Part 2a. Discourses 23-27
23. The Child with the Mirror
AFTER this Zarathustra returned again into the mountains to the solitude of his cave, and withdrew himself from people, waiting like a sower who has scattered his seed. His soul, however, became impatient and full of longing for those whom he loved: because he had still much to give them. For this is hardest of all: to close the open hand out of love, and keep modest as a giver.
Thus passed with the lonesome one months and years; his wisdom meanwhile increased, and caused him pain by its abundance.
One morning, however, he awoke before the rosy dawn, and having meditated long on his couch, at last spoke thus to his heart:
Why did I startle in my dream, so that I awoke? Did not a child come to me, carrying a mirror?
"O Zarathustra" said the child to me, "look at yourself in the mirror!" But when I looked into the mirror, I shrieked, and my heart throbbed: for not myself did I see therein, but a devil's grimace and derision.
All too well do I understand the dream's portent and monition: my doctrine is in danger; tares want to be called wheat!
My enemies have grown powerful and have disfigured the likeness of my doctrine, so that my dearest ones have to blush for the gifts that I gave them.
Lost are my friends; the hour has come for me to seek my lost ones!-
With these words Zarathustra started up, not however like a person in anguish seeking relief, but rather like a seer and a singer whom the spirit inspires. With amazement did his eagle and serpent gaze upon him: for a coming bliss overspread his countenance like the rosy dawn.
What has happened to me, my animals? said Zarathustra. Am I not transformed? Has not bliss come to me like a whirlwind?
Foolish is my happiness and foolish things will it speak: it is still too young – so have patience with it!
Wounded am I by my happiness: all sufferers shall be physicians to me!
To my friends can I again go down, and also to my enemies! Zarathustra can again speak and give, and show his best love to his loved ones!
My impatient love overflows in streams,- down towards sunrise and sunset. Out of silent mountains and storms of affliction, rushes my soul into the valleys.
Too long have I longed and looked into the distance. Too long has solitude possessed me: thus have I unlearned to keep silence.
Utterances have I become altogether, and the brawling of a brook from high rocks: downward into the valleys will I hurl my speech.
And let the stream of my love sweep into unfrequented channels! How should a stream not finally find its way to the sea! There is a lake in me, sequestered and self-sufficing; but the stream of my love bears this along with it, down- to the sea!
New paths do I tread, a new speech comes to me; tired have I become- like all creators- of the old tongues. No longer will my spirit walk on worn-out soles.
Too slowly runs all speaking for me:- into your chariot, O storm, do I leap! And even you will I whip with my spite!
Like a cry and an huzza will I traverse wide seas, till I find the Blessed isles where my friends sojourn;-
And my enemies amongst them! How I now love every one to whom I may but speak! Even my enemies pertain to my bliss.
And when I want to mount my wildest horse, then does my spear always help me up best: it is my foot's ever ready servant.
The spear which I hurl at my enemies! How grateful am I to my enemies that I may at last hurl it!
Too great has been the tension of my cloud: 'twixt laughters of lightnings will I cast hail-showers into the depths.
Violently will my breast then heave; violently will it blow its storm over the mountains: thus comes its assuagement.
Like a storm comes my happiness, and my freedom! But my enemies shall think that the evil one roars over their heads.
Yes, you also, my friends, will be alarmed by my wild wisdom; and perhaps you will flee therefrom, along with my enemies.
Ah, that I knew how to lure you back with shepherds' flutes! Ah, that my lioness wisdom would learn to roar softly! And much have we already learned with one another!
My wild wisdom became pregnant on the lonesome mountains; on the rough stones did she bear the youngest of her young.
Now runs she foolishly in the arid wilderness, and seeks and seeks the soft sward- my old, wild wisdom!
On the soft sward of your hearts, my friends!- on your love, would she rather couch her dearest one!
Thus spoke Zarathustra.
24. In the Happy Isles
THE figs fall from the trees, they are good and sweet; and in falling the red skins of them break. A north wind am I to ripe figs.
