Zarathustra’s Children: Nietzsche Beyond the Greeks

Zarathustra’s Children

James Luchte

Supposing truth is a woman – what then?

Are there not grounds for the suspicion

that all philosophers,

insofar as they were dogmatists,

have been very inexpert about women?

That the gruesome seriousness, the

clumsy obtrusiveness with which they

have usually approached truth so far

have been awkward and very improper

methods for winning a woman’s heart?

Friedrich Nietzsche

Women do not have as great a need for poetry

because their own essence is poetry.

Friedrich Schlegel

Beyond Dionysus and Apollo in ‘Greek’ Tragedy and Comedy

If it is the last man, the spectator who consents to the Euripidean denial of the Dionysian power of life, of the terrible truth of existence, it is the Overman (Übermensch) who is that one that can affirm this chaos of being in the world and give birth to novelty under the sun.  Yet, the Overman is not the Tragic Hero in the sense of Euripides.  It is even doubtful that Nietzsche’s Overman is ‘tragic’ at all – notably in the nostalgic senses of Sophocles or Aeschylus…

We have forgotten that devastating myriadity of this power of life in the wake of the suppression of the Dionysian in Late Tragedy.  The ‘tragic’ becomes – for a time – an epochal indifference and unwillingness to confront and master the rage and chaos of the Dionysian power of life – it becomes comedy.

Indeed, this power is erased and conscientiously ignored, suppressed in Late Tragedy.  In the early tragedies of Sophocles and Aeschylus, narratives that preserve an explicit reference to Homer, the tragic hero, emerging from the Dionysian musical ecstasy of the Chorus, is transported into a rapture of self-annihilation.  In the context of this Festival of the power of life, it is the Apollonian dream image that makes manifest the power that loves to hide.  The devastating tension and chaos of the Dionysian apotheosis, while made manifest in the dream image, is not suppressed or even sublimated, but is allowed to play itself out in the destruction of the tragic sacrifice.

In the dramatic identification and implication into the topos of the Greek amphitheatre, in which the audience becomes the symmetrical complement to the Chorus, the partition of the audience and performer is effaced, and thus, unmasqued, the audience becomes part of the gathering of the Chorus – the power of life and the annihilation of death is witnessed and imbibed as an event of disclosure of the terrible truth.  Oedipus senses his destiny, but inexorably seeks to flee in the face of his own truth.  He does not love his truth.  Orestes thinks that he knows the truth, but in his matricide, unleashes his own destinal flight from the truth.  He kills truth.  Antigone seeks to retrieve and affirm this truth in her wish to bury her brother in her earth.  Yet, she is banished from the polis.  Her act uncovers and retrieves an attempt – amidst a double binds – at the truth, truths.

The riddle of the Sphinx, Apollo in drag, mistakenly assumed to be answered by the Tragic Hero, will play itself out in the final destruction of the household of Oedipus. It was not ‘man’ who walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening – but Oedipus himself, in light of the panoptic simultaneity of the divine, eternal gaze.  Apollo allows his half-brother Dionysus to be annihilated amidst his excessiveness…  for he knows he will be inexorably reborn.

Euripides, a friend of Socrates, that displaced warrior, and his shadow, Plato, that failed tragic dramatist turned dialogist, takes a different tact with respect to the ‘tragic’.  He no longer wishes to celebrate this self-annihilating and self-creating power of life – he parts company with Dionysus, who is thrown into humiliation and ridicule, as for instance, in The Bacchantes.  Apollo, in his filial isolation, forced to strip naked in the wilderness, becomes mere form, eidos, nomos, over against will.  The frenzy of the bacchantes, which leads them to tear apart Pentheus-Dionysus, is re-valued as evil, excess, from the arché of eradication of the Dionysian from the polis.  In that Dionysus incites his own annihilation, which is the destruction of the household (invites it to transform itself into novelty), he becomes the personification of “Evil”.

