File spoon-archives/nietzsche.archive/nietzsche_1998/nietzsche.9801, message 96


Date: Sat, 31 Jan 1998 16:15:19 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Inkonsequenz Spinozas (7 of 11)


(7 of 11)
(III cont)

Section 16 begins a critique of the philosophical
conceptions "I think" and "I will", the latter of which
is explicitly associated with Schopenhauer.  Section
18, for example, clearly expresses Nietzsche's 
opposition to the idea of "free will".  This group
concludes with section 21, which speaks, not of the
philosophers' "will", but of "_strong_ and _weak_
wills", which, in this context, we can safely assume
are wills to power.  This is in subject-matter the most
psychological of the main groups.

There remain sections 22 and 23, the concluding
sections of this chapter.  But let us return to where
we had left off.

The beginning of section 22, speaking as it does of
modern physics, points back to the group (sections
12 to 15) on natural science, in particular echoing the
beginning of section 14.  Section 14 goes on to contrast
modern physics with Plato's way of thinking, apparently
favouring Plato, despite Nietzsche's clear and fundamental
opposition to Plato in the book's foreword.  In section
22 modern physics is opposed to Nietzsche's own
conception of Wille zur Macht rather than to Plato; thus
Nietzsche implicitly compares his way of thinking
with Plato's mastery over the senses by means of the
"pale, cold, grey conceptual nets which they (the
Platonists) threw over the colourful turmoil of the
senses, the mob of the senses as Plato spoke of it".
(section 14)  As one of the few sections dealing 
explicitly with Wille zur Macht, section 22 also points
back to section 9, and more particularly to section 13
in the group on natural science  to which section 22
points.  In section 13, as we have seen, Nietzsche
differs with Spinoza, but does not strictly oppose him.
Indeed, he seems to imply that Spinoza may well have
been on the right track, but merely failed to draw the
full consequences of his thought.

We shall try to understand this difference between
them.  One, possibly superficial, difference stares us
in the face:  while Nietzsche, as already noted, rejects
the natural laws of physics (section 22), Spinoza speaks
positively of natural laws (see, eg., _Ethics_ III, Preface).
Nietzsche's conception of Wille zur Macht makes the
assumption of natural law superfluous, to say the least.
If all powers, in a web of conditioning and conditioned
centers of power, draw their consequences each moment,
unrestrained by any laws or ends, an absolutely necessary
course must result.  In different terms, suggested by
Nietzsche himself, it is not because all things equally obey
laws, but precisely because there are no laws, that
the strong will commands and the weak will obeys.
There is, Nietzsche seems to suggest, only Wille zur Macht,
or, more precisely, only finite centers of Wille zur Macht.
Here a deeper difference suggests itself, namely that
between Nietzsche's atheism and Spinoza's doctrine
of God.  If there is only Wille zur Macht, we might well
wonder if it is even possible to speak of "the whole",
let alone reach Spinoza's supreme thought of God.
For there are only finite centers of Wille zur Macht,
endlessly drawing their consequences.  But this is
interpretation, not text, and rather questionable,
difficult, and bold at that.


     Kelly Timothy Lynch     ||    "Dei potentia est
       ktlynch-AT-vex.net       ||  ipsa ipsius essentia."
   Toronto, Ontario, Canada  ||         Spinoza



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