Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

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Title:Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Author:Friedrich Nietzsche
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Edition Language:English

Thus Spoke Zarathustra Reviews

  • Clint

    It's like Jesus, but cooler.

  • Katie Muffett

    While this book will sadly always be bogged down in Nietzsche's unresolved and immature childhood angst, his poetic brilliance is...well, brilliant.

    The real stride of Zarathustra lies more at the beginning, with the prophet's existence rather petering out toward the end, rather than the usual ascent into spiritual ecstasy with which similar stories finish. Still, I suppose if I read the text as an insight into the mind of Nietzsche himself - rather than an educational, theological journey - the

    While this book will sadly always be bogged down in Nietzsche's unresolved and immature childhood angst, his poetic brilliance is...well, brilliant.

    The real stride of Zarathustra lies more at the beginning, with the prophet's existence rather petering out toward the end, rather than the usual ascent into spiritual ecstasy with which similar stories finish. Still, I suppose if I read the text as an insight into the mind of Nietzsche himself - rather than an educational, theological journey - then the parallels of the author's and his subject's psyches is very satisfying.

    I should mention that I am not at all offended by the decidedly anti-feminine sentiment that is ubiquitous in the book. This is precisely because - as a woman, and therefore with a biological predisposition toward empathy and care of another human being - I can see the source of his anger. Most of the men around him died when he was very young, leaving the females to be the rule-setters and law-enforcers of an ultra emo kid. Of course the kid aggrandized the "heavenly destiny" of the male, and the earthly, practicality of the female. Again, it is a very sad fate for this book that it's author should be so bound by his own circumstance. Oh well...

    To summarize my feelings in total: where I was absorbed, I was completely and utterly absorbed. Where my maturity superseded both Nietzsche and Zarathustra, I merely rolled my eyes a bit and moved on.

    This is a piece that I would consider an absolutely phenomenal achievement for a scholar at the peak of his career, but that could certainly do with revision and clarification later on in life.

    Unfortunately, Zarathustra's end was the same as Nietzsche: exhaustion brought on by decades of wild mood swings resulting in a vague form of oblivion. The wildness was exhilarating, and fortunately compensated for the occasional trough.

  • Shawn

    Horror movies never frightened me in the same way certain works of literature and film did. Reading through Zarathustra as a teenager was a singularly powerful experience; the work defies categorization or genre, time or place. I was warned that Nietzsche was dangerous for young readers (like Machiavelli) because he went insane. This I HAD to read. It was my first encounter with existential thought, a stinging critique of the very nature of values and belief. The events in the book are more like

    Horror movies never frightened me in the same way certain works of literature and film did. Reading through Zarathustra as a teenager was a singularly powerful experience; the work defies categorization or genre, time or place. I was warned that Nietzsche was dangerous for young readers (like Machiavelli) because he went insane. This I HAD to read. It was my first encounter with existential thought, a stinging critique of the very nature of values and belief. The events in the book are more like Biblical parables than a plot unfolding, except that the lesson is not, "Thou Shalt" but "Why should I?" I wish I could read German well enough to understand the nuances of Nietzsche's original narrative. Full of surreal visions, Zarathustra is a challenge to interpret but at the same time, lacks the semantics of conventional philosophy that makes the field inaccessible for many young students. So many things are explored, celebrated or indicted with ambitious and sharp leaps of metaphors: Moral relativism, comparative theology and eternal recurrence, nothing short of the love of life, the will to life. Many fascinating discussions have explored what could have influenced Nietzsche: the social milieu of late 19th century Europe, the contradictions of Enlightenment thought, etc. Thus Spoke Zarathustra will forever retain its mystery and is a monument to Nietzsche's eccentricity.

  • Miquixote

    Incredibly interesting ideas. For sure you will be thinking about what is said here for a long, long time.

    This most famous book of Nietzsche delves into the central idea: the "eternal recurrence of the same", also the parable on the "death of God", and the "prophecy" of the Übermensch. Nietzsche himself claims it is "the deepest book ever written". (he wasn’t one prone to humility…)

    A fictionalized prophet descends from his recluse to mankind, Zarathustra, and turns traditional morality on its

    Incredibly interesting ideas. For sure you will be thinking about what is said here for a long, long time.