The tension of the bow, this rage of the power of life, is suppressed, quarantined, and dispersed in a directive and destiny of the polis.  Euripides is, at best, a moralist.  At worst, he is a propagandist.  He seeks to let the audience off the hook, seduce these to forget this terrible truth of existence.  He utilizes the situation and structure of the drama in order to disseminate his own moral agenda, his own deus ex machina.  This struggle for the birth of a new idol, a polis of God, Jehovah, Allah is waged at the cost of sacrifice of this power of life, of that suppression, and thus, fulfillment of the Dionysian.  The madman seethes in the marketplace of eidos: God is dead. Yet, as a madman, he will eventually realize that he must go voluntarily into the madhouse.

The Overman cannot be any longer the tragic hero, in any of its historical variations.  The Dionysian annihilates himself and destroys the household which contains his destiny.  The Christian seeks to destroy this power of life in a routine operation which conserves his local despotism.  However, this suppression eradicates the Dionysian aspects of these teachings of the Nazarene prophet Jesus, who, to a great extent, is the latest exemplar of the half-mortal god Dionysus.  The Christian cannot handle, much less affirm, the Dionysian implications of Jesus, this man who sought to do that which is most difficult, the camel that attempted what he feared most, to become a lion.

The Grand Inquisitor, in The Brothers Karamozov of Dostoevesky, will seek to root out and re-crucify any trace of the Dionysian power of life.  He returns, but is again put to death, a repetition of the trauma which conserves the Realm.  In order to preserve the integrity of the herd, this Motley City of the Good and the Just, Jesus must once again travel Calvary to the Cross, to the Stake.  Yet, if Jesus is the Dionysian, and the Christian trajectory is that of a repression and suppression of their mystical founder, we can readily see that this antithesis, this circle of excession and suppression, indicates a situation that abides an incestuous ‘system’ of extremes.  These extremes play off of the other to the tragic effect that the middle, the in-between is erased, swallowed by Kronos, Saturn, time, the castrator of Uranus, the god of eternity.

Yet, time itself must be destroyed if the unhistorical topos of creation is to be set free.

The Overman is to be an alternative existence, alterity, to that faceless ‘system of extremes’ – that are, is, in the end, the Same, each a seeking after the nothing, nihilism.  The death of Jesus, as told by the Christian, is the ultimate fulfillment of the Abrahamic eschatology in that the Son of God becomes the sacrificial lamb.  The son, unlike Isaac, is sacrificed.  Jesus is killed.  No angel saves Jesus in the end.

The metaphysics of the invisible is re-affirmed and completed, as the Father willingly sacrifices His son.  The death of Jesus, as told by a Bacchante, is that of the Dionysian dismemberment of the power of life in the dramatic exposition of these excessive desires of the god of wine, song and dance.  It is a sacrifice that will be repaid as this gift of the rebirth.  This will to destruction is creative in the sense of a first-born attempt – this affirmation, participation amid these overwhelming powers of life, which, with Origen, are independent of meaning.  These first attempts of an affirmation of the extraordinary powers of life lay the ground, clear the space, for the birth of the creator, for the Overman.  Yet, the Overman, with such an imposing designation is simply the Child.  The Child affirms the play of Life without sacrifice, as a gift.

Since the tragic hero is articulated as the Apollonian sublimation, this emergence of the dream image, of the Dionysian power of life, of the surge of musical existence, the Holy Trinity of excession, suppression and sublimation is exposed as a playspace of nihilism. It is the Higher Man who merely sublimates his passions amid a will to creation.  He can bear much, as the camel who can sublimate his passions for a utilitarian end, i.e., the catharsis of the people.  The Christian, this politician of the soul, seeks to suppress these passions and affirmations amidst mortal existence. The Dionysian is built up as a straw man – he is that tragic one who is annihilated by these passions – he no longer laughs.  He becomes a devil who has been trained as a camel.

It is no wonder that the Priests destroyed the second book of Aristotle’s Poetics on Comedy.  Yet, the Comic Hero, the laughing lion, as the second metamorphosis of the Spirit, cannot be the Overman in that he still shoots arrows at princes. The Overman is not the Comic Hero, although he is this voice in the wilderness who prepares the ground for the birth of the Child.  He is the Child who gives birth to himself in each moment.  The Comedian, the great redeemer, who can suddenly turn Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonatas into cartoon Farce, evades this Holy Trinity, he laughs and plays amidst this eruption of Chance.  He plays with Diogenes, but he is not yet a Child.  Lysistrata castrates the old values, but merely in an attempt to achieve mere peace, release, neither to affirm the raging power of life, nor to create new values.  Socrates is a fool who seduces rich families to surrender their young boys to his terrorist training camp.  Pisistratas merely repeats the traumas of the world and earth in Cloud-Cuckoo-Land.  Aristophanes stands laughing, but his destruction does not give a meaning to existence, it does not create novelty under the sun – he merely laughs, scoffs at ‘the new’.

