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Will as Affect, Passion, and Feeling


firm in his willing, to get hold of himself in his entire being, to be master over his being. But that very possibility indicates that we are always within the scope of will, even when we are unwilling. That genuine willing which surges forward in resoluteness, that "yes," is what instigates the seizure of our entire being, of the very essence within us.

Nietzsche designates will as passion just as often as affect. We should not automatically conclude that he identifies affect and passion, even if he does not arrive at an explicit and comprehensive clarification of the essential distinction and connection between these two. We may surmise that Nietzsche knows the difference between affect and passion. Around the year 1882 he says regarding his times, "Our age is an agitated one, and precisely for that reason, not an age of passion; it heats itself up continuously, because it feels that it is not warm—basically it is freezing. I do not believe in the greatness of all these 'great events' of which you speak" (XII, 343). "The age of the greatest events will, in spite of all that, be the age of the most meager effects if men are made of rubber and are all too elastic." "In our time it is merely by means of an echo that events acquire their 'greatness'—the echo of the newspapers" (XII, 344).

Usually Nietzsche employs the word "passion" interchangeably with "affect." But if anger and hate, for example, or joy and love, not only are different as one affect is from another, but are distinct as affects and passions respectively, then here too we need a more exact definition. Hate too cannot be produced by a decision; it too seems to overtake us—in a way similar to that when we are seized by anger. Nevertheless, the manner in which it comes over us is essentially different. Hate can explode suddenly in an action or exclamation, but only because it has already overtaken us, only because it has been growing within us for a long time, and, as we say, has been nurtured in us. But something can be nurtured only if it is already there and is alive. In contrast, we do not say and never believe that anger is nurtured. Because hate lurks much more deeply in the origins of our being it has a cohesive power; like love, hate brings an original cohesion and perdurance to our essential being. But anger, which seizes us, can also release


Martin Heidegger (GA 6 I) The Will to Power as Art - Nietzsche 1