Thus Spake Zarathustra: The Wanderer

wandererPrevious Post: The Stillest Hour

As the third part of the book begins, Zarathustra prepare to make his final journey.

* * *

When it was almost midnight, Zarathustra made his way over the ridge of the isle so that he could arrive at the far coast early in the morning, because he meant to embark from there. For there was a good harbour there, in which foreign ships also liked to anchor. Those ships took many people who wished to cross over from the Happy Isles with them.

As Zarathustra ascended the mountain, he thought on the way of his solitary wanderings from youth onward, and how many mountains, ridges, and summits he had already climbed.

I am a wanderer and mountain climber. I do not love the plains, and it seems I cannot sit still long. Though fate and experience may still overtake me, there will be wandering in it, and mountain climbing. In the end one experiences only oneself.

The time is past when accidents could befall me. What could happen to me now that would not already be my own! It returns, coming home to me at last: mine own Self. So much of it as has been away for so long, scattered among things and accidents.

One more thing I know: I stand now before my last summit, and before that which has been waiting the longest for me. I must ascend my hardest path! I have begun my loneliest wandering!

He who is of my nature does not avoid such an hour; the hour that says to him: Now you only travel toward your greatness! Summit and abyss are now one!

You go the way to your greatness: it has become your last refuge, though it was until now your last danger! You go the way to your greatness: you must now be your most courageous, since there is no longer any path behind you! You go the way to your greatness: no one will steal after you! Your feet themselves has covered the tracks behind you, and over them stands written ‘Impossibility’.

If all ladders from now on fail you, you must learn to climb up on your own head: how could you climb upward otherwise? Upon your own head, and beyond your own heart! What is gentlest in you must become the hardest.

He who has always overindulged himself sickens at last by his overindulgence. Praise what makes us hardy! I do not praise the land where milk and honey flow! To learn to look away from oneself is necessary in order to see many things. This hardiness is needed by every mountain climber.

How can one who is obtrusive with his eyes as a discerner ever see more of anything than its surface! But you, Zarathustra, would view the basis of everything, and its background. Therefore you must climb even above yourself, up, upwards, until even the stars are under you! To look down upon myself, and even upon the stars. Only that would I call my summit; that remains for me as my last summit!

So said Zarathustra to himself while ascending, comforting his heart with harsh maxims. He was as troubled at heart as he had never been before. When he reached the top of the mountain ridge, the sea lay spread out before him, and he stood still and for a long time remained silent. The night was cold at this height, and clear and starry.

“I recognize my destiny,” he said at last, sadly. “Well! I am ready. Now my last loneliness has begun. Ah, this somber, sad sea, below me! Ah, this somber nocturnal affliction! Fate and sea! To you must I now go down. I stand before my highest mountain, and before my longest journey. Therefore must I first go deeper down than I ever ascended: Deeper down into pain than ever, even into its darkest flood! So wills my fate. Well! I am ready. Where did the highest mountains come from? So I once asked. Then I learned that they come out of the sea. That testimony is inscribed in their stones, and on the walls of their summits. The highest come to its height out of the deepest depths.”

Zarathustra descended from the ridge of the mountain, where it was cold. When he had come close to the sea, and at last stood alone on the cliffs, he had become weary, but was more eager than ever before.

“Everything still sleeps,” he said. “Even the sea sleeps. It eyes gaze drowsily and strangely upon me. But it breaths warmly. I feel it. I also feel that it dreams. It tosss about dreamily on hard pillows. Listen to how it groans with evil recollections or evil expectations. I am sad along with you, you dusky monster, and angry with myself for your sake. Too bad that my hand is not strong enough! I would gladly free you from evil dreams!”

Zarathustra laughed at his melancholy and bitterness.

“What! Zarathustra,” said he, “will you even sing consolation to the sea? You amiable fool, Zarathustra, you blindly confident one! So you have always been. You have always approached all that is terrible with confidence. You would caress every monster. A whiff of warm breath, a little soft tuft on its paw, and immediately you were ready to love and lure it. Love is the greatest danger to the loneliest one, love of anything, as long as it is alive! My folly and modesty in love are truly laughable!”

Zarathustra laughed a second time. Then, however, he thought of his abandoned friends, and as if he had done them a wrong with his thoughts, he criticized himself because of his thoughts. Soon he wept .With anger and longing, Zarathustra wept bitterly.

Next Post: The Vision and the Enigma

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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2 Responses to Thus Spake Zarathustra: The Wanderer

  1. Pingback: Thus Spake Zarathustra: The Stillest Hour | Jim's Jumbler

  2. Pingback: Thus Spake Zarathustra: The Vision and the Enigma | Jim's Jumbler

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