Zarathustra speaks to himself:
I am a wanderer and a mountain-climber…I do not like the plains and it seems I cannot sit still for long.
And whatever may yet come to me as fate and experience – a wandering and a mountain-climbing will be in it: in the final analysis one experiences only oneself.
The time has passed when accidents could befall me; and what could still come to me that was not already my own?
It is returning, at last it is coming home to me – my own self and those parts of it that have long been abroad and scattered among all things and accidents.
And I know one thing more: I stand now before my last summit and before the deed that has been deferred the longest. Alas, I have to climb my most difficult path! Alas, I have started upon my loneliest wandering!
But a man of my sort does not avoid such an hour: the hour that says to him: “Only now do you read your path of greatness! Summit and abyss – they are now united in one!
“You are treading your path of greatness: now what was formerly your ultimate danger has become your ultimate refuge!…
“You are treading your path of greatness: no one shall steal after you here! Your foot itself has extinguished the path behind you, and above that path stands written: Impossibility.
“And when all footholds disappear, you must know how to climb upon your own head: how could you climb upward otherwise?
“Upon your own head and beyond your own heart! Now the gentlest part of you must become the hardest….
“In order to see much one must learn to look away from oneself – every mountain-climber needs this hardness.
“But he who, seeking enlightenment, is over-eager with his eyes, how could he see more of a thing than its foreground!
“You, however, O Zarathustra, have wanted to behold the ground of things and their background: so you must climb above yourself – up and beyond, until you have even your stars under you!”
Yes! To look down upon myself and even upon my stars: that alone would I call my summit, that has remained for me as my ultimate summit!…
Man, however, is the most courageous animal: with his courage he has overcome every animal. With a triumphant shout he has even overcome every pain; human pain, however, is the deepest pain.
Courage also destroys giddiness at abysses: and where does man not stand at an abyss? Is seeing itself not – seeing abysses?
Courage is the best destroyer: courage also destroys pity. Pity, however, is the deepest abyss: as deeply as man looks into life, so deeply does he look also into suffering.
Courage, however, is the best destroyer, courage that attacks: it destroys even death, for it says: “Was that life? Well then! Once more!”
But there is a great triumphant shout in such a saying. He who has ears to hear, let him hear….
…Thus spake Zarathustra.
One of the most fundamental things to be understood by all those who are in search – in search of a path, in search of a direction, in search of a meaning, in search of themselves – is that they will have to become wanderers. They cannot remain static. They have to learn to be a process rather than being an event.
The greatest distinguishing mark between things and man, between animals and man, is that things remain the same; they cannot become wanderers. Animals also are born complete – they don’t grow up, they only grow old. A deer is born a deer and will die a deer. There is no process between birth and death, no becoming.
Man is the only being on the earth – and perhaps in the whole universe – who can become a process, a movement, a growing. Not just growing old, but growing up to new levels of consciousness, to new stages of awareness, to new spaces of experience. And there is the possibility in man that he can even transcend himself, he can go beyond himself. That is taking the process to its logical end.
In other words, I would like you to remember that man is not to be understood as a being, because the word being gives a wrong idea – as if man is complete.
Man is a becoming.
Man is the only animal who is not complete. And that is his glory, not his curse; it is his blessing. He can be born as a man, and he can die as a Zarathustra, or as a Gautam Buddha, or as a Jesus Christ – who have transcended humanity and reached to a new space you can call enlightenment, you can call awakening, you can call godliness, but something superhuman. Man is a becoming. Zarathustra uses the parable of the wanderer for this fundamental truth about man.
Zarathustra speaks to himself…
…and naturally when somebody like Zarathustra speaks to himself he speaks more authentically, more truthfully than when he speaks to others. Speaking to others, he has to concede and compromise with the others; otherwise he will be speaking a language which is only going to be misunderstood. He has to come down from his heights to the dark valleys of those with whom he is speaking.
But when he speaks with himself he can speak on the sunlit peaks, without any compromise. He can say exactly what he wants to say because he is saying it to himself, not to anybody else; there is no problem of being misunderstood. The monologue and the dialogue are two totally different phenomena.