by Friedrich Nietzsche

Will to Truth do you call it, ye wisest ones, that which impells you and makes you ardent?

Will for the thinkableness of all being: thus do I call your will!

All being would ye MAKE thinkable: for ye doubt with good reason whether it be already thinkable.

But it shall accommodate and bend itself to you! So wills your will. Smooth shall it become and subject to the spirit, as its mirror and reflection.

That is your entire will, ye wisest ones, as a Will to Power; and even when ye speak of good and evil, and of estimates of value.

Ye would still create a world before which ye can bow the knee: such is your ultimate hope and ecstasy.

The ignorant, to be sure, the people--they are like a river on which a boat floats along: and in the boat sit the estimates of value, solemn and disguised.

Your will and your valuations have ye put on the river of becoming; it betrays unto me an old Will to Power, what is believed by the people as good and evil.

It was ye, ye wisest ones, who put such guests in this boat, and gave them pomp and proud names--ye and your ruling Will!

Onward the river now carrys your boat: it MUST carry it. A small matter if the rough wave foams and angrily resists its keel!

It is not the river that is your danger and the end of your good and evil, ye wisest ones: but that Will itself, the Will to Power--the unexhausted, procreating life-will.

But that ye may understand my gospel of good and evil, for that purpose will I tell you my gospel of life, and of the nature of all living things.

The living thing did I follow; I walked in the broadest and narrowest paths to learn its nature.

With a hundred-faced mirror did I catch its glance when its mouth was shut, so that its eye might speak unto me. And its eye spake unto me.

But wherever I found living things, there heard I also the language of obedience. All living things are obeying things.

And this heard I secondly: Whatever cannot obey itself, is commanded. Such is the nature of living things.

This, however, is the third thing which I heard--namely, that commanding is more difficult than obeying. And not only because the commander bears the burden of all obeyers, and because this burden readily crushes him:--

An attempt and a risk seemed all commanding unto me; and whenever it commands, the living thing risks itself thereby.

Yea, even when it commands itself, then also must it atone for its commanding. Of its own law must it become the judge and avenger and victim.

How does this happen! so did I ask myself. What persuades the living thing to obey, and command, and even be obedient in commanding?

Hear now my word, ye wisest ones! Test it seriously, whether I have crept into the heart of life itself, and into the roots of its heart!

Wherever I found a living thing, there found I Will to Power; and even in the will of the servant found I the will to be master.

That to the stronger the weaker shall serve--thereto persuades he his will who would be master over a still weaker one. That delight alone he is unwilling to forego.

And as the lesser surrenders himself to the greater that he may have delight and power over the least of all, so does even the greatest surrender himself, and stakes--life, for the sake of power.

It is the surrender of the greatest to run risk and danger, and play dice for death.

And where there is sacrifice and service and love-glances, there also is the will to be master. Through by-ways does the weaker then slink into the fortress, and into the heart of the mightier one--and there steals power.

And this secret spoke Life herself unto me. Behold, said she, I am that WHICH MUST EVER SURPASS ITSELF.

To be sure, ye call it will to procreation, or impulse towards a goal, towards the higher, remoter, more manifold: but all that is one and the same secret.

Rather would I succumb than disown this one thing; and verily, where there is succumbing and leaf-falling, lo, there does Life sacrifice itself--for power!

That I have to be struggle, and becoming, and purpose, and cross-purpose-- ah, he who divines my will, divines well also on what CROOKED paths it must be tread!

Whatever I create, and however much I love it,--soon must I be adverse to it, and to my love: so wills my will.

And even you, discerning one, are only a path and footstep of my will: verily, my Will to Power walks even on the feet of thy Will to Truth!

He certainly did not hit the truth who shot at it the formula: Will to existence: that will--does not exist!

For what is not, cannot will; that, however, which is in existence--how could it still strive for existence!

Only where there is life, is there also will: not, however, Will to Life, but--so teach I you--Will to Power!

Much is reckoned higher than life itself by the living one; but out of the very reckoning speaks--the Will to Power!--

Thus did Life once teach me: and thereby, ye wisest ones, do I solve you the riddle of your hearts.

Verily, I say unto you: good and evil which would be everlasting--it does not exist! Of its own accord must it ever surpass itself anew.

With your values and formulae of good and evil, ye exercise power, ye valuing ones: and that is your secret love, and the sparkling, trembling, and overflowing of your souls.

But a stronger power grows out of your values, and a new surpassing: by it breaks egg and egg-shell.

And he who has to be a creator in good and evil--verily, he has first to be a destroyer, and break values in pieces.

Thus does the greatest evil pertain to the greatest good: that, however, is the creating good.--

Let us SPEAK thereof, ye wisest ones, even though it be bad. To be silent is worse; all suppressed truths become poisonous.

And let everything break up which--can break up by our truths! Many a house is still to be built!--

Thus spake Zarathustra.

the first thought of Zarathustra

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