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To Nietzsche ‘s Question: Do Right and Wrong Exist, or Is It All About Power?

Is power the only thing that really matters?

I think Nietzsche might say yes. His idea of The Will to Power, which was left undefined but seems to have implicit meaning in his writing, underscores this entire idea. It has woven its fingers into the fabric of our cultural vernacular, like when we hear phrases like “Our greatest fear is not that we are weak, but that we are powerful beyond belief.” He thought these was an inherent desire inside humanity to rise up and overcome. In this sense, it’s easy to see why 20-year-old men gravitate toward his ideals.

But is he correct? Would his narrative seem to (in the words of Wendell Berry)

Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias…
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts…
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts…
Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Does his ideal produce more life than death?

One need look no further than the previous century to find the answer to that question. The century of ideologues led to more death and bloodshed than any sort of warrior-god belief before it. It led to more technological advances—advances which Nietzsche may have seen as sacrifices in the name of progress; in the name of strength growing where it can—but to more utter moral failures than ever seen before.

Are these advances necessary for humanity to progress out of our tribalistic barbarism, or is that barbaric specter an inevitable element of humanity which will haunt us until the resurrection? Something we may never fully exorcise until our sanctification is complete? The Christian says yes. We should opt for slower progress in the name of preserving life and humanity.

We may be distracted when certain leaders appeal to power, offering us freedom and power beyond our wildest dreams, not to mention technological advances which better our lives, but which historically make worse the lives of others we don’t know (read: how first world technology consistently leads to more destruction of developing countries).