C L A R K  S O R L E Y

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NIETZSCHE               

  “What we must combat in Christianity is that it aims at destroying the strong, at breaking their spirit, at exploiting their moments of weariness and debility, at converting their proud assurance into anxiety and conscience trouble, that it knows how to poison their noblest instincts and to infect them with disease till their strength and will to power turns inwards against themselves, until the strong perish through self contempt, that gruesome way of perishing.”

It’s hard to escape the thought that Nietzsche may have had himself in mind when delivering this. He felt undermined for much of his life. It may also be dubious to lay the problem he identifies at the door of Christianity since there’s a pressing need in human societies to temper power in one way or another. That limitation of power has been one of the most successful elements in liberal politics. Had he lived through the Nazi era in Europe his view may have been different.


That said, one understands the frustrations that may be encountered by an individual not allowed to blossom in a way appropriate to inclination and ability. I can sympathise with that. I still think, though, that it is probably for the greater good that the “will to power” is held in check by the structures of any good society. We are probably mostly better off as a consequence even if it does result in the blighted ambitions of particular individuals.

the “will to power” needs to be held in check