Chapter 12: Of the Apostates
He who is of my sort will also encounter experiences of my sort, so that his first companions must be corpses and buffoons.
His second companions, however, will call themselves his believers: a lively flock, full of love, full of folly, full of adolescent adoration.
He among men who is of my sort should not grapple his heart to these believers; he who knows fickle-cowardly human nature should not believe in these springs and many-colored meadows!.
“We have grown pious again” - thus these apostates confess; and many of them are still too cowardly to confess it..
But it is a disgrace to pray! Not for everyone, but for you and me and for whoever else has his conscience in his head. For you it is a disgrace to pray!
You know it well: the cowardly devil in you who would like to clasp his hands and to fold his arms and to take it easier: - it was this cowardly devil who persuaded you: “There is a God!”
Through that, however, have you become one of those who dread the light, whom light never lets rest; now you must stick your head deeper every day into night and fog!
.The hour has arrived for all people who fear the light, the evening hour of ease when there is no - “ease” for them..
And some of them have even become night-watchmen: now they know how to blow horns and to go around at night and awaken old things that have long been asleep.
I heard five sayings about old things last night beside the garden wall: they came from such old, distressed, dried-up night-watchmen:
“For a father he does not look after his children enough: human fathers do it better!”
“He is too old! He no longer looks after his children at all” - thus the other night-watchman answered.
“Has he any children? No one can prove it, if he doesn’t prove it himself! I have long wished he would prove it thoroughly for once.”
“Prove it? As if he has ever proved anything! He finds it hard to prove things; he thinks it very important that people should believe him.”
“Yes, yes! Belief makes him happy, belief in him. Old people are like that!.”
.Has not the time for all such doubts long since passed?.
With the old gods, they have long since met their end - and truly, they had a fine, merry, divine ending!
They did not “fade away in twilight” - that is a lie! On the contrary: they once - laughed themselves to death!
That happened when the most godless saying proceeded from a god himself, the saying: “There is one God! You shall have no other gods before me!” -
An old wrath-beard of a god, a jealous god, thus forgot himself:
And all the gods laughed then and rocked in their chairs and cried: “Is not precisely this godliness, that there are gods but no God?”
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
.Thus spake Zarathustra.
Zarathustra is trying, from every possible aspect, to understand why man has not evolved as he should have - why he has remained childish, why the superman has not yet arrived. What are the causes that are preventing his coming, and how can those hindrances be removed and the closed doors opened, and the superman welcomed? He is not leaving any aspect unexplored. His search into the possibility of man transforming into a superman is exhaustive. Nobody has ever thought about the superman so much.
People have been thinking about all kinds of hypothetical things. For centuries they have pondered over the existence of God. Some have even denied him, many have accepted him, few have ignored him. A few have taken the stance of the agnostic - that it is not possible to know anything about God and we do not know whether he exists or he does not. But thousands of philosophers and millions of books, treatises have been devoted to something for which not a single proof exists.
Zarathustra is alone in contemplating the superman. The superman is not a hypothesis, because man is already in existence; he can be refined, all that is ugly in him can be destroyed. All that makes him small can be removed, and the superman will arise in man’s consciousness without fail. Zarathustra is not concerned with any fiction, he is utterly a realist. It is not a dream that cannot be fulfilled, it is a dream that has every potential for fulfillment.
Superman is not somewhere in the sky, superman is within you. Superman is you in your purest form, in your most conscious awakening, in your experience of eternal life, in your purification of love. It is very close by - it is just your neighbor.
You have only to transcend yourself. You have to come out from your dark holes. You have to risk a little - the familiar for the unfamiliar, the known for the unknown, the comfortable for the dangerous - and you will be pregnant with the superman, you will give birth to the superman.
God was the past, superman is the future. Nothing can be done about the past; everything can be done about the future. God was your creator, superman is going to be your creation - and this makes a difference, so vital, so immense and immeasurable, that there is no possibility to make a bridge between God and the superman. God is always somewhere in the graves and superman is always somewhere in the future potentiality of your life, of your love and your consciousness.
This evening Zarathustra is approaching the superman from still a different angle, one he has not approached yet.