The words sacred and honoured were merely intellectual exercise to Friedrich Nietzsche. His transvaluation of values asks why our ancestral values - Platonic notions of "good" and "truth" - have withstood lo these millennia. Until Nietzsche chose Zarathustra as his prophet of non-dualism, the moral interpretation of history was one of a battle of cosmic principles. Plato, Kant, Hegal and virtually all of Nietzsche's forerunners pitted "good" and "evil" against one another, with the onus upon each human soul to "choose" which of these two paths to follow. The liberation of Nietzsche's philosophy lies in his transvaluation of these values. Using Zarathustra as his sounding-board, Nietzsche critiques existing systems of value assignation and asks not "is this good, is this bad?", but what do we mean when we say bad? Who does this truth serve, and who serves it? How did this virtue become good, and that virtue become bad? While all of Nietzsche's work , particularly The Genealogy of Morals, addresses these questions, Thus Spake Zarathustra is unique in its use of metaphor and masks to hammer away at Plato's antiquated dualist philosophy.

Nietzsche uses new oppositions instead of simple "good/bad" dichotomies to reassign value. In his analysis of morals, different metaphors invite a differing perception of morality. Zarathustra's descent from the mountaintop to the valley, his "going under", does not only imply his re-joining of the teeming masses in the City of the Colourful Cow but also remind us that "high" and "low" are spatial distinctions, oppositions reflective of natural hierarchies that occur everywhere, even in topography. Nietzsche's selection here also refers back to Classical Greek ideas about ethics, particularly Heraclitus's "As Above, So Below". Similarly, Nietzsche twists the images of adversaries who may find his treatments of good and evil, weak and strong, as attacking Christian morality. One may find in his metaphor of how the eagle may eat, also but loves and needs the lamb, a pot-shot at the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Nietzsche employs masks and metaphors to escape the philosophy of identity: that an abstract, eternal good exists that one and all must attempt to conform to. The transvaluation of values exposes the abstract system of rationality proposed by Kant and Hegal as a system of control. It is the ordering of politics, a levelling implicit in the established order.

Nietzsche declares his disdain in "On the Despisers of the Body" for a soul/body split and the consequent colonization of pleasure and pain by rational philosophy. "There is more reason in your body than in your best wisdom" (Z 146). Thus the transvaluation of values overturns another opposition. "...the awakened and knowing say: body am I entirely, and nothing else; and soul is only a word for something about the body" (Z 146).

Returning again to the hierarchies in organic life we return to the spirit of Nietzsche. We can use his transvaluation of values not just to discern opposites, but similarities too. What would happen to a bowl of goldfish if you dropped a piranha into it? What would happen to a kitten if you threw it in a lions' den? What about a beagle in a wolf-pack? They may not be opposites, but they are predator and prey, as are the warring creators of value.

To assume the right to new values--that is the most terrifying assumption for a reverent spirit that would bear much. Verily, to him it is preying, and a matter for a beast of prey. (Z 139)

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