On the Famous Wise Men

It is impossible to serve both truth and the people. Philosophers who want to please the people will inevitably end up justifying and rationalizing popular prejudice. Granted, their relationship with the people is mutually beneficial, but the people have given up the higher pursuit of the truth. That pursuit, followed by true philosophers, carries no fame and no rewards, but only suffering and sacrifice that strengthen the spirit.

The Night Song

Zarathustra laments that he is so full of wisdom, spirit, and life that he must always give and never receive. He feels loneliness in never having to need anyone or anything.

The Dancing Song

Zarathustra sings a song to dancing girls about life and wisdom. Both are women, always changing, always seductive, and so similar to one another that one loves one because of the other, and makes them both jealous as a result. After his song, evening falls, and Zarathustra becomes sad, feeling unable to justify his being alive.

The Tomb Song

Zarathustra thinks back on his youth and the ideas and ideals he held then. All that remains unchanged from this time is his will, which has helped him to overcome his losses and to strive ever forward.

On Self-Overcoming

Zarathustra claims that everything that lives obeys, and if you can't obey yourself, someone else will command you. Commanding is more difficult and dangerous than obeying, but we are all driven to it by our fundamental will to power. The powerful obey themselves and command others. Those who are commanded submit so that they may command those who are even weaker. Because power can only be gained through obedience, life always seeks to submit, change, and overcome itself. As a result, life is characterized by change: nothing—not truth, not morality, not God—is permanent or absolute.

On Those Who Are Sublime

The solemn, sublime seeker of truth is noble in his pursuit, but he still needs to learn about beauty and laughter, and to practice graciousness and kindness. Zarathustra values lightness and kindness in a powerful person because such a person is also capable of great solemnity and cruelty. There is no virtue in being kind simply because one hasn't the power to be cruel.

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