Thus, like figs, do these doctrines fall for you, my friends: imbibe now their juice and their sweet substance! It is autumn all around, and clear sky, and afternoon.
Lo, what fullness is around us! And out of the midst of superabundance, it is delightful to look out upon distant seas.
Once did people say God, when they looked out upon distant seas; now, however, have I taught you to say, overman.
God is a conjecture: but I do not wish your conjecturing to reach beyond your creating will.
Could you create a God?- Then, I pray you, be silent about all gods! But you could well create the overman.
Not perhaps you yourselves, my brothers! But into fathers and forefathers of the overman could you transform yourselves: and let that be your best creating!- God is a conjecture: but I should like your conjecturing restricted to the conceivable.
Could you conceive a God?- But let this mean Will to Truth to you, that everything be transformed into the humanly conceivable, the humanly visible, the humanly sensible! Your own discernment shall you follow out to the end!
And what you have called the world shall but be created by you: your reason, your likeness, your will, your love, shall it itself become! And verily, for your bliss, you discerning ones!
And how would you endure life without that hope, you discerning ones? Neither in the inconceivable could you have been born, nor in the irrational.
But that I may reveal my heart entirely to you, my friends: if there were gods, how could I endure it to be no God! Therefore there are no gods.
Yes, I have drawn the conclusion; now, however, does it draw me.
God is a conjecture: but who could drink all the bitterness of this conjecture without dying? Shall his faith be taken from the creator, and from the eagle his flights into eagle-heights?
God is a thought- it makes all the straight crooked, and all that stands reel. What? Time would be gone, and all the perishable would be but a lie?
To think this is giddiness and vertigo to human limbs, and even vomiting to the stomach: verily, the reeling sickness do I call it, to conjecture such a thing.
Evil do I call it and misanthropic: all that teaching about the one, and the plenum, and the unmoved, and the sufficient, and the imperishable!
All the imperishable- that's but a parable, and the poets lie too much.- But of time and of becoming shall the best parables speak: a praise shall they be, and a justification of all perishing!
Creating- that is the great salvation from suffering, and life's alleviation. But for the creator to appear, suffering itself is needed, and much transformation.
Yes, much bitter dying must there be in your life, you creators! Thus are you advocates and justifiers of all perishing.
For the creator himself to be the new-born child, he must also be willing to be the child-bearer, and endure the pangs of the child-bearer.
Through a hundred souls went I my way, and through a hundred cradles and birth-throes. Many a farewell have I taken; I know the heart-breaking last hours.
But so wills it my creating Will, my fate. Or, to tell you it more candidly: just such a fate- wills my Will.
All feeling suffers in me, and is in prison: but my willing ever comes to me as my emancipator and comforter.
Willing emancipates: that is the true doctrine of will and emancipation- so teaches you Zarathustra.
No longer willing, and no longer valuing, and no longer creating! Ah, that that great debility may ever be far from me!
And also in discerning do I feel only my will's procreating and evolving delight; and if there be innocence in my knowledge, it is because there is will to procreation in it.
Away from God and gods did this will allure me; what would there be to create if there were- gods!
But to humanity does it ever impel me anew, my fervent creative will; thus impels it the hammer to the stone.
Ah, you people, within the stone slumbers an image for me, the image of my visions! Ah, that it should slumber in the hardest, ugliest stone! Now rages my hammer ruthlessly against its prison. From the stone fly the fragments: what's that to me?
I will complete it: for a shadow came to me - the still and lightest of all things once came to me!
The beauty of the overman came to me as a shadow. Ah, my brothers! Of what account now are - the gods to me!
Thus spoke Zarathustra.
25. The Pitiful
MY FRIENDS, there has arisen a satire on your friend: "Behold Zarathustra! Walks he not amongst us as if amongst animals?"
But it is better said in this wise: "The discerning one walks amongst people as amongst animals."
