A reader of this blog requested my thoughts on what Nietzsche meant by “pure will”. I thought I would ask my old thesis prof for his thoughts because he is far and away more knowledgable in things Nietzsche than I am…
“Pure” vis-a-vis Nietzsche is different from metaphysical-moral concepts of purity, where subjectiveness, particular biases and so on are view’d as intrusions into what ought to be (objective, universal, transpersonal [where the personal is a universal concept thereof]).
Accordingly, my guess is “pure will” would mean willing that is affirmative of one’s own particularities: there could be no universalness in willing that would pertain to both Lars’s willing and Mills’s willing and X‘s willing and so on, except in some existentially unimportant sense (that we’re all willing similarly enough to refer to “willing” in generis).
Nietzscheanly pure willing is free of metaphysically moral criteria whereby in some residual way one still evaluates one’s willing according to e.g. congruence with Christianity or theoretic wisdom-as-such (as-if universal wisdom – wisdom that would apply to all of us, or toward which we all ought to be striving).
Nietzscheanly pure willing is always the willing of someone who wills, a willer. So also is Platonistic or Christian willing – and Buddhistic not-willing! – but this is done supposedly in a person-neutral, situation-neutral, etc way. A pure Nietzschean willer doesn’t hide from behind universal criteria that he claims are necessary and universal and which thus absolve him from responsibility for his willing and the intended consequences of his willing.
Obviously will in this sense is different from “willpower”: a given Platonist or Christian might have more thumotic energy to devote to exertions of will, resoluteness and so on) than does a given Nietzschean: only the Nietzschean decides that he ought to will for the enhancement of his own self’s potentiality, whereas the Christian decides that he ought to will toward his integration into the Kingdom of God that pertains to everyone in essentially the same way.
More subtly, will in this sense is different from “will to power,” reveal’d by Nietzsche: this is Heidegger’s “Gelassenheit” – letting go or “releasement,” which doesn’t tyrannize against nature (naturing) (cf BGE ¶188) but accentuates, intensifies, coherences every nature. And woe to whomever’s naturing can’t withstand intensification imposed by the will-to-power guy, or the will-to-power posse (LS: “planetary aristocracy”)!!
Yours in unintelligent laughter, jpnill
P.S. Did you mean your question psychologically in a certain way? I mean, what is Nietzsche’s concept of will in the psyche as distinguish’d from appetite, libido, eros, thumos, itching, etc? Such psychology is necessary and can be beneficial, although seems so far that such distinctions can’t be made with clear boundaries.
Classically, we can see how Plato shows thumos or spiritedness to emerge (frustration of desire or appetite provokes a drive that is different from the desire or appetite), but then Plato also shows thumos integral to some desires, some eros, and maybe even to all descriptions and hence to all logos (which must impose a verbal or conceptual distinction upon a reality that doesn’t match the concepts, unless one chooses a word so inclusive and universal (e.g., “reality” “everything” etc) as to lack descriptive power. Compare “spirituality” (Hitlerism, materialism, Jim Houstonism, Jesuitism, Augustinianism, etc are all “spirituality”).