Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will To Power:  An attempt at the Revaluation of all  Values. Der Wille zur Macht.

Published posthumously, first edition in 1901, editors Peter Gast, Ernst Horneffer and August Horneffer.

 

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(Nov. 1887-March 1888)

1

Of what is great one must either be silent or speak with greatness. With greatness— that means cynically and with innocence.  

2

What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism.  This history can be related even now; for necessity itself is at work here.  This future speaks even now in a hundred signs, this destiny announces itself everywhere; for this music of the future all ears are cocked even now.  For some time now, our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end, that no longer reflects, that is afraid to reflect.  

3

He that speaks here, conversely, has done nothing so far but reflect: a philosopher and solitary by instinct, who has found his advantage in standing aside and outside, in patience, in procrastination, in staying behind; as a spirit of daring and experiment that has already lost its way once in every labyrinth of the future; as a soothsayer-bird spirit who looks back when relating what will come; as the first perfect nihilist of Europe who, however, has even now lived through the whole of nihilism, to the end, leaving it behind, outside himself.  

4

For one should make no mistake about the meaning of the title that this gospel of the future wants to bear. "The Will to Power: Attempt at a Revaluation of All Values"— in this formulation a countermovement finds expression, regarding both principle and task; a movement that in some future will take the place of this perfect nihilism— but presupposes it, logically and psychologically, and certainly can come only after and out of it. For why has the advent of nihilism become necessary?  Because the values we have had hitherto thus draw their final consequence; because nihilism represents the ultimate logical conclusion of our great values and ideals— because we must experience nihilism before we can find out what value these "values" really had.  —We require, sometime, new values.  

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