Previous Post: Redemption
It’s not the climb, it’s the downward slope that’s terrible! The downslope, where the gaze shoots downwards, and the hand grasps upwards. There, the heart becomes giddy through its double will. Friends, do you see my own heart’s double will?
This, this is my downward slope and my danger: that my gaze shoots towards the summit, and my hand would clutch and lean on the depths! My will clings to man. I bind myself to man with chains because I am pulled upwards to the superhuman. For there my other will tends. Therefore I live blindly among men, as if I didn’t know them. That my hand may not entirely lose its belief in firmness. I do not know you men. This gloom and consolation often spreads around me.
I sit at the gateway for every rogue, and ask “Who wishes to deceive me?” This is my first manly discipline: that I allow myself to be deceived so as not to be on my guard against deceivers. If I were on my guard against man, how could man be my anchor! I would be pulled upwards and away too easily!
This divine guidance lies over my fate: that I must be without foresight. He who would not languish among men must learn to drink out of all glasses. He who would keep clean among men must know how to wash himself even with dirty water. I often console myself by saying “Courage! Cheer up, old heart! Unhappiness has failed to befall you. Enjoy that as your happiness!”
This, however, is my other manly discipline: I am more forbearing to the vain than to the proud. Isn’t wounded vanity the mother of all tragedies? Where pride is wounded, something better than pride grows up.
For life to be fair to look at, its game must be well played. For that reason, it needs good actors. Good actors are all vain. They play, and wish people to be fond of watching them. They only think of this wish. They represent themselves, they invent themselves. In their neighbourhood, I like to look upon life. It cures melancholy. Therefore am I forbearing to the vain, because they cure my melancholy, and keep me attached to man as to a drama.
Who understands the full depth of the modesty of the vain man? I am favourable and sympathetic to him because of his modesty. He derives his belief in himself from you. He feeds upon your glances; he eats praise out of your hands. He even believes your lies when you lie favourably about him, for in its depths, his heart sighs “What am I?” If true virtue is unconscious of itself, then the vain man is unconscious of his modesty!
This is my third manly discipline: I am not put out of conceit with the wicked by your timidness. I’m happy to see the marvels the warm sun hatches: tigers, palms, and rattle-snakes. Among men, there is a beautiful brood of the warm sun, and much that is marvellous in the wicked.
In truth, your wisest do not seem very wise. Likewise, I found human wickedness less than it was famed to be. I often ask with a shake of the head “Why still rattle, you rattle snakes?” Truly, there is still a future even for evil! The warmest south is still undiscovered by man.
How many things that are now called the worst wickedness are only twelve feet wide and three months long! Some day, however, greater dragons will come into the world.
So that the superhuman may not lack his own dragons, the superdragons that are worthy of him, the warm sun must still shine on moist virgin forests much more! Out of wild cats, tigers have evolved, and out of poisonous toads, crocodiles. The good hunter shall have a good hunt!
Truly, in the good and just there is much to be laughed at, especially their fear of what has until now been called “the devil!” They are so alien in their souls to what is great that to them the superhuman would be frightful in his goodness!
You wise and knowing ones would flee from the solar glow of the wisdom in which the superhuman joyfully bathes his nakedness! I doubt and secretly laugh at the highest men I know. I suspect they would call my superhuman a devil!
I became tired of those highest and best ones. From their “height”, I longed to climb up, out, and away to the superhuman! Horror came over me when I saw those best ones naked. Then I grew wings to soar away into distant futures. Into more distant futures, further into the south than any artist dreamed of, to where gods are ashamed of all clothing!
I want to see you disguised, neighbours and fellow men, and well attired, vain, and valued as “the good and just.” I will sit disguised among you, so that I may mistake you and myself. That is my last manly discipline.
So said Zarathustra.
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