Ah, providence. As I continue this exploration of Nietzsche as he emerges in “A Nietzsche Reader” — translated by R. J. Hollingdale — I stumbled on a construction — that is to say his editing — of the following, which I feel is the most accurate and earth-shaking explanation of what Nietzsche actually means by will to power.
After spending time in the vineyards of Heidegger and the French thinkers who have lavished many pages trying to exegete what eternal return is all about, I feel I have struck a mother lode.
Read on. This is from “Beyond Good And Evil 211” and it is in Hollingdale’s section on philosophy and philosophers.
[The philosopher] …must perhaps have been critic and skeptic and dogmatist and historian and, in addition, poet and collector and traveller and reader of riddles and moralist and seer and ‘free spirit’ and practically everything, so as to traverse the whole range of human values and value-feelings and be able to gaze from the heights into every distance, from the depths into every height, from the nook-and-corner into every broad expanse with manifold eyes and manifold conscience. But all these are only preconditions of his task: this task itself demands something different — it demands that he create values. […] Actual philosophers […] are commanders and law-givers: they say ‘thus it shall be’, it is they who determine the Wherefore and Whither of mankind, and they possess for this task all the preliminary work of all the philosophical labourers, of all those who have subdued the past — they reach for the future with creative hand, and everything that is or has been becomes for them a means, an instrument, a hammer. Their ‘knowing’ is creating, their creating is a lawgiving, their will to truth is — will to power. — Are there such philosophers today? Have there been such philosophers? Must there not be such philosophers?
I am going to leave this without comment. It is to me the precise context for an understanding of will to power.