Chapter 1: Prologue Part 1
There is no belief which is not blind. A man with eyes does not believe in light, he knows it - there is no need to believe. Only the blind man believes in light because he does not know it. Belief exists in ignorance, and all the religions - with a few exceptions like Zarathustra and Chuang Tzu who have not been able to create great followings or great traditions - are all for belief. In other words, they are all for blindness.
Nietzsche was against them - symbolically. As far as the East is concerned, he chose Gautam Buddha as the symbol and as far as the West is concerned he chose Jesus Christ as the symbol. He was against these people for the simple reason that they were against life; they were against people enjoying the simple things; people living playfully, laughingly; people having a sense of humor, not seriousness; people loving songs and music; and people capable of dance and love.
Nietzsche was attracted to Zarathustra because he could see that this man alone, out of the whole past, was not against life, was not against love, was not against laughter.
In these fragments, you will see tremendously meaningful statements which can become the foundation of a life-affirmative religion. I am all for life. There is nothing for which life can be sacrificed. Everything can be sacrificed for life. Everything can be a means towards life, but life is an end unto itself.
Listen very carefully, because Friedrich Nietzsche writes in a very condensed form. He is not a writer, he writes aphorisms: anybody could have written a whole book but Nietzsche will write only one paragraph. So condensed is his writing, that unless you are very alert in listening, you may miss. It is not to be read like a novel.
These are almost like the sutras of the Upanishad. Each single sutra, and each single maxim, contains so much, has so many implications. I would like to go into all the implications so that you do not misunderstand Nietzsche because he is one of the most misunderstood philosophers in the world. And the reason for his being misunderstood is that he wrote in such a condensed form - he never explained; he never went into detailed explanations about all the possible implications.
He is a very symbolic man, and the reason why he was so symbolic is that he was so full of new insights that there was not time enough to explain. He could not write treatises, and he had so much to share and to give, and life is so small.
Because his work was so condensed and crystallized, people in the first place did not understand him; in the second place, if they “understood”, they misunderstood. In the third place, they found him unreadable; they wanted everything to be explained. Nietzsche was not writing for children, he was writing for mature people, but maturity is so rare: the average mental age is not more than fourteen, and with this mental age, Nietzsche is certainly going to be missed. He is missed by his opponents, and he is missed by his followers, because both have the same mental age.
When Zarathustra was thirty years old, he left his home and the lake of his home and went into the mountains.