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Coubertin and Nietzsche's "Will to Power"

Coubertin and Nietzsche's "Will to Power"

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Published by Nebojša
Excerpt form the book »Philosophy of Olympism« by Ljubodrag Simonović, Belgrade, Serbia. E-mail :
His blog: http://ljubodragsimonovic.wordpress.com/

Excerpt form the book »Philosophy of Olympism« by Ljubodrag Simonović, Belgrade, Serbia. E-mail :
His blog: http://ljubodragsimonovic.wordpress.com/

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Nebojša on Aug 09, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Excerpt form the book 
»Philosophy of Olympism«
by Ljubodrag Simonovi,Belgrade, Serbia. E-mail :comrade@sezampro.rs 
Coubertin and Nietzsche's "Will to Power"
Nietzsche's influence on Coubertin is beyond doubt, although it is difficultto determine to what extent Nietzsche's thought contributed to the formation anddevelopment of Coubertin's Olympic idea, especially because it is hardly likelythat Coubertin had direct contact with Nietzsche's work. Most importantly, bothconceptions are based on the "philosophy of will", which tends to deal with theideas of reason and freedom, and both propound the establishment of a direct andtotalitarian power of the parasitic classes over the working people. Zarathustra'squestion of all questions: "Who will be the master of the earth?" - is anindisputable guiding principle of Coubertin's Olympic doctrine.For Nietzsche, just as for Coubertin, "might is right" is the basis of socialintegration, although it is not based on evolution of the living world and on"progress", but on the aristocratic heritage: the aristocracy is an incarnation of thecosmic order and an indisputable bearer of the "will to power" (
ille zur Macht 
. Nietzsche is critical of Darwin's conception and consequently of Coubertin'stheory of "progress": "What surprises me most when I survey the broad destiniesof man is that I always see before me the opposite of that which Darwin and hisschool see or 
to see today: selection in favor of the stronger, better-constituted, and the progress of the species. Precisely the opposite is palpable: theelimination of the lucky strokes, the uselessness of the more highly developedtypes, the inevitable dominion of the average, even the
types. If weare not shown why man should be an exception among creatures, I incline to the prejudice that the school of Darwin has been deluded everywhere. That will to power in which I recognize the ultimate ground and character of all change provides us with the reason why selection is not in favor of the exceptions andlucky strokes: the strongest and most fortunate are weak when opposed byorganized herd instincts, by the timidity of the weak, by the vast majority. Mygeneral view of the world of values shows that it is not the lucky strokes, the selecttypes that have the upper hand in the supreme values that are today placed over mankind; rather it is the decadent types - perhaps there is nothing in the worldmore interesting than this
And he continues:
"Onecounts on the struggle for existence, the death of the weaker creatures and thesurvival of the most robust and gifted; consequently one imagines a continualgrowth in perfection. We have convinced ourselves, conversely, that in thestruggle for existence chance serves the weak as well as the strong; that cunningoften prevails over strength; that the fruitfulness of the species stands in a notablerelation to its chances of destruction..."
In Nietzsche, the relation between
man and nature is not mediated by the animal world; there is a direct link betweennature and man on the level of the "organic" dominated not by dialectical relations but by mechanicistic naturalism (big-small
. In his "overman" (
  Nietzsche does not see a super-animal, but a being that "evades" the evolution of the living world and returns to the level of the organic, which is not ruled by the principle of competition that results from the current balance of powers and has arelative character, but by the principle of domination, which is the expression of the "accumulation of force" and has an absolute character. Unlike Coubertin, whoinsists on the established balance of powers between "elite" and "masses" resultingfrom the struggle for survival, Nietzsche insists on an order in which thedomination of the "elite" corresponds to a cosmic order governed by the principleaccording to which the bigger devour the smaller, and to the basic existential principle of monopolistic capitalism according to which "the bigh fish devour thesmall fish". Instead of an evolutionary, Nietzsche offers a cosmological model of the "will to power" which has a mechanicistic character: "Every living thingreaches out as far from itself with its force as it can, and overwhelms what isweaker; thus it takes pleasure in itself."
And he continues: "Life, as the formof being most familiar to us, is specifically a will to the accumulation of force; allthe processes of life depend on this: nothing wants to preserve itself, everything isto be added and accumulated."
