Nietzsche views Buddhism as a retreat from life, but he does not give us enough information about Buddhism to justify his position thoroughly. Nietzsche actually knew a great deal about Buddhism, especially for a nineteenth-century German, so it is surprising that he gives no notice of the forms of Buddhism that preach a suppression of selfish desires in order to engage more fruitfully with this world. Such a view seems to express a healthier version of Nietzsche's will to power. Nietzsche's view of Buddhism is deeply influenced by Schopenhauer's interpretation, and so we are seeing more of a caricature of Schopenhauer's views. This lack of detail is not unique to Nietzsche's treatment of Buddhism either: when talking about both democracy and Christianity, Nietzsche often simplifies matters somewhat.

The second analysis that Zarathustra gives us is that the will should take responsibility for the past, and thus no longer see it as an obstacle. A person subscribing to this outlook would say, I may no longer be able to affect the past, but my past is the past I created, and so it is a permanent testament to the power of my will.

Nietzsche says that his contemporaries cannot presently take responsibility for their past because they are all inverse cripples. Those who seem great merely exceed in one particular attribute, but they are far from being whole human beings. Someone may be vastly creative in one aspect of his or her life, but then fail entirely to be creative in others. For instance, T. S. Eliot revolutionized poetry and was a creative genius, but he was also apparently an unpleasant person, an anti-Semite, a snob, and he clung to Christianity and other traditions that Nietzsche would have considered contemptible. Nietzsche himself is somewhat crippled by his sexist attitudes.

All these infirmities of inverse cripples imply that people lack the full-bodied individuality and creativity of an overman. As a result, we are not in complete control of our destiny and thus not in complete control of our past. Until we can take full responsibility for ourselves, by gaining complete power over ourselves, we cannot redeem our past by claiming responsibility for it.

The key to the "redemption" that Zarathustra longs for is the idea of the eternal recurrence. This idea will become more and more central in parts three and four, and so we will discuss it more in depth when we get to those parts. For now, we should note the ways in which eternal recurrence has been foreshadowed throughout Part II. For instance, the ghost of Zarathustra in the chapter "On the Great Events" and the dream in "The Soothsayer" chapter both predict a coming revelation. Zarathustra's depression, which is alluded to at the end of the "Dancing Song" and in "The Soothsayer" also suggests that he has not yet found the final key. At the end of Part II, he returns to solitude precisely to discover the eternal recurrence.

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