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Ah, loneliness! My home, loneliness! I have lived too long wildly in wild remoteness to return to you without tears! Threaten me with a finger as mothers threaten. Smile upon me as mothers smile. Speak to me:
Who was it that once rushed away from me like a whirlwind? Who, when departing, called out ‘I have sat with loneliness too long. I have unlearned silence!’ You have learned that now, surely? Zarathustra, I know everything. You were more forsaken among the many, you unique one, than you ever were with me!
Forsakenness is one thing; loneliness is another matter. You have now learned that! Among men you will always be wild and strange, even when they love you. For above all they want to be treated indulgently!
Here, however, you are at home with yourself. Here you can say anything, and unfetter all motives. Nothing here is ashamed of concealed, congealed feelings. Here all things come without care about your talk and flatter you; they want to ride upon your back. Here, on every metaphor you can ride to every truth.
Here, you may talk to all things uprightly and openly. It will sound like praise to their ears, when one talks to all things directly! Forsakenness, however, is another matter. Do you remember, Zarathustra, when your bird screamed overhead, when you stood in the forest, irresolute, ignorant of where to go, beside a corpse.
When you said ‘Let my animals lead me! I have found it more dangerous among men than among animals,’ that was forsakenness! Do you remember, Zarathustra, when you sat on your isle, giving like a well of wine among empty buckets, giving and distributing to the thirsty, until at last you alone sat thirsty among the drunken ones, and wailed nightly ‘Is taking not more blessed than giving? And stealing even more blessed than taking?’ That was forsakenness!
Do you remember, Zarathustra, when your stillest hour came and drove you forth from yourself, when it whispered wickedly ‘Speak and succumb!’, when it disgusted you with all your waiting and silence, and discouraged your humble courage? That was forsakenness!”
Oh, loneliness! My home, loneliness! How blessedly and tenderly your voice speaks to me! We do not question each other, we do not complain to each other. We openly go together through open doors. With you, everything open and clear. Here, even the hours run on lighter feet. In the dark, time weighs heavier upon one than in the light.
Here, all being’s words and word cabinets burst open to me. Here, all being wants to become words, and all becoming wants to learn how to talk from me. Down there, all talking is in vain! There, forgetting and passing by are the best wisdom. I have learned that now! He who would understand everything about man must handle everything. But for that, my hands are too clean.
I do not even like to inhale their breath. I have lived so long among their noise and bad breath! Oh blessed stillness around me! Oh pure odours around me! How this stillness fetches pure breath from deep within the chest! How it listens, this blessed stillness!
But down there, everything speaks. There, everything is misheard. If one announce one’s wisdom with bells, the merchants in the marketplace will out jingle it with pennies! Everything among them talks. No one knows how to understand any more. Everything falls into the water, but nothing falls into deep wells any more.
Everything among them talks, but nothing succeeds any longer and accomplishes itself. Everything cackles, but who will sit quietly on the nest and hatch eggs? Everything among them talks, and everything is out talked. That which yesterday was too hard for the teeth of time itself, hangs chewed up from the mouths of the men of today.
Everything among them talks, and everything is betrayed. What was once the secret of profound souls, belongs to town criers and social butterflies today. Human hubbub is a wonderful thing! The noise in dark streets! Now it is once again behind me. My greatest danger lies behind me!
Indulging and pitying are always my greatest danger. All human hubbub wishes to be indulged and tolerated. I ever lived among men suppressing truths, with a fool’s hand and fooled heart, rich in petty lies of pity. I sat disguised among them, ready to misjudge myself so that I might endure them, and willingly saying to myself “you fool, you do not know men!”
One unlearns the truth about men when one lives among them. There is too much foreground in all men. What can far seeing, far longing eyes do there! Fool that I was, when they misjudged me, I indulged them more than myself, and was habitually hard on myself, often taking revenge on myself for the indulgence. Stung all over by poisonous flies, and hollowed like a stone by many drops of wickedness, I sat among them, and still said to myself “everything petty is innocent of its pettiness!”
I found those who call themselves ‘the good’ the most especially poisonous flies. They sting in all innocence, they lie about all innocence. How could they be just towards me! Pity teaches one who lives among ‘the good’ to lie. Pity stifles all free souls. The stupidity of ‘the good’ is unfathomable.
Down there, I learned to conceal myself and my riches. I still found every one poor in spirit. I knew the lie of my pity for every one. I saw and sniffed in every man how much was enough spirit for him, and what was too much!
Their stiff ‘wise’ men I called wise, not stiff. I learned to slur words. Grave diggers dig up their own diseases. Under old rubbish, bad vapours rest. One should not stir up the marsh. One should live in the mountains.
With blessed nostrils I once again breathe the freedom of the mountains. My nose is freed at last from the smell of all human hubbub! Tickled with sharp breezes, as with sparkling wine, my soul sneezes, and shouts in self congratulation “Health to you!”
So said Zarathustra.
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