For Nietzsche, what supports the "will to power" is the cosmic energy andman's affective nature; in Coubertin, it is the expansionist power of monopolisticcapitalism and man's combative character. As a pragmatist, Coubertin seeks to(ab
use the cosmic powers in the form of an instrumentalised science andtechnique, in order to impose a social (class
order which corresponds to therelations of domination established in the animal world. In the development of man's creative powers he does not see the means of man's liberation from hisdependence on nature and the abolishment of the power of one man over another man, but the means of man's complete submission to the laws of evolution and theensurance of indisputable domination of the parasitic classes over the "herd". His"will to power" represents a transformation of the economic, scientific andtechnical forces of monopolistic capitalism into a totalitarian political power of theruling "elite". Instead of advocating a totalization of the world by way of man'screative and libertarian practice, Coubertin advocates a totalisation of the worldthrough the oppressive practice of the parasitic classes. For Nietzsche, science andtechnique are the forces that conquered nature and thus, in the name of "progress",dealt with man's natural being and consequently with the cosmic (natural
sourceof his "will to power". Drawing on the ancient model, Nietzsche tries to returnman to his cosmic being by way of art, which should develop in him the Dionysianlife forces. At the same time, Nietzsche recognizes in technique the productivisticforce of the "herd" as the driving force of progress. By means of that force theindisputable power of cosmos, and thus the power of the aristocracy which is itsexclusive bearer, is dethroned, and the "animals in the herd"
 become superior, in
the existential sense, to the parasitic classes. Hence it is no accident that Nietzschedevalues the productivistic practice of the workers and proclaims war the basicexistential activity of the "overman". Nietzsche: " I recommend to you not work, but battle. I recommend to you not peace, but victory. Let your work be a battle,let your peace be a victory!"
According to Nietzsche's existentialist intention,work represents the most important and the most valuable human activity. Nietzsche's "overman" is, in the existential sense, in the worse position than themembers of the despised "herd". In spite of the aristocracy appearing as theincarnation of the cosmic power, its biological survival is ensured neither by art or  philosophy nor by the sword or cross, but by the labour of the oppressed anddespised "herd". Nietzsche's "overman" is an existential cripple. However, Nietzsche gives priority to the ownership of the means of production over work and tries to prove that the survival of the "weak" depends on the "strong", fromwhich follows that the "herd" is a burden that the aristocracy should get rid of without mercy. Nietzsche: "The weaker presses to the stronger from a need for nourishment; it wants to get under it, if possible to become one with it."
This Nietzsche's "discovery" completely corresponds to Coubertin's theory according towhich the "oppressed have always expected from their masters to provide themeans of life".
Coubertin despises work, but he does not hesitate toappropriate from the workers certain productive forces that appear in the forms of science and technique (as well as the natural forces embodied in techniques
andto turn them into the means of developing the conquering (oppressive
powers of the bourgeoisie and of exploiting nature - proclaiming the rich elite the bearers of "progress".In spite of insisting on art and philosophy, Nietzsche does not expect fromhis followers to take up the bow and the quill, but the whip and the sword: abilityand readiness to kill a man represents the highest challenge both for Nietzsche's"overman" and Coubertin's "new man". Nietzsche does not rely on those who arethe cleverest and the most creative, but on the richest and the most unscrupulous.Like Coubertin, he thinks that the biggest obstacle to revolutions and socialismlies in "those who have possessions", who are "of one mind on one article of faith".
To justify their insatiable greed, Nietzsche uses the basest demagogywhich he calls "the morality of development": "One must possess something inorder to
something. I should add one must want to have more than one has inorder to
more". (....
For this is the doctrine preached by life itself to allthat has life: the morality of development".
Nietzsche does not criticize the bourgeois because he does not practice art but because he "agreed" to transfer hisoppressive power onto the social institutions and "progress" and thus offered to the"herd" the possibility of abolishing the class order. He calls on the rich todecisively cast off all the norms and institutions that hinder their power andreestablish a direct tyrannical power over the ever more numerous and politicallyconscious workers. Nietzsche attacks the "pallid hypocrisy..." with "mandarins atthe top" of Comte's type: "The barbarian in each of us is affirmed; also the wild

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