Thus Spoke Zarathustra

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I will make company with creators, with harvesters, with rejoicers; I will show them the rainbow and the stairway to the Superman.

Also sprach Zarathustra (1891) by Friedrich Nietzsche; The title of this work is modernly translated into English as Thus Spoke Zarathustra, but the first translation was called Thus Spake Zarathustra.

  • The fall of our footsteps ringeth too hollow through their streets. And just as at night, when they are in bed and hear a man abroad long before sunrise, so they ask themselves concerning us: Where goeth the thief? Go not to men, but stay in the forest! Go rather to the animals! Why not be like me- a bear amongst bears, a bird amongst birds?" "And what doeth the saint in the forest?" asked Zarathustra. The saint answered: "I make hymns and sing them; and in making hymns I laugh and weep and mumble: thus do I praise God. With singing, weeping, laughing, and mumbling do I praise the God who is my God."
    • Zarathustra's Prologue, part 2
  • When Zarathustra was alone, however, he said to his heart: "Could it be possible! This old saint in the forest hath not yet heard of it, that God is dead!"
    • Zarathustra's Prologue, part 2
  • Ich lehre euch den Übermenschen. Der Mensch ist Etwas, das überwunden werden soll. Was habt ihr gethan, ihn zu überwinden?
    • I teach you the superman. Man is something to be surpassed. What have ye done to surpass man?
    • Zarathustra's Prologue, part 3
  • Wahrlich, ein schmutziger Strom ist der Mensch. Man muß schon ein Meer sein, um einen schmutzigen Strom aufnehmen zu können, ohne unrein zu werden.
    • Verily, a polluted stream is man. One must be a sea to be able to receive a polluted stream without becoming unclean.
    • Zarathustra's Prologue, part 3
  • What is the greatest thing you can experience? It is the hour of your greatest contempt. The hour in which even your happiness becomes loathsome to you, and so also your reason and virtue. The hour when you say: 'What good is my happiness? It is poverty and filth and miserable self-complacency. But my happiness should justify existence itself!' The hour when you say: 'What good is my reason? Does it long for knowledge as the lion for his prey? It is poverty and filth and miserable self-complacency!' The hour when you say: 'What good is my virtue? It has not yet driven me mad! How weary I am of my good and my evil! It is all poverty and filth and miserable self-complacency!' The hour when you say: 'What good is my justice? I do not see that I am filled with fire and burning coals. But the just are filled with fire and burning coals!' The hour when you say: 'What good is my pity? Is not pity the cross on which he is nailed who loves man? But my pity is no crucifixion!"
    • Zarathustra's Prologue, part 3
  • Was gross ist am Menschen, das ist, dass er eine Brücke ist und kein Zweck ist.
    • What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal.
    • Zarathustra's Prologue, part 4
  • I love him whose soul is lavish, who wanteth no thanks and doth not give back: for he always bestoweth, and desireth not to keep for himself.
    • Zarathustra's Prologue, part 5
  • man muß noch Chaos in sich haben, um einen tanzenden Stern gebären zu können.
    • One must still have a chaos inside oneself to give birth to a dancing star.
    • Zarathustra's Prologue, part 5
  • "We have invented happiness" -say the last men and blink
    • Zarathustra's Prologue, Part 5 page 13
  • A light has dawned for me: I need companions, living ones, not dead companions and corpses which I carry with me wherever I wish. But I need living companions who follow me because they want to follow themselves— and who want to go where I want to go.
    A light has dawned for me: Zarathustra shall not speak to the people but to companions! Zarathustra shall not be herdsman and dog to the herd! To lure many away from the herd— that is why I have come. The people and the herd shall be angry with me: the herdsmen shall call Zarathustra a robber. I will not be herdsmen or gravedigger. I will not speak again to the people: I have spoken to a dead man for the last time.
    I will make company with creators, with harvesters, with rejoicers: I will show them the rainbow and the stairway to the Superman.
