photo: thomas prior
When Zarathustra arrived at the nearest town which adjoineth the forest, he found many people assembled in the market-place; for it had been announced that a rope-dancer would give a performance. And Zarathustra spake thus unto the people:   I teach you the Superman. Man is something that is to be surpassed. What have ye done to surpass man?   All beings hitherto have created something beyond themselves: and ye want to be the ebb of that great tide, and would rather go back to the beast than surpass man?   What is the ape to man? A laughing-stock, a thing of shame. And just the same shall man be to the Superman: a laughing-stock, a thing of shame.   Ye have made your way from the worm to man, and much within you is still worm. Once were ye apes, and even yet man is more of an ape than any of the apes.   Even the wisest among you is only a disharmony and hybrid of plant and phantom. But do I bid you become phantoms or plants?   Lo, I teach you the Superman!   The Superman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: The Superman shall he the meaning of the earth!   I conjure you, my brethren, remain true to the earth, and believe not those who speak unto you of superearthly hopes! Poisoners are they, whether they know it or not.   Despisers of life are they, decaying ones and poisoned ones themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so away with them!   Once blasphemy against God was the greatest blasphemy; but God died, and therewith also those blasphemers. To blaspheme the earth is now the dreadfulest sin, and to rate the heart of the unknowable higher than the meaning of the earth!   Once the soul looked contemptuously on the body, and then that contempt was the supreme thing:- the soul wished the body meagre, ghastly, and famished. Thus it thought to escape from the body and the earth.   Oh, that soul was itself meagre, ghastly, and famished; and cruelty was the delight of that soul!   But ye, also, my brethren, tell me: What doth your body say about your soul? Is your soul not poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency?   Verily, a polluted stream is man. One must be a sea, to receive a polluted stream without becoming impure.   Lo, I teach you the Superman: he is that sea; in him can your great contempt be submerged.   What is the greatest thing ye can experience? It is the hour of great contempt. The hour in which even your happiness becometh loathsome unto you, and so also your reason and virtue.   The hour when ye say: "What good is my happiness! It is poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency. But my happiness should justify existence itself!"   The hour when ye say: "What good is my reason! Doth it long for knowledge as the lion for his food? It is poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency!"   The hour when ye say: "What good is my virtue! As yet it hath not made me passionate. How weary I am of my good and my bad! It is all poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency!"   The hour when ye say: "What good is my justice! I do not see that I am fervour and fuel. The just, however, are fervour and fuel!"   The hour when we say: "What good is my pity! Is not pity the cross on which he is nailed who loveth man? But my pity is not a crucifixion."   Have ye ever spoken thus? Have ye ever cried thus? Ah! would that I had heard you crying thus!   It is not your sin- it is your self-satisfaction that crieth unto heaven; your very sparingness in sin crieth unto heaven!   Where is the lightning to lick you with its tongue? Where is the frenzy with which ye should be inoculated?   Lo, I teach you the Superman: he is that lightning, he is that frenzy!-   When Zarathustra had thus spoken, one of the people called out: "We have now heard enough of the rope-dancer; it is time now for us to. see him!" And all the people laughed at Zarathustra. But the rope-dancer, who thought the words applied to him, began his performance.


by Friedrich Nietzsche
translated by Thomas Common

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