O my brothers, break, break the old tablets!

For the old gods, after all, things came to an end long ago; and verily, they had a good gay godlike end. They did not end in a “twilight,” though this lie is told. Instead: one day they laughed themselves to death. That happened when the most godless word issued from one of the gods themselves — the word: “There is one god. Thou shalt have no other god before me!” An old grimbeard of a god, a jealous one, thus forgot himself. And then all the gods laughed and rocked on their chairs and cried,

“Is not just this godlike that there are gods but no God?”

*

In a dream, in the last dream of the morning, I stood in the foothills today — beyond the world, held scales, and weighed the world. . . .

*

I flew, quivering, an arrow, through sun-drunken delight, away into distant futures where no dream had yet seen, into hotter souths than artists ever dreamed of, where gods in their dances are ashamed of all clothes — to speak in parables and to limp and stammer like a poet; and verily, I am ashamed that I must still be a poet.

Where all becoming seemed to me the dance of gods and the prankishness of gods, and the world seemed free and frolicsome and as if fleeing back to itself — as an eternal  fleeing and seeking each other  again of many gods, as the happy controverting of each other, conversing again with each other, and converging again of many gods.

Where all time seemed to me a happy mockery of moments, where necessity was freedom itself playing happily with the sting of freedom.

*

Now I wait for my own redemption — that I may go to them for the last time. For I want to go to men once more; under their eyes I want to go under; dying, I want to give them my richest gift. From the sun I learned this: when he goes down, overrich; he pours gold into the sea out of inexhaustible riches, so that even the poorest fisherman still rows with golden oars. For this I once saw and I did not tire of my tears as I watched it.

*

My brothers, the firstling is always sacrificed. We, however, are firstlings. All of us bleed at secret sacrificial altars; all of us burn and roast in honor of old idols. What is best in us is still young: that attracts old palates. Our flesh is tender, our hide is mere lamb-skin: how could we fail to attract old idol-priests? Even in ourselves the old idol-priest still lives who roasts what is best in us for his feast. Alas, my brothers, how could firstlings fail to be sacrifices?

But thus our kind wants it; and I love those who do not want to preserve themselves. Those who are going under I love with my whole life: for they cross over.

*

Everything that the good call evil must must come together so that one truth may be born.

O my brothers, are you evil enough for this truth? The audacious daring, the long mistrust, the cruel No, the disgust, the cutting into the living — how rarely does all this come together. But from such seed is truth begotten.

*

“Thou shalt not rob! Thou shalt not kill!” Such words were once called holy; one bent the knee and head and took off one’s shoes before them. But I ask you: where have there ever been better robbers and killers in this world than such holy words?

Is there not in all life itself robbing and killing? And that such words were called holy — was not truth itself killed thereby? Or was it the preaching of death that was called holy, which contradicted and contravened all life? O my brothers, break, break the old tablets!

*

“To the clean all is clean,” the people say. But I say unto you, “To the mean all becomes mean.”

Therefore the swooners and head-hangers, whose hearts also hang limply, preach, “The world itself is a filthy monster.” For all these have an unclean spirit — but especially those who have neither rest nor repose except when they see the world from abaft, the afterworldly. To these I say to their faces, even though it may not sound nice: the world is like man in having a backside abaft; that much is true. There is much filth in the world; that much is true. But that does not make the world itself a filthy monster.

There is wisdom in this, that there is much in the world that smells foul: nausea itself creates wings and water-divining powers. Even in the best there is still something that nauseates; and even the best is something that must be overcome. O my brothers, there is much wisdom in this, that there is much filth in the world.

*

To gain knowledge is a joy for the lion-willed! But those who have become weary are themselves merely being “willed,” and all the billows play with them. And this is always the manner of the weak: they get lost on the way. And in the end their weariness till asks, “Why did we ever pursue any way at all? It is all the same.” Their ears appreciate the preaching, “Nothing is worth while! You shall not will!” Yet this is an exhortation to bondage.

