Nietzsche’s concept of the body as the symbol of the will

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Richard Arthur Spinello in his article “Nietzsche’s conception of the body” (link at the end of the post) writes the following:

“The term “body” is a metaphorical way of describing the self not as a soul or simple substance but as an aggregate of forces or drives. In these same works Nietzsche develops a strong critique of consciousness and a highly positive evaluation of our instincts and emotions, the most important of those inner forces which comprise the self.”

According to Nietzsche, the body is an instinctive or force structure where forces are permanently fighting each others. Those forces can be called desires which are of two types: active and reactive. Mainly speaking, active forces or desires represents creativity, love of life, freedom, affirmation of life and all tendencies that can be referred to as positive. The reactive forces are the opposite: they represent resentment, self-hate, jealousy and all negative tendencies. Sometimes, active ones take over reactive ones and produce a positive creative full of life action. Some other times, reactive ones win the fight and results in self-hate resentful attitude or action. The fight and its consequences depend on each individual drives, experiences and general attitude. That being said, Nietzsche believed that his concept of will of power – often mistaken as the will of evil power- comes from the body and its active forces. Therefore, the Nietzschean will of power means the power of the will to be active and creative in a life affirmation attitude.

Understanding the basics of the Nietzschean philosophy requires a different perspective of the human body. If one wants freedom and joy, then one must strengthen active desires. Taken into a different level, science tells that the human body is made of about 600 muscles, which means that humans are movement machines. Combining Nietzsche’s conception of the body with science gives us an idea on how to strengthen active desires; one way to do it is through movement as in being physically active.

One of the main reasons behind some diseases and pain lies in the imbalance of sedentary life and lack of movement.

If you are interested in Spinello’s full article that broader on Nietzsche’s philosophy of the body and not solely focused on movement like my post, click on the following link:

https://research.library.fordham.edu/dissertations/AAI8111318/#:~:text=The%20term%20%22body%22%20is%20a,aggregate%20of%20forces%20or%20drives.&text=Once%20this%20conception%20of%20the,the%20overman%2C%20and%20eternal%20return.

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