    This most famous book of Nietzsche delves into the central idea: the "eternal recurrence of the same", also the parable on the "death of God", and the "prophecy" of the Übermensch. Nietzsche himself claims it is "the deepest book ever written". (he wasn’t one prone to humility…)

    A fictionalized prophet descends from his recluse to mankind, Zarathustra, and turns traditional morality on its head. Zarathustra was the first moralist (and now fictionally the first anti-moralist). This is intended as an irony, Nietzsche mimics the style of the Bible and indeed has ideas which fundamentally oppose Christian and Jewish morality and tradition. Many criticisms of Christianity can be found in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, in particular Christian values of good and evil and its belief in an afterlife. Nietzsche sees the complacency of Christian values as fetters to the achievement of overman as well as on the human spirit. To Nietzsche truthfulness is the highest virtue; the self-ovecoming of the highest morality, the opposite of the cowardice of the "idealist” who flees from reality.

    According to Nietzsche, the will to power is the fundamental component of human nature. Everything we do is an expression of the will to power. The will to power is a psychological analysis of all human action and is accentuated by self-overcoming and self-enhancement (please note emphasis on self). Contrasted with living for procreation, pleasure, or happiness, the will to power is the summary of all man's struggle against his surrounding environment as well as his reason for living in it. Faced with the knowledge that he would repeat every action that he has taken (the eternal recurrence), a normal man would be moved to depression. An overman however would be elated as he has no regrets and loves life.

    To many it sounds like evolutionary theory. And like Darwinism his philosophy was interpreted by many into a form of Social Darwinism and extermination of races. It is still up for debate whether he really was a Social Darwinist.

    Although the word ‘Uberman’(overman, superman) has been thought to have connotations of racial superiority, especially by the Nazis, there is no evidence in Thus Spake Zarathustra that Nietzsche intended it to mean anything other than a generic "higher being". (however, you may find sentences about ‘inferior and superior races’ in his previous work The Gay Science… whether he meant race literally is unclear, and problematic translations may further complicate the interpretations.)

    A vulnerability of Nietzsche's style is that his nuances and shades of meaning are very easily lost — and all too easily gained — in translation. There is an ambiguity and paradoxical nature, which has helped its eventual enthusiastic reception by the reading public, but has frustrated academic attempts at analysis (as Nietzsche may have intended). Thus Spake Zarathrustra was however clearly intended to be taken as an alternative to repressive moral codes and an aversion to "nihilism" in all of its varied forms. Two things that can and should also be taken positively.

    There are certainly moral issues to take up against the man though (as he intended). Most controversially and to the point that matters most for many, would he have condoned the mass extermination of Jews taken upon by Nazis? I don’t think so, but only because he was too intelligent, and there is no evidence there is such a thing as a literally ‘inferior race’. He would however condone lethal actions in ‘the will to power’ (he quite explicitly states so in the Gay Science) and he did not have a positive view of participatory democracy (because he wouldn’t agree so-called lesser-developed men, the ones he would probably define as lacking the ‘gay knowledge’, should be given equal power).

    Not passe at all, his ideas are alive and well today, but his immoral approach should be considered extremely problematic. If an important challenge to repressive moral codes it should also be firmly acknowledged as too absolutist and all-encompassing of a challenge to all morals.

    For those who doubt Nietzsche’s influence, and are still unclear what he represents, he is fundamental to a wide variety of ideas. Some are highly questionable as helpful against nihilism (such as anarco-individualism/anarcho-capitalism and post-modernism). And some you may or may not find helpful (such as atheism). If still in doubt, here is a short list of those he has profoundly influenced:

    Adorno, Bataille, Baudrillard, Benjamin, Bloom, Allan, Buber, Butler, Camus, Deleuze, Derrida, Dreyfus, Foucault, Freud, Heidegger, Iqbal, Jaspers, Jung, Kafka, Kaufmann, Kojeve, Lovecraft, Marcuse, Mencken, Molyneux, Onfray, Robakidze, Rogers, Santayana, Sartre, Strauss, Spengler, Williams, Wittgenstein, Zapffe

  • Aubrey

    There is a great deal of Nietzsche that I agree with, and hoards with which I vehemently do not. I've been accumulating quotes of his for five years now, quotes whose inherent lack of context made me like him more than I do now. I still love many of his phrases as much as I did before, but if we ever met, we would not like each other

    .