Humanity itself is to the discerning one: the animal with red cheeks.
How has that happened to him? Is it not because he has had to be ashamed too oft?
O my friends! Thus speaks the discerning one: shame, shame, shame- that is the history of humanity!
And on that account does the noble one enjoin on himself not to abash: bashfulness does he enjoin himself in presence of all sufferers.
I like them not, the merciful ones, whose bliss is in their pity: too destitute are they of bashfulness.
If I must be pitiful, I dislike to be called so; and if I be so, it is preferably at a distance. Preferably also do I shroud my head, and flee, before being recognized: and thus do I bid you do, my friends!
May my destiny ever lead unafflicted ones like you across my path, and those with whom I may have hope and repast and honey in common!
I have done this and that for the afflicted: but something better did I always seem to do when I had learned to enjoy myself better.
Since humanity came into being, humanity has enjoyed itself too little: that alone, my brothers, is our original sin!
And when we learn better to enjoy ourselves, then do we unlearn best to give pain to others, and to contrive pain.
Therefore do I wash the hand that has helped the sufferer; therefore do I wipe also my soul.
For in seeing the sufferer suffering- thereof was I ashamed on account of his shame; and in helping him, sorely did I wound his pride.
Great obligations do not make grateful, but revengeful; and when a small kindness is not forgotten, it becomes a gnawing worm.
"Be shy in accepting! Distinguish by accepting!" Thus do I advise those who have naught to give.
I, however, am a giver: willingly do I give as friend to friends. Strangers, however, and the poor, may pluck for themselves the fruit from my tree: thus does it cause less shame.
Beggars, however, one should entirely do away with! it annoys one to give to them, and it annoys one not to give to them.
And likewise sinners and bad consciences! Believe me, my friends: the sting of conscience teaches one to sting. The worst things, however, are the petty thoughts. Better to have done evilly than to have thought pettily!
To be sure, you say: "The delight in petty evils spares one many a great evil deed." But here one should not wish to be sparing.
Like a boil is the evil deed: it itches and irritates and breaks forth- it speaks honourably.
"Behold, I am disease," says the evil deed: that is its honourableness.
But like infection is the petty thought: it creeps and hides, and wants to be nowhere- until the whole body is decayed and withered by the petty infection.
To him however, who is possessed of a devil, I would whisper this word in the ear: "Better for you to rear up your devil! Even for you there is still a path to greatness!"-
Ah, my brothers! One knows a little too much about every one! And many a one becomes transparent to us, but still we can by no means penetrate him.
It is difficult to live among people because silence is so difficult.
And not to him who is offensive to us are we most unfair, but to him who does not concern us at all.
If, however, you have a suffering friend, then be a resting-place for his suffering; like a hard bed, however, a camp-bed: thus will you serve him best.
And if a friend does you wrong, then say: "I forgive you what you have done to me; that you have done it to yourself, however – how could I forgive that!"
Thus speaks all great love: it overcomes even forgiveness and pity.
One should hold fast one's heart; for when one lets it go, how quickly does one's head run away!
Ah, where in the world have there been greater follies than with the pitiful? And what in the world has caused more suffering than the follies of the pitiful?
Woe to all loving ones who have not an elevation which is above their pity!
Thus spoke the devil to me, once on a time: "Even God has his hell: it is his love for humanity."
And lately, did I hear him say these words: "God is dead: of his pity for humanity has God died."-
So be you warned against pity: from thence there yet comes to people a heavy cloud! I understand weather-signs!
But attend also to this word: All great love is above all its pity: for it seeks- to create what is loved!
"Myself do I offer to my love, and my neighbour as myself"- such is the language of all creators.
All creators, however, are hard.
Thus spoke Zarathustra.
26. The Priests
AND one day Zarathustra made a sign to his disciples and spoke these words to them:
"Here are priests: but although they are my enemies, pass them quietly and with sleeping swords!
Even among them there are heroes; many of them have suffered too much - so they want to make others suffer.
