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Note: Part I contains a series of sermons and stories of Zarathustra in the town called the Motley Cow. The summaries below contain very brief synopses of what Nietzsche is getting at in each chapter, and the commentaries in the commentary section will connect some of the dominant themes.
There are three stages of progress toward the overman: the camel, the lion, and the child. In the first, one must renounce one's comforts, exercise self- discipline, and accept all sorts of difficulties for the sake of knowledge and strength. Second, one must assert one's independence, saying "no" to all outside influences and commands. Lastly comes the act of new creation.
Zarathustra criticizes the ideal of practicing virtue and restraint in order to find inner peace. This inner peace, which he calls "sleep," is antithetical to the "waking" struggle against oneself for improvement and independence.
We are made of flesh, and not spirit, and our physical needs dictate our values and desires. A sick or dissatisfied person will claim to be essentially spirit, and will create a God and an afterlife as distractions from the pains of this life.
What we call "self" is nothing more than the body, and it underlies all reason, spirit, and sense, directing our passions and our thoughts. Those who assert that the self is really spirit are "despisers of the body" who have a sick body that hates life and wants to die.
We learn and grow most from our moments of suffering and intense feeling. They make us unique, and they should not be shared for fear of losing this uniqueness. Someone who is driven by more than one intense passion will suffer great inner conflict.
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