259

Mutually refraining from wounding each other, from violence, and from exploitation, and setting one's will on the same level as others - these can in a certain crude sense become good habits among individuals, if conditions exist for that (namely, a real similarity in the quality of their power and their estimates of value, as well as their belonging together within a single body). However, as soon as people wanted to take this principle further and, where possible, establish it as the basic principle of society, it immediately showed itself for what it is, as the willed denial of life, as the principle of disintegration and decay. Here we must think through to the fundamentals and push away all sentimental weakness: living itself is essentially appropriation from and wounding and overpowering strangers and weaker men, oppression, hardness, imposing one's own forms, annexing, and at the very least, in its mildest actions, exploitation - but why should we always use these precise words, which have from ancient times carried the stamp of a slanderous purpose? Even that body in which, as previously mentioned, the individuals deal with each other as equals - and that happens in every healthy aristocracy - must itself, if it is a living body and not dying out, do to other bodies all those things which the individuals in it refrain from doing to each other: it will have to be the living will to power, it will grow, grab things around it, pull to itself, and want to acquire predominance - not because of some morality or immorality, but because it is alive and because living is simply the will to power. But in no point is the common consciousness of the European more reluctant to be instructed than here. Nowadays people everywhere, even those in scientific disguises, are raving about the coming conditions of society from which "the exploitative character" is to have disappeared: - to my ears that sounds as if people had promised to invent a life which abstained from all organic functions. The "exploitation" is not part of a depraved or incomplete and primitive society: it belongs in the essential nature of what is living, as a basic organic function; it is a consequence of the real will to power, which is simply the will to live. - Assuming that this is something new as a theory - it is, nonetheless, in reality the fundamental fact of all history: we should at least be honest with ourselves to this extent!

Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good and Evil
Part IX - Aphorism # 259

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