Thus Spake Obamathustra
WHEN Obamathustra was thirty-six years old, he left his home and the island of his home, and went into the mountains. There he enjoyed his spirit and his solitude, and for ten years did not weary of it. But at last his heart changed,- and rising one morning with the rosy dawn, he went before his mirror, and spake thus unto it: Thou great star! What would be thy happiness if thou hadst not those for whom thou shinest!
For ten years hast thou climbed hither unto my cave: thou wouldst have wearied of thy light and of the journey, had it not been for me, mine eagle, and my crescent.
But we awaited thee every morning, took from thee thine overflow, and blessed thee for it.
Lo! I am weary of my wisdom, like the bee that hath gathered too much honey; I need hands outstretched to take it.
I would fain bestow and distribute, until the wise have once more become joyous in their folly, and the poor now happy in their riches.
Therefore must I descend into the deep: as thou doest in the evening, when thou goest behind the sea, and givest light also to the nether-world, thou exuberant star!
Like thee must I go down, as men say, to whom I shall descend.
Bless me, then, most just eye, that cannot behold prosperity without envy!
Bless the cup that is about to overflow, that the water may flow golden out of it, and carry everywhere the reflection of thy bliss!
Lo! This cup is again going to empty itself, and Obamathustra is again going to be a man.
Thus began Obamathustra’s down-going.
2. OBAMATHUSTRA went down the mountain alone, no one meeting him. When he entered the forest, however, there suddenly stood before him Al of Gore, who had left his holy cot to seek roots. And thus spake the grizzled man to Obamathustra:
“No stranger to me is this wanderer: many years ago passed he by. Obamathustra he was called; but he hath altered.
Then thou carriedst thine ashes into the mountains: wilt thou now carry thy fire into the valleys? Fearest thou not the incendiary’s doom, as thy smoke causes the world to burn?
Yea, I recognize Obamathustra. Pure is his eye, and clean and articulate is his mouth as the prophets say. Goeth he not along like the red star Horus?
Altered is Obamathustra; a child hath Obamathustra become; an awakened one is Obamathustra: what wilt thou do in the land of the sleepers?
As in the sea hast thou lived in solitude, and it hath borne thee up. Alas, wilt thou now go ashore? Alas, wilt thou again drag thy body thyself?”
Obamathustra answered: “I love mankind.”
“Why,” said the saint, “did I go into the forest and the desert? Was it not because I loved men far too well?
Now I love the green trees: men, I do not love. Man is a thing too imperfect for me. Love to man would be fatal to me.”
Obamathustra answered: “What spake I of love! I am bringing gifts unto men.”
“Give them nothing,” said the saint. “Take rather part of their wealth, and carry it to the temple that lies at the center of this great land!
If, however, thou wilt give unto them, give them no more than a wink and a smile, and let them also beg for it!”
“No,” replied Obamathustra, “I give no smiles, yet. I am not poor enough for that.”
The saint laughed at Obamathustra, and spake thus: “Then see to it that they accept thy treasures! They are distrustful of anchorites, and do not believe that we come with gifts.
The fall of our footsteps ringeth too hollow through their streets. And just as at night, when they are in bed and hear a man abroad long before sunrise, so they ask themselves concerning us:
Where goeth the thief?
Go not to men, but stay in the forest! Go rather to the animals! Why not be like me – a bear amongst pigs?”
“And what doeth the saint in the forest?” asked Obamathustra.
The saint answered: “I make prophecy; and in making prophecy I groan and weep and mumble: thus do I praise the green trees.
With prophecying, weeping, groaning, and mumbling do I praise the green trees of this great land of America, who is my God. But what dost thou bring us for a sacrifice?”
When Obamathustra had heard these words, he bowed to the saint and said: “What should I have to sacrifice to thee! Let me rather hurry hence lest I take aught away from thee!”- And thus they parted from one another, the old man and Obamathustra, laughing like schoolboys.
When Obamathustra was alone, however, he said to his heart: “Could it be possible! This old saint in the forest hath not yet heard of it, that America is dead!”
3. WHEN Obamathustra arrived at the nearest town which adjoineth the forest, he found many people assembled in what had been the market-place; for it had been announced that the town fool known as The Oprah would give a performance.
And Obamathustra spake thus unto the people: I teach you the Superman. The white man is something that is to be surpassed. What have ye done to surpass the white man?