*

There stands the bark; over there perhaps the great nothing lies. But who would embark on this “perhaps”? No one of you wants to embark on the bark of death. Why then do you want to be world-weary? World-weary! And you are not even removed from the earth. Lusting after the earth I have always found you, in love even with your own world-weariness. Not for nothing is your lip hanging; a little earthly wish still sits on it. And in your eyes — does not a little cloud of unforgotten earthly joy float there?

There are many good inventions on earth, some useful, some pleasing: for their sake, the earth is to be loved. And there is such a variety of well-invented things that the earth is like the breasts of a woman: useful as well as pleasing.

But you who are world-weary, you who are earth-lazy, you should be lashed with switches: with lashes one should make your legs sprightly again. For when you are not invalids and decrepit wretches of whom the earth is weary, you are shrewd sloths or sweet-toothed, sneaky pleasure-cats. And if you do not want to run again with pleasure, then you should pass away. To the incurable, one should not try to be a physician — thus Zarathustra teaches — so you shall pass away!

But it takes more courage to make an end than to make a new verse: all physicians and poets know that.

*

What is the highest species of all and what is the lowest? The parasite is the lowest species; but whoever is of the highest species will nourish the most parasites. For the soul that has the longest ladder and reaches down deepest — how should the most parasites not sit on that? The most comprehensive soul, which can run and stray and roam farthest within itself; the most necessary soul, which out of sheer joy plunges itself into chance; the soul which, having being, dives into becoming; the soul which has, but wants to want and will; the soul which flees itself and catches up with itself in the widest circle; the wisest soul; which folly exhorts most sweetly; the soul which loves itself most, in which all things have their sweep and countersweep and ebb and flow — oh, how shoud the highest soul not have the most parasites?

*

Thus I want man and woman: the one fit for war, the other fit to give birth, but both fit to dance with head and limbs.

And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.

*

O thou my will! Thou cessation of all need, my own necessity! Keep me from all small victories! Thou destination of my soul, which I call destiny! Thou in-me! Over-me! Keep me and save me for a great destiny!

And thy last greatness, my will, save up for thy last feat that thou mayest be inexorable in thy victory. Alas,  who was not vanquished in his victory? Alas, whose eye would not darken in this drunken twilight? Alas, whose foot would not reel in victory and forget how to stand?

That I may one day be ready and ripe in the great noon: as ready and ripe as glowing bronze, clouds pregnant with lightning, and swelling milk udders — ready for myself and my most hidden will: a bow lusting for its arrow, an arrow lusting for its star — a star ready and ripe in its noon, glowing, pierced, enraptured by annihilating sun arrows — a sun itself and an inexorable solar will, ready to annihilate in victory!

O will, cessation of all need, my own necessity! Save me for a great victory!

Thus spoke Zarathustra.

Was that life? Well then! Once more!

But there is something in me that I call courage; that has so far slain my every discouragement. This courage finally bade me stand still and speak: “Dwarf! It is I or you!”

For courage is the best slayer, courage which attacks; for in every attack there is playing and brass.

Man, however, is the most courageous animal: hence he overcame every animal. With playing and brass he has so far overcome every pain; but human pain is the deepest pain.

Courage also slays dizziness at the edge of abysses: and where does man not stand at the edge of abysses? Is not seeing always — seeing abysses?

Courage is the best slayer: courage slays even pity. But pity is the deepest abyss: as deeply as man sees into life, he also sees into suffering.

Courage, however, is the best slayer — courage which attacks: which slays even death itself, for it says, “Was that life? Well then! Once more!”

[Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, On the Vision and the Riddle]

For all things have been baptized in the well of eternity and are beyond good and evil

BEFORE SUNRISE

The world is deep —
and deeper than day had ever been aware.
Not everything may be put into
words in the presence of day.
But the day is coming,
so let us part.

O heaven above me, pure and deep! You abyss of light! Seeing you, I tremble with godlike desires. To throw myself into your height, that is my depth. To hide in your purity, that is my innocence.

