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Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Germany in 1844 and died in 1900. His major works included: The Gay Science (1882), Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883-1885), Beyond Good & Evil (1886), On the Genealogy of Morals (1887). (Editor ~ Rolly Montpellier-Below2C).

Is Man The Cruelest Animal?

The “Will to Power” is a prominent concept in the philosophy of Nietzsche.

The will to power describes what Nietzsche may have believed to be the main driving force in humans: achievement, ambition, the striving to reach the highest possible position in life.

Our natural desire is to dominate and reshape the world to fit our own preferences and assert our personal strength to the fullest degree possible. Struggle, through which individuals achieve a degree of power commensurate with their abilities, is the basic fact of human existence.

Published on Dec 21, 2012
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Nietzsche goes on to expand the concept of Will to Power to include the pleasure of feeling power and the hunger to overpower one’s social and physical environment. He then connects the pleasure in the feeling of power with the desire for cruelty. From this philosophical bent emerges the question: is man the cruelest animal?

Unlike other species, humans know when they’re being cruel. We can quash our morality and our better instincts and choose to be cruel in some circumstances. It’s that knowing right from wrong and intentionally deciding to be wrong to gain some benefit that makes man the worst animal for cruelty.

In another one of his works, Nietzsche shows how “self-deception is a particularly destructive characteristic of Western culture.” This concept resonates loudly with modern civilization’s inertia in dealing with climate change. There is no greater manifestation of self-deception than the delusional behavior of climate change deniers so heavily funded by the fossil fuel industry.

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  1. Neitsche was writing a 150 years ago. Much of his interpretation of life changed with the end of WWII and the Cold War.

    I have faith that in the new millennium, humans will learn to work together for our mutual benefit because the quest for ‘power’ and ‘control’ only works when people are ignorant of the facts. Despite the best efforts of many power brokers like the Koch brothers, ignorance is close to being stamped out… A few more generations and I expect things will be very different on planet earth.

    Keep the faith…

    • James – I wish I could be as positive and optimistic as you are about our “humanity” rising to the occasion in a few more generations. In a few more generations, let’s say 50 years from now, I envisage a deterioration on planet Earth that will bring out the worse in mankind. By 2050, world population will reach 9 billion making the struggle for depleting resources even more confrontational than it is now. Not to mention the environmental degradation that is spiraling out of control. Recent scientific reports are indicating that we have grossly underestimated the near-future impacts of climate change – by some 60 years I think I saw somewhere yesterday.

      Sorry about being so realistic.

      • 6 years later you get a reply Boomer-Warrior, I agree, look what’s happened in the 6 years that blind political eyes do not care to see. Floating “Islands” of plastic garbage. They still want to drill , frack, etc. when other energies can be put to true and better us. Sorry, you’re a man, but it is all men’s faults; greed, power, money. how much do you need, really? And, why don’t you share for the sake of your Mother Earth and humankind. Women should rule the world. They used to in the very early beginning tribes.

        • I agree that the world needs more women “at the wheel”. We men have really fu*^d “things” up and frankly it doesn’t look like we can fix “things” very easily.

  2. Jeez, I’m reading this in July 2020. Donald “sociopath”tRUMP is president of the USA, making a mockery of our nation. All the world is laughing at him. I feel his base are those citizen who are either ignorant or just stupid; I believe many are just stupid and he uses them for merely votes, BECAUSE stupid cannot be fixed , ignorant people can become enlightened, knowledgeable, STUPID CANNOT. Trump does not give a shit about anything but money and power. He is a very dangerous man, he doesn’t even know it, he is beyond arrogant and egotistical; the Senate does, why are they so fearful of a lunatic. Senators get your true calling for WHY you are there in the Senate of the USA, a great, strong country, which Trump is tearing down. STAND UP TO THE CHILD AND DON’T ALLOW HIM TO RUIN WHAT HAS WORKED FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS, PUT TOGETHER BY REAL” GENIUSES”, OUR FORE FATHERS, NOT A BRAGGART . DO YOU REALLY THINK WE COULD COME UP WITH WHAT THEY DID TODAY. TOO MUCH BS, THE “TRIBE” IS TOO BIG. HE/TRUMP IS NOT THE CHANGE , THE SAVIOR. HE’S JUST A SPOILED , SELFISH PSYCHOTIC MAN. IS ANYBODY OUT THERE LISTENING AND SEEING, ARE YOU ALL BLIND?

    • Hello Lynda. Welcome to Below2C.

      You’re right, STUPID cannot be fixed. Along with the corona crisis and the climate crisis, we also have a stupidity crisis. And I’m not sure we can solve any of these.

      Thank you for your comments and feedback.


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