Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None

By Friedrich Nietzsche

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at the reasons which
led my brother to select a Persian as the incarnation of his ideal of
the majestic philosopher. His reasons, however, for choosing Zarathustra
of all others to be his mouthpiece, he gives us in the following
words:--"People have never asked me, as they should have done, what the
name Zarathustra precisely means in my mouth, in the mouth of the first
Immoralist; for what distinguishes that philosopher from all others
in the past is the very fact that he was exactly the reverse of an
immoralist. Zarathustra was the first to see in the struggle between
good and evil the essential wheel in the working of things. The
translation of morality into the metaphysical, as force, cause, end in
itself, was HIS work. But the very question suggests its own answer.
Zarathustra CREATED the most portentous error, MORALITY, consequently he
should also be the first to PERCEIVE that error, not only because he
has had longer and greater experience of the subject than any other
thinker--all history is the experimental refutation of the theory of
the so-called moral order of things:--the more important point is that
Zarathustra was more truthful than any other thinker. In his teaching
alone do we meet with truthfulness upheld as the highest virtue--i.e.:
the reverse of the COWARDICE of the 'idealist' who flees from reality.
Zarathustra had more courage in his body than any other thinker before
or after him. To tell the truth and TO AIM STRAIGHT: that is the first
Persian virtue. Am I understood?... The overcoming of morality through
itself--through truthfulness, the overcoming of the moralist through his
opposite--THROUGH ME--: that is what the name Zarathustra means in my


Nietzsche Archives,

Weimar, December 1905.





When Zarathustra was thirty years old, he left his home and the lake of
his home, and went into the mountains. There he enjoyed his spirit and
solitude, and for ten years did not weary of it. But at last his heart
changed,--and rising one morning with the rosy dawn, he went before the
sun, and spake thus unto it:

Thou great star! What would be thy happiness if thou hadst not those for
whom thou shinest!

For ten years hast thou climbed hither unto my cave: thou wouldst have
wearied of thy light and of the journey, had it not been for me, mine
eagle, and my serpent.

But we awaited thee every morning, took from thee thine overflow and
blessed thee for it.

Lo! I am weary of my wisdom, like the bee that hath gathered too much
honey; I need hands outstretched to take

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Text Comparison with On the Future of our Educational Institutions; Homer and Classical Philology Complete Works, Volume Three

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And, in view of the difficulties.
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It is just possible that he may have had the opportunity of _hearing_ sound views expressed in reference to the vexed question of the future of our educational institutions, and that he may wish to repeat them to you; he may even have had distinguished teachers, fully qualified to foretell what is to come, and, like the _haruspices_ of Rome, able to do so after an inspection of the entrails of the Present.
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When, however, we began to speak of our point of view, he quickly caught hold of his companion, turned sharply round, and cried to us in.
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The philosopher contemplated the sun, his companion contemplated him, and we turned our eyes towards our nook in the woods which to-day we seemed in such great danger of losing.
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a tendency to _minimise and weaken_ it on the other.
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In some countries the fear of religious oppression is so general, and the dread of its results so marked, that people in all classes of society long for culture and eagerly absorb those elements of it which are supposed to scatter the religious instincts.
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"Only by means of such discipline can the young man acquire that physical loathing for the beloved and much-admired 'elegance' of style of our newspaper manufacturers and novelists, and for the 'ornate style' of our literary men; by it alone is he irrevocably elevated at a stroke above a whole host of absurd questions and scruples, such, for instance, as whether Auerbach and Gutzkow are really poets, for his disgust at both will be so great that he will be unable to read them any longer, and thus the problem will be solved for him.
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"Of the many necessary measures which this change called into being, some of the most important have been transferred with lasting success to the modern regulations of public schools: the most important of all, however, did not succeed--the one demanding that the teacher, also, should be consecrated to the new spirit, so that the aim of the public school has meanwhile considerably departed from the original plan laid down by Wolf, which was the cultivation of the pupil.
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_ [5] German: _Materielle Bildung.
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"The same holds good in regard to teachers.
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The leverage of the united representatives of modern culture is utilised for the purpose; but it invariably happens that the huge column is scarcely more than lifted from the ground when it falls down again, crushing beneath its weight the luckless wights under it.
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" "I may be wrong," said the.
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" "But," said the philosopher's companion, "what purposes can the State have in view with such a strange aim? For that it has some State objects in view is seen in the manner in which the conditions of Prussian schools are admired by, meditated upon, and occasionally imitated by other States.
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Night slowly fell in the meantime; and when in the twilight the philosopher's voice had sounded like natural music through the woods, it now rang out in the profound darkness of the night when he was speaking with excitement or even passionately; his tones hissing and thundering far down the valley, and reverberating among the trees and rocks.
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Who can tell to what these heroic men were destined to attain if only that true German spirit had gathered them together within the protecting walls of a powerful institution?--that spirit which, without the help of some such institution, drags out an isolated, debased, and degraded existence.
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When the two paths happen to cross, however, you will be roughly handled and thrust aside, or else shunned and isolated.
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I now see more clearly than ever the necessity for an institution which will enable us to live and mix freely with the few men of true culture, so that we may have them as our leaders and guiding stars.
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" And then we once more heard that loud melody from the waters of the Rhine, intoned by numerous and strong voices.
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You can divine from my simile what I would understand by a true educational institution, and why I am very far from recognising one in the present type of university.