Phenomenology

An Introduction to Husserl's Phenomenology by Jan Patočka

By Jan Patočka

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This is power for its own sake with no external goal, but which itself becomes the “highest value”, 35 T H E P H I LO S O P H Y O F H E I D E G G E R treating and sustaining all values. Nietzsche suggested that life is to be comprehended and justified solely in terms of this fundamental “characteristic” or “force”. “For Nietzsche, will to power is the utimate factum to which we come” (Niv: 73). With “will to power” the only fundamental value, and humans no longer led by any gods, transcendent ideals or values, the Übermensch (superman, superior human) embodies the highest expression of this power or life force.

This state of the world to which he refers is rooted in the emergence of a condition called “nihilism”. Nihilism is a word generally used in reference to the rejection of all moral and religious values as well as all forms of tradition and authority. It is one of the key concepts in Nietzsche’s philosophy, and his ideas on the subject influenced Heidegger’s own understanding of the topic. A fundamental motive behind Heidegger’s questioning of Being is his wish to overcome this condition of nihilism, which he believed to be the most destructive force on this planet.

For just as no sound can exist without silence, no-“thing” can exist without Nothing: without the empty space that enables it to be. Perhaps the closest one can come to defining the Nothing is to say that “Nothing” or “space” is the “appearance” of the Unmanifested as an externalized phenomenon in a sense-perceived world. However, the paradoxical nature of this statement, and the fact that “Nothing” has no physical existence, means that it cannot ever become an object of knowledge. “To exist” means literally “to stand out”.

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