The Overman is the one who finds joy, overcomes himself, creates himself as an affirmation of life, irrespective of project.  That Goal which is set by the Overman is the love of fate, an affirmation of situation without purpose, a situation that is given purpose, meaning, in the act of creation itself.  The Overman is the child, the creator.  Creation is joy, an affirmation of the power of life amid this powerful existence – purpose, meaning, without project.  The Overman apprehends this singular chance, is this chance, he plays this fate.  The Overman is not the Janus-faced god of tragedy or comedy.  He is neither the camel, who can bear much, nor the lion who laughs as he destroys.  The Overman transcends any dramatic or “religious representation” of the Sacred in the polis amid the singularity of his own creation.  He neither suppresses the Dionysian outright as Apollo, nor does he merely sublimate this power into tragedy or comedy, as a scenario of reconciliation of that which is merely the Same.  He is an affirmation of this paradoxical power of life in innocence, irrespective of these late-born half-gods.  There is no need of transgression, suppression, or sublimation as this excession of innocence creates novelty under the sun.  The Overman, as the creator, is indeed that which is newZarathustra’s children.

Revaluation of All Values: The Lifeworld of the Overman

Zarathustra’s children are not destined to be hermits or apes.  The Overman is to be a creator amidst this world.  His creation is a work which will conjure into existence novelty under the sun.  In the playful intimacy of the Child, there will awaken an innocence of becoming.  Yet, this innocence will be confronted by the empty shell, the enduring mask of anarchy – of the Good, Just and True.  As the event of destruction is simultaneously this moment of creation, the task of the Overman, as an event of self-creation, is a topos for and praxis of a revaluation of values.  It is this creative event of the Child that invokes and disseminates new values amidst the world.

Yet, as this is to be an event of self-overcoming, that which is to be created in the moment of destruction is this self in metamorphosis.  It is this great wheel of the body and the All that is to be affirmed amidst its transfigured world – not the higher soul of the Platonist in his suppression of the body and the sensuous world.  It is neither that sub-ject of Descartes of which I am most clear and certain – not an unexamined self, shining in the goodness of monotonotheism, which has purged itself of sensuous error and uncertainty.  In this event of transfiguration, Nietzsche suggests a dangerous perhaps – a radical reversal of this trajectory of nihilism, that destination of the One… A revaluation of values indicates this specific engagement of this Overman – amidst his singular fate in the Lifeworld.  This love of fate plays itself out amidst that destination of the One – awakened inside the matrix of a metaphysics of nothingness.

The transfiguration of the world indicates the simultaneity of destruction and creation amidst this intimate temporality of life. This unhistorical will to power – a “will” that destroys amidst its creation – affirms, in this event, an eternal recurrence of the Same.  In this way, the metamorphoses of the spirit shed new light upon the three perspectives upon History in the Untimely Meditations.  The Antiquarian is the Camel, that one who bears the burden of the past, the bygone, in a repetition of durable values, enduring images, idylls of the world no longer.  The Lion is the critical historical who seeks the radix, that root of Repetition – an engagement with the disciplinary burden of received narrative.  Monumental history intimates this eruption of the innocence of the Child, but as it orients itself to the past, even a higher past, it stands outside of innocence.

The Child is creation amidst this awestruck innocence of blind playfulness.  None of these perspectives upon History, in light of a juxtaposition to this metamorphosis of the Spirit, exist independent of the other modalities of historical perspective.  These perspectives play with each other in a similar way as the three ecstasies of temporality in Heidegger’s The Concept of Time, Being and Time, and in the later lecture on Time and Being.  The three perspectives find their root in the unhistorical, the Child – just as Heidegger (and Kant) discloses the radix in the moment of vision (Augenblick) of an anticipatory resoluteness.  The metamorphoses of the Spirit play with their fate amidst this singular life of a mortal being in the world.  Amidst this predicament of finitude, there is the affirmation of this fate of a great longing.  There is a decision amidst this world of that which will beZarathusta’s Children.

