by Friedrich Nietzsche
Once on a time, Zarathustra also cast his fancy beyond man, like all
backworldsmen. The work of a suffering and tortured God, did the world
then seem to me.
The dream--and diction--of a God, did the world then seem to me; coloured
vapours before the eyes of a divinely dissatisfied one.
Good and evil, and joy and woe, and I and thou--coloured vapours did they
seem to me before creative eyes. The creator wished to look away from
himself,--thereupon he created the world.
Intoxicating joy is it for the sufferer to look away from his suffering and
forget himself. Intoxicating joy and self-forgetting, did the world once
seem to me.
This world, the eternally imperfect, an eternal contradiction's image and
imperfect image--an intoxicating joy to its imperfect creator:--thus did
the world once seem to me.
Thus, once on a time, did I also cast my fancy beyond man, like all
backworldsmen. Beyond man, forsooth?
Ah, ye brethren, that God whom I created was human work and human madness,
like all the Gods!
A man was he, and only a poor fragment of a man and ego. Out of mine own
ashes and glow it came unto me, that phantom. And verily, it came not unto
me from the beyond!
What happened, my brethren? I surpassed myself, the suffering one; I
carried mine own ashes to the mountain; a brighter flame I contrived for
myself. And lo! Thereupon the phantom WITHDREW from me!
To me the convalescent would it now be suffering and torment to believe in
such phantoms: suffering would it now be to me, and humiliation. Thus
speak I to backworldsmen.
Suffering was it, and impotence--that created all backworlds; and the short
madness of happiness, which only the greatest sufferer experienceth.
Weariness, which seeketh to get to the ultimate with one leap, with a
death-leap; a poor ignorant weariness, unwilling even to will any longer:
that created all Gods and backworlds.
Believe me, my brethren! It was the body which despaired of the body--it
groped with the fingers of the infatuated spirit at the ultimate walls.
Believe me, my brethren! It was the body which despaired of the earth--it
heard the bowels of existence speaking unto it.
And then it sought to get through the ultimate walls with its head--and not
with its head only--into "the other world."
But that "other world" is well concealed from man, that dehumanised,
inhuman world, which is a celestial naught; and the bowels of existence do
not speak unto man, except as man.
Verily, it is difficult to prove all being, and hard to make it speak.
Tell me, ye brethren, is not the strangest of all things best proved?
Yea, this ego, with its contradiction and perplexity, speaketh most
uprightly of its being--this creating, willing, evaluing ego, which is the
measure and value of things.
And this most upright existence, the ego--it speaketh of the body, and
still implieth the body, even when it museth and raveth and fluttereth with
Always more uprightly learneth it to speak, the ego; and the more it
learneth, the more doth it find titles and honours for the body and the
A new pride taught me mine ego, and that teach I unto men: no longer to
thrust one's head into the sand of celestial things, but to carry it
freely, a terrestrial head, which giveth meaning to the earth!
A new will teach I unto men: to choose that path which man hath followed
blindly, and to approve of it--and no longer to slink aside from it, like
the sick and perishing!
The sick and perishing--it was they who despised the body and the earth,
and invented the heavenly world, and the redeeming blood-drops; but even
those sweet and sad poisons they borrowed from the body and the earth!
From their misery they sought escape, and the stars were too remote for
them. Then they sighed: "O that there were heavenly paths by which to
steal into another existence and into happiness!" Then they contrived for
themselves their by-paths and bloody draughts!
Beyond the sphere of their body and this earth they now fancied themselves
transported, these ungrateful ones. But to what did they owe the
convulsion and rapture of their transport? To their body and this earth.
Gentle is Zarathustra to the sickly. Verily, he is not indignant at their
modes of consolation and ingratitude. May they become convalescents and
overcomers, and create higher bodies for themselves!
Neither is Zarathustra indignant at a convalescent who looketh tenderly on
his delusions, and at midnight stealeth round the grave of his God; but
sickness and a sick frame remain even in his tears.
Many sickly ones have there always been among those who muse, and languish
for God; violently they hate the discerning ones, and the latest of
virtues, which is uprightness.
Backward they always gaze toward dark ages: then, indeed, were delusion
and faith something different. Raving of the reason was likeness to God,
and doubt was sin.
Too well do I know those godlike ones: they insist on being believed in,
and that doubt is sin. Too well, also, do I know what they themselves most
Verily, not in backworlds and redeeming blood-drops: but in the body do
they also believe most; and their own body is for them the thing-in-itself.
But it is a sickly thing to them, and gladly would they get out of their
skin. Therefore hearken they to the preachers of death, and themselves
Hearken rather, my brethren, to the voice of the healthy body; it is a more
upright and pure voice.
More uprightly and purely speaketh the healthy body, perfect and square-
built; and it speaketh of the meaning of the earth.--
Thus spake Zarathustra.
the first thought of Zarathustra