by D. Ohmans


Table of Contents

The Problem
The Method
The Fear
The Beauty



     In Ecce Homo, Nietzsche wrote that even the great
heroes of antiquity would be unfit to unfasten his
Zarathustra's sandals(1). Thomas Mann, on the other hand,
believed that Zarathustra was often "an unman hovering on
the border of the ridiculous"(2). I do not know whose
opinion is less reasonable. Nevertheless, Thus Spoke
Zarathustra has been for me the beginning and foundation
of my intellectual life.

The Problem

     In the Prologue to Nietzsche's Thus Spoke
Zarathustra, Zarathustra declares, "Man is a rope, tied
between beast and overman--a rope over an abyss"(3). Man
is the rope; men, tightrope dancers, are to dare to cross
the abyss and realize their potentials or fall.
Zarathustra, Nietzsche's ego-ideal, is to show them the
way and thereby mend the rift between good and evil
opened by the Persian prophet Zoroaster. The rest of the
book is an epic poem of Zarathustra's encounters with the
idols and demons of nineteenth century social thought.
Underlying Zarathustra's teachings as the book progresses
is his own coming to full consciousness, culminating in
his affirmation of life in the face of "eternal
     As a radical critic of bourgeois values, Nietzsche
(as Zarathustra) assumes that men are not what they could
be. As a psychologist, an individualist, and an elitist,
he proposes that great men must transform themselves
before society can become healthy and vital. On the
question of whether society as a whole can ever improve
itself, Nietzsche is ambiguous. He criticizes the masses
and goads them upwards, but goes on to view them as
merely the ground from which "the artist, the
philosopher, and the saint" can spring.
     We will leave the question of social change till the
end and talk mainly in this paper of how the
extraordinary individual can transform himself. In
reality, the two poles cannot be so easily separated.
Zarathustra says, "Verily (wahrlich), my friends, I walk
among men as among the fragments and limbs of men. This
is what is terrible for my eyes, that I find man in ruins
and scattered as over a battlefield or a
butcher-field"(4). Nietzsche's biography is reflected in
his philosophy: perhaps we can attribute many of the
terrible tensions felt by Nietzsche and expressed in
Zarathustra to Nietzsche's idea that the few can, so to
speak, overcome themselves and leave the many behind.
     The assumption upon which education, as opposed to
mere socialization, is based is that men have unrealized
potentials which can be liberated. Nietzsche sees this as
the distinguishing characteristic of man, that he is
alienated from the world. "The earth", says Zarathustra,
"has a skin, and this skin has diseases. One of these
diseases is called 'man'"(5). Nietzsche is speaking of
man in society, and he assumes that there are
possibilities beyond this poor repressed creature.
Zarathustra says, "The world is deep - and deeper than
day had ever been aware"(6) and "the heart of the earth
is of gold"(7). As we shall see later, Nietzsche will at
times talk interchangeably of the world and of the whole
man, because the world is for him a "self" as much as is
the body-self.
     But why is it that man is less than he could be? Let
us leave Nietzsche for the moment, and talk about aspects
of consciousness. Consciousness is usually seen as
resulting from the withdrawal of projections from the
world. The "primitive mind" is apparently one in which
the world of nature is understood in dramatic, human
images, and is mythologized. This kind of symbolization
of reality does not notably alienate men from nature;
they see themselves in nature as part of a living whole.
But when social groups attempted more and more to
manipulate the environment, a different kind of symbolic
function came into being. Symbols had to become static
rather than dynamic, and their inter-relations had to
mirror the structure of technology rather than the
inherent structure of the mind.  By virtue of learning to
say "I do 'x' to the world," man lost his magical ability
to be one with the world.
     Carl Jung says of consciousness, "If one reflects
upon what consciousness really is, one is deeply
impressed by the extremely wonderful fact that an event
which occurs within the cosmos produces simultaneously an
inner image; thus it also occurs within, so to speak: in
other words, it becomes conscious"(8). His statement
might be faulted, for he seems to imply that the mind
does no more than reproduce "outer events" in microcosm.
But his statement does illustrate the split which has
developed in our thinking between the "inner" and the
"outer." This split underlies many other dualities. If we
take, for example, the conception that evil is using
others as means rather than ends, we find that our
ability to manipulate symbols and thereby reality is the
basis of our ability to do evil. "Once the fissure into
self and ego, inner and outer, good and bad occurs, all
else is an infernal dance of false dualities"(9).
     It is argued that consciousness is a symbolizing
process of the mind which comes about when projections
are withdrawn from the environment in order to manipulate
it. As such, it represents man's differentiation of
himself from his environment and from other men. We are
left with the more difficult task of describing the
nature of the "unconscious." It is, however, impossible
to formulate any precise concept of the unconscious by
virtue of its being, by definition, not a conscious
phenomenon. "Freud states repeatedly that, in the last
analysis, the 'real' nature of the unconscious process is
a 'shrouded secret', 'unknowable'; it is...'something...
of which we are totally unable to form a
conception'"(10). Freud approached the problem by
analyzing the manifestations of the unconscious in
behavior, and in such phenomena as dreams and memories,
Poets such as Baudelaire have captured the sense of the
existence of the unconscious and the nature of the
experiences it produces:

