2007 12:30 am

Sauwelios wrote:
altd&s wrote:
Nietzsche was not alive during the time of the science of quantum physics, so he could not have known what "particles consist of", much less that there are even things called particles.

This is where you are mistaken. Nietzsche's philosophy is quantum mechanics avant la lettre. Philosophy need not follow science; rather, it can reason out things that science will only confirm later.


Nietzsche had no conception of quantum uncertainty. He thought it possible that an all-seeing eye could know everything about the universe (scientifically speaking). I am referring to the passage about the waterfall.
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Postby Dionysus » Mon Oct 22, 2007 12:37 am

Impious wrote:
Sauwelios wrote:
altd&s wrote:
Nietzsche was not alive during the time of the science of quantum physics, so he could not have known what "particles consist of", much less that there are even things called particles.

This is where you are mistaken. Nietzsche's philosophy is quantum mechanics avant la lettre. Philosophy need not follow science; rather, it can reason out things that science will only confirm later.


Nietzsche had no conception of quantum uncertainty. He thought it possible that an all-seeing eye could know everything about the universe (scientifically speaking). I am referring to the passage about the waterfall.


And yet he rejected just this premise in the passage I provided above.
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Postby Impious » Mon Oct 22, 2007 12:57 am

Dionysus wrote:
Impious wrote:
Sauwelios wrote:
altd&s wrote:
Nietzsche was not alive during the time of the science of quantum physics, so he could not have known what "particles consist of", much less that there are even things called particles.

This is where you are mistaken. Nietzsche's philosophy is quantum mechanics avant la lettre. Philosophy need not follow science; rather, it can reason out things that science will only confirm later.


Nietzsche had no conception of quantum uncertainty. He thought it possible that an all-seeing eye could know everything about the universe (scientifically speaking). I am referring to the passage about the waterfall.


And yet he rejected just this premise in the passage I provided above.


No he didn't.
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