    Despite that muddle, I am gratefu

    There is a great deal of Nietzsche that I agree with, and hoards with which I vehemently do not. I've been accumulating quotes of his for five years now, quotes whose inherent lack of context made me like him more than I do now. I still love many of his phrases as much as I did before, but if we ever met, we would not like each other

    .

    Despite that muddle, I am grateful that I came across his words while I was younger and in the full throes of depression, cynicism, and a frighteningly homicidal brand of solipsism. I didn't know the definition of that last word back then, but I was in desperate need of something both horribly dismal and blindingly bright, a joy that did not require avoidance of despair but looked it full in the face. The often contextualized and paraphrased Nietzsche with atheism, nihilism, and yet fierce and glorious fervor for the future seemed perfect back then.

    To some extent, he's still perfect, but only in bits and pieces. The call for solitude and individualism is as refreshing as ever, the atheism is still in line with my sensibilities, and the breathtaking vaults and shuddering descents carried my heart along with them. However. While I did indeed run across his cry for the Superman, even going so far as to take to heart his '

    I paid as much mind to his Superman as concerned my younger self's view of the world and the people in it as utterly worthless. Not until this reading did I fully realize Nietzsche's meaning; being as interested in social justice and, well, female as I am, there was little chance of me passing up all that elitism (and classism?) and condemnation of empathy and rapier dashes of virulent misogyny.

    It's strange, though. Perhaps it is a sign of just how much time I spent mooning after Nietzsche, back when I took him in small doses, but I am especially conscious of the time period in which he wrote this. His decrying of the "mob" echoes my own views regarding oppressive ideologies, and I have to wonder how much of his rampant condemnation of popular mentality fell upon the people rather than the ideas they lived by. As for his abysmal portrayal of women, who knows what a healthy dose of feminism and exposure to such awesome thinkers as

    ,

    , and so many others would have accomplished. Probably gotten rid of his 'creator's pregnancy' conceit (if you're going to slander, Nietzsche, back off from the ridiculously disproportionate appropriation please), if nothing else. Also, there is the matter of his one serious attempt at heterosexual love having been rejected right around the time of composition of this piece. It doesn't excuse him at all, but it does explain his vitriol some.

    All of that above is wishful thinking, of course, but seeing as this is

    enigmatic rhapsodizer on the subject of wishful thinking, it's more than merited. For all of Nietzsche's aggravating inegalitarianism, he captured the rapid fire oscillation between top of the world and descent into hell so perfectly, so utterly, and then crafted with it a raison d'être both deathly serious and blissfully rapturous. There's no small amount of nihilism in his dismissal of everything solid, everyone stationary, everything decrepit and outdated and finally after long last proved false, but there's a spitfire life to it that laughs at self-serving pandering and loves chaotic progress that I myself cannot forbear from adoring and making my own.

    I shall keep this in mind, Nietzsche, if nothing else. Not all of what your Zarathustra spoke rings true to me, but you are one of the few who favored freedom over advice. For that, I am in your debt.

    P.S. This particular edition was great. I have no clue about the quality of the translation, but the introduction and endnotes, endnotes that included all those untranslateable bits with as much explanation as possible, were indispensable.

  • Szplug

    How you liking

    apples, Jede-fucking-diah?!

    Thus spoke Barnaby Jones.

    I read this book back around 2001 or 2002. I wasn't much concerned with writing reviews back then—and how weird is

    ?—but, deeming Nietzsche a pretty smart guy, I scribbled down a bunch of notes and quotes. Since I've not a single review by Friedrich N. at this place, I thought, in lieu of anything more insightful or intelligent, to copy those notes out below, verbatim. And after having done so, I'm not quite sure what I

    How you liking

    apples, Jede-fucking-diah?!

    Thus spoke Barnaby Jones.

    I read this book back around 2001 or 2002. I wasn't much concerned with writing reviews back then—and how weird is

    ?—but, deeming Nietzsche a pretty smart guy, I scribbled down a bunch of notes and quotes. Since I've not a single review by Friedrich N. at this place, I thought, in lieu of anything more insightful or intelligent, to copy those notes out below, verbatim. And after having done so, I'm not quite sure what I had hoped to accomplish with such a meager collection of peanut shells. [

    ]. But what are you going to do? Perhaps someone, somewhere, somehow, will find something in 'em that makes

    more appealing than it might otherwise have been, and that would be just bully for me.

    *

    That which man must become in order to overcome himself and/or nature.

