Chapter 17: Of the Bestowing Virtue, Part 1
Love cannot be a means to anything. The moment you make your love a means to something, it is no longer love. Love has to remain useless to keep its beauty, its joy, its fragrance. The moment it becomes a means, a staircase to reach somewhere, to attain some end, then the end becomes significant; love becomes insignificant in comparison to the end.
Hence, love cannot have any end to it - neither can truth, nor good. To say that they are useless shocks many people, because you think love should be the greatest, most useful thing. Truth must be the most useful thing. But you don’t understand the mechanics of life’s workings - anything useful falls down into the lower category of means. The end is always useless.
Religions have been discussing for centuries, but it is strange that not a single man in the whole history has asked, “What is the use of God?” If love has to be useful, if truth has to be useful, if good has to be useful, if beauty has to be useful, then what is the use of God? God must be the most useless thing in the world.
It will hurt the so-called religious people; but fortunately, there is no God, and nobody needs to be hurt. But if there was a God, he was bound to be useless, utterly useless, just good for nothing - because he will be the end of all, but means for none. For a man like Zarathustra, virtue is in the place of God: to be virtuous is to be religious. But for ordinary religions, to be virtuous means that you are using it to reach God, to attain self-realization, to enter into paradise.
But for Zarathustra, useless is not a word of condemnation. What is the use of a roseflower? You say, “It is beautiful”, but what is the use of beauty? What is the use of a beautiful sunset, when the clouds in the sky become so psychedelic, so colorful - as if the whole horizon has become poetic? The birds are returning home.what could be the use of such a beautiful sunset? There is no use at all. And the artist has known it down the ages. Hence, he has said, “Art for arts sake”. It is an end unto itself.
And thirdly, it is.
.shining and mellow in luster; it always bestows itself.
It is luminous, it does not need anything to decorate it, it is utterly self-sufficient, overflowingly joyful, aglow with blissfulness, for no other reason than just being itself.
Zarathustra starts his statement by asking the disciples, why gold has come to have the highest value? And he gives three reasons: It is uncommon, it is useless, it is self-luminous.