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.
And this is the second thing: he who cannot obey himself will be commanded. That is the nature of living creatures.
But this is the third thing I heard: that commanding is more difficult than obeying. And not only because the commander bears the burden of all who obey, and that this burden can easily crush him.
In all commanding there appeared to me to be an experiment and a risk: and the living creature always risks himself when he commands….
How has this come about? Thus I asked myself. What persuades the living creature to obey and to command and to practice obedience even in commanding?
Listen now to my teaching, you wisest men! Test in earnest whether I have crept into the heart of life itself and down to the roots of its heart!
Where I found a living creature, there I found will to power; and even in the will of the servant I found the will to be master.
The will of the weaker persuades it to serve the stronger; its will wants to be master over those weaker still: this delight alone it is unwilling to forgo.
And as the lesser surrenders to the greater, that it may have delight and power over the least of all, so the greatest, too, surrenders and for the sake of power stakes – life.
This devotion of the greatest is to encounter risk and danger and play dice for death.
And where sacrifice and service and loving glances are, there too is will to be master. There the weaker steals by secret paths into the castle and even into the heart of the more powerful – and steals the power.
And life itself told me this secret: “Behold,” it said, “I am that which must overcome itself again and again.
“To be sure, you call it will to procreate or impulse towards a goal, towards the higher, more distant, more manifold: but all this is one and one secret.
“I would rather perish than renounce this one thing; and truly, where there is perishing and the falling of leaves, behold, there life sacrifices itself – for the sake of power!
“That I have to be struggle and becoming and goal and conflict of goals: Ah, he who divines my will surely divines, too, along what crooked paths it has to go!
“Whatever I create and however much I love it – soon I have to oppose it and my love: thus will my will have it.
“And you too, enlightened man, are only a path and a footstep of my will: truly, my will to power walks with the feet of your will to truth!
“He who shot the doctrine of ‘will to existence’ at truth certainly did not hit the truth: this will – does not exist!
“For what does not exist cannot will; but that which is in existence, how could it still want to come into existence?
“Only where life is, there is also will: not will to life, but – so I teach you – will to power!…
“The living creature values many things higher than life itself; yet out of this evaluation itself speaks – the will to power!”…
Truly, I say to you: unchanging good and evil does not exist! From out of themselves they must overcome themselves again and again.
You exert power with your values and doctrines of good and evil, you assessors of values; and this is your hidden love and the glittering, trembling, and overflowing of your souls.
But a mightier power and a new overcoming grow from out your values: egg and egg-shell break against them.
And he who has to be a creator in good and evil, truly, has first to be a destroyer and break values.
Thus the greatest evil belongs
…Thus spake Zarathustra.
One of the great psychologists of this age, Alfred Adler, based his whole doctrine on the will to power, and it was thought that he had discovered something new in human beings. But the people who were aware of Alfred Adler and his psychology of will to power were not aware of the ancient seer, Zarathustra. Zarathustra has given all the fundamentals of the psychology of will to power. It is not something new – Alfred Adler rediscovered it; and he did not even improve upon it.
Zarathustra has looked from every aspect, in detail, and with great insight. His psychology is not only a psychology – because it is not confined to the mind only – it is also a philosophy of life. Its area, its territory, is far vaster than Alfred Adler’s conception. Alfred Adler looks very childish compared to Zarathustra.
I would like you to understand the most fundamental thing first, then we can go into the details of what Zarathustra has to say. The first thing is: life is a constant overcoming. Everything is trying to go beyond itself. Everything is trying to become better, to be more beautiful, to be more powerful, to be more authentic. This overcoming is not something that becomes complete, ever.
You reach a goal, and suddenly you see: that goal is only a stepping-stone for a future goal. And the horizon in front of you always remains calling you, challenging you, pulling you towards unknown spaces.
This principle of overcoming is the very foundation of evolution; otherwise there would have been no evolution at all. Things would have remained static, things would have been just things – dead, complete, no longer growing, no longer going higher, no longer trying to transcend themselves. Evolution is the religion that Zarathustra teaches.
Zarathustra is in many ways a pioneer. Charles Darwin thought that he had found the idea of evolution – he was wrong. Two thousand years before him, this man Zarathustra had laid all the foundations of the philosophy of evolution.
Life can remain alive only if it goes on overcoming itself. The moment it stops overcoming itself, it disappears. The only death in the world is when something comes to a full stop. Life never comes to a full stop; hence, there is no death in reality.