Gods are shrouded by their beauty; thus you conceal your stars. You do not speak; thus you proclaim your wisdom to me. Today you rose for me silently over the roaring sea; your love and your shyness are a revelation to my roaring soul. That you came to me, beautiful, shrouded in your beauty, that you speak to me silently, revealing your wisdom — oh, how should I not guess all that is shy in your soul! Before the sun you came to me, the loneliest of all.

We are friends from the beginning: we share grief and ground and gray dread; we even share the sun. We do not speak to each other, because we know too much; we are silent to each other, we smile our knowledge at each other. Are you not the light for my fire? Have you not the sister soul to my insight? Together we have learned everything; together we have learned to ascend ourselves to ourselves and smile cloudlessly — to smile down cloudlessly from bright eyes and from a vast distance when constraint and contrivance and guilt steam beneath us like rain.

And when I wandered alone, for whom did my soul hunger at night, on false paths? And when I climbed mountains, whom did I always seek on the mountains, if not you? And all my wandering and mountain climbing were sheer necessity and a help in my helplessness: what I want with all my will is to fly, to fly up into you.

And whom did I hate more than drifting clouds and all that stains you? And I hated even my own hatred because it stained you. I loathe the drifting clouds, those stealthy great cats which prey on what you and I have in common — the uncanny, unbounded Yes and Amen. We loathe these mediators and mixers, the drifting clouds that are half-and-half and have learned neither to bless nor to curse from the heart.

Rather would I sit in a barrel under closed heavens, rather sit in the abyss without a heaven, than see you, bright heaven, stained by drifting clouds.

And often I had the desire to tie them fast with the jagged golden wires of the lightning, that, like thunder, I might beat the big drums on their kettle-belly — an angry kettle-drummer — because they rob me of your Yes and Amen, O heaven over me, pure and light! You abyss of light! Because they rob me of my Yes and Amen. For I prefer even noise and thunder and storm-curses to this deliberate, doubting cats’ calm; and among men too I hate most of all the soft-treaders and those who are half-and-half and doubting, tottering drift clouds.

And “whoever cannot bless should learn to curse” — this bright doctrine fell to me from a bright heaven; this star stands in my heaven even in black nights.

But I am one who can bless and say Yes, if only you are about me, pure and light, you abyss of light; then I carry the blessings of my Yes into all abysses. I have become one who blesses and says Yes; and I fought long for that and was a fighter that I might one day get my hands free to bless. But this is my blessing: to stand over every single thing as its own heaven, as its round roof, its azure bell, and eternal security; and blessed is he who blesses thus.

For all things have been baptized in the well of eternity and are beyond good and evil; and good and evil themselves are but intervening shadows and damp depressions and drifting clouds.

Verily, it is a blessing and not a blasphemy when I teach: “Over all things stand the heaven Accident, the heaven Innocence, the heaven Chance, the heaven Prankishness.”

“By Chance” — that is the most ancient nobility of the world, and this I restored to all things: I delivered them from their bondage under Purpose. This freedom and heavenly cheer I have placed over all things like an azure bell when I taught that over them and through them no “eternal will” wills. This prankish folly I have put in the place of that will when I taught: “In everything one thing is impossible: rationality.”

A little reason, to be sure, a seed of wisdom scattered from star to star — this leaven is mixed in with all things: for folly’s sake, wisdom is mixed in with all things. A little wisdom is possible indeed; but this blessed certainty I found in all things: that they would rather dance on the feet of Chance.

O heaven over me, pure and high! That is what your purity is to me now, that there is no eternal spider or spider web of reason; that you are to me a dance floor of divine accidents, that you are to me a divine table for divine dice and dice players. But you blush? Did I speak the unspeakable? Did I blaspheme, wishing to bless you? Or is it the shame of twosomeness that makes you blush? Do you bid me go and be silent because the day is coming now?

The world is deep — and deeper than day had ever been aware. Not everything may be put into words in the presence of day. But the day is coming, so let us part.

