“Thus Spoke Zarathustra” Review and CriticismJune 27, 2021
Nietzsche’s idea that man is a being to be transcended was introduced in what is probably his most famous book, Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
The book was written in three parts between 1883 and 1884, with a fourth chapter added in 1885. The German philosopher uses this to launch a systematic attack on the Western intellectual history. He has three ideas in particular that he chooses to target: the first is about “man” or human nature, the second is about God, and the third is about morality or ethics.
Elsewhere Nietzsche speaks of philosophizing “with the hammer”, where he really did not hesitate to shatter the most sacred views of the Western philosophical tradition, especially those related to these three ideas. He does this with a surprisingly fierce and fiery style; So much so that from time to time the book has turned into prophecy rather than philosophy. It was written so quickly that it took Nietzsche only a few days to get the first chapter on paper. Although Nietzsche’s book does not have the calm, analytical tone that people expect from a philosophy book, Nietzsche nevertheless displays a coherent and very ambitious vision.
The name of Nietzsche’s prophet is the Ancient Persian prophet Zarathushtra. Another name for him is Zoroaster. The book begins by telling Zarathustra that at the age of 30 he went to live in the mountains. Enjoying his solitude on the mountain for ten years, Zarathustra wakes up one morning to realize that he is overwhelmed by the wisdom he has accumulated on the mountain alone, and then decides to go down to the market place to share his wisdom with the rest of humanity.
On his way to town, he encounters an old hermit at the foot of a hill. The two men have met since ten years ago, when Zarathustra first climbed the mountain. The hermit sees that Zarathustra has changed in the last ten years: according to him, Zarathustra was carrying ashes when he ascended the mountain, now he carries fire when descending. The hermit asks Zarathustra a question: “Why do you bother to share your wisdom?” He tells Zarathustra to stay in the mountains and warns that no one will understand his message. This time, Zoroaster asks him a question: What is the hermit doing in the mountains? The hermit says he sings, cries, laughs, hums and gives thanks to God. Hearing this, Zarathustra laughs. Then the hermit wishes him well and continues down the mountain. As he leaves, he tells himself: “How is this possible? This old hermit has not yet heard of God’s death.”
The idea of the death of God is perhaps the most famous of Nietzsche’s ideas and is closely related to the idea that man is a being to be transcended and Nietzsche’s different morality. The relationship between them becomes more apparent as Zarathustra’s story progresses. When Zarathustra arrives in town, he encounters a crowd gathered around a tightrope walker who is about to take the stage and mingles with them. Before the tightrope walker could walk on the tightrope, he stood in front of him and said, “Stop! I’m going to teach you the Superman!” says. And he begins to explain the true point he wants to convey to the crowd: “Man is a being to be overcome…” After this, Zarathustra makes a long speech, but when he comes to the end, the crowd just laughs at him. They thought it was an overture performer performing before another performer or tightrope walker. Starting his book with this extraordinary introduction, Nietzsche seems to be avoiding his own anxieties about the backlash of his philosophy and about being seen as a philosophical demonstrator who has nothing to say in reality. If we do not want to fall into the same mistake that the crowd gathered around Zarathustra, and if we really want to understand what Nietzsche is saying, it is useful to get to the core of Nietzsche’s beliefs.
Nietzsche believes that certain concepts are made inextricably confused. These concepts are human being, morality and God. By having his character say to Zoroaster that God is dead, he not only launched an attack on religion, he did something bolder. “God” here is not just the god that philosophers talk about or pray about, but all of the higher values we stand for. The death of God is not only the death of God, but also the death of those high values we have inherited. One of the main aims of Nietzsche’s philosophy is an attempt to question the ways of thinking we are accustomed to about ethics and the meaning and purpose of life, which he calls the “revaluation of all values”. Nietzsche repeatedly reiterates that by doing this, he started a festive philosophy that did not seek to justify life, although it overturned everything we have ever thought of good and evil. He argues that many of the things we think are “good” are actually ways of limiting life or turning away from it. We may think it’s not “good” to consider ourselves dumb in public, and so we resist the urge to playfully dance in the streets. We may think that the desires of the flesh are sin, and when these desires awaken, we punish ourselves. when we need