to emerge from the role of vassal to become a master himself. Rather, the vassal as vassal, the servant as servant, always has the will to have something else under him, over which he has command in the course of his service and whose service he makes use of. Therefore, as a vassal he is still a master. Even to be a vassal is to want to be master.

The will is not a desire and not a simple striving for something; rather, will is in itself command (cf. Thus Spoke Zarathustra, parts I and II; in addition, The Will to Power, no. 668, from 1888). Command has its essence in that fact that the commanding master is conscious that he has at his disposal the possibilities of effective action. What is commanded in the command is the realization of this disposal. In the command, the one giving the command (and not just the one carrying it out) is obedient to this disposal and to the condition of having at his disposal: this is how he obeys himself. In this way, by continuing to risk himself, the one giving the command is superior to himself. lo command, which is to be carefully distinguished from merely ordering others about, is to overcome oneself and is more difficult than obeying. Will is gathering oneself together for the task at hand. Only he who cannot obey himself must continue to be specifically subject to command. Will strives for what it wills not just as for something that it does not yet have. Will already has what it wills. For will wills its willing. Its will is what it has willed. Will wills itself. It exceeds itself. In this way will as will wills above and beyond itself, and therefore at the same time it must bring itself beneath and behind itself. This is why Nietzsche can say (The Will to Power, no. 675, from 1887/8): "To will at all amounts to the will to become stronger, the will to grow . . ." Here "stronger" indicates "more power," and that means: only power. For the essence of power is to be master over the level of power attained at a particular time. Power is power only when and only for as long as it is an increase in power and commands for itself "more power." To halt the increase of power only for a moment, merely to stand still at one level of power, is already the beginning of a decline in power. Part of the essence of power is the overpowering of itself. This overpowering belongs to and springs from power itself, since power is command and as command it empowers itself to overpower the level of power it has at any time. So power is indeed constantly on the way to power itself, but not as a will available for itself somewhere, not as a will which is trying (in the sense of striving) to come to power. Nor docs power empower itself to overpower its level of power merely for the sake of the next level, but rather for this one reason alone: in order to seize hold [bemächtigen] of itself in the absolute character of its essence. To will, according to this definition of its


Off the Beaten Track (GA 5) by Martin Heidegger