The Antiquarian, the camel, wishes only to preserve the values of that which is in so far as it has been – the situation of life is mystified by preservation – life is suppressed to fit the mold of a domesticated, routine bygone.  The Lion, the critical historian seeks to destroy this array of received values in an event of expenditure.  Its destruction erupts as the destroying of monuments.  Yet, this destruction builds its own monuments, legacies, curses.  It is the Child, on the contrary, who transcends each of these three perspectives – the Child, the transfigured fourth, creates new values in this event of affirmation – this event of the unhistorical situates these three projections, perspectives, amid this Lifeworld of an eternal recurrence of the same.  Although the Child, in its innocent affirmation, does preserve the awesome wonder of life, this is not a burden, but a situation of opening amidst this moment and the joy in the intimation of mystery.

The Child also destroys innocently, not from the motive of an “against” but accidentally in a “for” – the Child exists in freedom and innocence, and while he is given a topos by the Lion, if he is to be the Child, he must, at the limit of his creation, leave the Lion behind – the Child acts intuitively in her  preservation, destruction, creation  – but, does so in an untimely – unhistorical – way.

Zarathustra intimates the innocence of the Child in his awakening to new truths and values that come to him throughout this play of fate.  He himself does not consciously create these truths and values – they seem to come to him as gifts, artifacts of his own engagement in a lifeworld in becoming, found and erected as totems and tables of overcoming.  Yet, as these are gifts and artifacts, he has not willed these new truths and values from the origin, as a conscious execution of an a priori – but, neither does the Child, who in the persuasive novelty of existence, is inexorably there in a state of ceaseless discovery.  The mood of the child is that of wonder and awe, but also of anguish and strife.  The difference between Zarathustra and the Child consists for the most part in the facticity of the severance of the former from childhood.

Zarathustra can only be becoming a child – he is not yet, and may never be a Child.  In this light, Zarathustra, in much of the narrative of his fate, a camel and lion.  Even though destruction is creation, for the Lion, such a creation is never innocent of the spirit of revenge.  Zarathustra is aware of his own distance from the being of the Child as betrayed in his great longing for his own Children.  Perhaps these Children for which he longs are his own greater selves, his own becoming Children.

The Child does not know the conditions for his own awakening into the Open.  For the Child, the past is not a concept of absence, but is his received world.  The Child appropriates being in the event of awakening amidst the Open.  As Brentano expresses, the primordial associations of the past, present and future allow for the ceaseless bleeding into the present and future of that which has been – but is.  The engagement of Zarathustra, on the contrary, in and out of his own lifeworld, implies an awareness of the labyrinth of existence.  As he is on his way, Zarathustra descends into the world with a message to those with ears to hear.  He is compelled to express the possibility of that which is farthest, just as the Sun overflows in the morning to give light and warmth to the Earth.  And, as with the Sun, he would be nothing without for those for whom he shines.  He needs to communicate, he needs to engage the world with his call for an affirmation of the Earth which not only gives the future meaning, but also to all that which has been.  At this moment, he is a camel and lion who creates without an explicit understanding and surreal intimation of the fate of the artwork.

His triumph is retrospective – his task is to prepare the ground, build the dwelling for the Child.  He is to prepare a topos for the Child, for innocence.  Only a Child, amidst his unhistorical gaze upon this random facticity of existence, can innocently cry out “Thus I willed it”.  The transfiguration will be a vision of the meaning of existence from the innocent perspective of the Child.  But, the story does not end until after the last lines of Zarathustra, whereupon one abbreviates the text into a picture of history.

