Thus Spake Zarathustra: Scholars

scholarsPrevious Post: Immaculate Perception

From those who only observe, Zarathustra turns to scholars, of whom he has an equally low opinion.

* * *

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.

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Thus Spake Zarathustra: Immaculate Perception

immaculate-perceptionPrevious Post: The Land of Culture

Having spoken of the fragmented worldview of modern man in general, Zarathustra turns to those who claim to be detached observers.

* * *

When the moon rose yesterday evening, I imagined it was about to bear a sun. It lay so broad and teeming on the horizon. But its pregnancy was a lie. I will sooner believe in the man in the moon than in the woman. To be sure, that timid night reveller is little like a man. He stalks with a bad conscience over the roofs. He is covetous and jealous, the monk in the moon; covetous of the earth, and all the joys of lovers.

I dislike him, that tomcat on the roofs! I hate all that slink around half closed windows! Piously and silently, he stalks along his carpet of stars. But I like no light treading human feet, on which not even a spur jingles. Every honest person’s step speaks. The cat, however, steals along over the ground. The moon comes along cat-like, and dishonestly.

This parable is for all sentimental dissemblers; you, the “pure discerners!” I call you covetous! You love the earth, and the earthly; I understand you well! But there is shame in your love, and a bad conscience. You are like the moon!

Your mind has been persuaded to despise the earthly, but not your guts; they are the strongest in you! And so your mind is ashamed to be at the service of your gut, and goes by back ways, lying to escape its own shame.

“That would be the highest thing for me,” your lying mind says to itself, “to gaze upon life without desire; not like the dog, with its tongue hanging out. To be happy in gazing, with a dead will, free from the grip and greed of selfishness, cold and ashen all over, but with intoxicated moon eyes! That would be the dearest thing to me”

So the seduced one seduces himself “to love the earth as the moon loves it, and only with the eye to feel its beauty.” I call this immaculate perception of all things: to want nothing more from them than to be allowed to lie before them like a mirror with a hundred facets.”

Oh, you sentimental dissemblers, you covetous ones! Your desire lacks innocence, and now you defame desire on that account! Truly, not as creators, as procreators, or as the jubilant do you love the earth! Where is innocence? Where there is will to procreation. He who seeks to create beyond himself has the purest will.

Where is beauty? Where I must will with my whole Will. Where I would love and perish so that a dream won’t remain merely an image. Loving and dying: these have gone together from the beginning. The will to love is also to be ready for death. So I say to you cowards!

Your emasculated ogling claims to be “contemplation!” That which can be examined with cowardly eyes is to be called “beautiful!” Oh, you violators of noble names! It shall be your curse, you immaculate ones, you pure observers, that you shall never bring forth anything, even though you lie broad and teeming on the horizon!

You fill your mouth with noble words. Are we to believe that your heart overflows, you deceivers? My words are poor, contemptible, stammering words. I gladly pick up what falls from the table at your feasts. Yet still can I speak truth with them to pretenders! My fish bones, shells, and prickly leaves shall tickle the noses of liars!

There is always bad air about you and your repasts. Your lustful thoughts, lies, and secrets are indeed in the air! Dare to believe in yourselves and in your inward parts! He who does not believe in himself always lies.

You have hung God’s mask in front of your faces, you “pure ones”. your awful coiling snake has crawled into God’s mask. Truly you deceive, you “contemplative ones!” Even Zarathustra was once fooled by your godlike exterior; he did not see the serpent’s coils with which it was filled.

I once thought I saw a God’s soul playing in your games, you pure discerners! I once dream of no better arts than yours! The distance concealed from me the serpent’s filth and evil odour, and that a lizard’s craftiness prowled there lustfully.

But when I came near to you, then the day came to me, and now comes it to you. The moon’s love affair is at an end! It stands surprised and pale before the rosy dawn! For already she comes, the glowing one. Her love comes to the earth! Innocence and creative desire is solar love!

