Dominance is the general force underlying all reality

Adaptation and the struggle to survive is a secondary drive in the evolution of animals, behind the desire to expand one’s power. All life seeks primarily to expand itself.  No matter what type of situation individuals find themselves in, their will to power comes through in some way or another. Nietzsche calls these different ways the disguised forms of the will to power, meaning that they appear to stem from something else, such as altruism or sympathy, when they really originate in one's instinct to bring someone under one's own power. The first of these disguised forms of the will to power is a desire for freedom, independence, and peace. What this is at bottom, is simply the will toward self-preservation and existence in general. One wants peace and independence so that one is not at risk from the possibly violent actions of others. Also, one does not want to become enslaved or subjugated by others. So in other words, without a 'will to power' or dominance you would not have the world you have today.


Nietzsche contends that rather than directing our will to power outward to dominate those around us, we direct it inward and gain self-mastery. With self-mastery you gain profound self-control and spiritual depth, representing a more refined form of power than the power gained by conquering barbarians. The greatest power that we can have is power over ourselves, and we gain power over ourselves in the same way we gain power over external enemies: by attacking them and submitting them to our will. Strong-willed people, whom Nietzsche often refers to as free spirits, are always ready to attack their fundamental beliefs and assumptions, to question their very identity. There is great safety in resting assured that certain truths or beliefs are beyond question, and it takes great courage to question our fundamental “truths.” Nietzsche writes that what is important is not the courage of our convictions but the courage for an attack on our convictions. Such courage exhibits a strong will to power, the will to choose self-mastery over safety. 


Imposing your will, especially to the point of oppression or exploitation of others is contrary to the will to power. A master who enslaves by force or similar oppression would be one whose will is perverted. The ubermensch leads by example, and those who are inferior to him fall in behind him. To Nietzsche, this is the natural order. Any objection to democracy would be if the system interfered with that natural order and promoted the less capable above the more capable (which sadly feels commonplace here in the US).