‘The Will to Power’ and ‘Thirst’

Robert G. Morrison

in Nietzsche and Buddhism

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780198238652
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679711 | DOI:
‘The Will to Power’ and ‘Thirst’

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In the Will to Power, Nietzsche envisages the cosmos as ‘a monster of energy, without beginning, without end,…a creating and destroying play of forces,…an eternal becoming that must return eternally’. This is Nietzsche's ‘Dionysian world’, the world as ‘will to power’. Within this world, man is a particular and discrete embodiment of this will to power, a particular configuration of a ‘play of forces’ emerging at a distinct point in the evolution of the natural world. Man is therefore a product of a world that precedes him. Buddhism, on the other hand, has never had a philosophy of nature, nor has it felt it necessary to have any definite view on the ultimate origins of man or the cosmos. As Nietzsche's notion of will to power has its paradigm in Hesiod's notion of Eris or Strife, this chapter uses the notion of Erōs as found in Plato's Symposium as a paradigm for tanhā.

Keywords: Nietzsche; Buddhism; Will to Power; Hesiod; Erō; Plato; Symposium; tanhā

Chapter.  9471 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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