Title: Thus Spoke Zarathustra:
A Book for None and All
Author: Friedrich Nietzsche
Translator: Walter Kaufmann
Rating: 1.5 of 5
Last year I read the excellent The Tweetable Nietzsche by C. Ivan Spencer to get a basic overview of Nietzsche’s thoughts, and I decided to follow it up this year by reading one of his actual works…not because I was expecting to enjoy it or agree with it (after all, he’s known for despising/mocking Christian morality), but because I like to try to understand what other people believe by hearing/reading it in their own words.
There’s way too much going on here to give any kind of in-depth review on a single reading, so I’m not going to try. It covers concepts like the overman, the will to power, beyond good and evil, nausea, and eternal recurrence. The presentation of the ideas by “Zarathustra the godless” is snarky, melodramatic, and convoluted. Overall, it kind of reminded me of of a couple Bible passages…
Much of it seemed to be a slight reworking of
“…God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5 – the Serpent)
Other parts felt like disillusioned King Solomon: ”
All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
No one remembers the former generations,
and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow them. (Ecclesiastes 1:8-11 …and I suppose a fitting end to this review)