See how she comes impatiently over the sea! Don’t you feel the thirst and the hot breath of her love? She wants to suck at the sea and drink its depths up to her heights. Now the desire of the sea rises with its thousand breasts. It wants to be kissed and sucked by the thirst of the sun; it wants to become vapour, and air, and the path of light, and light itself!

Truly, I love life like the sun and the seas. To me, this means knowledge. All that is deep shall ascend to my height!

So said Zarathustra.

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Thus Spake Zarathustra: The Land of Culture

todayPrevious Post: The Sublime Ones

From slamming those who think they have found the answers, Zarathustra moves on to the fragmented belief system of present day men.

* * *

I flew too far into the future and horror seized me. When I looked around me, time was my sole contemporary. Then I flew backwards, homewards, ever faster. I came to you, you present day men, and to the land of culture.

For the first time I saw you, desiring to find good; truly, I came with longing in my heart. But how did it turn out? Although alarmed, I had to laugh! I had never seen anything so variegated in colour! I laughed and laughed, while my foot still trembled, and my heart as well.

“Here, indeed, is the home of all paint pots,” I said.

To my astonishment, you sat there with fifty patches painted on your faces and limbs, you present day men! You had fifty mirrors around you, which flattered your play of colours, and repeated it! Truly, you could wear no better masks, you present day men, than your own faces! Who could recognize you! Written all over with the characters of the past, with these characters also pencilled over with new characters, you have concealed yourselves well from all who would decipher you!

And though one is a trier of the reins, who still believe that you have reins! You seem to be baked out of colours and out of glued scraps. All times and peoples gaze in diverse colours out of your veils. All customs and beliefs speak, diversely coloured, out of your gestures. He who would strip you of veils, wraps, paints, and gestures, would just have enough left to scare the crows.

Truly, I myself am a scared crow that has seen you naked and without paint. I flew away when the skeleton ogled me. I would rather be a day labourer in the netherworld, among the shades of the dead! They are fatter and fuller than you, the denizens of the netherworld!

It is bitter to my stomach that I can neither endure you naked nor clothed, you present day men! All that is sterile in the future, and whatever makes stray dogs shiver, is truly more homely and familiar than your “reality.”

“We are wholly real, and without faith and superstition,” you say.

So you preen yourselves, even without feathers! How would you be able to believe, you diversely coloured ones!, you who are images of all that has ever been believed? You are walking refutations of belief itself, and a dislocation of all thought. Therefore, I call you untrustworthy.

All eras argue against one another in your spirits. The dreams and babblings of all eras were more real than your consciousness! You are unfruitful; therefore you lack belief. But he who always has to create his presaging dreams and astral premonitions believes in believing!

You are half open doors at which grave diggers wait. This is your reality: “Everything deserves to die.” You stand there before me, you unfruitful ones; how your ribs stick out! Surely many of you know this.

“Surely a god has secretly stolen something from me while I slept?” many a present-day man says. “Enough to make a maiden for himself from it! I have amazingly few ribs!”

You present day men are laughable to me, especially when you marvel at yourselves! Woe to me if I could not laugh at your marvelling, and had to swallow all that is repugnant on your plates!

As it is, I will make light of you, since I have to carry a heavy load. What does it matter if beetles and June bugs also alight on my load? That won’t make it heavier for me! My great weariness won’t arise from you, you present day men.

Where should I ascend to with my longing? I look out for fatherlands or motherlands from all mountains, but nowhere do I find a home. I am unsettled in all cities, and leave from all gates.

Present day men, to whom my heart recently impelled me, are alien to me, and a mockery. I am exiled from all fatherlands and motherlands. I love only my children’s land, undiscovered in the remotest sea. I set sail to search for it. I will make amends to my children and to all the future for being the child of my forefathers and for this present day!

So said Zarathustra.

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Thus Spake Zarathustra: The Sublime Ones

sublimePrevious Post: Self-Surpassing

After addressing the secret of life, Zarathustra talks about the sublime and the beautiful, and the superhero.

* * *

The bottom of my sea is calm. Who would guess that it hides amusing monsters! My depths are unmoved, but they sparkle with swimming enigmas and laughter.