Bad enemies are they: nothing is more revengeful than their meekness. And readily does he soil himself who touches them. But my blood is related to theirs; and I want withal to see my blood honoured in theirs."
And when they had passed, a pain attacked Zarathustra; but not long had he struggled with the pain, when he began to speak thus:
It moves my heart for those priests. They also go against my taste; but that is the small matter to me, since I am among people.
But I suffer and have suffered with them: prisoners are they to me, and stigmatised ones. He whom they call Saviour put them in fetters.
In fetters of false values and fatuous words! Oh, that some one would save them from their Saviour!
On an isle they once thought they had landed, when the sea tossed them about; but behold, it was a slumbering monster!
False values and fatuous words: these are the worst monsters for mortals - long slumbers and waits the fate that is in them.
But at last it comes and awakes and devours and engulfs whatever has built tabernacles upon it.
Oh, just look at those tabernacles which those priests have built themselves! Churches, they call their sweet-smelling caves!
Oh, that falsified light, that mustified air! Where the soul- may not fly aloft to its height!
But so enjoins their belief: "On your knees, up the stair, you sinners!"
Rather would I see a shameless one than the distorted eyes of their shame and devotion!
Who created for themselves such caves and penitence-stairs? Was it not those who sought to conceal themselves, and were ashamed under the clear sky? And only when the clear sky looks again through ruined roofs, and down upon grass and red poppies on ruined walls- will I again turn my heart to the seats of this God.
They called God that which opposed and afflicted them: and verily, there was much hero-spirit in their worship!
And they knew not how to love their God otherwise than by nailing people to the cross!
As corpses they thought to live; in black draped they their corpses; even in their talk do I still feel the evil flavour of charnel-houses.
And he who lives near to them lives near to black pools, wherein the toad sings his song with sweet gravity.
Better songs would they have to sing, for me to believe in their Saviour: more! like saved ones would his disciples have to appear to me!
Naked, would I like to see them: for beauty alone should preach penitence. But whom would that disguised affliction convince!
Their saviours themselves came not from freedom and freedom's seventh heaven! they themselves never trod the carpets of knowledge!
Of defects did the spirit of those saviours consist; but into every defect had they put their illusion, their stop-gap, which they called God.
In their pity was their spirit drowned; and when they swelled and o'erswelled with pity, there always floated to the surface a great folly.
Eagerly and with shouts drove they their flock over their foot-bridge; as if there were but one foot-bridge to the future! those shepherds also were still of the flock!
Small spirits and spacious souls had those shepherds: but my brothers, what small domains have even the most spacious souls hereto been!
Characters of blood did they write on the way they went, and their folly taught that truth is proved by blood.
But blood is the very worst witness to truth; blood taints the purest teaching, and turns it into delusion and hatred of heart.
And when a person goes through fire for his teaching- what does that prove! It is more, verily, when out of one's own burning comes one's own teaching!
Sultry heart and cold head; where these meet, there arises the blusterer, the "Saviour."
Greater ones, verily, have there been, and higher-born ones, than those whom the people call saviours, those rapturous blusterers!
And by still greater ones than any of the saviours must you be saved, my brothers, if you would find the way to freedom!
Never yet has there been a overman. Naked have I seen both of them, the greatest person and the small person:-
All-too-similar are they still to each other. Even the greatest found I-all-too-human!
Thus spoke Zarathustra.
27. The Virtuous
WITH thunder and heavenly fireworks must one speak to indolent and somnolent senses.
But beauty's voice speaks gently: it appeals only to the most awakened souls. Gently vibrated and laughed to me to-day my buckler; it was beauty's holy laughing and thrilling.
At you, you virtuous ones, laughed my beauty to-day. And thus came its voice to me: "They want- to be paid besides!"
You want to be paid besides, you virtuous ones! You want reward for virtue, and heaven for earth, and eternity for your to-day?
