Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: a Book for Everyone and No-one. Also Sprach Zarathustra: Ein Buch für Alle und Keinen

Composed in four parts between 1883 and 1885

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III.

ON BELIEVERS IN THE HINTERWORLD.  At one time Zarathustra also cast his imagination beyond mankind, as do all believers in a world behind the apparent world.  This world then seemed to me to be the work of a suffering and tormented God.  A dream the world then seemed to me, the fable of a God; coloured mists before the eyes of the discontented divine.  Good and evil and pleasure and pain and I and You— coloured mists they seemed to me before a creator’s eyes.  The creator wished to look away from himself— and so he created the world.  A heady joy it is for the sufferer to look away from his suffering and forget himself.  A drunken pleasure and self-forgetting did the world once seem to me.  This world, eternally imperfect, the eternally imperfect image of a contradiction— a drunken pleasure for its imperfect creator: — thus the world once seem to me.  Thus, at one time did I also cast my imagination beyond mankind, like all believers in a world behind.  Truly, beyond mankind?  Ah, brothers, this God that I created was the work of humans and human madness, like all Gods!  Human he was, a poor piece of man and ego.  Out of my own fire and ashes this phantom came to me, that is the truth!  It did not come to me from the beyond!  What happened my brothers?  I overcame myself as sufferer; I carried my own ashes to the mountain; a brighter flame myself I made.  And Behold!  Then the phantom fled from me!  It would be suffering for me now, and torture for a former convalescent, to believe in such phantoms; suffering it would be to me now and humiliation.  Thus do I speak to all believers in a world behind.  Suffering it was and impotence— that is what created all worlds behind; and that brief madness of happiness that only the greatest sufferer experiences.  Weariness that seeks to attain the ultimate in a single leap, a leap of death; a poor and ignorant weariness that is even unwilling to will any further: that is what created all Gods and worlds behind.  Believe me, my brothers!  It was the body that despaired of the body— it groped with the fingers of deluded spirit for the walls of the ultimate.  Believe me, my brothers!  It was the body that despaired of the earth— it heard the belly of existence speaking to it.  And then it sought to break through those ultimate walls with its head, and not only with its head— and into the “other world."  But this "other world" is well concealed from man, that dehumanised inhuman world that is a heavenly nothing; and the belly of being does not speak to man at all, except as a man.  Truly, Being is hard to demonstrate and hard to move to speech.  Tell me, brothers, is not the most peculiar of all things still the most clearly demonstrated?  Yes, this I and the I’s contradiction and confusion speaks nevertheless most honestly of its Being— this creating, willing, valuing I, that is the measure and value of things.  And this most honest being, the I— it speaks of the body, it still wants the body, even when it rhapsodises and raves and flutters about on broken wings.  Ever the more honestly it learns it to speak, the I: and the more it learns, the more does it find words and honours for the body and the earth.  A new pride my I taught me, and this I now teach to men: no longer to bury your head in the sand of heavenly things, but to carry it freely, an earthly head which gives meaning to the earth!  A new will I teach to men: to want the path which man has followed blindly, to call it good and no longer to slink away from it, like the sick and the moribund!  It was the sick and the moribund who despised the body and the earth and invented the heavenly world and the redeeming drops of blood: but even those sweet and sad poisons they took from the body and the earth!  They sought to escape from their misery and the stars were too far for them.  Then they sighed: "O that there were heavenly paths by which to steal into another existence and happiness!"  — Then they invented their schemes and potions of blood!  They imagined themselves transported beyond their bodies and this earth, these ingrates.  But to what did they owe the sensation and rapture of their transport?  To their body and this earth.  Zarathustra is gentle to the sick.  Truly he is not angered by their need for comfort and their ingratitude.  May they become convalescents and overcomers and create higher bodies for themselves!  Nor is Zarathustra angered by the convalescent who gazes tenderly on his delusions and at midnight steals about the grave of his God: but his tears still suggest to me sickness and a sick body.  There have always been many of the sick among those who rhapsodise and long for God; they sorely hate the enlightened man and that youngest of virtues which is called honesty.  They always gaze backward toward darker ages: then indeed delusion and faith was a different matter.  Raving of the reason was next to Godliness and doubt was a sin.  I know these god-fearing people all too well: they want to be believed, and for doubt to be sin.  Also too well do I know what they themselves most believe in.  Truly, not in hinter-worlds and redeeming drops of blood: instead they most believe in the body; and for them their own body is the thing-in-itself.  But it is a sickly thing to them and they would gladly like to get out of their own skins.  Therefore they listen to the preachers of death and themselves preach of hinter-worlds.  Listen rather, my brothers, to the voice of the healthy body: it is a more honest and pure voice.  More honestly and purely speaks the healthy body, being complete and four-square: and it speaks of the meaning of the earth.     Thus spoke Zarathustra.  
 

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