Cloud Atlas’s long-term reach asserts the existence of human hunger. Desire is said to be the driving force behind the consolidation of power, and it manifests itself in a variety of ways, including the effects of imperialism, varying degrees of corruption, slavery, and casual relationships. The nineteenth-century experienced a force theorized by Friedrich Nietzsche that exists in human consciousness and acts by exerting control over others at all cost, which he referred to as the will to power. The cornerstone of Nietzsche’s theory is power. The will to control, as a hypothesis, is a method for explaining behavior. Nietzsche refers to it as an attribute that is present in both the most potent and the most powerful, both of whom desire power. The quest for more power is what is wanted and enjoyed rather than the possession of it. Evidently, David Mitchell borrows primarily from Nietzsche’s proposition of the will to power. This paper provides a summary of the narratives and discusses how two stories of David Mitchells Cloud Atlas, The Orison of Somni-451 and Letters from ZedeghemMorty portray and examine the concept of the will to power.
A Short Summary of Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas comprises of six intertwined stories starting with a journey during the nineteenth century through the South Pacific and climaxing in a remote post-apocalyptic Hawaii. Every tale ends within itself, but their real significances are found in the relationships between them, creating an entire whole. The narratives are broadly varying in perspective, plot, style, involving the lives of a notary in the nineteenth century, a play boy in post-WWI, a resilient Californian journalist in the 70s, a 21st-century aging literary editor clone who plans a rebellion, and a remedial youth living in the after-apocalyptic world (Mitchell, 2004 p 221). All narratives have different contexts, ranging from a futuristic Korea to the English countryside. Every story intertwines into the subsequent through connections of characters via films, books, and letters. The principal characters are not connected d directly. However, their lives are immensely linked and influenced by the activities of others. Also, there is no highlighting spiritual thread binding the primary characters to each other, whether through the novels highest proposal or previous life encounters, that every creature on earth now and before are forever connected through the conditions of human kind.
Mitchell interprets Nietzsches theory of will to power as follows; If people cannot obtain the power on their capacity, they will have to rely on factions or their leaders to access it. As the pursuit of authority and an expose of the powers operation, The Orison of Somni and Letters from ZedeghemMorty go through a sequence of character and-plot research which indicates how people prey on people, majorities on minorities and corporations on employees. The narratives also through Mitchell statement, current generation eat the nourishment of the coming generation.(Mitchell, 2004 p 334)
Nietzsche (2010, P 228), acknowledged the presence of only one essential concept like the human which is the will to power. The two narratives of Cloud Atlas, function as critiques and explorations of attempts of human societies to condition and control their people to act as the foot soldiers despite their location, race and time. These foot soldiers sustain the regime of the ones in authority, further integrating its dominance and power. Michel explores power in its multiple forms and displays several ways in which power manifests itself in the two narratives.
The Will to Power as Depicted in The Orison of Somni
According to Nietzsche (2010, 2010 P 234), the world is a very chaotic place. He asserts that the view of consciousness governing Omni potent organization, like a good that regulated and organized events, is not necessary. In fact, for him, it is an unreal theory. Mitchell seems to authenticate this view and broadens it to demonstrate that every human action, irrespective of how they are determined, bear unpredicted outcomes and if examined from a future view can be observed to have created consequences that were never expected during the performance of the first act. These views are illustrated in the narrative The Orison of Somni According to Nietzsche (2010, P 237), the insinuation of the theories of Charles Darwin regarding evolution further justified his own beliefs and thoughts about the earth being without divine meaning. Nietzsches view was that this period was a time during which old-fashioned values and meanings did not hold any influence or make any sense. Surprisingly, the postmodern story applied in the book situates the start of the basis of the postmodern view in the Victorian era. Due to Darwins evolution theories and several scientific revelations, the disbelief magnified across this period including the effect of science on views of human identity and knowledge (Nietzsche, 2010 p 233). Also, there was a remarkable development in mechanisms and urbanization. Consequently, the cultural and social hierarchies that had traditionally ruled the West accelerated in their collapse.
Based on what Nietzsche viewed as a crisis in culture, he suggested that individuals should reflect back upon the traditional Greeks as an example for development in culture. According to him, the solution was to join the duality of Apollonian Dionysian which involved constant fights between the two rivalry principles. The wagon was the compelling force behind the culture of Ancient Greeks. Passion was the force driving the cart. However, it was passion which was both directed and harnessed. Dionysus was viewed as the undirected elastic force responsible for creation while it was headed and governs by the Apollo force. Explaining Darwin through his own particular and personal way, Nietzsche (2010 3 239), suggested that the qualities of human nature have two faces, character which can manifest ability for superior and high powers but which can also hold the capacity to own destructive, murders and cruel drives. Similarly, Mitchell explores the form of the apparently antagonistic drives to obtain power through inviting a different interpretation of history via a possible futures lens. His invitation of a reinterpretation promotes a revaluation of the form of energy which functions in the current.
Will for Power as depicted in Letters from Zedeghem.
Nietzsches disruptive drives are governed by the human beings desire to integrate power and to persistently develop and accumulate additional power. This desire is significantly apparent in the second narrative Letters from Zedeghem of Cloud Atlas. Morty Dhondt escorts Robert Frobisher on his way to tour the Zomebeke cemetery, to find out if Frobisher can locate his brother Adrians grave. His late brother was murdered during World War I in Belgium. Frobisher asks to know why Dhondt was anticipating another war. In his reply, Dhondt says another war was inevitable because wars are never well extinguished. He asserts that is it the will to power which forms the social foundation and it is that which ignites wars. He also adds that the will to power is also the root of violence. Significantly the setting of the narrative of Frobisher is in the era between two World Wars. The Persian used Zedeghem as the control center during World War One. Conceivably, a countrys power to threats, its boundaries and its freedom to rule its citizens, is a common cause of wars. The World Wars are currently very vividly remembered as the most hostile extensions of peoples inclination for power and its sustenance, at any possible cost. The relationship and proximity of Zedeghem to war indicates that when a countrys authority is under threat the will to power is not merely peoples backbone. While travelling back on their journey, having failed in their mission, Dhondt informs Frobisher that the tool of the dreadful will comprises of the dread of violence, the desire to cause violence and the real violence. He further asserts that the will to power can be seen on the border of countries unions, factories, kitchens and bedrooms. Moreover, the state of a country is simply human nature turned into large segments.
Where Cloud Atlas was a stew was being cooked, Nietzsches philosophies would be the appropriate spices. Very few characters refer to Nietzsches name and rarely do any utter the phrase will to power, which appears to be appropriate. David Mitchell introduces the will to power in his narratives similarly the way he justifies institutionalized bondage and describes power as the capacity to ascertain another mans luck.Morty Dhondt also includes the will to power in his speech as a prelude in which he asserts that peoples violence, knowledge, and power will cause the world to end. The basic view of the will to power is that individuals desire the best out of life be it the best mate, house or position. This desire can be a bad or good thing as determined by what each person wants. The will to power can be a pursuit of self-perfection or knowledge. The depiction of the will to power in the narratives of Cloud Atlas corresponds to Nietzsches philosophies.
Mitchell, David. “Clouds Atlas.” Sci-Fi Drama, 2004, p. 544.
Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, and Oscar Levy. The Will To Power. [United States], Digireads.Com Publishing, 2010,.