    • Zarathustra's Prologue, part 9
  • Welches ist der große Drache, den der Geist nicht mehr Herr und Gott heißen mag? "Du-sollst" heißt der große Drache. Aber der Geist des Löwen sagt "ich will". "Du-sollst" liegt ihm am Wege, goldfunkelnd, ein Schuppentier, und auf jeder Schuppe glänzt golden "Du sollst!" Tausendjährige Werte glänzen an diesen Schuppen, und also spricht der mächtigste aller Drachen: "aller Wert der Dinge - der glänzt an mir." "Aller Wert ward schon geschaffen, und aller geschaffene Wert - das bin ich. Wahrlich, es soll kein 'Ich will' mehr geben!" Also spricht der Drache.
    • Who is the great dragon whom the spirit will no longer call lord and god? “Thou shalt” is the name of the great dragon. But the spirit of the lion says, “I will.” “Thou shalt” lies in his way, sparkling like gold, an animal covered with scales; and on every scale shines a golden “thou shalt.” Values, thousands of years old, shine on these scales; and thus speaks the mightiest of all the dragons: “All value of all things shines on me. All value has long been created, and I am all created value. Verily, there shall be no more ‘I will.’” Thus speaks the dragon.
    • Part I, Chapter 1, On the Three Metamorphoses
  • Of all that is written, I love only what a person hath written with his blood. Write with blood, and thou wilt find that blood is spirit.
    • Reading and Writing
  • Verily, I advise you: depart from me, and guard yourselves against Zarathustra! And better still: be ashamed of him! Perhaps he hath deceived you. The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies, but also to hate his friends. One requiteth a teacher badly if one remain merely a student. And why will ye not pluck at my wreath? Ye venerate me; but what if your veneration should some day collapse? Take heed lest a statue crush you! Ye say, ye believe in Zarathustra? But of what account is Zarathustra! Ye are my believers: but of what account are all believers! Ye had not yet sought yourselves: then did ye find me. So do all believers; therefore all belief is of so little account. Now do I bid you lose me and find yourselves; and only when ye have all denied me, will I return unto you.
    • First Part, XXII: The Bestowing Virtue
  • Und wer von uns Dichtern hätte nicht seinen Wein verfälscht? Manch giftiger Mischmasch geschah in unsern Kellern, manches Unbeschreibliche ward da getan.
    • And who among us poets has not adulterated his wine? Many a poisonous hodgepodge has been contrived in our cellars; much that is indescribable was accomplished there.
    • Part II, Chapter 39, On Poets
  • Ach, es gibt so viel Dinge zwischen Himmel und Erde, von denen sich nur die Dichter etwas haben träumen lassen. Und zumal über dem Himmel: denn alle Götter sind Dichter-Gleichnis, Dichter-Erschleichnis! Wahrlich, immer zieht es uns hinan - nämlich zum Reich der Wolken: auf diese setzen wir unsre bunten Bälge und heißen sie dann Götter und Übermenschen: - Sind sie doch gerade leicht genug für diese Stühle! - alle diese Götter und Übermenschen. Ach, wie bin ich all des Unzulänglichen müde, das durchaus Ereignis sein soll! Ach, wie bin ich der Dichter müde!
    • Alas, there are so many things between heaven and earth of which only the poets have dreamed. And especially above the heavens: for all gods are poets’ parables, poets’ prevarications. Verily, it always lifts us higher—specifically, to the realm of the clouds: upon these we place our motley bastards and call them gods and overmen. For they are just light enough for these chairs—all these gods and overmen. Ah, how weary I am of all the imperfection which must at all costs become event! Ah, how weary I am of poets!
    • Part II, Chapter 39, On Poets
  • Und wer unter Menschen nicht verschmachten will, muß lernen, aus allen Gläsern zu trinken; und wer unter Menschen rein bleiben will, muß verstehn, sich auch mit schmutzigem Wasser zu waschen. Und also sprach ich oft mir zum Troste: "Wohlan! Wohlauf! Altes Herz! Ein Unglück mißriet dir: genieße dies als dein - Glück!"