     "When to a cherished cat my gaze
     Is magnet-drawn and then returns
     Back to itself, it there discerns,
     With strange excitement and amaze,

     Deep down in my own self, the rays
     Of living opals, torch-like gleams
     And pallid fire of eyes, it seems
     That fixedly return my gaze"(11).

     If consciousness represents man's potential for
autonomy, perhaps we can say that the unconscious
represents his potential for relatedness. By this I mean
that the unconscious is that part of the self which in
some sense "understands" the interrelations of the self
with its environment, including other selves. Because
most of behavior and thought is forced into the more
restricted mold of consciousness, we can see the
unconscious as representing potential energy for the
self, but energy which can only be liberated if the
unconscious is integrated somehow with our conscious
understanding. The problem, then, and one with which
Nietzsche dealt in Zarathustra, is to bring our whole
selves into consciousness, or rather to integrate our
consciousness and the unconscious. A first step might be
to develop an understanding of how we are related to our
environment and how we are autonomous persons.
     Freud's theoretical compartmentalization of the mind
into id, ego, and super-ego is a useful tool for
describing all kinds of behavior in similar terms, but I
think it creates certain misunderstandings. Freud himself
was no victim of the "hidden reality fallacy" of which
Fingarette speaks, but his interpreters sometimes assume
that the unconscious "segment" of the mind is much like
the conscious, only hidden or repressed from view. Thus,
they fail to appreciate the possibilities for radically
new kinds of experience based on the discovery of
qualitatively different aspects of the mind. Secondly, a
mechanistic or perhaps hydraulic model of the mind is
unsatisfactory because it does not deal with experience
in its primary terms, that is, experience as a continual
and unified phenomenon rooted in the body and, in turn,
in the environment. If "theory is the articulated vision
of experience"(12), a theory whose elements are terms
corresponding to concrete aspects of experience (e.g.
"perception or "body" rather than "super-ego" or
"secondary process") might be more satisfactory than one
with very abstract primary terms.
     A major difficulty and confusion in developing any
personality theory is the question of the "inner" and the
"outer." We have touched on it above, but in the next
section I will use Zarathustra to more precisely
illustrate the distinction.

