You have served the people and the people’s superstitions, all you famous philosophers! – you have not served truth! And it is precisely for that reason that they paid you reverence.
It is unfortunate, but factual, that people will respect you if you support their superstitions, even though by supporting their superstitions you are poisoning them. They will be very respectful to you – they will make you a saint, they will make you a prophet, they will make you a savior. But don’t disturb their superstitions. Their superstitions have lived with them for so long, and they have accepted them as truth and have been very comfortable with them – because there is no need to search for truth; they already have it. The moment you criticize their superstitions, the whole crowd of humanity becomes antagonistic to you; they all turn into enemies to you.
I have experienced it my whole life. Thousands of people have come to me and disappeared. If they find that some of their superstitions are fulfilled by my statements they remain with me, but the moment they see that they were not right – I am not in support of their superstitions, on the contrary, I am against them – they immediately become my enemies. When I was supporting their death they were with me, they were paying great respect and reverence to me. And when I started to be really a friend to them, a health, a wholeness, they turned into enemies.
Zarathustra is talking of the famous philosophers. Their fame depends only on one thing: not that they have contributed anything to human growth, not that they have made this planet more beautiful, not that life has become more joyous, not that love has become more juicy, but because they were in absolute support of your superstitions, your beliefs, your fictions, which are consolatory; they keep you where you are. They save you the trouble of finding the truth. They save you the trouble of transforming yourself into a higher being.
You have served the people and the people’s superstitions, all you famous philosophers! – you have not served truth!
Because those who have served the truth have remained continually on the cross. The same masses which they were trying to help have killed them, poisoned them, stoned them to death.
And it is precisely for that reason that they paid you reverence.