I saw a sublime one today, a solemn one, a penitent of the spirit. How my soul laughed at his ugliness! He stood in silence, with his chest puffed out like one who drawn in his breath. He was overhung with ugly truths, the spoils of his hunting, wore rich but torn clothing. Many thorns clung to him, but I saw no roses.

He had yet to learn of laughter and beauty. This hunter returned gloomy from the forest of knowledge. He returned home from the fight with wild beasts, but even still, a wild beast gazed out of his seriousness—an unconquered wild beast! He stood like a tiger on the point of springing. I do not like such strained souls. I am ungracious in my taste for those self engrossed ones.

You tell me, friends, that there is to be no dispute about taste and tasting? All life is a dispute about taste and tasting! Taste is weight, and at the same time scales and weigher. Too bad for every living thing that would live without dispute about weight, scales, and weigher!

Only if he becomes weary of his sublimeness, this sublime one, will he begin to be beautiful—and then only will I taste him and find him savoury. Only when he turns away from himself will he overleap his own shadow—and truly, into his sun!

Far too long he sat in the shade. The cheeks of the penitent of the spirit became pale. He almost starved on his expectations. Contempt is still in his eyes, and loathing hides in his mouth. Sure, he now rests, but he has not rested in the sunshine.

He ought to do as the ox does. His happiness should smell of the earth, and not of contempt for the earth. I would like to see him as a white ox, which, snorting and lowing, walks before the plow. His lowing should praise all that is earthly!

His face is still dark. The shadow of his hand dances upon it. His sense of sight remains overshadowed. His deeds themselves are the shadow upon him. His doing obscures the doer. He is yet to overcome his deed.

To be sure, I love how he has the shoulders of an ox, but I also want to see the eye of the angel. He has to unlearn his hero will. He will be an exalted one, and not merely a sublime one. The ether itself will raise him, the willless one!

He has subdued monsters, and he has solved enigmas. But he should also redeem his monsters and enigmas, and transform them into heavenly children. As yet, his knowledge has not learned to smile, and to be without jealousy. As yet, his gushing passion has not become calm in beauty. Truly, his longing won’t cease and disappear when satiated, but in beauty! Gracefulness belongs to the generosity of the magnanimous.

The hero should rest with his arm across his head. He should rise in the same way. But to the hero beauty is the hardest thing of all. Beauty is unattainable by all ardent wills.

A little more, a little less: precisely this is much here, it is the most here.

To stand with muscles relaxed and with the will unharnessed: that is the hardest thing for all of you, you sublime ones! When power becomes gracious and descends into the visible, I call such a descent beauty.

I want beauty from no one as much as from you, you powerful ones. Let your goodness be your last self-conquest. I ascribe all evil to to you. Therefore I desire good from you.

I have often laughed at the weaklings who think themselves good because they have crippled paws! One should strive for the virtue of the pillar: it always becomes more beautiful, and more graceful—but internally harder and more sustaining—the higher it rises.

Yea, you sublime ones, one day you will also be beautiful, and hold up the mirror to your own beauty. Then your soul will thrill with divine desires, and there will be adoration even in your vanity! For this is the secret of the soul: when the hero has abandoned it, then only does the superhero approach in dreams.

So said Zarathustra.

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If you understand the meaning of the line “A little more, a little less: precisely this is much here, it is the most here,” please comment.

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Thus Spake Zarathustra: Self-Surpassing

self-surpassingPrevious Post: The Grave Song

After discussing the death of the dreams of youth, Zarathustra reveals the secret of life: the urge to surpass.

* * *

You wisest ones call that which impels you and makes you ardent “will to truth”? I call it will for the comprehensibility of all being! You would make all being comprehensible, because you doubt with good reason whether it is already comprehensible.

You will it to accommodate and bend itself to you! It will become smooth and subject to the mind as its mirror and reflection. That is your entire will, you wisest ones, a will to power, even when you speak of good and evil, and of estimates of value. You would create a world before which you can bend the knee. This is your ultimate hope and ecstasy.