The Method

     Our intuition is that our "selves", that which we
mean when we say "I", lie somewhere within our bodies, or
perhaps correspond with our bodies. The "ego" of
consciousness we usually feel to be within our bodies,
looking out upon the "outside" world. That which links
the "inner" self with the "outer" world is felt to be our
five senses and the mentation function which coordinates
and interprets them. The Buddhist doctrine of
enlightenment, according to Fingarette, is that "What we
have to do is to so purify the mind that the six aspects
of consciousness (sight,sound, smell, taste, touch,
mentation) in passing through their six sense-gates will
neither be defiled by nor attached to their six
sense-objects"(12) Here a "self" is assumed which lies
behind even the mentating ego, a self which can and
should be experienced directly. Nietzsche suggests the
same conception, when Zarathustra says, "Instruments and
toys are sense and spirit; behind them still lies the
self. The self also seeks with the eyes of the senses; it
also listens with the ears of the spirit"(13).
     However, when we try to understand dreams or even
reflection by this model of the "little man" behind the
senses peering out at the world through them, the model
breaks down. Again, we understand more clearly if we do
not fragment our model into discrete abstract elements;
if we do, we are conceptualizing only the processes of
our conscious ego and not those of our whole self.
Quentin Lauer describes the phenomenologist's idea of
consciousness as "the kind of being an object of
knowledge has in being known"(14), and this conception
seems to be a more useful one. First, it enables us to
understand perceiver, perception, and perceived as an
inseparable organic unity. Second, we can see how both
conscious and unconscious mental processes can enter into
determining the nature of our experience. Finally, the
implication is that we can endow the world and thereby
ourselves with a different kind of being (that is, Being)
if we can "know" its objects with our whole selves. We
can become conscious of our (so far) unconscious energies
based on our rootedness in the "outer" world, this
through "knowing" the outer world fully and openly rather
than schematically and "objectively."
     Nietzsche knew that we can discover our selves by
discovering and "knowing" the world. At one point,
"Zarathustra looked into the woods and the silence;
amazed, he looked into himself"(15). Throughout
Zarathustra as throughout all poetry, the "inner" and the
"outer" are in effect interchangeable: external events
are psychic events, and vice versa. More precisely,
Nietzsche is writing of the "inner" world; the "outer"
world is the world of objective and reified experience,
"conscious" experience in the narrow sense. "Perception,
imagination, fantasy, reverie, dreams, memory are simply
different 'modalities of experience,' none more 'inner'
or 'outer' than any other.... The 'inner' then, is our
personal idiom of experiencing our bodies, other people,
the animate and inanimate world"(16).
     In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche repeatedly
stresses the importance of sensory experience in
"self-overcoming." "Do I counsel you to slay your
senses?" asks Zarathustra. "I counsel the innocence of
the senses"(17). "Wake and listen, you that are lonely!
From the future come winds with secret wing-beats; and
good tidings are proclaimed to delicate ears"(18).
Nietzsche felt that through his openness to nature, the
overman discovers the tremendous energies of his
     In Zarathustra, Nietzsche finds meaningful metaphors
for psychic phenomena in all of nature. Zarathustra moves
from high mountains to deep valleys, crosses bridges over
gaping abysses, meets with his animals and his disciples
in a cave, wanders up rocky paths and across scorched
deserts: the features of the geography all suggest
psychological attitudes toward the world, much as in
dramatic backdrops. Weather too is personalized;
Zarathustra moves sometimes under a dark cloud, sometimes
under the burning sun, sometimes over icy wastelands.
Natural cycles such as that of the seasons and of night
and day are also used to create a corresponding inner
attitude. The metaphors are not all visual; for example,
the sounds of animals, birds, and storms are experienced
by Zarathustra as highly personal, almost as guideposts
in his movement to consciousness.
     Zarathustra is an allegory which teaches that man
discovers himself in nature. The assumption behind
allegory and parable is not that man is a scientist who
objectifies and manipulates his environment, but rather
that man is an organic part of the world who is educated
directly by the events which touch him. Zarathustra says,
"Watch for every hour, my brothers, in which your spirit
wants to speak in parables: there lies the origin of your
virtue. There your body is elevated and resurrected; with
its rapture it delights the spirit so that it turns
creator and esteemer and lover and benefactor of all
     We have been developing without explicitly stating
a kind of dual conception to correct the "common sense"
notion of "inner" and "outer" as divided by the surface
of the body. To be sure, the body exists, and can be
thought of as a form of real and natural property.
Ordinarily, we control our bodies, and need not
appropriate our bodies from collective "possessions", as
is the case with other property. One very natural
conception of the self is that of my self as my body.
When we appreciate that, biologically at least, our
"minds" (nervous systems) coincide with our bodies, the
conception of the body-self is even more appealing.
     But by virtue of our senses, and the conscious and
unconscious aspects of our minds as I have presented
them, we are led to a second conception of the self as
world. "World" in this case is all the reality that we
know, that we perceive, that we remember, that we dream,
that we inherit. An interpreter of Hegel writes, "To be
fully conscious of self is to be fully conscious of all
reality, since the ultimate self is all reality"(20).
This "ultimate self" that we vaguely intuit, omniscient
and therefore omnipotent, is what we mean by God. And
perhaps Nietzsche, when he proclaimed that "God is dead,"
meant that men by misunderstanding their potential
relation to the world have divorced themselves from their
unconscious natures and have thrown away a source of
mystery and depth in life. His remedy was to ask the
overman to rediscover himself and the world, that is, to
rediscover God.
     But how does one "rediscover the world" through
sensory perception? One must do more than simply "see the
world," "hear the world," and so on. Nietzsche wanted the
senses to be "integrated", and this is a prerequisite for
all creativity. Our five or six senses are but partial
and incomplete perspectives on the same reality. Between
our visual, our audial, and our tactile perceptions of
the same object are huge "spaces," so to speak. The task
of creative thought is perhaps to guess and suggest the
continuous Being we experience from the discontinuous
perspectives of each sense organ. Zarathustra asks, "Must
one smash their ears before they learn to listen with
their eyes?"(21)
     The overlapping and integration of sensory
experience is a characteristic of all forms of art.
Nietzsche in fact said of Zarathustra, "Perhaps the whole
of Zarathustra may be classified as music - I am sure
that one of the conditions of its production was a
renaissance in me of the art of hearing"(22). He felt
that it is important to develop and integrate all the
senses; one of the parables in Zarathustra mocks a
"tremendous ear attached to a small, thin stalk...a inverse cripple who had too little of
everything and too much of one thing"(23).
     Allegory bridges the gap between the body-self and
the world-self. But we can tentatively move further than
this and say that all symbolization serves this function.
That is, all aesthetic symbolization has both a conscious
and an unconscious aspect. Language just as music can
work to reintroduce man to the world. Nietzsche
adumbrates the Biblical "Let there be light" when he
writes, "For in darkness...the words and word-shrines of
all being open up before me: here all being wishes to
become word, all becoming wishes to learn from me how to
speak"(24). He has Zarathustra proclaim: "Have not names
and sounds been given to things that man might find
things refreshing? Speaking is a beautiful folly: with
that man dances over all things. How lovely is all
talking, and all the deception of sounds!
With sounds our love dances on many-hued rainbows"(25).

