Critique of Nietzsche

Can Zarathustra be saved?

Thus spoke Zarathustra

“But when morning dawned, Zarathustra found himself in a thick forest and the road disappeared.”

I am struck by how inversely correlated the story of Nietzsche’s Zarathustra is to my own. This is like matter and anti-matter. Zarathustra is to me a particle with equal mass (affective energy) but opposite charge (negative will). We are not simply obtuse, running across each other at an angle. We are passing on a road in exactly opposite directions. I point and say, “This way to freedom!” Zarathustra points behind me and replies, “That way to freedom!” I warn him that I already have been that way. He warns me that he already has been my way. I point to the way out of the forest and to a path leading to the Kingdom. He points away from the path and toward the dark forest from where I came.

“But when morning dawned, Zarathustra found himself in a thick forest and the road disappeared.”

He then chastises me for being one of “the herd,” an “ultimate man,” the character of whom he despises, for the ultimate man, as opposed to his Superman, submits to traditional values and is weak. “The earth has become small, and upon it hops the Ultimate Man, who makes everything small. His race is as inexterminable as the flea; the Ultimate Man lives longest.”

He continues to tell me that I must turn around to save my soul, to create new values, values that defy the old ones to which I uselessly cling. “To seize the right to new values – that is the most terrible proceeding for a weight-bearing and reverential spirit.”

I ask him to clarify. He explains that he is going in to the dark forest, away from the values of the “Thou shalts,” to transform his spirit to that of a lion, whereby he will create his own values – by his own will!

“Once it loved this ‘Thou shalt’ as its holiest thing: now it has to find illusion and caprice even in the holiest, that it may steal freedom from its love: the lion is needed for this theft. Yes, a sacred Yes is needed, my brothers, for the sport of creation: the spirit now wills its own will, the spirit sundered from the world now wins its own world.”

We are passing at dawn and in the evening, not obtusely, but in opposite directions, with opposite movements, opposite thoughts. My meditation is this – how to turn around the prophet who has already seen where you are heading and solemnly rejected the path which governs that way? He is seeking not a new way but an opposite way. He is not searching, only repelling.

“But when morning dawned, Zarathustra found himself in a thick forest and the road disappeared.”

Can Zarathustra be saved?


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