The ignorant are like a river on which a boat floats along. In the boat sit your estimates of value, solemn and disguised. You have put your will and your values on the river of becoming. What is believed by the people as good and evil betrays to me your will to power. It was you, you wisest ones, who put such guests in this boat, and gave them pomp and proud names—you and your will to rule! The river now carries your boat onward. It must carry it. Small matter if the rough waves foam and angrily resist its keel!

The river is not a danger that could end your good and evil, you wisest ones. It is your will itself, the will to power—the unexhausted, procreating life will. That you may understand my gospel of good and evil, for that purpose will I tell you my gospel of life, and of the nature of all living things.

I followed the living thing; I walked the broadest and narrowest paths to learn its nature. With a hundred faceted mirror, I caught a glance of it when its mouth was shut, so that its eyes might speak to me, and its eyes spoke to me.

Wherever I found living things, I also heard the language of obedience. All living things obey. Whatever cannot obey itself is commanded. Such is the nature of living things.

Commanding is more difficult than obeying. This is because the commander bears the burden of all those who obey, and because this burden readily crushes him. All commanding seem an attempt and a risk to me. Whenever it commands, a living thing risks itself. Even when it commands itself, it must atone for its commanding. It must become the judge, avenger, and victim of its own law.

How does this happen, I asked myself. What persuades the living thing to obey, to command, and even to be obedient in commanding? Listen to my words, you wisest ones! Test them seriously, and judge whether I have crept into the heart of life itself, and into the roots of its heart!

Wherever I found a living thing, there I found will to power. Even in the servant I found the will to be master. That the weaker shall serve the stronger —so argues the will of he who would be master over a still weaker one. That delight alone he is unwilling to forego.

As the lesser surrenders himself to the greater that he may have delight and power over the least of all, so even the greatest surrenders himself, and stakes his life, for the sake of power. The greatest surrender to risk and danger, and play dice with death.

Where there is sacrifice and service and loving glances, there also is the will to be master. The weaker then slinks into the fortress by the back door, and into the heart of the mightier one—and there steals power. Life herself gave this secret to me.

“I am that which must always surpass itself,” she said. “You may call it the will to procreation, or the impulse towards a goal, towards the higher, remoter, more varied. But it is all one and the same secret. I would rather succumb than disown this one thing, and truly, where there is succumbing and leaves are falling, there life sacrifice itself for power! I have to be struggle, and becoming, and purpose, and cross purpose. He who understands my will, knows well what crooked paths it has to tread! Whatever I create, and however much I love it, soon I will be adverse to it, and to my love. So my will wills. Even you, discerning one, are only a path and footstep of my will. Truly, my will to power walks even on the feet of your will to truth! He who shot the formula ‘will to existence’ at it certainly did not hit the truth. That will does not exist! What doesn’t exit cannot will. That which exists cannot still strive for existence! Only where there is life, is there also will. Not will to life, but—so I teach you—will to power! Much is reckoned higher than life itself by one who lives. But out of that very reckoning speaks the will to power!”

This Life once taught me, and with it, you wisest ones, I solve you the riddle of your hearts. Truly, I say to you: good and evil that would be everlasting do not exist! Of its own accord, everything must it ever surpass itself anew. With your values and formulae of good and evil, you exercise power, you valuing ones. That is your secret love, and the sparkling, trembling, and overflowing of your souls.

A stronger power grows out of your values, surpassing and breaking egg and eggshell. He who wishes to be a creator of good and evil must first be a destroyer, and break existing values in pieces. So the greatest evil pertain to the greatest good: that, however, is the creating good.

Let us speak of this, you wisest ones, even though it is bad. To be silent is worse. All suppressed truths become poisonous. Let everything break up that can be broken up by our truths! Many a house is still to be built!

So said Zarathustra.

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Thus Spake Zarathustra: The Grave Song

grave-songPrevious Post: The Dance of Life

From life, Zarathustra turns to death, the destruction of the dreams of youth, and the immortal will.

