Man - versus - god
- Us -versus - them, self versus - world, man - versus god,
Freedom - versus - fate, mind - set or mentality.
Only as creators! — This has given me the greatest difficulty and goes on being my greatest difficulty: to recognize that unspeakably more depends on what things are calledthan on what they are. The fame, name, and appearance of a thing, what it counts as, its customary measure and weight — which in the beginning is an arbitrary error for the most part, thrown over things like a garment and alien to their essence, even to their skin — due to the continuous growth of belief in it from generation to generation, this gradually grows, as it were, onto and into the thing, and turns into its very body. The initial appearance almost always becomes the essence in the end and acts as essence! But only a fool would think it was enough to point to this beginning and to this misty mantle of illusion in order to destroythe world that counts as essential, so-called "reality"! Only as creators can we destroy! But we should also not forget this: creating new names and assessments and apparent truths is eventually enough to create new "things".
[Excerpt from Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, (1884).]
- OF THE SUBLIME MEN
Still is the bottom of my sea: who could guess that it hides sportive monsters!
Imperturbable is my depth: but it glitters with swimming riddles and laughter.
Today I saw a sublime man, a solemn man, a penitent of the spirit: oh, how my soul laughed at his ugliness!
With upraised breast and in the attitude of a man drawing in breath: thus he stood there, the sublime man, and silent.
Hung with ugly truths, the booty of his hunt, and rich in torn clothes; many thorns, too, hung on him -- but I saw no rose.
As yet he has not learned of laughter and beauty. This huntsman returned gloomily from the forest of knowledge.
He returned home from the fight with wild beasts: but a wild beast still gazes out of his seriousness -- a beast that has not been overcome!
He stands there like a tiger about to spring; but I do not like these tense souls, my taste is hostile towards all these withdrawn men.
And do you tell me, friends, that there is no dispute over taste and tasting? But all life is dispute over taste and tasting!
Taste: that is at the same time weight and scales and weigher; and woe to all living creatures that want to live without dispute over weight and scales and weigher!
If he grew weary of his sublimity, this sublime man, only then would his beauty rise up -- and only then will I taste him and find him tasty.
And only if he turns away from himself will he jump over his own shadow -- and jump, in truth, into his own sunlight.
He has sat all too long in the shadows, the cheeks of the penitent of the spirit have grown pale; he has almost starved on his expectations.
- There is still contempt in his eye, disgust lurks around his mouth. He rests now, to be sure, but he has never yet lain down in the sunlight.
He should behave like the ox; and his happiness should smell of the earth and not of contempt for the earth.
I should like to see him as a white ox, snorting and bellowing as he goes before the plough: and his bellowing, too, should laud all earthly things!
His countenance is still dark; his hand's shadow plays upon it. The sense of his eyes, too, is overshadowed.
His deed itself is still the shadow upon him: the hand darkens the doer. He has still not overcome his deed.
To be sure, I love in him the neck of the ox: but now I want to see the eye of the angel, too.
He must unlearn his heroic will, too: he should be an exalted man and not only a sublime one -- the ether itself should raise him up, the will-less one!
He has tamed monsters, he has solved riddles: but he should also redeem his monsters and riddles, he should transform them into heavenly children.
His knowledge has not yet learned to smile and to be without jealousy; his gushing passion has not yet grown calm in beauty.
Truly, his longing should be silenced and immersed not in satiety but in beauty! The generosity of the magnanimous man should include gracefulness.
With his arm laid across his head: that is how the hero should rest, that is also how he should overcome his rest.
But it is precisely to the hero that beauty is the most difficult of all things. Beauty is unattainable to all violent wills.
A little more, a little less: precisely that is much here, here that is the most of all.
To stand with relaxed muscles and unharnessed wills: that is the most difficult thing for all of you, you sublime men!
When power grows gracious and descends into the visible: I call such descending beauty.
And I desire beauty from no one as much as I desire it from you, you man of power: may your goodness be your ultimate self-overpowering.
I believe you capable of any evil: therefore I desire of you the good.
In truth, I have often laughed at the weaklings who think themselves good because they have no claws!
You should aspire to the virtue of the pillar: the higher it rises, the fairer and more graceful it grows, but inwardly harder and able to bear more weight.
Yes, you sublime man, you too shall one day be fair and hold the mirror before your own beauty.
Then your soul will shudder with divine desires; and there will be worship even in your vanity!
This indeed is the secret of the soul: only when the hero has deserted the soul does there approach it in dreams -- the superhero.
Thus spoke Zarathustra.