    The Creator is also an annihilator—he must be cruel to break old values and create new ones.

    is promised happiness—but who will lead and who will obey? Everyone is the same, and those who are different are

    . The

    invented

    .

    Man created God in order to look away from everything. God suffers too, and is thus imperfect like his creators. Man hated the body, and so created spirit. Man hated the Earth, and so created Heaven.

    .

    will reclaim man for the Earth.

    Those with the courage to fight for their beliefs have helped mankind far more than priests who meekly accept the ideas of others.

    Using other people as a prop to make them feel virtuous. Groups of virtuous people feeling

    can do great evil to strangers whom they should love too.

    Those who truly love are

    —and thus

    and

    and

    .

    Do not let virtues, good and evil, limit your fulfillment as a

    .

    and do not get lost in the heavens seeking away from yourself and the body.

    Nietzsche says

    but he constantly refers to angels and magic creatures: is he creating a new religion of the

    ? Of

    ?

    Nietzsche's Zarathustra has doubts about the future—he is worried about learning for learning's sake; education imparting a love of

    .

    Nietzsche also frequently mentions his

    , which chokes him like a snake. It's always the ejection of that which sustains life brought about by life's own unsettling essence and energies.

    Do not be more concerned with morals than with being men. Perfect safety and happiness makes for small minds and petty pursuits.

    The old gods laughed themselves to death when the

    proclaimed one god only. Laughter and prankishness are very important to Nietzsche—it keeps him from acting out of revenge.

    The creator is not bound by the limits imposed by others. Their

    is so small: from small men with small virtues.

    The great enemy of man is the

    , which from birth holds men down with Good and Evil and Virtues. Man must soar his own way, making his own values. There is no correct

    way or path for all men: that this is so is one of

    lies.

    The

    is the old devil, and Zarathustra's enemy, for he brings constraint–statute–necessity–consequence, purpose and will, good and evil.

    . They give in—those who heed commands do not heed themselves.

    The warring of despots and of democracy. The despot will distort the past to make it lead to

    . The rabble with drown the past in shallow waters: forget the past after a pair of generations.

    The Good and the Just must be pharisees. The good are always the beginning of the end. They want to crucify all creators; to the breakers of tablets, the Good sacrifice the future for

    .

    Zarathustra continues to be assailed by episodes of choking on the snake of nausea. All men, even the creator, must fight their nausea of the world.

    Zarathustra, through love of nature, has accepted his love of eternity and the eternal re-occurrence. Now in Part IV, as he has overcome his nausea of the eternal re-occurrence, he faces his final trial:

    .

    All great lovers are great despisers. All creators are hard, all great love is over and beyond pity. All great success has gone to the well-persecuted. All those who persecute well learn readily how to

    .

    The small men ask only:

    They are concerned solely with small virtues. The Overman wants not to

    man, but to

    man.

    Nietzsche constantly stresses the need for laughter and to laugh at one self: to

    . The archenemy is always the

    .

    The greater the creator, the greater the evil. But wash off the stain after you have created. Birth is never pleasant.

  • Riku Sayuj

    Verily have I overshot myself in my vanity into thinking that I was ready to attempt this book. Humbled am I now.

    I probably got less than one-third of what Nietzsche was fulminating on. Maybe in another two reading or so... maybe with a different translation... ?

    Can anyone who has read this help me out? Is the second half of the book just plain abstruse or was it just me?

  • Luís C.

    establishes in his best-known book the bridge of man with his primary nature. More than a parody of the metaphysical imagery, the book states that man has undergone to an abstract force, invisible. Zarathustra reveals to man that life is ruled by chance and that the decline of human nature comes in the expectation that there will be something or someone directing it in life.

    The teachings of

    are fought here because life for Nietzsche is a force, not an objective. The

    establishes in his best-known book the bridge of man with his primary nature. More than a parody of the metaphysical imagery, the book states that man has undergone to an abstract force, invisible. Zarathustra reveals to man that life is ruled by chance and that the decline of human nature comes in the expectation that there will be something or someone directing it in life.

    The teachings of

    are fought here because life for Nietzsche is a force, not an objective. The revelation of Zarathustra is precisely this: power, vigor and transit. Movements that bring back to human nature the desire that everything be sacred, everything revolves in an absolute circle, everything must be blessed. This book, poetic, brings us an enthusiastic Nietzsche, taken by his favorite god: art.