* * *

Over there is the grave island, the silent isle. There are the graves of my youth. I will carry an evergreen wreath of life to it. Resolving this in my heart, did I sail over the sea.

Oh, the sights and scenes of my youth! Oh, the gleams of love, the divine fleeting gleams! How could you die so soon for me! I think of you today as my dead ones. A sweet scent comes to me from you, my dearest dead ones, opening and melting my heart. Truly, it convulses and opens the heart of the lone seafarer.

Still, am I the richest and most enviable; I, the loneliest one! For I have owned you, and you possess me still. Tell me who has ever had such rosy apples fall to him from the tree as have fallen to me? I am still your love’s heir and heritage, blooming in your memory with many hued, wild growing virtues, you dearest ones!

We were made to remain near one another, you kindly strange marvels. You do not come to me like timid birds, but as trusting ones to a trusting one! Made for faithfulness, like me, and for happy eternities, I must now name you by your faithlessness, you divine glances and fleeting gleams: no other name have I yet learned.

You died too early for me, you fugitives. Yet you did not flee from me, nor did I flee from you. We are innocent to each other in our faithlessness. To kill me, they strangled you, you singing birds of my hopes! At you, you dearest ones, malice always shoot its arrows—to peirce my heart!

They hit it because you were always my dearest, my possessions and my desires. Therefore, you had to die young, and far too early! At my most vulnerable point, they fired the arrow at you, whose skin is like down—like the smile that dies at a glance!

But this I say to my enemies: What is genocide compared with what you have done to me! You’ve done me worse evil than death. You took the irretrievable from me. You slew my youth’s visions and dearest marvels! You took my playmates from me, the blessed spirits! I deposit this wreath and this curse in their memory.

This curse upon you, my enemies! Have you not made my eternal short, as a tone dies away in a cold night! It scarcely, like the twinkle of divine eyes, came to me as a fleeting gleam!

Once, in a happy hour, my purity said “Everything will be divine to me.”

Then you haunted me with foul phantoms. Where has that happy hour now fled?

“All days shall be holy to me” the wisdom of my youth once said.

This was truly, the language of a joyous wisdom! But then you enemies stole my nights, and sold them to sleepless torture. Where has that joyous wisdom now fled? Once I longed for happy omens. Then you lead a monster across my path, a bad sign. Where did my tender longing then flee? All loathing I once vowed to renounce. Then did you change my near and dearest ones into ulcers. Where did my noblest vow flee to?

As a blind one, I once walk in blessed ways. Then you cast filth on my blind course. Now I am disgusted with the old footpath. When I performed my hardest tasks and celebrated the triumph of my victories, you make those who loved me say that I then grieved them most. Truly, it was always your doing. You embittered my best honey, and the diligence of my best bees.

You always send the most impudent beggars to abuse my charity. You have always crowded around my sympathy, incurably shameless. In doing so, you have wounded my faith of my virtue. When I offered my holiest gift as a sacrifice, your “piety” immediately put its fatter gifts beside it, so that my holiest gift suffocated in the fumes of your fat.

Once, I wanted to dance as I had never yet danced. I wanted to dance beyond all the heavens. Then you seduced my favourite minstrel. He struck up an awful, melancholy air. He blew a mournful horn in my ear! Murderous minstrel, instrument of evil, most innocent instrument! I stood prepared for the best dance, until you slew my rapture with your tones! I only know how to listen to the parable of the highest things in dance—and now my grandest parable remains unspoken in my limbs!

My highest hope remains unspoken and unrealised! All the visions and consolations of my youth have perished for me! How did I ever bear it? How did I survive and surmount such wounds? How did my soul rise again out of that tomb?

Something invulnerable, unburiable is within me, something that could tear rocks asunder. It is called my will. It proceeds silently and remains unchanged throughout the years. Its course will it go upon my feet, my old will. It is hard of heart by nature and invulnerable. I myself am only invulnerable in my heel.

You live here forever and remain yourself; you are most patient! You have burst all shackles of the tomb! In you the unrealized potential of my youth still lives. As life and, you sit here hopeful on the yellow ruins of graves. You are still for me the demolisher of all graves. Hail to you, my will! Only where there are graves are there resurrections.

