Of the Friend
Our faith in others betrays wherein we would dearly like to have faith in ourselves. Our longing for a friend is our betrayer.
And often with our love we only want to leap over envy. And often we attack and make an enemy in order to conceal that we are vulnerable to attack.
“At least be my enemy!” – thus speaks the true reverence that does not venture to ask for friendship.
If you want a friend, you must also be willing to wage war for him: and to wage war, you must be capable of being an enemy.
You should honor even the enemy in your friend. Can you go near to your friend without going over to him?
In your friend you should possess your best enemy. Your heart should feel closest to him when you oppose him….
He who makes no secret of himself excites anger in others: that is how much reason you have to fear nakedness. If you were gods you could then be ashamed of your clothes!
You cannot adorn yourself too well for your friend: for you should be to him an arrow and a longing for the superman.
Have you ever watched your friend asleep – to discover what he looked like? Yet your friend’s face is something else beside. It is your own face, in a rough and imperfect mirror….
Are you pure air…and bread and medicine to your friend? Many a one cannot deliver himself from his own chains and yet he is his friend’s deliverer.
Are you a slave? If so, you cannot be a friend. Are you a tyrant? If so, you cannot have friends.
In a woman, a slave and a tyrant have all too long been concealed. For that reason, woman is not yet capable of friendship: she knows only love.
In a woman’s love is injustice and blindness towards all that she does not love. And in the enlightened love of a woman too, there is still the unexpected attack and lightning and night, along with the light.
Woman is not yet capable of friendship: women are still cats and birds. Or, at best, cows.
Woman is not yet capable of friendship. But tell me, you men, which of you is yet capable of friendship?…
…Thus spake Zarathustra.
Friendship has been one of the subjects most ignored by almost all the philosophers. Perhaps we take it for granted that we understand what it means; hence we have remained ignorant about its depths, about its possibilities of growth, about its different colors, with different significances.
Zarathustra has spoken on the subject with great insight. The most important thing to remember is: one needs friends because one is incapable of being alone. And as long as one needs friends, one cannot be much of a friend – because the need reduces the other to an object. Only the man who is capable of being alone is also capable of being a friend. But it is not his need, it is his joy; it is not his hunger, not his thirst, but his abundance of love that he wants to share.
When such a friendship exists, it should not be called a friendship, because it has taken on a totally new dimension: I call it “friendliness.” It has gone beyond relationship, because all relationships are bondages in some way or other – they make you a slave and they enslave others. Friendliness is simply the joy of sharing without any conditions, without any expectations, with no desire that something should be returned – not even gratefulness.
Friendliness is the purest kind of love.
It is not a need, it is not a necessity:
It is sheer abundance, overflowing ecstasy.
Our faith in others betrays wherein we would dearly like to have faith in ourselves.
A man who believes in others is a man who is afraid to believe in himself. The Christian, the Hindu, the Mohammedan, the Buddhist, the communist – nobody is courageous enough to have faith in his own being. He believes in others. And he believes in those who believe in him.
It is really ridiculous: your friend needs you, he is afraid of his aloneness; you need him, because you are afraid of your aloneness. Both are afraid of aloneness. Do you think your being together means your alonenesses will disappear? They will be simply doubled, or perhaps multiplied; hence all relationships lead into more misery, into more anguish.