    • And whoever does not want to die of thirst among men must learn to drink out of all cups; and whoever would stay clean among men must know how to wash even with dirty water. And thus I often comforted myself, “Well then, old heart! One misfortune failed you; enjoy this as your good fortune.”
    • Part II, Chapter 43, On Human Prudence
  • Die stillsten Worte sind es, welche den Sturm bringen. Gedanken, die mit Taubenfüßen kommen, lenken die Welt.
    • It is the stillest words that bring on the storm. Thoughts that come on doves’ feet guide the world.
    • Part II, Chapter 44, The Stillest Hour
  • Whence come the highest mountains? I once asked. Then I learned that they came out of the sea. The evidence is written in their rocks and in the walls of their peaks. It is out of the deepest depth that the highest must come to its height.
    • Part III, Chapter 46, On the Vision and the Riddle
  • O meine Brüder, ich weihe und weise euch zu einem neuen Adel: ihr sollt mir Zeuger und Züchter werden und Säemänner der Zukunft, - wahrlich, nicht zu einem Adel, den ihr kaufen könntet gleich den Krämern und mit Krämer-Golde: denn wenig Wert hat alles, was seinen Preis hat. Nicht, woher ihr kommt, mache euch fürderhin eure Ehre, sondern wohin ihr geht! Euer Wille und euer Fuß, der über euch selber hinaus will, - das mache eure neue Ehre!
    • O my brothers, I dedicate and direct you to a new nobility: you shall become procreators and cultivators and sowers of the future—verily, not to a nobility that you might buy like shopkeepers and with shopkeepers’ gold: for whatever has its price has little value. Not whence you came shall henceforth constitute your honor, but whither you are going! Your will and your foot which has a will to go over and beyond yourselves—that shall constitute your new honor.
    • Part III, Chapter 56, On Old and New Tablets(12)
  • O meine Brüder, nicht zurück soll euer Adel schauen, sondern hinaus! Vertriebene sollt ihr sein aus allen Vater- und Urväterländern! Eurer Kinder Land sollt ihr lieben: diese Liebe sei euer neuer Adel, - das unentdeckte, im fernsten Meere! Nach ihm heiße ich eure Segel suchen und suchen! An euren Kindern sollt ihr gutmachen, daß ihr eurer Väter Kinder seid: alles Vergangene sollt ihr so erlösen! Diese neue Tafel stelle ich über euch!
    • O my brothers, your nobility should not look backward but ahead! Exiles shall you be from all father- and forefather-lands! Your children’s land shall you love: this love shall be your new nobility—the undiscovered land in the most distant sea. For that I bid your sails search and search. In your children you shall make up for being the children of your fathers: thus shall you redeem all that is past. This new tablet I place over you.
    • Part III, Chapter 56, On Old and New Tablets(12)
  • "Nothing is true, all is permitted": so said I to myself. Into the coldest water did I plunge with head and heart. Ah, how oft did I stand there naked on that account, like a red crab!
    Ah, where have gone all my goodness and all my shame and all my belief in the good! Ah, where is the lying innocence which I once possessed, the innocence of the good and of their noble lies!
    Too oft, verily, did I follow close to the heels of truth: then did it kick me on the face. Sometimes I meant to lie, and behold! then only did I hit— the truth.
  • Zarathustra's "Shadow" in Chapter 69 "The Shadow"
  • But one thing is the thought, another thing is the deed, and another thing is the idea of the deed. The wheel of causality doth not roll between them.
  • By our best enemies we do not want to be spared, nor by those either whom we love from the very heart.
  • Many die too late, and some die too early. Yet strange soundeth the precept: "Die at the right time!"
  • Life is a well of delight; but where the rabble also drink, there all fountains are poisoned.
