Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nietzsche, Zarathustra, and Madness

In 1885, Nietzsche finished the fourth part of his "Thus Spake Zarathustra." It wasn't published till 1892. In Walter Kaufmann's translation, several of Zarathustra's teachings:

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

No shepherd and one herd! Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.

There is more reason in your body than in your best reason.

Of all that is written I love only what a man has written with his blood. Write with blood, and you will experience that blood is spirit. It is not easily possible to understand the blood of another: I hate reading idlers. Whoever writes in blood and aphorisms does not want to be read but to be learned by heart.

I would believe only in a god who could dance.

Have you never seen a sail go over the sea, rounded and taut and trembling with the voilence of the wind? Like the sail, trembling with the violence of the spirit, my wisdom goes over the sea -- my wild wisdom.

Thus I myself once sank
Out of my truth madness,
Out of my day-longings,
Weary of day, sick from the light --
Sank downward, eveningward, shadowward,
Burned by one truth,
And thirsty:
Do you remember still remember, hot heart,
How you thirsted?
That I be banished
From all truth,
Only fool!
Only Poet!

You higher men, what do you think? Am I a soothsayer? A dreamer? A drunkard? an interpreter of dreams? A midnight bell? A drop of dew? A haze and fragrance of eternity? do you not hear it? Do you not smell it? Just now my world became perfect; midnight too is noon; pain too is a joy; curses too are a blessing; night too is a sun -- go away or you will learn: a sage too is a fool.

O man, take care!
What does the deep midnight declare?
"I was asleep --
From a deep dream I woke and swear:
The world is deep,
Deeper than day had been aware.
Deep is its woe;
Joy -- deeper yet than agony:
Woe implores: Go!
But all joy wants eternity --
Wants deep, wants deep eternity."