Zarathustra awakens to his first truth after a long sleep – he understands that his clichéd mimicry of a camel, a Preacher for mobs, corpses and flies, does not and cannot serve the chaos in his heart and his great longing for affirmation and creation.  He seeks companions.  Zarathustra seeks to be the honey that does not attract flies, but this one who will follow her own great longing.  Zarathustra takes great pains to attract such followers in his Speeches.  He, as a Lion, visciously attacks the pedestals of nihilism – complacent virtue and authority, doctrines of sleep, death, or the otherworldly.  Zarathustra attacks the state, this destroyer of peoples, calling it the coldest of all cold monsters.  It is an Idol, and the less of it the better.  Yet, just as the exiles from The Birds of Aristophanes find that Cloud Cuckoo Land is infiltrated – merely repeats – this all-too-human simulacrum of power and façade – Zarathustra is afflicted by the shackles of discipleship, implicated in this disciplinary regime of containment, surveillance, and training.  He is a teacher.

Zarathustra revolts against his new truth in his repeated desire to remove himself from those for whom he shines – he returns to his cave, travels to the Blessed Isles, or covertly wanders the Motley City – he comes back to his animals who care for him in his state of convalescence.

Yet, he seeks company for one last time in his cave with the higher men.  But, he repeatedly needs to remove himself from the cave, from his engagement, to get some good air… Zarathustra wishes simply to speak to the stars.  It was his exit from the cave, and his dwelling with his animals with a bronze mask which lights up the event of his return to the earth, his affirmation of himself, and his amor fati.

Zarathustra would have not been capable of the creation of new values as long as he is of this timely circumstance – in the cave with the those who have become pious again.  He lays the ground for an affirmation free of a situation in which past hegemonic truths, worlds, wounds – were not only prime in their lives, but were also questioned and broken, healed.  He seeks ‘good air’, conjures an innocence of becoming.  Zarathustra partakes of this festival, of death, as intimated in ‘The Sign’, closing Thus Spoke Zarathsutra, in which he goes under in a differing way, at one with nature, as the one who dissolves himself amidst this innocence of becoming, the Child.  Perhaps death itself will become a festival, that destruction will be simultaneously a creation.  A mountain has been ascended, but there is a higher mountain still to climb.

Such a fate on the part of Zarathustra is already intimated in his early speeches which were attempts to draw away companions from the mob, from the mass.  Within the horizon of his injunction that we should remain true to the Earth, the Lion, Zarathustra, attacks several prominent edifices of religious, economic and political power.  These verbal attacks, diatribes, as they are not opposed by a vocal antagonist, clear a topos, a playspace for that which came nearest to the creation of a new value.  Yet, many of the “ideas” of these diatribes are nothing new.

They are reflections of the margins and centers of current opinion.  Even the most extreme formulations, such as those concerning women, intimated in the Old Woman and her recommendation of the Whip, can be found in previous texts, one of the most notable being Justine by the Marquis de Sade.  Where Zarathustra comes closest to the creation of a new value is his advocacy of Free Death.  Zarathustra seeks in this advocacy to overcome the prevailing Juridico-Political status and administration of the body and of the so-called individual, administered by the Last Man at the End of History.

That which we do not legally own, and thus, control is our own bodies, our own lives and destinies.  It is in this place of life where our true sub-jection is exposed – we do not have sovereignty over our own bodies, hearts and ‘minds’, but, effectively speaking, rent or lease them from the State, this great Idol.  However, this is a rent which in a quite specific sense need not be paid.  The singular mortal, fated to death, can bring this destiny to a close immediately.  The implicit text of suicide is a sacred sovereignty of the self in its singular Fate.  Though one would hope to live a free, very free life.

The Child must transcend and affirm the spirit of its own topos of creation.  The suicide, at best, hopes for a better world, while the Child lives in innocence.  A corpse, even of a martyr imbued with the spirit of revolt, is not the appropriate monument to the innocent act of the Child in creation.  Such an ultimate gesture and gift is enacted by the Lion – it is the nearest the Lion will ever come to true creation – it remains remote from the scenes of pregnancy and birth, he lies low behind a mask.  However, it is a radical freedom behind the mask of ritual self-sacrifice, of the Lion, which is the topos, the dwelling for an infant creator.  Zarathustra must again descend, go under.  He must still become a Child, a creator amidst an innocence of becoming.  He is not to be merely dead bark floating upon the waters of distress – he will grow wings and fly to that higher mountain.