  • Ihr sagt, die gute Sache sei es, die sogar den Krieg heilige? Ich sage euch: der gute Krieg ist es, der jede Sache heiligt
    • You say it is the good cause that hallows even war? I tell you: it is the good war that hallows every cause.

Ch. 11 : The New Idol[edit]

Ch. 11 : The New Idol, as translated by Thomas Common (1909)
  • Somewhere there are still peoples and herds, but not with us, my brethren: here there are states.
    A state? What is that? Well! open now your ears unto me, for now will I say unto you my word concerning the death of peoples.
  • A state, is called the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly lieth it also; and this lie creepeth from its mouth: "I, the state, am the people."
    It is a lie! Creators were they who created peoples, and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life.
    Destroyers, are they who lay snares for many, and call it the state: they hang a sword and a hundred cravings over them.
    Where there is still a people, there the state is not understood, but hated as the evil eye, and as sin against laws and customs.
  • This sign I give unto you: every people speaketh its language of good and evil: this its neighbour understandeth not. Its language hath it devised for itself in laws and customs.
    But the state lieth in all languages of good and evil; and whatever it saith it lieth; and whatever it hath it hath stolen.
    False is everything in it; with stolen teeth it biteth, the biting one. False are even its bowels.
    Confusion of language of good and evil; this sign I give unto you as the sign of the state. Verily, the will to death, indicateth this sign! Verily, it beckoneth unto the preachers of death!
    Many too many are born: for the superfluous ones was the state devised!
    See just how it enticeth them to it, the many-too-many! How it swalloweth and cheweth and recheweth them!
    "On earth there is nothing greater than I: it is I who am the regulating finger of God." — thus roareth the monster. And not only the long-eared and short-sighted fall upon their knees!
    Ah! even in your ears, ye great souls, it whispereth its gloomy lies! Ah! it findeth out the rich hearts which willingly lavish themselves!
  • Heroes and honourable ones, it would fain set up around it, the new idol! Gladly it basketh in the sunshine of good consciences, — the cold monster!
    Everything will it give you, if ye worship it, the new idol: thus it purchaseth the lustre of your virtue, and the glance of your proud eyes.
    It seeketh to allure by means of you, the many-too-many! Yea, a hellish artifice hath here been devised, a death-horse jingling with the trappings of divine honours!
    Yea, a dying for many hath here been devised, which glorifieth itself as life: verily, a hearty service unto all preachers of death!
  • The state, I call it, where all are poison-drinkers, the good and the bad: the state, where all lose themselves, the good and the bad: the state, where the slow suicide of all — is called "life."
    Just see these superfluous ones! They steal the works of the inventors and the treasures of the wise. Culture, they call their theft — and everything becometh sickness and trouble unto them!
    Just see these superfluous ones! Sick are they always; they vomit their bile and call it a newspaper. They devour one another, and cannot even digest themselves.
    Just see these superfluous ones! Wealth they acquire and become poorer thereby. Power they seek for, and above all, the lever of power, much money — these impotent ones!
    See them clamber, these nimble apes! They clamber over one another, and thus scuffle into the mud and the abyss.
    Towards the throne they all strive: it is their madness — as if happiness sat on the throne! Ofttimes sitteth filth on the throne. — and ofttimes also the throne on filth.
    Madmen they all seem to me, and clambering apes, and too eager. Badly smelleth their idol to me, the cold monster: badly they all smell to me, these idolaters.
  • Open still remaineth the earth for great souls. Empty are still many sites for lone ones and twain ones, around which floateth the odour of tranquil seas.
    Open still remaineth a free life for great souls. Verily, he who possesseth little is so much the less possessed: blessed be moderate poverty!
    There, where the state ceaseth — there only commenceth the man who is not superfluous: there commenceth the song of the necessary ones, the single and irreplaceable melody.
    There, where the state ceaseth — pray look thither, my brethren! Do ye not see it, the rainbow and the bridges of the Superman? — Thus spake Zarathustra.

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