Thursday, 21 October 2010
Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Thus Spoke Zarathustra is in essence, an anti-bible. His disbelief in the Christian faith led to his writings opposing most of the Christian values. Like for instance Zarathustra's favorite animal is the snake. A creature that in Christian terms, is the reason for Adam and Eve being led astray. Yet this to Zarathustra is what he wants from humanity; individuality from the herd.
The aim of Zarathustra is to explain to mankind about the "ubermensch" or overman. Mankind as it is now is simply a bridge between apes and the overman that he speaks of. He explains that humans will eventually become bland, unthinking and without chaos since; "one must have chaos within one to give birth to a dancing star". Mankind will eventually fail to reproduce anything worthwhile unless they at least try to become the overman.
A common theme within the text is the concept of the abyss. The abyss and the bridge that crosses it is the idea that the road to becoming the overman is dangerous. Filled with obstacles, it should be hesitant and faulting. Like a tightrope walker-coincidentally this is exactly what Zarathustra sees when he first enters the village. When the tightrope walker falls and dies, Zarathustra tells him that he didn't die failing as it would appear; but he died trying. Therefore he is set apart from all the other people who do nothing toward their future.
Laughter and childhood innocence is also a factor which Zarathustra praises. His three metamorphoses' include, the camel; taking on burdens and working hard. The lion; strength, and courage of conviction to take control, and then the child. The child's innocence beats the lions strength in Zarathustra's values. These three stages will help you on your way to becoming the overman. The overman can laugh at anything he wants and does so, because he has risen above all others.
"God is dead" is a famous saying from Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Taken out of context this may seem like a blatant refusal of the Christian faith, but in reality Zarathustra was acknowledging that at one point God may have been alive, but there is the possibility that he died a long time ago. The fact that humans still revere and worship him is an example of their inability to think for themselves.
Zarathustra had strong beliefs that people should think for themselves and be individual. By his teachings he hoped people would eventually achieve this.