And now you upbraid me for teaching that there is no reward-giver, nor paymaster? And verily, I do not even teach that virtue is its own reward.
Ah! this is my sorrow: into the basis of things have reward and punishment been insinuated- and now even into the basis of your souls, you virtuous ones!
But like the snout of the boar shall my word grub up the basis of your souls; a ploughshare will I be called by you.
All the secrets of your heart shall be brought to light; and when you lie in the sun, grubbed up and broken, then will also your falsehood be separated from your truth.
For this is your truth: you are too pure for the filth of the words: vengeance, punishment, recompense, retribution.
You love your virtue as a mother loves her child; but when did one hear of a mother wanting to be paid for her love?
It is your dearest Self, your virtue. The ring's thirst is in you: to reach itself again struggles every ring, and turns itself.
And like the star that goes out, so is every work of your virtue: ever is its light on its way and travelling- and when will it cease to be on its way?
Thus is the light of your virtue still on its way, even when its work is done. Be it forgotten and dead, still its ray of light lives and travels.
That your virtue is your Self, and not an outward thing, a skin, or a cloak: that is the truth from the basis of your souls, you virtuous ones! -
But sure enough there are those to whome virtue means writhing under the lash: and you have hearkened too much to their crying!
And others are there who call virtue the slothfulness of their vices; and when once their hatred and jealousy relax the limbs, their "justice" becomes lively and rubs its sleepy eyes.
And others arre thre who are drawn downwards: their devils draw them. But the more they sink, the more ardently gloweth their eye, and the longing for their God.
Ah! their crying also has reached your ears, you virtuous ones: "What I am not, that, that is God to me, and virtue!" And others are there who go along heavily and creakingly, like carts taking stones downhill: they talk much of dignity and virtue - their drag they call virtue!
And others are there who are like eight-day clocks when wound up; they tick, and want people to call ticking - virtue.
Verily, in those have I mine amusement: whereever I find such clocks I shall wind them up with my mockery, and they shall even whirr thereby!
And others are proud of their modicum of righteousness, and for the sake of it do violence to all things: so that the world is drowned in their unrighteousness.
Ah! how ineptly comes the word "virtue" out of their mouth! And when they say: "I am just," it always sounds like: "I amd just - revenged!"
With their virtues they want to scratch out the eyes of their enemies; and they elevate themselves only that they may lower others.
And again there are those who sit in their swamp, and speak thus from among the bulrushes: "Virtue - that is to sit quietly in the swamp.
We bite no one, and go out of the way of him who would bite; and in all matters we have the opinion that is given us."
And again, there are those who love attitudes, and think that virtue is a sort of attitude.
Their knees continually adore, and their hands are eulogies of virtue, but their heart knows naught thereof.
And again there are those who regard it as virtue to say: "Virtue is necessary"; but after all they believe only that policemen are necessary.
And many a one who cannot see people's loftiness, calls it virtue to see their basness far too well: thus calls he his evil eye virtue -
And some want to be edified and raised up, and call it virtue: and others want to be cast down, - and likewise call it virtue.
And thus do almost all think that they participate in virtue; and at least every on claimeth to be an authority on "good" and "evil."
But Zarathustra came not to say to all those liars and fools: "What do you know of virtue! What could you know of virtue!" -
But that you, my friends, might become weary of the old words which you have learned from the fools and liars:
That you might become weary of the words "reward," "retrioution," "punishment," "righteous vengeance." -
That you might become weary of saying: "That an action is good because it is unselfish."
Ah! my friends! That your very Self be in your action, as the mother is in the child: let that be your formula for virtue! Verily, I have taken from you a hundred formulae and your virtue's favorite playthings; and now you upbraid me, as children upbraid.
They played by the sea- then came there a wave and swept their playthings into the deep: and now do they cry.
But the same wave shall bring them new playthings, and spread before them new speckled shells!
Thus will they be comforted; and like them shall you also, my friends, have your comforting- and new speckled shells!
Thus spoke Zarathustra.