Friedrich Nietzsche: Thus Spake Zarathustra


"Since I have known the body better"--said Zarathustra to one of his disciples--"the spirit hath only been to me symbolically spirit; and all the 'imperishable'--that is also but a simile."

"So have I heard thee say once before," answered the disciple, "and then thou addedst: 'But the poets lie too much.' Why didst thou say that the poets lie too much?"

"Why?" said Zarathustra. "Thou askest why? I do not belong to those who may be asked after their Why.

Is my experience but of yesterday? It is long ago that I experienced the reasons for mine opinions.

Should I not have to be a cask of memory, if I also wanted to have my reasons with me?

It is already too much for me even to retain mine opinions; and many a bird flieth away.

And sometimes, also, do I find a fugitive creature in my dovecote, which is alien to me, and trembleth when I lay my hand upon it.

But what did Zarathustra once say unto thee? That the poets lie too much? --But Zarathustra also is a poet.

Believest thou that he there spake the truth? Why dost thou believe it?"

The disciple answered: "I believe in Zarathustra." But Zarathustra shook his head and smiled.--

Belief doth not sanctify me, said he, least of all the belief in myself.

But granting that some one did say in all seriousness that the poets lie too much: he was right--WE do lie too much.

We also know too little, and are bad learners: so we are obliged to lie.

And which of us poets hath not adulterated his wine? Many a poisonous hotchpotch hath evolved in our cellars: many an indescribable thing hath there been done.

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