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The Content of Character

Re: The Content of Character
October 03, 2008, 04:56:57 PM
I'm not sure if you understood the will to power well. This will was argued as the ultimate drive present in all (an argument against reproduction as ultimate goal), and this man in question clearly fits the upper tiers of one with a "will to power."

I agree heartily that the will to power is a strong drive but I do not think a drive towards anything is the will to power. I have come to understand the will to power as a sense of satiety that is for the most part constant and also immune to physical discomforts. Nietzsche often described how hard simply living was and the will to power was an attempt by him to overcome his sadness and overcome his humanity. Nietzsche said he looks for the will to power where others do not look for it, among simple and spartan people. I think it is easier to imagine the potato farmer, the sheepherder and the fisherman containing the will to power over a monarch or a wealthy merchant. That is not to say that the monarch or the wealthy merchant cannot posses the will to power but if ever walk of life had just as much a chance of making a man strong then there is not much reason to dislike the modern western society, which I do so because it does not appear to be a good incubator for strong men.

And frankly if the upper tiers, as you described them of the will to power are consistent with the financial hoardings of the miser then it is certainly is a very frivolous concept that adds no meaning to life other that of insecurity and overcompensation rather than an overcoming and strength.


Please stop over-complicating things and re-read what I and others wrote above.  The "will to power" idea is immune from these specific value judgments.

Re: The Content of Character
October 03, 2008, 07:09:49 PM
I am well aware that the will to power is not a concrete form and that in order to "posses" it one does not use a list and tick the qualities they have acquired and the drive can indeed be manifested in a truly huge number of ways. Although I never thought of the will to power as being a summary of the human drive as I had always associated it as being the human ethos. Also as I mentioned in previous posts the will to power and wealth are not repellents towards each other. The confusion of that came from various misunderstandings on my part.

Re: The Content of Character
October 05, 2008, 05:08:18 PM

I hope you're in for a bit of a read, this actually makes sense.

http://www.ihatejobs.com/
http://www.ihatejobs.com/news/the_career_man.html


From the above mentioned article: "Jobs were once means of supporting ourselves and our communities. People undertook a business (or worked for one) that provided a valuable service to the local community. Something valuable and necessary has been replaced by something for its own sake. People punch in and out of places where they shuffle papers that don't need shuffling and they sell things that people don't need. You'll see some people running around claiming the government channel drugs into cities as to keep the population unfocused and dumb. I disagree; maybe the government do want to do that, but they don't give us drugs, instead they make us get jobs under pain of being homeless and a social leper."

The present is here compared  unfavourably to an idealised past (a common technique): "Jobs were once means of supporting ourselves and our communities" etc etc, but now we're commuter men, etc etc. Strictly speaking, none of the author's statements are incorrect. Yes, in the past (but which period? the author sadly doesn't mention) people's work was necessary. For survival indeed: c. 1500, if a peasant was idle, his family would have no food and would starve. Now, the average cubicle monkey spends most of his time "shuffling papers that don't need shuffling": a task of no importance, he merely passes the time. But the author's implication is that things were better under the former situation. Wrong: I would rather be Dilbert than Piers Plowman; rather spend 8 hours in an office than 14 down a coal mine. But this is not the point. The point is that the current economic system has a certain amount of "slack" in it (and we are fortunate that is does). By which I mean, in Europe (or the USA) 200 years ago, the majority of the people had to expend most of their efforts simply in order to stave off starvation. Now, this is not the case. To a certain extent this is because modern technology has made farming and manufacturing more efficient; the fact that we use the inhabitants of the third world essentially as our slaves is another (but this is another topic entirely). THe bottom line however, is that nowadays people in the West have more "free time", more time in which they do not need to be attending to their most basic needs than ever before. In this, a peasant in modern England is as an aristocrat in ancient Rome. Even if he does nothing, he will not starve (this all is perhaps why a penniless modern Englishman can relate so well to  Tolstoy's novels). The question is: what to do with this free time? It makes life more complicated after all. If one has to spend twelve hours a day in the fields in order simply to live, there are no existential dilemmas. "What shall I do with myself? The answer is clear: you must toil or die!". Perhaps the author of the article envisaged a return to such a state for the majority. Pragmatically utopian. But this sheds no light on what to do now, with our vast amounts of leisure. Wasting this gift of time would be - pardon the expression - a sin. Spending it in pointless work however is obviously not the answer. But what is?

Re: The Content of Character
October 06, 2008, 05:10:11 AM
I wouldn't call 4 hours a day minus weekend a 'vast amount' of leisure time. But isn't the problem precisely that our days are divided into 'work' and 'leisure'? We're so exhausted and disenchanted by our 8 hours of largely superfluous work that leisure means a night in front of the tv. Some people are lucky to have as their work a hobby they enjoy - then the division between work and leisure vanishes. These people are usually the most productive in what is officially their leisure time.

Re: The Content of Character
October 06, 2008, 02:43:24 PM
I agree; work and leisure should ideally run together in such a way; an "ideal society" would be set up that all its members delighted in fulfilling their necessary function, would indeed wish for nothing more.
But I think I was unclear on what I meant by those in the modern West having a surfeit of leisure. My point wasn't that an office worker has more free time than a peasant (although meagre as 4 hours a day and a weekend may seem, historically speaking it is in fact an abundance) but that ALL of the office worker's time can be seen as free time. Unlike the peasant, work is for him a choice. He will not starve if he doesn't go to work, his lifestyle will simply be less lavish (although here we may have a distinction again between Europe and the USA: there is more welfare in the new world). Theoretically at least he could live on state handouts and devote his time to whatever purpose he wished.

Re: The Content of Character
October 06, 2008, 10:00:25 PM
I wouldn't call 4 hours a day minus weekend a 'vast amount' of leisure time. But isn't the problem precisely that our days are divided into 'work' and 'leisure'? We're so exhausted and disenchanted by our 8 hours of largely superfluous work that leisure means a night in front of the tv. Some people are lucky to have as their work a hobby they enjoy - then the division between work and leisure vanishes. These people are usually the most productive in what is officially their leisure time.

Perhaps rather than thinking of ones work and leisure time as being the same and/or similar would it be better to say that those who's ethos fits their work would have more productive leisure time? Effectively the same as what you proposed but it allows one to undergo work, even if it perhaps not at all that enjoyable and still have leisurely activities that are meaningful. Say for example a garbage man likes to fish in his spare time and he applies the virtues of his fishing to his work (patience, stoic hardiness to discomfort etc) then he could have work and leisure which are very different but still have the ability to enjoy his free time in a "healthy" manner.

Re: The Content of Character
July 12, 2009, 03:42:46 PM
Well, even Dr. King dreamt of a world where people were "judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

I think if society got back to this issue, we'd have a better ground for figuring everything else out. It seems to me that most people are thoughtless, and don't mind for example throwing a whole bunch of trash in the forest or trying to victimize or destroy someone who is doing something productive. In fact, they seem to thrive on tearing down anyone who rises above the herd. We see this in metal a lot where all the shitty local bands unite against the one local band that might go somewhere. Content of character determines who's worth saving, and if humanity has any brains, it will encourage these to produce our next generation of humans.

Re: The Content of Character
July 15, 2009, 11:42:09 AM
Content of character is the one thing you can't fake with 5,000 myspace friends, a credit card and a 4chan meme.