Zarathustra’s Children

Zarathustra confronts his last temptation when he hears the cry of distress of the higher man.  He is tempted to pity, a “dwarf” which masquerades as the higher man – in many ways, the nothing new which was the content of Zarathustra’s speeches are the words of these higher men – the philosophers, poets, mystics, magicians and priests, remembered as the official history of that which we are.  Zarathustra laments that none of these Lions became a Child – he is seduced to pity.  He is tempted with the idea that if none of these could have individually achieve the innocence of the Child, then perhaps bringing these each together inside his cave, or his philosophy, as suggested by Brandes, could bring about a situation in which free creation could emerge.

Yet, once again Zarathustra is tempted to become the camel and the shepherd for a flock – he is the great artist bringing these variants together into volatile mixtures.  Yet, as each of these mortals is an existential singularity, Zarathustra is tempted to prescribe a virtue of inauthenticity – his pity flies in the face of the truth of the freedom of mortal singularity – even a freedom to be foolish, ignorant, or willfully blind.  Only a fool, only a poet.  The Soothsayer, another agonal drive, tempts Zarathustra to become merely a Higher Man – to be an ass that will bear the latest festive bandwagon of the Mob – even a Mob of Higher Men.  Zarathustra frequently exits his cave, inhabited by these Higher Men, to get some good air under these myriad Stars.

Zarathustra does not seek to become a Higher Man, as it seems to be physiologically impossible.  Nor does he seek vulgarly to Repeat that hier-archial hegemony of Authority and Power in a mon-arche of a Superman over the Higher Men et al.  Zarathustra beckons these Higher Men to come out of the Cave into the Open of Midnight amidst these Stars – to witness Eternity – to become Infants, Children – to fly.

Yet, the prerequisite for an Infant, a Child, is, after all, the Mother – truth, Sophe, a-lethea, is a Woman.  Suppose truth be Woman, what then?  Zarathustra never finds, or has not yet found a Woman with whom he wishes to have Children.  Yet, he loves Eternity, a cosmic woman or women (Life, Soul, Earth, etc.) of great power.  He longs for his Children, but laments his inability to find the Woman with whom he could create the creator.  Woman is an enigma, a riddle – she is also Loyalty, Truth, Life, Virtue… She is Creation – the Source of the Milk of the Stars of the Sky.

But, it seems for Zarathustra, Woman is also an Island of Delos from which he seeks to fly.  Zarathustra, while setting forth the possibility of an innocence of becoming, contains in himself Dionysus and Apollo, amidst a trajectory of tragedy and comedy.  Zarathustra laments his self-destruction and desire for escape which has kept him from the Truth, from Woman, from Life.  Zarathustra is spent – he is sterile, a mere voice in the wilderness – he merely articulates the great longing the Land of his Children.  These are not his physiological progeny but that specific being who has ears to hear.  It is a cry of desperation to the future.

Yet, in the moment of vision in the Open of the Midnight amid the Stars, Zarathustra forgets his great longing, his last temptation, and seeks to become what he is, to stand amidst the singularity of eternity.  He is not concerned with physiological reproduction, but with the creation of his own transfigured self amidst its world.  Woman in the sense of a pot of dirt for the de-positing of the Seed is merely a pathway to inauthenticity, of the niche that merely defers creation to the future, to the next generation.  Zarathustra laments that Woman, this power of creation, has only been betrayed as Birds, Cats, and Cows.

These Goddesses cannot marry Zarathustra in order to produce a progeny of children, nor can they do his work for him in his project of becoming a Child.  As a creator, he must cultivate this womb of being in himself – Zarathustra, like Dionysus and Apollo, must learn and interpret these signs and crafts of Woman – Truth – of this utter enigma of Fertility and Creation – of the Goddesses – as indications of this event of transfiguration that is betrayed in this phenomenology of his own existence.