All beings hitherto have created something beyond themselves: and ye want to be the ebb of that great tide, and would rather go back to the beast than surpass the white man?
What is the ape to the black man? A laughing-stock, a thing of shame. And just the same shall the white man be to the Superman: a laughing-stock, a thing of shame.
Ye have made your way from the worm to the white man, and much within you is still worm. Once were ye apes, and even yet the white man is more of an ape than any of the apes.
Even the wisest among you is only a disharmony and hybrid of plant and phantom. But do I bid you become phantoms or plants?
Lo, I teach you the Superman!
The Superman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: The Superman shall be the meaning of the earth!
I conjure you, my brethren, remain true to the earth, and believe not those who speak unto you of superearthly hopes! Poisoners are they, whether they know it or not.
Despisers of life are they, decaying ones and poisoned ones themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so away with them!
Once blasphemy against America was the greatest blasphemy; but America died, and therewith also those blasphemers. To blaspheme the green earth is now the dreadfulest sin, and to rate the heart of the unknowable higher than the meaning of the green earth!
Once the soul looked contemptuously on the body, and then that contempt was the supreme thing:- the soul wished the body meagre, ghastly, and famished. Thus it thought to escape from the body and the green earth.
Oh, that soul was itself meagre, ghastly, and famished; and cruelty was the delight of that soul!
But ye, also, my brethren, tell me: What doth your body say about your soul? Is your soul not poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency?
Verily, a polluted stream is the white man. One must be a sea, to receive a polluted stream without becoming impure.
Lo, I teach you the Superman: he is that sea; in him can your great contempt be submerged.
What is the greatest thing ye can experience? It is the hour of great contempt. The hour in which even your happiness becometh loathsome unto you, and so also your reason and virtue.
The hour when ye say: “What good is my happiness! It is poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency. But my self-contempt should justify existence itself!”
The hour when ye say: “What good is my reason! Doth it long for knowledge as the lion for his food? It is poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency!”
The hour when ye say: “What good is my virtue! As yet it hath not made me a passionate activist. How weary I am of my good and my bad! It is all poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency!”
The hour when ye say: “What good is my justice! I do not see that I am fervour and fuel. The just, however, are fervour and fuel!”
The hour when we say: “What good is my pity! Is not pity the cross on which he is nailed who loveth man? But my pity is not a crucifixion.”
Have ye ever spoken thus? Have ye ever cried thus? Ah! would that I had heard you crying thus!
It is not your sin- it is your self-satisfaction that crieth unto heaven; your very sparingness in sin crieth unto heaven!
Where is the lightning to lick you with its tongue? Where is the frenzy with which ye should be inoculated?
Lo, I teach you the Superman: he is that lightning, he is that frenzy!-
When Obamathustra had thus spoken, one of the people called out:
“We have now heard enough of The Oprah; it is time now for us to see her!” And all the people laughed at Obamathustra. But The Oprah, who thought the words applied to her, began her performance.
4. OBAMATHUSTRA, however, looked at the people and wondered. Then he spake thus: The white man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman- a rope over an abyss.
A dangerous crossing, a dangerous wayfaring, a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous trembling and halting.
What is great in the white man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: what is lovable in the white man is that he is an over-going and a down-going.
I love those that know not how to live except as down-goers, for they are the over-goers.
I love the great despisers, because they are the great adorers, and arrows of longing for the other shore.
I love those who do not first seek a reason beyond the stars for going down and being sacrifices, but sacrifice themselves to the green earth, that the earth of the Superman may hereafter arrive.
I love him who liveth in order to know, and seeketh to know in order that the Superman may hereafter live. Thus seeketh he his own down-going.
I love him who laboureth and inventeth, that he may build the habitat for the Superman, and prepare for him earth, animal, and plant: for thus seeketh he his own down-going.
I love him who loveth his virtue: for virtue is the will to down-going, and an arrow of longing.
I love him who reserveth no share of spirit for himself, but wanteth to be wholly the spirit of his virtue: thus walketh he as spirit over the bridge.
I love him who maketh his virtue his inclination and destiny: thus, for the sake of his virtue, he is willing to live on, or live no more.
I love him who desireth not too many virtues. One virtue is more of a virtue than two, because it is more of a knot for one’s destiny to cling to.
I love him whose soul is lavish, who wanteth no thanks and doth not give back: for he always bestoweth, and desireth not to keep for himself.
