Nietzsche was considered something of a nut when he talked about:
The will to power (German: “der Wille zur Macht”) is a prominent concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. The will to power describes what Nietzsche believed to be the main driving force in man; achievement, ambition, the striving to reach the highest possible position in life; these are all manifestations of the will to power.
But he was only repeating what many other German thinkers were saying at the time, as this Wikipedia article shows. The German thinkers were far ahead of the rest of the world at the time, for their breadth of vision. This is why their degeneration into Nazism was so shocking.
But this social collapse is now being acted out in our time on a far larger – indeed, global scale. Human society has been transformed into a gigantic machine – whose objective is making itself ever more powerful. To put it another way, human nature contains two basic instincts: the life instinct and the death instinct. And the death instinct is now clearly the strongest.
I am not saying anything new here – only insisting that we acknowledge this fact.
Take, for example, our inability to understand technology. I have a new book about this: Autonomous Technology: Technics-out-of-Control as a Theme in Political Thought. The author, Landon Winner, starts off well in his Introduction. But after letting his ideas sit overnight, I proceeded to write Technology is Social the next morning – and got an instant Like for it from one of my faithful readers. I was stunned, did I know more about this than Mr. Winner did, an intellectual with awesome credentials?
I also have another new book: The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Modern World. I peeked at it too, and I think it will be more useful for me. I fast-forwarded to the last chapter: The Master Betrayed, and this quote from page 461:
The true value of man is not determined by his possession, supposed or real, of Truth, but rather by his sincere exertion to get to what lies behind the Truth. It is not possession of the Truth, but rather the pursuit of Truth by which he extends his powers and in which his ever-growing perfectibility is to be found. Possession makes one passive, indolent, vain If God held in his right hand all truth, and his left hand the ever-living striving for truth, although with the qualification that I must for ever err, and said to me “chose”, I should humbly chose the left hand and say “Father, give! Pure truth is for thee alone.”
Forgive me for introducing another book: After Virtue, which is its third edition. Its main point is that Ethics no longer exists in contemporary society. It has been forgotten completely and is unlikely to be recovered. To be honest, I didn’t get too far in this book, it is too high-powered for my brain – but I will have to give it another try. Skimming through it again, I can see it has some important material. I should have begun this study much sooner, when my brain was younger – but that cannot be helped now.
I now switch to a current topic: how ethics are now defined in the business world – and an organization called Ethisphere, which recently included Microsoft in its list of most ethical companies. I could hardly believe my eyes!
It reminded me of something I should have realized long ago: that our new constellation of power (the power complex) is now able to define everything in terms of itself, and its interests. I looked up Microsoft’s Standards of Business Conduct. I quote:
Microsoft aspires to be a great company, and our success depends on you. It depends on people who innovate and are committed to growing our business responsibly. People who dedicate themselves to really satisfying customers, helping partners, and improving the communities in which we do business. People who are accountable for achieving big, bold goals with unwavering integrity. People who are leaders, who appreciate that to be truly great, we must continually strive to do better ourselves and help others improve.
We must expect the best from ourselves because who we are as a company and as individuals is as important as our ability to deliver the best products and services. How we manage our business internally—and how we think about and work with customers, partners, governments, vendors and communities—impacts our productivity and success. It’s not enough to just do the right things; we have to do them in the right way.
In other words, Microsoft is devoted to making the entire complex work better – not just itself. This, as everyone knows, is pure poppycock – Microsoft, like any successful company is focused on itself alone – but covers this up by talking about social responsibility.
One more book: Small Change: Why Business Won’t Save the World, by Michael Edwards, who had been an executive for several philanthropic organizations, and saw how they worked.
We are now practically floating in books that are all saying the same thing, from different perspectives. To put it crudely:
We are up shit creek without a paddle.