    Lisbon Book-Fair 2017.

  • Catherine

    The best way that I can describe this book is as a religious experience, which is kind of paradoxical because the main idea of the book is that “God is dead.” When Zarathustra, the ancient Persian prophet, emerges from his 10-year solitude and exclaims that God has died, he doesn’t mean that literally. Rather, he means that the concept of God as a gateway to finding meaning in life is dead and that the meaning of life should be found not in religious worship but within the self as an exemplar of

    The best way that I can describe this book is as a religious experience, which is kind of paradoxical because the main idea of the book is that “God is dead.” When Zarathustra, the ancient Persian prophet, emerges from his 10-year solitude and exclaims that God has died, he doesn’t mean that literally. Rather, he means that the concept of God as a gateway to finding meaning in life is dead and that the meaning of life should be found not in religious worship but within the self as an exemplar of true humanity–the ‘Superman’.

    The Superman represents the highest state of man in which he creates his own values and is therefore a powerful master of himself. According to Zarathustra, this version of man has yet to exist, but he speaks of how it can be bred in future generations. The book follows Zarathustra not only as he preaches to his disciples ways in which to reach the Superman state, but also his journey in reaching it himself.

    The most interesting part of this was Zarathustra’s discourse of the phases of spiritual metamorphosis represented by the camel, the lion, and the child. The first stage, the camel, represents the carrying of burdens of human existence that are necessary for a person to accept in order to strengthen them for the next phase—it is the weight bearing spirit that pushes itself beyond every limit possible. Upon bearing the weight of existence and in essence outcasting themselves in the desert, the camel realizes that it wants freedom from the traditional virtues it has known; this is where the lion phase comes into play. At this point, the camel has two choices. It can either take the path of nihilism, or the path of creating its own values and meaning in life now that is has rejected traditional values of religion. In order to reach the Superman state, the individual must reject nihilism and in doing so, the lion is realized. In the last phase, the child, the spirt is truly free. This occurs when the lion has elected to start a new life as the master of himself—thus the Superman is attained. I thought that whole analogy was so interesting, and it serves as the basis of the entire story.

    Although very dense, the allegorical nature is what really drew me in. I liked that this was something extremely different from anything else I have ever read and it allowed me to see certain ideas in a new light, regardless of whether or not I agreed with them all. I would definitely give other Nietzsche works a read, but I'm sure until then I will be pondering about this one for a very long time.

  • Katy

    : Read in 2007 from an on-line edition for personal research and edification. Reactions to it are my own.

    : Described by Nietzsche himself as "the deepest ever written", the book is a dense and esoteric treatise on philosophy and morality, featuring as protagonist a fictionalized Zarathustra. A central irony of the text is that Nietzsche mimics the style of the Bible in order to present ideas which fundamentally oppose Christian and Jewish morality and tradition.

    The o

    : Read in 2007 from an on-line edition for personal research and edification. Reactions to it are my own.

    : Described by Nietzsche himself as "the deepest ever written", the book is a dense and esoteric treatise on philosophy and morality, featuring as protagonist a fictionalized Zarathustra. A central irony of the text is that Nietzsche mimics the style of the Bible in order to present ideas which fundamentally oppose Christian and Jewish morality and tradition.

    The original text contains a great deal of word-play. An example of this exists in the use of the words "over" or "super" and the words "down" or "abyss/abysmal"; some examples include "superman" or "overman", "overgoing", "downgoing" and "self-overcoming".

    : Nietzsche espouses a desire to create Supermen, who will be superior to modern humans. He vilifies pity, charity, and sympathy as being weak, and glorifies the warrior and those who would be cruel to create strength in themselves and others ("cruel to be kind" I suppose you could say). His character Zarathustra speaks in a stilted, medieval way which, I suppose, is supposed to call to mind biblical passages.

    While I accept the importance of this work as philosophy and classic literature, I have to mark it as 2 stars because I felt this was, to a great extent, the philosophy espoused by Nazi Germany - at any rate, I could see where this formed part of the backbone of their society as developed and enforced by Hitler and his party.

    I did not really enjoy reading it, although I feel it is important to read as many and as varied works as possible in order that I might learn something new all the time. Read it as a classical work, and as a philosophical masterpiece, but if you are troubled by the history of the Nazis and/or Fascism, you will likely find the ideals espoused in this text to be uncomfortable.

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