This morning, an existential crisis test on my friends page inspired me to look up Friedrich Nietzsche, whose principles sounded reasonable enough on first reading. But then it got me thinking - Nietzsche's philosophy sounded very much like Hitler's justification for the Holocaust. The wikipedia article on Nietzsche even mentions this but suggests that Hitler probably did not read Nietzsche. I personally find that hard to believe, as if I were Hitler I would not reveal the source of my rhetoric lest someone try to undermine them.
Of course, my immediate thought then were that Nietzsche's philosophies were dangerous and I should distance myself from them. Then thinking about this I realise that they're only dangerous to people who crave power: the central purpose Nietzsche talks about as being the 'purpose of man'. Relating that to myself, I don't feel I crave power; in fact in a lot of ways I feel I'm quite deferential. But to people of the time, especially given Nietzsche's references to Homer's teachings of people in ancient Greece, seem to be that certainly in the past, people were more strongly desiring power than I perceive myself to do today.
So, now I'm interested in whether people today (as a product of society today) crave power, and whether this is greater or less than in the past. How to measure that? Well, I had a quick look for a test to measure the balance between inner desires (id) and outer (society/morals) controls (superego). First, I wanted to know what was being measured: Id, Ego, Superego seems to sum it up nicely. And, conveniently, here's a test, amusingly on the same site that the test that originally inspired all this pondering in the first place! (yes, OK, it's a short internet test, bias, non-scientific, etc etc, but this is armchair psychology, not rigorous science. For those of you interested I got -4%: pretty much balanced.)
I'll probably have to make a judgement or find if others have also done this research to decide for myself if society has changed significantly or not, but it's interesting nonetheless.
And this is an example the sort of thing that I don't find I have the headspace to think about when I'm working. It's one of the things I truly resent about having a full-time job. I'm pensive about my return to work on Monday; I think it's going to be a shock to the system.