OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
essence, is much less a striving than striving is the residual or incipient form of will.
In the expression "Will to Power" the word "power" gives the essence of the mode in which will wills itself to the extent that it is command. As command, will joins itself to itself, i.e., to what it has willed. This self-gathering is the empowering of power. Will exists for itself no more than power for itself. Will and power, therefore, are not subsequently linked by the will to power; rather, will, as the will to will, exists as the will to power in the sense of the empowerment of power. Power, however, has its essence in the fact that it stands in relation to will as the will that is inside the will. The will to power is the essence of power. It indicates the absolute essence of will which wills itself as sheer will.
Hence the will to power cannot be dropped in favor of a will to something else, e.g., the "will to nothing"; for this will too is still the will to will - that is what enables Nietzsche to say (On the Genealogy of Morals, Third Treatise, § 1 , from 1887): "it [the will] will will nothing rather than not will."
To "will nothing" in no way means to will the sheer absence of all reality, but rather precisely to will reality but to will it as a nullity everywhere and at every time and only in this way to will annihilation. In such willing, power is still securing for itself the possibility of command and the ability to be master.
It is in the second part of Thus Spoke Zarathustra (written during 1883, the year after La Gaya Scienza was published) that Nietzsche first places the "will to power" in the context in which it must be understood: "Where I found the living, there I found the will to power; and even in the will of the one who serves I found the will to be master."
As the essence of will, the essence of the will to power is the fundamental trait of all reality. Nietzsche writes (The Will to Power, no. 693, from 1888): The will to power is "the inmost essence of being." Here "being" is used in accordance with the language of metaphysics: beings in general. As the fundamental character of beings, therefore, the essence of the will to power and the will to power itself are not to be ascertained through psychological observation; rather, it is the other way round: psychology itself gets its essence, i.e., the ability to set and to recognize its object, only through the will to power. Hence Nietzsche does not understand the will to power psychologically, but rather the opposite: he gives psychology a new definition as the "morphology and doctrine of the development of the will to power·" (Beyond Good and Evil, § 23). Morphology is the ontology of the ὄν, whose μορφή (which too was changed when εἶδος was changed into perceptio) appears as the will to power in the appetitus of the perceptio. Since antiquity, metaphysics has thought beings as ὑποκείμενον, subiectum, in regard to being; that metaphysics has turned into psychology as defined by Nietzsche attests (though only as a derivative phenomenon) to the essential event which consists in a change of the beingness of beings. The οὐσία (beingness) of the subiectum