NIGH, THE GREAT NOONTIDE!"
Thus spake Zarathustra.
LV. THE SPIRIT OF GRAVITY.
My mouthpiece--is of the people: too coarsely and cordially do I
talk for Angora rabbits. And still stranger soundeth my word unto all
ink-fish and pen-foxes.
My hand--is a fool's hand: woe unto all tables and walls, and whatever
hath room for fool's sketching, fool's scrawling!
My foot--is a horse-foot; therewith do I trample and trot over stick and
stone, in the fields up and down, and am bedevilled with delight in all
My stomach--is surely an eagle's stomach? For it preferreth lamb's
flesh. Certainly it is a bird's stomach.
Nourished with innocent things, and with few, ready and impatient
to fly, to fly away--that is now my nature: why should there not be
something of bird-nature therein!
And especially that I am hostile to the spirit of gravity, that is
bird-nature:--verily, deadly hostile, supremely hostile, originally
hostile! Oh, whither hath my hostility not flown and misflown!
Thereof could I sing a song--and WILL sing it: though I be alone in an
empty house, and must sing it to mine own ears.
Other singers are there, to be sure, to whom only the full house
maketh the voice soft, the hand eloquent, the eye expressive, the heart
wakeful:--those do I not resemble.--
He who one day teacheth men to fly will have shifted all landmarks; to
him will all landmarks themselves fly into the air; the earth will he
christen anew--as "the light body."
The ostrich runneth faster than the fastest horse, but it also thrusteth
its head heavily into the heavy earth: thus is it with the man who
cannot yet fly.
Heavy unto him are earth and life, and so WILLETH the spirit of gravity!
But he who would become light, and be a bird, must love himself:--thus
do _I_ teach.
Not, to be sure, with the love of the sick and infected, for with them
stinketh even self-love!
One must learn to love oneself--thus do I teach--with a wholesome and
healthy love: that one may endure to be with oneself, and not go roving
Such roving about christeneth itself "brotherly love"; with these words
hath there hitherto been the best lying and dissembling, and especially
by those who have been burdensome to every one.
And verily, it is no commandment for to-day and to-morrow to LEARN to
love oneself. Rather is it of all arts the finest, subtlest, last and
For to its possessor is all possession well concealed, and of all
treasure-pits one's own is last excavated--so causeth the spirit of
Almost in the cradle are we apportioned with heavy words and worths:
"good" and "evil"--so calleth
I shall be content if only I can ascend a tolerably lofty mountain, from the summit of which, after having recovered my breath, I may obtain a general survey of the ground; for I shall never be able, in this book, to satisfy the votaries of tabulated rules.Page 5
While pursuing our discussion, however, we shall for once avoid all comparisons and valuations, and guard more especially against that flattering illusion that our conditions should be regarded as the standard for all others and as surpassing them.Page 12
Be reconciled, shake hands! What?--and.Page 29
But this is precisely where culture begins--namely, in understanding how to treat the quick as something vital, and it is here too that the mission of the cultured teacher begins: in suppressing the urgent claims of 'historical interests' wherever it is above all necessary to _do_ properly and not merely to _know_ properly.Page 30
This 'personal doing' is urged on with yet an additional fillip in some public schools by the choice of the subject, the strongest proof of which is, in my opinion, that even in the lower classes the non-pedagogic subject is set, by means of which the pupil is led to give a description of his life and of his development.Page 32
thousands, perhaps only _one_ is justified in describing himself as literary, and that all others who at their own risk try to be so deserve to be met with Homeric laughter by all competent men as a reward for every sentence they have ever had printed;--for it is truly a spectacle meet for the gods to see a literary Hephaistos limping forward who would pretend to help us to something.Page 39
the really artistic effect which the original, grown out of the heart of Roman civilisation, is able to produce almost to this day in France.Page 47
All of them, however, with the most widely separated aims in view, dig and burrow in Greek soil with a restlessness and a blundering awkwardness that must surely be painful to a true friend of antiquity: and thus it comes to pass that I should like to take by the hand every talented or talentless man who feels a certain professional inclination urging him on to the study of antiquity, and harangue him as follows: 'Young sir, do you know what perils threaten you, with your little stock of school learning, before you become a man in the full sense of the word? Have you heard that, according to Aristotle, it is by no means a tragic death to be slain by a statue? Does that surprise you? Know, then, that for centuries philologists have been trying, with ever-failing strength, to re-erect the fallen statue of Greek antiquity, but without success; for it is a colossus around which single individual men crawl like pygmies.Page 51
These other States obviously presuppose something here that, if adopted, would tend towards the maintenance and power of the State, like our well-known and popular conscription.Page 53
"Shame on you!" said the philosopher, "if you really want to quote something, why choose Faust? However, I will give in to you, quotation or no quotation, if only our young companions will keep still and not run away as suddenly as they made their appearance, for they are like will-o'-the-wisps; we are amazed when they are there and again when they are not there.Page 69
Do not, then, let yourselves be deceived in regard to the cultured student; for he, in so far as he thinks he has absorbed the blessings of education, is merely the public school boy as moulded by the hands of his teacher: one who, since his academical isolation, and after he has left the public school, has therefore been deprived of all further guidance to culture, that from now on he may begin to live by himself and be free.Page 81
He suddenly saw, with horror-struck, wide-open eyes, the non-German barbarism, hiding itself in the guise of all kinds of scholasticism; he suddenly discovered that his own leaderless comrades were abandoned to a repulsive kind of youthful intoxication.Page 83
When, however, in spite of all this, leader and followers have at last met, wounded and sore, there is an impassioned feeling of rapture, like the echo of an ever-sounding lyre, a feeling which I can let you divine only by means of a simile.Page 85
Let us imagine ourselves as living in the time of Pisistratus: the word "Homer" then comprehended an abundance of dissimilarities.Page 96
The only path which leads back beyond the time of Pisistratus and helps us to elucidate the meaning of the name Homer, takes its way on the one hand through the reports which have reached us concerning Homer's birthplace: from which we see that, although his name is always associated with heroic epic poems, he is on the other hand no more referred to as the composer of the _Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_ than as the author of the _Thebais_ or any other cyclical epic.Page 98
All those dull passages and discrepancies--deemed of such importance, but really only subjective, which we usually look upon as the petrified remains of the period of tradition--are not these perhaps merely the almost necessary evils which must fall to the lot of the poet of genius who undertakes a composition virtually without a parallel, and, further, one which proves to be of incalculable difficulty? Let it be noted that the insight into the most diverse operations of the instinctive and the conscious changes the position of the Homeric problem; and in my opinion throws light upon it.Page 100