…I will now place the three most evil things upon the scales and weigh them well and humanly….
Sensual pleasure, lust for power, selfishness: these three have hitherto been cursed the most and held in the worst and most unjust repute – these three will I weigh well and humanly….
Sensual pleasure: a sweet poison only to the withered, but to the lion-willed the great restorative and reverently-preserved wine of wines.
Sensual pleasure: the great symbolic happiness of a higher happiness and highest hope….
To many that are stranger to one another than man and woman: and who has fully conceived how strange man and woman are to one another!…
Lust for power: the scourge of fire of the hardest-hearted; the cruel torment reserved by the cruelest for himself; the dark flame of living bonfires….
Lust for power: before its glance man crawls and bends and toils and becomes lower than the swine or the snake – until at last the cry of the great contempt burst from him….
Lust for power: which, however, rises enticingly even to the pure and the solitary and up to self-sufficient heights, glowing like a love that paints purple delights enticingly on earthly heavens.
Lust for power: but who shall call it lust, when the height longs to stoop down after power! Truly, there is no sickness and lust in such a longing and descent!
That the lonely height may not always be solitary and sufficient to itself; that the mountain may descend to the valley and the wind of the heights to the lowlands –
Oh who shall find the rightful baptismal and virtuous name for such a longing! “Bestowing virtue” – that is the name Zarathustra once gave the unnamable.
And then it also happened – and truly, it happened for the first time! – that his teaching glorified selfishness, the sound, healthy selfishness that issues from a mighty soul –
from a mighty soul, to which pertains the exalted body, the beautiful, victorious, refreshing body, around which everything becomes a mirror….
It banishes from itself all that is cowardly; it says: bad – that is to say, cowardly…!
Timid mistrustfulness seems base to it, as do all who desire oaths….
Entirely hateful and loathsome to it is he who will never defend himself, who swallows down poisonous spittle and evil looks, the too-patient man who puts up with everything, is content with everything: for that is the nature of slaves.
Whether one be servile before gods and divine kicks, or before men and the silly opinions of men: it spits at slaves of all kinds, this glorious selfishness!…
…To ill-use selfishness – precisely that has been virtue and called virtue. And “selfless” – that is what, with good reason, all these world-weary cowards…wished to be!
But now the day, the transformation, the sword of judgment, the great noontide comes to them all: then many things shall be revealed!
And he who declares the ego healthy and holy and selfishness glorious – truly, he, a prophet, declares too what he knows: “Behold, it comes, it is near, the great noontide!”
…Thus spake Zarathustra.
All the teachers before Zarathustra, and even after him, have looked at things with a very prejudiced mind. They have not allowed the multidimensionality of every experience. They have imposed a certain dimension and conditioned human mind to look at things only in a certain way. Zarathustra’s great contribution is that he helps man to look at things in new ways – absolutely new, fresh, and immensely enlightening. You may be sometimes shocked, because he will be speaking against your prejudices. You have to be courageous enough to put aside all your prejudices.
To understand this man of great insight, who looks at things not according to a certain preconceived ideology, but looks at things as they are, in themselves…. He does not impose any meaning; on the contrary, he tries to find: is there any meaning in things themselves? He is very objective, very realistic and absolutely sane. He is not obsessed with any idea and he does not want to propound a certain philosophy or a certain religion.
His approach is so totally different. He teaches you how to see clearly. He does not teach you what to see, he simply teaches you how to see clearly.
The clarity of your vision will bring you the truth. He is not going to hand over the truth to you like something ready-made. He does not want truth to be so cheap. And anything which is very cheap cannot be true. Truth demands you be a gambler so that you can risk everything at the stake. Truth cannot be a possession of yours. On the contrary, if you are ready to be possessed by truth, then only you can have it.
What he is going to say this evening is so contrary to all the religions, all the so-called moralities, that unless you can put your mind out of the way, you will not be able to hear him and you will not be able to understand. And he is throwing diamonds on your path. But you can remain blind; you can keep your eyes closed just so that you are not disturbed in your preconceived beliefs.
He is bent upon disturbing you – because unless you are disturbed you cannot move, you cannot progress; you cannot have any excitement to reach to farther away stars; you cannot be stirred by the longing to become a superman. You have to be shaken – and shaken mercilessly. Only later on will you understand: that was compassion – true compassion.