The Seven Seals (or, The Yes and Amen Song)

Zarathustra finally comes to a full acceptance of the eternal recurrence, singing the joyous refrain: "For I love you, O eternity!"

Analysis

Throughout most of Part III, Zarathustra wrestles with the consequences of the eternal recurrence, finally accepting it in the final two chapters. In "The Convalescent," we find that Zarathustra has a hard time accepting the recurrence because he cannot accept the eternal recurrence of mediocre humans, but the previous chapters seem largely concerned with the fact that humans are mediocre because they cannot comprehend the eternal recurrence.

Everything that Zarathustra (or Nietzsche) criticizes about humanity can be reduced to the human inability to see the world as being in a state of change. Change is motivated by the will to power, and the will to power is the essential feature of life, so a denial of change amounts to no less than a denial of life. A desire to see things as fixed motivates us to think that there is one true morality, or one true God, or one absolute truth. Zarathustra criticizes this desire as "the spirit of gravity," insisting that we should not feel weighed down by absolutes. The "spirit of gravity" serves the double purpose of, first, denoting the weight that we place on absolutes, and, second, denoting the seriousness of such absolutism that is so contrary to laughter and dance. If there is a "right" way of looking at the world, we will never be inspired to create our own point of view.

Given his constant criticisms of Christianity, it might seem peculiar that Zarathustra should praise Jesus as the creator of a new way of seeing, but Nietzsche's attitude toward Jesus is more ambivalent than his polemics against Christianity might suggest. While Nietzsche reviles the Gospels and despises Christendom, he has a great deal of respect for Jesus himself, as a man. While the Christian morality that Jesus preaches is often (though not always) contrary to Nietzsche's own views, Nietzsche still admires Jesus for having the courage and the will to create his own moral viewpoint. Nietzsche's attitude toward Jesus is similar to his attitude toward the Jews. On the one hand, he sees the Jews as the originators of the slave morality of ressentiment, which he despises. On the other hand, he deeply admires the strength of will and originality with which the Jews turned all their disadvantages into advantages.

The "three evils" of chapter ten can also be understood as being inspired by the spirit of gravity. Sex is one of the most fundamental expressions of joy in one's body and in one's earthly life. As such, it attaches us to the world of the moment and the world of change, and is contrary to the spirit of gravity. The lust to rule is little more than the will to power, and so naturally opposes the spirit of gravity. Zarathustra associates selfishness with an interest in oneself and a desire to improve oneself. Such selfishness would require self- overcoming and change, and so would also be contrary to the inertial forces of the spirit of gravity.

Zarathustra praises "evil" at a number of points in the book, which might seem odd since "evil" is such a negative word. His point is that things that are considered "evil" are only considered "evil" from a certain moral viewpoint. If we are to change, we must overcome our old moralities, and cast them aside, acting contrary to what they dictate. Thus, all change and all overcoming is necessarily "evil" according to those who are stuck in their old ways.

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