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After taking on the “feel good” academic wisdom, Zarathustra turns to the religious and, in particular, those who believe in an afterlife that takes place in a “hinterwelt” or “other-world”.
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At one time, I, Zarathustra, cast my imagination beyond man, like all believers in other-worlds. At the time, the world seemed to me the work of a suffering and tortured God. It seemed the dream—and creation—of a God; coloured vapours before the eyes of a divinely dissatisfied being.
Good and evil, and joy and sorrow, you and I, seemed coloured vapours before creative eyes. The creator wished to look away from himself, and therefore he created the world. It is intoxicating joy for the sufferer to look away from his suffering and forget himself. Intoxicating joy and self-forgetting, the world once seem to me.
This world is eternally imperfect, an eternal contradiction’s image and imperfect image—an intoxicating joy to its imperfect creator—or so it once seemed to me. Therefore, at one time, I also cast my imagination beyond man, like all believers in other-worlds. But was it beyond man, truly?
Ah, brothers, the God who I created was a human work and human madness, like all the Gods! He was a man, but only a poor fragment of a man and ego. Out of my own ashes and glow it came to me, that phantom. And truly, it did not came to me from the beyond!
What happened, my brothers? I surpassed myself, the suffering one. I carried my own ashes to the mountain. I contrived a brighter flame for myself. Thereafter, the phantom WITHDREW from me! To me, having recovered, it would now be suffering and torment to believe in such phantoms. It would be suffering and humiliation. So I say to believers in other-worlds.
It was suffering and impotence that created all other-worlds, and the brief madness of happiness, which only the greatest sufferer experiences. Weariness, which seeks to get to the ultimate with one leap, with a death leap—a poor ignorant weariness, unwilling even to will any longer—created all Gods and other-worlds.
Believe me, my brothers! It was the body which despaired of the body. It groped with the fingers of the infatuated spirit at the ultimate walls. It was the body which despaired of the earth. It heard the bowels of existence speaking to it. And then it sought to get through the ultimate walls with its head—and not with its head only—into the “other-world.”
But that “other-world” is well concealed from man, a dehumanised, inhuman world, which is a celestial nothing. And the bowels of existence do not speak to man, except as man. Truly, it is difficult to prove all being, and hard to make it speak. Tell me, brothers, is not the strangest of all things the most well proven?
This ego, with its contradiction and perplexity, speaks most uprightly of its being. This creating, willing, evaluating ego, which is the measurer and valuer of things. This most upright existence, the ego, speaks of the body, and still implies the body, even when it muses and raves and flutters with broken wings. The ego always learns to speak more uprightly, and the more it learns, the more it finds titles and honours for the body and the earth.
My ego taught me a new pride that teach I to men: to no longer thrust one’s head into the sand of celestial things, but to carry it freely, a terrestrial head, which gives meaning to the earth! I teach a new will to men: to choose the path that man has followed blindly, and to approve of it, and no longer slink aside from it, like the sick and perishing!
The sick and perishing: it was they who despised the body and the earth, and invented the heavenly world, and the redeeming blood-drops. But even those sweet and sad poisons they borrowed from the body and the earth! They sought escape from their misery, but the stars were too remote for them.
“If only there were heavenly paths by which to steal into another existence and into happiness!” they sighed.
Then they contrived for themselves their paths and bloody draughts! Beyond the sphere of their body and this earth they imagined themselves transported, these ungrateful ones. But to what did they owe the convulsion and rapture of their transport? To their body and this earth.
Zarathustra is gentle to the sickly. Truly, he is not indignant at their modes of consolation and ingratitude. May they become convalescents and over comers, and create higher bodies for themselves Neither is Zarathustra indignant at a convalescent who looks tenderly on his delusions, and at midnight steals around the grave of his God. But sickness and a sick frame remain, even in his tears.
There have always been many sickly ones among those who muse and languish for God. They violently hate the discerning ones, and the latest of virtues, which is uprightness. They always gaze backward toward dark ages. Then, delusion and faith were truly something different. The raving of reason was likeness to God, and doubt was sin.
Too well I know these godlike ones. They insist on being believed, and say that doubt is sin. Too well, also, I know what they themselves most believe in. Truly, not in other-worlds and redeeming blood-drops. They also believe most in the body, and their own body is for them the end in itself. But it is a sickly thing to them, and they would gladly get out of their skin. Therefore, they listen to the preachers of death, and themselves preach of other worlds.
Listen rather, brothers, to the voice of the healthy body. It is a more upright and pure voice. The healthy body speaks more uprightly and purely, perfect and square built. It speaks of the meaning of the earth.
So said Zarathustra.