Zarathustra’s Prologue: 5
The Ultimate Man is explained here, this is extremely valuable.
There are four questions the last man asks.
- What is love?
- What is creation?
- What is longing?
- What is a star?
And he blinks.
There is a great explanation by Joseph Campbell about the aspect of the Hindu deity Brahma, the creator god, and the Brahman, the Absolute Reality, that I am going to paraphrase here (Mythos Part 2 Episode Three I believe).
Brahma sits on a lotus that is all of creation and he blinks. This blinking is a symbol for the On and the Off, Open and Close, Creation and Destruction. Considering Nietzsche’s broad understanding of Hinduism, I believe this is a reference to that.
Why does he make such references? Self-empowerment, or The Will to Power. Like Brahma blinks for the on and off of all of creation, so does the Ultimate Man, for himself and his creation. He is the jewel in the lotus. This is the central idea of Existentialism centered on a strong understanding of self-empowerment, not whimsical degradation that is an effect of stark nihilism.
“Formerly all the world was mad,’ say the most refined, and blinks.”
In this section, there is a common aphorism that I don’t think gets used with a full understanding of what it means when it is used out of context. In context, or with understanding, it is grand.
“I say unto you: you must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in you.”
Part 6 and 7
Part six offers strong statements for atheism and existentialism which are very obvious.
The death of tightrope walker is caused by the jester which is likened to the devil, and in part seven Zarathustra says – “Humankind is uncanny and still without meaning: a jester can become man’s fatality.” The tightrope walker’s acceptance of his fate is valued by Zarathustra, and Nietzsche intended to give praise to those that risk their life and can relish in the fact that there is no afterlife and no devil. Overcoming this fear of death and wish for an afterlife is a source of The Will to Power. This will come again and again throughout the book.
The jester warns Zarathustra of the people’s hatred of him, the danger of his teachings is more dangerous than the symbolic devil. There are some interesting strings of ideas in this part. The corpse as a roast, the tightrope walker as a dead dog, Zarathustra as a thief but not as good as the devil.
Zarathustra puts the corpse into the hollow tree. Symbolically, he puts his first companion/disciple in the hollow of the World Tree, so that his corpse is sheltered in the hub of existence. This is also an obvious break in tradition with burial or burning.
As a truth-seeking philosopher, Nietzsche could not leave any stone unturned. Consider.
“Behold believers of all faiths! Whom do they hate most? The one that breaks their table of values, the breaker, the lawbreaker; yet he is the creator.”
Zarathustra’s animals come in search for him. The point is made about how the serpent grips the eagle like a friend, not an enemy. This is most relevant, not just because of Christianity, but all religions. There is a common connection throughout human history and religion/myth that shows a shifting relationship between the snake and the eagle. “And when my wisdom leaves me one day – alas, it loves to fly away — let my pride fly away with my folly.”