Zarathustra says that women are birds and cats, or at best cows.  As this pertains to the theme of truth as a woman, and as this statement has been read by some as a repetition of Schopenhauer’s misogyny, it is necessary to examine the topoi to which these references point.  Indeed, Zarathustra’s characterization suggests a genealogy of these types.  For instance, Isis and Maat, depicted as birds were Ancient Egyptian Goddesses of Life, Justice and Thought – Woman as Harmony.  Moon, their Sister, is the great practitioner of Balance for Life on the Earth.  The Sphinx is Woman as Riddle – she is a Cat, a question.

She is the Questioner, and the Lion.  Hathor, and Nut – the Cows – are Woman as sustenance – Givers of All that which is.  Zarathustra wishes to become a Child.  He sees in himself the Bird – Isis or Maat – the mother of Horus or Maat, the goddess of philosophy… Minerva is also a Woman – the camel that would bear much –– to the Lion, this Sphinx, who will place a Question – the cat, the Sphinx, Apollo in Drag, a Riddle, over these protocols of existence.  Woman at her best is the Cow, the Giver of All that which is – as She intimates the Child.  Her breasts give the milk for the stars in the sky, for the mouths of the Children.

Yet, even at her best, as the Cow which chews its cud and pretends to instantly forget, modest in her awesome creation, she is merely portrayed as that which serves – she is not credited with the creation of the child.  She is seen, tasted, touched many-one-sided, held aloft on a pedestal, her legs in stirrups, away from her untruth and ugliness – from existent interactions with men, from sex, menstruation, the pain and filth of birth – a woman should be pretty.

Zarathustra would suggest that compared to this, men, as they are, are insufficient enough to dismiss as potential peers with whom to become equal.  These men are Last Men.  The happy, blinking last man nods his head at the latest slaughter, genocide, omnicide – hidden beneath the skin of a pale criminal, there is no blood.  He needs blood to live, this everlasting sacrifice at the Temple of the Last Man – Robbery, Oil, Gold, Gems, Drugs, Whores – these are only his alibis.

The Last Man is a Vampire, a cannibal – he consumes the Blood and Flesh of Life – wishing that his consumption could eternally remain the same – each blink affirms his own narcissistic solipsism.  He laments his inexorable demise and drowns himself in narcotics, prisons, production and wars.  However, in this dispersion, Woman, however suppressed, distorted, exhibits only traces of that creative act.  We seek truth… we seek Woman.

But, we must, thus, seek the Overwoman.

The Overwoman is that which transcends Woman as servile, one-sided, surface, flower-pot, pretty.  Zarathustra has never found a Woman with whom he loved enough to have children – he loves Eternity.  Zarathustra will never give birth to the Overman in any kind of biological manner.  He does not have the parts.  Nor is he of the “normal” age.  He seeks the Child, but they want to lock him up in an old folks home.  Zarathustra has a long gray beard – he is an old man of the mountain, alarmed by the rising waters of despair which threaten his domain.  He is afflicted by the creeping nausea and suffocation from the bad air of the Higher Men.

Zarathustra, in the absence of a final act, could become an old man upon the sea who consumes his highest desire, his great fish, to return to dry land with only a broken skeleton to show for it.  Yet, it is not mere survival which Zarathustra attempts – he is not a creature of lament , nostalgia, despair – of suicide.  Zarathustra will cross over the bridge in his attempt at the most difficult.  He (if he found a She) may never give birth to an Overman at all.

Zarathustra is not a midwife as was Socrates.  The latter wished to allow the traveler to overcome the sickness of this Life – death being the antidote.  Sacrifice a cock before the dawn.  One must choose death in the face of the Laws – these are the repositories of the Divine in this Life, they are our city walls.  Life itself is of no value.  It is merely a detour, an insurrection against nothingness – a revolt that has failed. For Socrates, the insurrection has failed in that Life itself has been exposed as untruth. [Jesus] and Mohammed, even Siddhartha, concur with Socrates as the ultimate value of Life.  Yet, Zarathustra resists these Teachers.

He instead attempts the most difficult in his affirmation of Life – and calls the bluff of the great Sages, these Higher Men by laughing at their scenarios of escape and denial.  Zarathustra will live it all again – eternally to recur as the Same, but he seeks to complete the ending.  An affirmation, though tainted by his own genealogy, involves a final act – an event of affirmation which retrieves – discovers and invents a meaning for the haphazard and chance operations of his own earthly – mortal – life.  As he stands beneath the firmament of stars, standing as his self amidst Eternity, the bad air of the Higher Men, who have also been called, is blown away by the Winds of the Open.  The final act of Zarathustra is a being lifted up and shown by eternity the abyss which surges underneath.