I love him who is ashamed when the dice fall in his favour, and who then asketh: “Am I a dishonest player?”- for he is willing to succumb.
I love him who scattereth golden words in advance of his deeds, and always doeth more than he promiseth: for he seeketh his own down-going.
I love him who justifieth the future ones, and redeemeth the past ones: for he is willing to succumb through the present ones.
I love him who chasteneth America, because he loveth America: for he must succumb through the wrath of his God.
I love him whose soul is deep even in the wounding, and may succumb through a small matter: thus goeth he willingly over the bridge.
I love him whose soul is so overfull that he forgetteth himself, and all things are in him: thus all things become his down-going.
I love him who is of a free spirit and a free heart: thus is his head only the bowels of his heart; his heart, however, causeth his down-going.
I love all who are like heavy drops falling one by one out of the dark cloud that lowereth over man: they herald the coming of the lightning, and succumb as heralds.
Lo, I am a herald of the lightning, and a heavy drop out of the
cloud: the lightning, however, is the Superman.-
5. WHEN Obamathustra had spoken these words, he again looked at the people, and was silent. “There they stand,” said he to his heart; “there they laugh: they understand me not; I am not the mouth for these ears.
Must one first batter their ample ears, that they may learn to hear with their eyes? Must one clatter like kettledrums and penitential preachers? Or do they only believe the stammerer?
They have something whereof they are proud. What do they call it, that which maketh them proud? Culture, they call it; it distinguisheth them from the shepherds.
They dislike, therefore, to hear of ‘contempt’ of themselves. So I will appeal to their pride.
I will speak unto them of the most contemptible thing: that, however, is the whitest man!”
And thus spake Obamathustra unto the people:
It is time for man to fix his goal. It is time for man to plant the germ of his highest hope.
Still is his soil rich enough for it. But that soil will one day be poor and exhausted, and no lofty tree will any longer be able to grow thereon.
Alas! there cometh the time when man will no longer launch the arrow of his longing beyond man- and the string of his bow will have unlearned to whizz!
I tell you: one must still have chaos in one, to give birth to a dancing star.
I tell you: ye have still chaos in you.
Alas! There cometh the time when man will no longer give birth to any star.
Alas! There cometh the time of the most despicable man, who can no longer despise himself.
Lo! I show you the whitest man.
“What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?”- so asketh the whitest man and blinketh.
The earth hath then become small, and on it there hoppeth the last man who maketh everything small. His species is ineradicable like that of the ground-flea; the last man liveth longest.
“We have discovered happiness”- say the last men, and blink thereby.
They have left the regions where it is hard to live; for they need warmth. One still loveth one’s neighbour and rubbeth against him; for one needeth warmth.
Turning ill and being distrustful, they consider sinful: they walk warily. He is a fool who still stumbleth over stones or men!
A little poison now and then: that maketh pleasant dreams. And much poison at last for a pleasant death.
One still worketh, for work is a pastime. But one is careful lest the pastime should hurt one.
One no longer becometh rich or middle class; both are too burdensome. Who still wanteth to rule? Who still wanteth to obey? Both are too burdensome.
But Obamathustra will sacrifice to lead you.
For what is the alternative?
No shepherd, and one herd! Everyone wanteth the same; everyone is equal: he who hath other sentiments goeth voluntarily into the madhouse.
“Formerly all the world was insane,”- say the subtlest of them, and blink thereby.
They are clever and know all that hath happened: so there is no end to their raillery. People still fall out, but are soon reconciled- otherwise it spoileth their stomachs.
They have their little pleasures for the day, and their little pleasures for the night, but they have a regard for health.
“We have discovered happiness,”- say the whitest men, and blink thereby.-
And here ended the first discourse of Obamathustra, and the multitude interrupted him. “Give us this whitest man, O Obamathustra,”- they called out- “make us into these whitest men! Then will we make thee a sacrifice to the Superman!” And all the people exulted and smacked their lips. Obamathustra, however, turned sad, and said to his heart:
“They understand me not: I am not the mouth for these ears. Too long, perhaps, have I lived in the mountains; too much have I hearkened unto the brooks and trees: now do I speak unto them as unto the shepherd.
Calm is my soul, and clear, like the mountains in the morning. But they think me unserious, and a mocker with terrible jests.
And now do they look at me and laugh: and while they laugh they hate me too. But vengeance is mine to pay out for their laughter. For they do not know yet that I am the Superman, and I have the will to power.”