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Chapter 2: Of Self-Overcoming

That you may understand my teaching about good and evil, I shall relate to you my teaching about life and about the nature of all living creatures.
I have followed the living creature, I have followed the greatest and the smallest paths, that I might understand its nature.
I caught its glance in a hundredfold mirror when its mouth was closed, that its eye might speak to me. And its eye did speak to me.
But wherever I found living creatures, there too I heard the language of obedience. All living creatures are obeying creatures.

But the concept of obedience in Zarathustra’s philosophy is not the ordinary idea of obedience that religions have been teaching to us. Religions also teach obedience. But obedience to whom? Their obedience is always to someone outside yourself - to some god, to some messenger, to some prophet, to some holy scripture.

Zarathustra’s obedience is obedience to life; it is not to something outside yourself. It is the nature, very nature of your life, to obey. Life obeys itself.

All the religions have been trying to distract you from this obedience. They are telling you, “Don’t listen to life, listen to God. Don’t listen to your own heart, listen to the holy book. Don’t listen to your own body and its wisdom, but listen to some dead saint, some fictitious, mythological figure.”

So remember, Zarathustra and his obedience are just the opposite of what religions call obedience. Zarathustra says, “Obey yourself! Obey your instincts as far as your body is concerned. Obey your feelings as far as your heart is concerned. Obey your intelligence as far as your mind is concerned, and obey your intuition as far as your being is concerned. You are the holy scripture. Your body has every knowledge that it needs. Your heart knows perfectly well all the ways of love, and your intelligence is capable of understanding the most hidden secrets of existence. Your intuition is capable of exploring your own interiority to the very center of your being.”

These four principles, Zarathustra has found, are the basic pillars of all life. But religions have been taking people astray. They are teaching a totally different kind of obedience, which is really disobedience to nature.

But wherever I found living creatures, there too I heard the language of obedience. All living creatures are obeying creatures.
And this is the second thing: he who cannot obey himself will be commanded.

Zarathustra is so clear and so simple: if you cannot obey your own life, somebody is going to command you. You are responsible for all those who have become commanders, who are giving ten commandments to you. Don’t throw the responsibility on others’ shoulders.

You are unable to obey yourself; you are a coward, you are afraid. Who knows? - you may be right, you may be wrong. It is better to listen to the wiser ones, it is better to listen to the ancient knowledge, to the scriptures, to the principles of life preached for thousands of years. It seems they are more reliable than your own body, which is millions of years old - no scripture is as old as your body. Religions tell you, “Listen to the ancient seers.” But your own consciousness is far older, far more ancient than any seers.

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