Ego is a by-product of public opinion. It is given by them to you; they can take it away. Pride is a totally different phenomenon. The lion has pride. The deer in the forest – just look – has a pride, a dignity, a grace. A peacock dancing or an eagle flying far away in the sky – they don’t have egos, they don’t depend on your opinion – they are simply dignified as they are. Their dignity arises from their own being. This has to be understood, because all the religions have been teaching people not to be proud – be humble. They have created a misunderstanding all over the world, as if being proud and being an egoist are synonymous.
Zarathustra is absolutely clear that he is in favor of the strong man, of the courageous man, of the adventurer who goes into the unknown on the untrodden path without any fear; he is in favor of fearlessness. And it is a miracle that a man of pride and only a man of pride – can become a child.
The so-called Christian humbleness is just ego standing on its head. The ego has gone upside down, but it is there, and you can see in your saints that they are more egoist than ordinary people are. They are egoists because of their piousness, of their austerities, of their spirituality, of their holiness, even of their humbleness. Nobody is more humble than them. The ego has a very subtle way of coming in from the back door. You may throw it out from the front door – it knows that there is a back door, too.
I have heard that one night, in a pub, a man was drinking too much and making too much nuisance, throwing things, hitting people, shouting, abusing them and asking for more and more drinks.
Finally, the pub owner told him, “This is enough. For tonight, you will not get any more drinks.” And he told his servants to throw him out of the front door.
Although he was completely drunk, even in his drunkenness he remembered there was a back door. Groping in the dark, he came from the back door and ordered one drink.
The owner said, “Again? I have told you that tonight you will not get any drink.”
The man said, “This is strange. Do you own all the pubs of the city?”
The ego knows not only the back door – it can come even through the windows. It can come in even by removing a small tile from the roof. You are so vulnerable as far as ego is concerned.
Zarathustra is not a teacher of humbleness, because all teachings of humbleness have failed. He teaches the dignity of man. He teaches the pride of man and he teaches the strong man, not the weak, the poor and the meek. Those teachings have helped to keep humanity at the stage of the camel. Zarathustra wants you to go through a metamorphosis. The camel has to change into a lion, and he has chosen beautiful symbols, very meaningful and significant.
The camel, perhaps, is the most ugly animal in the whole existence. You cannot improve upon its ugliness. What else can you do? It is such a distortion. It seems as if it is coming directly from hell.