The goddess Alethea infiltrates the soul of Zarathustra, inscribing the primal incantations for Childbirth.  Zarathustra dreads that which he glimpses, he chokes with nausea upon the snake which eats its own tail.  He is not to be swept up in a scenario of return which gives him a ready-made meaning of life.  Truth is not to serve, to be servile.  The truth, as with the goddess of Childbirth, Alethea, must be dis-covered, earthed – it is a painful process, a struggle to get out into the Open, into the Light.

This moment of affirmation is intimated in the final sentences of Thus Spoke Zarathustra.  He has left the cave and stands amidst those whom he called into the Open – yet, he stands alone amidst Eternity.  He has castigated the Higher man and his face has turned to bronze.  The time of pity for the Higher Man has ended.  Zarathustra is not concerned with happiness, with the long life of the Last Man – he is neither, therefore concerned with suffering.  He declares that he is concerned only with his work, with his creation, but in this final scene, he is at one with the Open, as he has exited the cave and dwells with is friends.

He affirms all, without saying, ‘“Yea!” Well then! The lion came, my children are near.  Zarathustra has ripened, my hour has come: this is my morning, my day is breaking: rise now, rise, thou great noon!’

In his dream at Noon, the world becomes perfect – just now – Zarathustra is a grape, golden, bronze – ripe for the festival of his strange soul. She – eternity – spins the web that will tie together his great affirmation – Penelope’s Web which brings Odysseus back home.  She beckons his soul to lie amid leaves of grass, overflowing with happiness, but chastened not to sing and laugh at this Stillest Hour.  The world has become perfect.  She drinks from the ripe golden wine, Zarathustra becomes drunk, ensnared in the web of Sleep, the goddess who put Zeus to sleep at the bidding of Hera during the Trojan War.  The last temptation of Zarathustra is not his pity for the Higher Men, but of – his own falling asleep amidst this event of affirmation.  Zarathustra resists drinking from the waters of Lethe.  He invites the pain of his task of wakefulness.  But, he is tempted to sleep.

Nietzsche exalts the dice throw of Chance.  It is the Overman, the Child, who can affirm this Chance, this intricate enigma of Life, beyond God and gods – towards that which we all share.  This Child is born through the birth traumas of a Revaluation of All Values.  Amidst the metamorphoses of the Camel into the Lion, and the Lion into the Child, there is myriad unclarity and indistinctness.  The camel is cast aside as the ring-bearer of tradition, of the old law tablets.  The Lion, amidst the revaluation, destroys, but is not yet aware of his own inadvertent creations, he will never be aware.  It is the Child who is born into the topos which is the last gift of the Lion.

The Child picks up the blind creations of the Lion and meets these as found objects, beings of wonder, of innocence.  The Child affirms new values in innocence, finally free of the “against” of the Lion.  Zarathustra is inseminated by Eternity, by the Overwoman – he abides, struggles, endures with this goddess of childbirth, alethea, his midwife, in his final act of self-overcoming, giving birth to his Children.  In an alchemical sense, Zarathustra, through his affirmation, gives birth to himself.

Eternity rends this dread curtain, inaugurates this marriage of light and darkness.  Zarathustra mates with Eternity.  She shoots lightning out from a dark cloud – flying off this edge of that precipice, off that cliff of the mountain.  Zarathustra receives this lightning, he is inseminated by it as a tree on the mountainside.  She disseminates her truth into him, and, with chaos in his heart, he gives birth to dancing stars.  Zarathustra gives birth to himself. Eternity – Overwoman – is the Semen for this new creation.  She flashes herself – her lightning casts this existence into relief – beckons this pregnancy and childbirth of Zarathustra.  Children grow and dance amidst this All – laughter, sorrow, anguish, joy, and more laughter…  Zarathustra plays with his Children…

1 Comment

  1. March 4, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    […] Women do not have as great a need for poetry because their own essence is poetry. […]


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