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Chapter 23: Of Laughter and Dance

What has been the greatest sin here on earth? Was it not the saying of him who said: “Woe to those who laugh!”
Did he himself find on earth no reason for laughter? If so, he sought badly. Even a child could find reasons.
He - did not love sufficiently: otherwise he would also have loved us, the laughers! But he hated and jeered at us, he promised us wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Does one then straightway have to curse where one does not love? That - seems to me bad taste. But that is what he did, this uncompromising man. He sprang from the mob.
And he himself did not love sufficiently: otherwise he would not have been so angry that he was not loved. Great love does not desire love - it desires more.
Avoid all such uncompromising men! They are a poor, sick type, a mob type: they look upon this life with an ill will, they have an evil eye for this earth.
Avoid all such uncompromising men! They have heavy feet and sultry hearts - they do not know how to dance. How could the earth be light to such men!.
This laugher’s crown, this rose-wreath crown: I myself have set this crown on my head, I myself have canonized my laughter. I have found no other strong enough for it today.
Zarathustra the dancer, Zarathustra the light, who beckons with his wings, ready for flight, beckoning to all birds, prepared and ready, blissfully light-hearted:
Zarathustra the prophet, Zarathustra the laughing prophet, no impatient nor uncompromising man, one who loves jumping and escapades; I myself have set this crown on my head!.
You higher men, the worst about you is: none of you has learned to dance as a man ought to dance - to dance beyond yourselves! What does it matter that you are failures!
How much is still possible! So learn to laugh beyond yourselves! Lift up your hearts, you fine dancers, high! Higher! And do not forget to laugh well!
This laugher’s crown, this rose-wreath crown: to you, my brothers, do I throw this crown! I have canonized laughter; you higher men, learn - to laugh!.
“This is my morning, my day begins: rise up now, rise up, great noontide!”

.Thus spake Zarathustra and left his cave, glowing and strong, like a morning sun emerging from behind dark mountains.

Zarathustra is absolutely right when he says:

What has been the greatest sin here on earth? Was it not the saying of him who said: “Woe to those who laugh!”

But all your so-called saints are saying that, all your religions are saying that, all your so-called great men are saying that. And they are not saying it without any reason.

One of the most cruel things done to man is to make him sad and serious. This has to be done, because without making man sad and serious, it is impossible to make him a slave - a slave in all the dimensions of slavery: spiritually a slave to some fictitious God, to some fictitious heaven and hell; psychologically a slave, because sadness, seriousness are not natural, they have to be forced upon the mind and the mind falls into fragments, is shattered; and physically a slave also, because a man who cannot laugh, cannot be really healthy and whole.

Laughter is not one-dimensional; it has all the three dimensions of man’s being. When you laugh your body joins it, your mind joins it, your being joins it. In laughter the distinctions disappear, the divisions disappear, the schizophrenic personality disappears. But it was against those who wanted to exploit man - the kings, the priests, the cunning politicians. Their whole effort was somehow to make man weaker, sick: make man miserable and he will never revolt.

Taking man’s laughter away from him is taking his very life away. Taking laughter away from man is spiritual castration.

Have you watched the difference between bulls and bullocks? They were born the same, but the bullocks have been castrated. And unless they are castrated, you cannot use them as slaves to carry your burden, to draw your carts. You cannot put bulls ahead of your cart - the bull is so powerful, it is impossible to keep him in control; he has an individuality of his own. But the bullock is a very faraway echo of his real being, just a shadow. You have destroyed him.

To create slaves, man has been destroyed in the same way. Laughter has been condemned continually as childish, as insane; at the most you are allowed to smile. The difference between a smile and laughter is the same as between the bullock and the bull. Laughter is total. The smile is just an exercise of the lips; the smile is just a mannerism. Laughter knows no mannerism, no etiquette - it is wild, and its wildness has all the beauty.

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