perpetually living. Thus, rather than φύον, ζῷον appears, the participle of the verb (or ‘time-word’) ζῆν. We blithely translate this as ‘to live,’ and believe we know what this means. ‘To live’: how could we not know what that is, since we ourselves ‘live,’ and since we, in accordance with the founding principle of modern metaphysics, create our notion of beings (and also of being) from out of the experience of our own ‘I’?3 Along these lines, Nietzsche (entirely in accordance with his epoch) considered ‘life’ as what is best known: namely, the absolutely self-evident. Because everything is understood from the perspective of ‘life,’ every objective thing is the ‘experienced,’ and experience is therefore the relation to the world. Everything comes from ‘lived-experience.’ Poetry and Experience is the name of a famous book by Dilthey. Because Nietzsche also thinks from out of experience, he does not hesitate to interpret the foundational word of all thinking—[91] namely, the word ‘being’—in terms of ‘life.’ In a note from the year 1885/86 Nietzsche writes:4 “‘Being’—we have no other conception of this than ‘to live.’ How, then, can something dead ‘be’?” Already at Nietzsche’s time, ‘being’ had been conceived by ‘us’ (which is to say, by ‘anyone’) for a long time as ‘life.’ The question nevertheless remains which conception ‘we’ have of ‘life.’ Nietzsche interprets ‘life’ as ‘will to power.’ In the second part of Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883), in the section entitled “On Self-Overcoming,” the connection between ‘life’ and ‘will to power’ is expressed for the first time:

He certainly did not arrive at the truth, he who shot at it with the phrase ‘will to existence’: this will—it does not exist!

For: what is not, cannot will; but how could what is in existence will existence!

Only where life is, there is also will: not, however, will to life, but rather—so I teach you—will to power!

There is much, to the living one, that is valued as higher than life itself; but from out of the process of valuing itself speaks forth—the will to power!5

In the same passage, prior to the above-cited, one sees the following:

Where I found living things, there also I found will to power; and even in the will of the servant I found the will to be master.6

In all of this, it is decided that whatever does not have the character of the will to power is not ‘being,’ and thus is, insofar as it is not thought as will to power, a

3 See Leibniz, Monadology, § 30.

4 Nietzsche, Werke, XVI, 77, The Will to Power, Aphorism 582.

5 Ibid., VI, 168.

6 Ibid., 167.

The foundational words of inceptual thinking    69