Thus sang Zarathustra.

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Thus Spake Zarathustra: The Dance of Life

dance-of-lifePrevious Post: The Night Song

Though Nietzche calls this next chapter is called “The Dance Song”, it is actually a dialog between Zarathustra and Life.

* * *

One evening Zarathustra and his disciples were travelling through the forest. While looking for a well, he came upon a green meadow peacefully surrounded with trees and bushes, where maidens were dancing together. As soon as the maidens recognized Zarathustra, they stopped dancing. Zarathustra, however, approached them in a friendly manner and spoke these words:

Don’t stop dancing, you lovely maidens! I have not come to spoil your game with an evil eye. I am no enemy of maidens. I am God’s advocate with the devil; he, however, is the spirit of gravity. How could I be hostile to divine dances, you light-footed ones? Or to maidens’ feet with fine ankles?

To be sure, I am a forest, and a night among dark trees. But he who is not afraid of my darkness will find banks full of roses under my cypresses. He may even find the little God who is dearest to maidens: beside the well he lies quietly, with closed eyes. Truly, he fell asleep in broad daylight, the sluggard! Perhaps he chased butterflies too much?

Do not criticize me, you beautiful dancers, when I chasten the little God somewhat! He will cry, certainly, and weep. But he is comical even when weeping! With tears in his eyes, he will ask you for a dance, and I myself will sing a song to his dance, a dance song and satire on the spirit of gravity, the most supreme, powerful devil, who is said to be “lord of the world.

This is the song that Zarathustra sang while Cupid and the maidens danced together:

Recently, I gazed into the eyes of Life! I seemed to sink into the unfathomable, but she fished me out with a golden rod. She laughed derisively when I called her unfathomable.

“So say all fish,” she said. “What they do not fathom is unfathomable. But I am merely changeable, and wild, and altogether a woman, and not a virtuous one. I am called by you men the ‘profound one,’ the ‘faithful one,’ the ‘eternal one,’ or the ‘mysterious one.’ But you men always endow me with your own virtues—alas, you virtuous ones!”

She laughed, the unbelievable one. But I never believe her and her laughter when she speaks evil of herself.

Then I talked face to face with my wild Wisdom.

“You will, you crave, you love. On that account alone, you praise Life!” she said to me angrily.

I almost answered indignantly and told the truth to the angry one. One cannot answer more indignantly than when one “tells the truth” to one’s Wisdom. So things stand with us three. In my heart, I love only Life, and truly, most when I hate her! But I am fond of Wisdom, and often too fond, because she reminds me very strongly of Life! She has her eyes, her laugh, and even her golden fishing rod. Is it my fault that both are so alike?

“Who is she then, this Wisdom?” Life once asked me.

“Ah, yes! Wisdom!” I said eagerly. “One thirsts for her and is not satisfied; one looks through veils, and grasps through nets. Is she beautiful? What do I know! But the oldest fish are still lured by her. She is changeable, and wayward. I have often seen her bite her lip, and pass the comb through the grain of her hair. Perhaps she is wicked and false, and altogether a woman, but when she speaks ill of herself, that is when she seduces most.”

“Of whom do you speak?” said Life, laughing maliciously, and shutting her eyes. “Perhaps of me? And if you are right, is it proper to say that in such a way to my face! But now, please, tell me about your Wisdom!”

“Ah, now you have opened your eyes again, beloved Life!” I said.

I again seemed to sink into the unfathomable.

So sang Zarathustra. But when the dance was over and the maidens had departed, he became sad. At last he spoke:

The sun has long since set. The meadow is damp with dew, and coolness comes from the forest. An unknown presence surrounds me, and gazes thoughtfully.

“What! Do you still live, Zarathustra?” it asks. “Why? For what? With what? Where will you go? Where? How? Is it not folly still to live?”

Ah, my friends, it is the evening that interrogates in me. Forgive me my sadness! Evening has come. Forgive me that evening has come on!

So said Zarathustra.

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