The Gay Science

Transcending Ontological Uncertainty with Nietzsche's Will to Power

This world is the will to power and nothing besides. And you yourself are also this will to power and nothing besides.

-- Friedrich Nietzsche

Human beings have struggled for centuries to explain their existence: some have thought it meaningless, others God-given. But since the Enlightenment, and the dawn of the Age of Reason, these questions have taken on a new quality. Philosophers, scientists and other great thinkers of the Enlightenment period promoted the power of reason as the force of progress. Through its application, the hierarchical rigidity of ideas like aristocracy and divine ordinance were replaced by individual freedom and rights. But in the time since this period, the Age of Reason has devolved to an era of insecurity, and we have arrived – confused, anxious, and uncertain – at modernity. Some have wondered, “Why has the generalizing of ‘sweet reason’ not produced a world subject to our prediction and control?” This is the lesson we have learned: that the force of reason, and its attendant accumulation of knowledge and understanding, has its limits and its shortcomings.

The modern problem, as Anthony Giddens identifies in his book The Consequences of Reason, is that the power of knowledge and reason has come up...

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