Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/156

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other men and lives gladly and freely and fully, obeying his instincts and ignoring the common priest-taught, slave-born distinction between good and evil. Power, intellectual and physical, the power to do a thing, to conquer others, to use men of less power for his own ends, is the mark of an excellence that should suffer no check from the plebeian teachings of a Jewish and slave morality.

To the influence of the Greek spirit as Nietzsche felt it there was added the influence of Schopenhauer to whom he was indebted for his conception of the highest instinct of man as being "The Will to Power." For him this will to power is so fundamental a part of the natures of all men of the higher sort that he finds in it the motive for the imposing of punishment upon those who injure the state or their fellow men. He says:

By the administration of punishment against the debtor the creditor will become a sharer in a privilege of the master. At last he also will for once be inspired by the elevated feeling of being allowed to despise and maltreat somebody as being "lower than himself," or, at any rate, in case the proper power of punishment, the executive power, has already passed to the authorities, the feeling of seeing him despised and maltreated.

This is but one phase of what he calls "the true nature and function of life, which is will to power." We hear a great deal lately of the superman, and we are likely to associate the conception with the name of George Bernard Shaw, but he has borrowed it from Nietzsche. If the select few are left free to exercise this "true nature and function of life," as they will, they may develop into an order of beings of higher tastes and greater powers than are exhibited by man in the present. This process, however, can not go on to the evolution of the superman as long as society is under the dominance of a slave morality of which the first consequence is a transformation of values by which the humble and the lowly and the weak are made the equals of the strong and the victorious and the successful.

Of this individualism in Nietzsche it is to be observed first that it is based primarily on a personal predilection. The circumstance that Nietzsche finds some human qualities admirable and others contemptible is not a sufficient ground for the establishment of a system of ethics or philosophy. A preference for the Roman over the Jew is, after all, but a preference, and Nietzsche does not sufficiently show that it is founded in some clear superiority of one over the other as determined by some recognized standard of worth. In the same way he is personal and dogmatic in declaring that the will to power is the true nature and function of life. He cared for power, but it is not a necessary corollary from that fact that the gratification of the will in the pursuit of power is the distinguishing mark of the nobler man. Nietzsche's individualism here must have another support beyond that of his own sense of values. It happened that just at this time science was presenting a