O heaven over me, bashful and glowing! O you, my happiness before sunrise! The day is coming, so let us part.

Thus spoke Zarathustra.

You Lie in Wait for Yourself (in Caves and Woods)

. . . the Logos who suffers in us at every moment. This verily is that. I am the fire upon the altar. I am the sacrificial butter.
— James Joyce, Ulysses

But the worst enemy you can encounter will always be you; you lie in wait for yourself in caves and woods.

Lonely one, you are going the way to yourself. And your way leads past yourself and your seven devils. You will be a heretic to yourself and a witch and soothsayer and fool and doubter and unholy one and a villain. You must wish to consume yourself in your own flame: how could you wish to become new unless you had first become ashes!

Lonely one, you are going the way of the creator: you would create a god for yourself out of your seven devils.

Lonely one, you are going the way of the lover: yourself you love, and therefore you despise yourself, as only lovers despise. The lover would create because he despises. What does he know of love who did not have to despise precisely what he loved!

Go into your loneliness with your love and with your creation, my brother; and only much later will justice limp after you.

With my tears go into your loneliness, my brother. I love him who wants to create over and beyond himself and thus perishes.

Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star

‘We have invented happiness,’ say the last men, and they blink.

And thus spoke Zarathustra to the people: “The time has come for man to set himself a goal. The time has come for man to plant the seed of his highest hope. His soil is still rich enough. But one day this soil will be poor and domesticated, and no tall tree will be able to grow in it. Alas, the time is coming when man will no longer shoot the arrow of his longing beyond man, and the string of his longing will have forgotten how to whir!

“I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves.

“Alas, the time is coming when man will no longer give birth to a star. Alas, the time of the most despicable man is coming, he that is no longer able to despise himself. Behold, I show you the last man.”

[Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra]

Zarathustra goes to Heaven

Blessed are the sleepy ones: for they shall soon drop off.

At one time Zarathustra too cast his delusion beyond man, like all the afterworldly. The work of a suffering and tortured god, the world then seemed to me. A dream the world then seemed to me, and the fiction of a god: colored smoke before the eyes of a dissatisfied diety. Good and evil and joy and pain and I and you — colored smoke this seemed to me before creative eyes. The creator wanted to look away from himself; so he created the world.

Drunken joy it is for the sufferer to look away from his suffering and to lose himself. Drunken joy and loss of self the world once seemed to me. This world, eternally imperfect, the image of an eternal contradiction, an imperfect image — a drunken joy for its imperfect creator: thus the world once appeared to me.

Thus I too once cast my delusion beyond man, like all the afterworldly. Beyond man indeed?

Alas, my brothers, this god whom I created was man-made and madness, like all gods! Man he was, and only a poor specimen of man and ego: out of my own ashes and fire this ghost came to me, and, verily, it did not come to me from beyond. What happened, my brothers? I overcame myself, the sufferer; I carried my own ashes to the mountains; I invented a brighter flame for myself. And behold, then this ghost fled from me. Now it would be suffering for me and agony for the recovered to believe in such ghosts: now it would be suffering for me and humiliation. Thus I speak to the afterworldly.

It was suffering and incapacity that created all afterworlds — this and that brief madness of bliss which is experienced only by those who suffer most deeply.

Weariness that wants to reach the ultimate with one leap, with one fatal leap, a poor ignorant weariness that does not want to want anymore: this created all gods and afterworlds.

Believe me, my brothers: it was the body that despaired of the body and touched the ultimate walls with the fingers of a deluded spirit. Believe me, my brothers: it was the body that despaired of the earth and heard the belly of being speak to it. It wanted to crash through these ultimate walls with its head, and not only with its head — over there to “that world.” But “that world” is well concealed from humans — that dehumanized inhuman world which is a heavenly nothing; and the belly of being does not speak to humans at all, except as a human.

Verily, all being is hard to prove and hard to induce to speak. Tell me my brothers, is not the strangest of all things proved most nearly?

[Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra]