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Chapter I. The Three Metamorphoses.

This opening discourse is a parable in which Zarathustra discloses the mental development of all creators of new values. It is the story of a life which reaches its consummation in attaining to a second ingenuousness or in returning to childhood. Nietzsche, the supposed anarchist, here plainly disclaims all relationship whatever to anarchy, for he shows us that only by bearing the burdens of the existing law and submitting to it patiently, as the camel submits to being laden, does the free spirit acquire that ascendancy over tradition which enables him to meet and master the dragon "Thou shalt,"--the dragon with the values of a thousand years glittering on its scales. There are two lessons in this discourse: first, that in order to create one must be as a little child; secondly, that it is only through existing law and order that one attains to that height from which new law and new order may be promulgated.

Chapter II. The Academic Chairs of Virtue.

Almost the whole of this is quite comprehensible. It is a discourse against all those who confound virtue with tameness and smug ease, and who regard as virtuous only that which promotes security and tends to deepen sleep.

Chapter IV. The Despisers of the Body.

Here Zarathustra gives names to the intellect and the instincts; he calls the one "the little sagacity" and the latter "the big sagacity." Schopenhauer's teaching concerning the intellect is fully endorsed here. "An instrument of thy body is also thy little sagacity, my brother, which thou callest 'spirit,'" says Zarathustra. From beginning to end it is a warning to those who would think too lightly of the instincts and unduly exalt the intellect and its derivatives: Reason and Understanding.

Chapter IX. The Preachers of Death.

This is an analysis of the psychology of all those who have the "evil eye" and are pessimists by virtue of their constitutions.

Chapter XV. The Thousand and One Goals.

In this discourse Zarathustra opens his exposition of the doctrine of relativity in morality, and declares all morality to be a mere means to power. Needless to say that verses 9, 10, 11, and 12 refer to the Greeks, the Persians, the Jews, and the Germans respectively. In the penultimate verse he makes known his discovery concerning the root of modern Nihilism and indifference,--i.e., that modern man has no goal, no aim, no ideals (see Note A).

Chapter XVIII. Old and Young Women.

Nietzsche's views on women have either to be loved at first sight or they become perhaps the greatest obstacle in the way of those who otherwise would be inclined to accept his philosophy. Women especially, of course, have been taught to dislike them, because it has been rumoured that his views are unfriendly to themselves. Now, to my mind, all this is pure misunderstanding and error.

German philosophers, thanks to Schopenhauer, have earned rather a bad name for their views on women. It is almost impossible for one of them to write a line on the subject, however kindly he may do so, without being suspected of wishing to open a crusade against the fair sex. Despite the fact, therefore, that all Nietzsche's views in this respect were dictated to him by the profoundest love; despite Zarathustra's reservation in this discourse, that "with women nothing (that can be said) is impossible," and in the face of other overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Nietzsche is universally reported to have mis son pied dans le plat, where the female sex is concerned. And what is the fundamental doctrine which has given rise to so much bitterness and aversion?--Merely this: that the sexes are at bottom ANTAGONISTIC--that is to say, as different as blue is from yellow, and that the best possible means of rearing anything approaching a desirable race is to preserve and to foster this profound hostility. What Nietzsche strives to combat and to overthrow is the modern democratic tendency which is slowly labouring to level all things--even the sexes. His quarrel is not with women--what indeed could be more undignified?--it is with those who would destroy the natural relationship between the sexes, by modifying either the one or the other with a view to making them more alike. The human world is just as dependent upon women's powers as upon men's. It is women's strongest and most valuable instincts which help to determine who are to be the fathers of the next generation. By destroying these particular instincts, that is to say by attempting to masculinise woman, and to feminise men, we jeopardise the future of our people. The general democratic movement of modern times, in its frantic struggle to mitigate all differences, is now invading even the world of sex. It is against this movement that Nietzsche raises his voice; he would have woman become ever more woman and man become ever more man. Only thus, and he is undoubtedly right, can their combined instincts lead to the excellence of humanity. Regarded in this light, all his views on woman appear not only necessary but just (see Note on Chapter LVI., par. 21.)

It is interesting to observe that the last line of the discourse, which has so frequently been used by women as a weapon against Nietzsche's views concerning them, was suggested to Nietzsche by a woman (see "Das Leben F. Nietzsche's").

Chapter XXI. Voluntary Death.

In regard to this discourse, I should only like to point out that Nietzsche had a particular aversion to the word "suicide"--self-murder. He disliked the evil it suggested, and in rechristening the act Voluntary Death, i.e., the death that comes from no other hand than one's own, he was desirous of elevating it to the position it held in classical antiquity (see Aphorism 36 in "The Twilight of the Idols").

Chapter XXII. The Bestowing Virtue.

An important aspect of Nietzsche's philosophy is brought to light in this discourse. His teaching, as is well known, places the Aristotelian man of spirit, above all others in the natural divisions of man. The man with overflowing strength, both of mind and body, who must discharge this strength or perish, is the Nietzschean ideal. To such a man, giving from his overflow becomes a necessity; bestowing develops into a means of existence, and this is the only giving, the only charity, that Nietzsche recognises. In paragraph 3 of the discourse, we read Zarathustra's healthy exhortation to his disciples to become independent thinkers and to find themselves before they learn any more from him (see Notes on Chapters LVI., par. 5, and LXXIII., pars. 10, 11).


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