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Beyond Good and Evil

Summary 9 - "What is Noble"
Summary 9 - "What is Noble"

This chapter also finds Nietzsche at his most abrasive. We might want to deal in particular with his highly contestable assertion that all life is exploitation. His assertion that all life is will to power has been discussed elsewhere, and we will accept it for the sake of the argument. The will to power, we must also concede, consists in what we might call exploitation: the dominance of one will over another. However, at its most sublime, this will to power is a kind of self- overcoming, where one turns one's instincts for cruelty and freedom upon oneself. "Exploitation" carries the connotation that one group of people exploits another, and Nietzsche's doctrine of the will to power does not always call for such exploitation.

In Nietzsche's defense, however, his discussion of exploitation is meant largely as a justification for the aristocratic caste's exploitation of the commoners. Nietzsche wishes to explain it as an expression of the aristocrats' will to power, and thus as nothing more than a fact of life.

We may wish to question Nietzsche's Lamarckism that divides the world up into different types, but we should also note that Nietzsche goes to some length in this chapter to suggest that the distinctions between different types of people is blurred, and that true greatness is usually unrecognizable anyway.

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