Beyond Good and Evil

By Friedrich Nietzsche
1886
250 pages

19. Philosophers are accustomed to speak of the will as though it were the best-known thing in the world; indeed, Schopenhauer has given us to understand that the will alone is really known to us, absolutely and completely known, without deduction or addition. But it again and again seems to me that in this case Schopenhauer also only did what philosophers are in the habit of doing-he seems to have adopted a POPULAR PREJUDICE and exaggerated it. Willing-seems to me to be above all something COMPLICATED, something that is a unity only in name—and it is precisely in a name that popular prejudice lurks, which has got the mastery over the inadequate precautions of philosophers in all ages. So let us for once be more cautious, let us be ‘unphilosophical": let us say that in all willing there is firstly a plurality of sensations, namely, the sensation of the condition ‘AWAY FROM WHICH we go,’ the sensation of the condition ‘TOWARDS WHICH we go,’ the sensation of this ‘FROM’ and ‘TOWARDS’ itself, and then besides, an accompanying muscular sensation, which, even without our putting in motion ‘arms and legs,’ commences its action by force of habit, directly we ‘will’ anything. Therefore, just as sensations (and indeed many kinds of sensations) are to be recognized as ingredients of the will, so, in the second place, thinking is also to be recognized; in every act of the will there is a ruling thought;—and let us not imagine it possible to sever this thought from the ‘willing,’ as if the will would then remain over! In the third place, the will is not only a complex of sensation and thinking, but it is above all an EMOTION, and in fact the emotion of the command. That which is termed ‘freedom of the will’ is essentially the emotion of supremacy in respect to him who must obey: ‘I am free, ‘he’ must obey’—this consciousness is inherent in every will; and equally so the straining of the attention, the straight look which fixes itself exclusively on one thing, the unconditional judgment that ‘this and nothing else is necessary now,’ the inward certainty that obedience will be rendered—and whatever else pertains to the position of the commander. A man who WILLS commands something within himself which renders obedience, or which he believes renders obedience. But now let us notice what is the strangest thing about the will,—this affair so extremely complex, for which the people have only one name. Inasmuch as in the given circumstances we are at the same time the commanding AND the obeying parties, and as the obeying party we know the sensations of constraint, impulsion, pressure, resistance, and motion, which usually commence immediately after the act of will; inasmuch as, on the other hand, we are accustomed to …

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