OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
The essential relation between the "will to power" and the "eternal return of the same" must be thought in this way; however, we cannot yet represent i t here directly because metaphysics has neither considered nor even inquired about the origin of the distinction between essentia and existentia.
If metaphysics thinks beings in their being as the will to power, then it necessarily thinks them as setting values. It thinks everything in the horizon of values, the validity of values, devaluation, and revaluation. The metaphysics of modernity begins with and has its essence in the fact that modem metaphysics seeks the absolutely undoubtable, what is certain, certainty. According to Descartes' words4 firmum et mansurum quid stabilire, it is essential to bring something firm and lasting to a stand [zum Stehen]. As object [Gegenstand], this standing [das Ständige] satisfies the essence of beings that has prevailed since antiquity: beings are that which are enduringly [beständige] present, which are everywhere already available (ὑποκείμενον, subiectum). Descartes, too, like Aristotle, inquires into the ὑποκείμενον. Descartes seeks this subiectum in the course laid down for metaphysics, and as a result he (thinking truth as certainty) discovers the ego cogito as what is constantly [ständig] present. So the ego becomes the subiectum, i.e., the subject becomes self-consciousness. The subjectivity of the subject is determined out of the certainty of this consciousness.
By positing its own preservation, i.e., the securing of its own continued existence, as a necessary value, the will to power simultaneously justifies the necessity of such securing in all beings which, representing in an essential way, therefore also hold things to be true. Securing by holding to be true is called certainty. In Nietzsche's judgment, it is only in the will to power that certainty is truly grounded as the principle of modem metaphysics, assuming of course that truth is a necessary value and that certainty is the modem form of truth. This makes clear the extent to which, in Nietzsche's doctrine of the will to power as the "essence" of all reality, the modern metaphysics of subjectivity is completed.
This is the reason Nietzsche writes: "The question of value is more fundamental than the question of certainty: the latter becomes serious only under the assumption that the question of value has already been settled" (The Will to Power, no. 588, from 1887/88).
However, once the will to power has been recognized as the principle of the dispensation of value, inquiry into value must at once reflect on the identity of the highest value that necessarily follows from this principle and accords with it. In that the essence of value manifests itself as the condition of preservation-increase posited in the will to power, a