Previous Post: Immaculate Perception
From those who only observe, Zarathustra turns to scholars, of whom he has an equally low opinion.
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When I lay asleep, a sheep eat at the laurel wreath on my head and said “Zarathustra is no longer a scholar.” After it said this, it went on its way clumsily and proudly. A child told this to me.
I like to lie here where the children play, beside the ruined wall, among thistles and red poppies. I am still a scholar to the children, and also to the thistles and red poppies. They are innocent, even in wickedness. But to the sheep, I am no longer a scholar. Such is the will of fate, blessings upon it!
For this is the truth: I have departed the house of the scholars, and slammed the door behind me. My sat hungry for too long at their table. I don’t have the knack of investigating the way do, like the knack of nut cracking. I love freedom and the smell of freshly turned soil. I would rather sleep on ox skins than on honours and dignities. I am too hot and scorched by my own thoughts; they often take away my breath. Then have I to get out into the open air, away from all dusty rooms.
But the scholars sit in the cool shade. They want to be mere spectators in everything, and they avoid sitting where the sun burns on the steps. Like those who stand in the street and gape at the passers by, they stand and gape at the thoughts that others have. If one lays hold of them, they raise dust like flour sacks, involuntarily; but who would guess that their dust came from corn, from the yellow delight of the summer fields?
When they call themselves wise, then their petty sayings and truths chill me. Their ‘wisdom’ often has an odour as if it came from the swamp; truly, I have even heard the croak of the frog in it! They are clever; they have dexterous fingers. What can my simplicity pretend to be beside their multiplicity!
Their fingers understand all threading, knitting, and weaving. Thus they make socks for the spirit! They make good clocks, only be careful to wind them up properly! Then they can indicate the hour without mistake, and make only a modest noise in doing so. They work like millstones and pestles. Only throw seed corn to them! They know how to grind corn finely, and make white dust out of it.
They keep a sharp eye on one another, and do not trust each other. Ingenious in little artifices, they wait like spiders for those whose knowledge walks on lame feet. They always prepare their poison with caution, and always put on latex gloves when doing so. They also know how to play with loaded dice, play so eagerly that they perspire.
We are alien to each other, and their virtues are even more repulsive to my taste than their lies and their loaded dice. When I lived with them, I lived above them. Therefore they took a dislike to me. They want to hear no one walking above their heads, and so they put wood, earth, and rubbish between me and their heads to deafen the sound of my tread. Until now, I have been heard least by the most ‘learned’.
They put all mankind’s faults and weaknesses between themselves and me. They call it a “false ceiling” in their houses. But nevertheless I walk with my thoughts above their heads. Even when I walk in error, I am still above them and their heads. For men are not equal. So says justice. And what I will, they do not will!
So said Zarathustra.