The “will to power” is a concept developed by Friedrich Nietzsche. This concept describes the force, which is, in Nietzsche’s view, the major driving force of human beings – the will to be superior, to reach the maximum on own life, to achieve the highest results. Will to power, according to Nietzsche, is a fundamental psychological drive for domination which is stronger than other human motivations, and sometimes is even strong than the will to live (Deleuze, 2006). Nietzsche considered two types of manifestation of the will to power: external and internal (Deleuze, 2006). Externally will to power is often manifested in aggression and domination, while internal manifestation of will to power leads to sublimations of will into self-control and self-mastery. From a deeper perspective, Nietzsche viewed the will to power as the major driving force of change in this world, and the universe is made of and driven by wills.
Alfred Adler, a well-known psychotherapist and doctor, also discussed the concept of the will to power in his works, but viewed it as a manifestation of neurotic personality with an inferiority complex (Weckowitz & Liebel-Weckowitz, 1990). Adler created his theory of individual psychology basing on individual beliefs and perceptions, and on the effect of the behavior of an individual on other people. Three principles of Adlerian approach are holism, purposiveness and social interest (Weckowitz & Liebel-Weckowitz, 1990).
In Adler’s model, the will to power (the drive for superiority) was the consequence of individual neuroticism; the strength of will to power, according to Adler, depended on the strengths of neurotic feelings of inferiority (Weckowitz & Liebel-Weckowitz, 1990). Adler stated that the major driving force of human nature was the desire to be part of human community, the desire to belong and to feel worthwhile (Weckowitz & Liebel-Weckowitz, 1990). Adler’s concept is wider than Nietzsche’s, and this concept more accurately describes the existing society: there are many people who are not interested in dominating and do not strive to be the best in self-mastery or in some other sphere, but simply fulfill their duties and live modest lives.
Deleuze, G. (2006). Nietzsche and Philosophy. Continuum.
Weckowitz, T.E. & Liebel-Weckowitz, H. (1990). A History of Great Ideas in Abnormal Psychology. Elsevier.