Chapter 4: Of Poets
Zarathustra teaches harmony. Other than Zarathustra, everybody has been teaching conflict. The moment a person becomes convinced of the conflict between the body and the spirit, he is a house divided against himself. His whole energy goes into fighting with himself. The poor situation in which humanity finds itself is the ultimate outcome of this split in man.
Zarathustra is saying that spirit, soul and all these words are beautiful words, but they are only figurative - they are only metaphors, they are only poetic. Don’t get caught in any conflict. You are one whole, you are one organic unity; hence there is no need for any inner fight. And the moment you are no longer in any inner fight, your whole energy is available to rise higher towards the superman.
Fighting with yourself, you cannot overcome.
Looking from the outside, I can manage a fight between my two hands. They can start beating each other, hurting each other; but whichever hand is hurt or wounded, basically I am hurt, I am wounded. The fight between my two hands cannot decide which hand has become victorious. They are both my hands. They are getting my energy. One thing is certain, nobody can be victorious. But their fight will become a failure for my whole being, because they will destroy my energy, which could have been used to attain a higher state of consciousness.
Zarathustra is saying that he wants the body and the spirit as one, the God and the world as one. Only one exists. What name you give to it does not matter. If you love to call it God so much - call it. If you are obsessed with the word matter and you want to call it matter - call it. Your matter will have some spiritual quality, your matter will have intelligence. And to those who want to call it God, they have also to remember that your God will have in him the vast universe of matter.
He is not a person to fight over words, but he wants to indicate that if we understand the organic unity between the visible and the invisible, between the changing and the unchanging, between the moving and the unmoving, we can create a foundation for a better man to arrive. We can herald and declare that the superman is going to succeed us. We have not been able to do it up to now, because our whole energy goes into fighting with ourselves.
“I heard you say that once before,” answered the disciple; “and then you added: ‘But the poets lie too much.’ Why did you say that the poets lie too much?”
The poets certainly lie too much. Zarathustra must have said it. The poets have to lie too much to say a few small fragments of truth. They use lies as devices to communicate some echoes, faraway echoes, of truth. They do a great service to humanity.
It is good that there have been poets. And it is good that there have been poets courageous enough to lie in the service of truth; otherwise the world would have been far more ignorant than it is, far more in darkness than it is.