The Fear

     In the next two sections I wish to talk about the
ups and downs of self-discovery. At one extreme is
enlightenment, at the other, madness. The problem I have
chosen to discuss in this paper isn't merely an abstract
one: bringing the unconscious into awareness involves
living and changing; Nietzsche's continual references to
the "abyss" (die Tiefe) are autobiographical rather than
     Freud spoke of Eros and Thanatos, and suggested that
existence is literally a life-and-death struggle. Through
identifying only with the schematic, conscious aspect of
our minds, it is possible to avoid facing the dangers of
knowing ourselves. Brecht:

     "I fled from the tigers.
     I fled from the fleas.
     What got me at last?

     Nietzsche seems to say that all possibilities for
human greatness in life, and indeed for true human
happiness, stem from the willingness and courage to face
the unknown, in this case to know the unconscious.
Zarathustra says, "One must still have chaos in oneself
to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto
you: you still have chaos in yourselves"(26). Our
conscious awareness organizes and simplifies our
perceptions in order to derive meaning from them, and the
ground rules for the building of this system are imposed
by society. Insofar as one "shakes loose" from the
restrictive controls of society, he faces what Fingarette
calls 'ego-disintegration." Fingarette says that this is
the same as anxiety: "I hold that anxiety is the other
face of ego. It is not primarily an affect, one among
many affects, which the ego must master; rather, it is
ego-disintegration"(27). I would add that the fear of
"ego-disintegration" is the same as the fear of dying. If
this is true, the broadening of our consciousness to
include our unconscious knowledge would make dying simply
the termination of our individual selves, rather than
something to be awaited in anxious terror.
     The fact remains that we fear to lose the conscious
systems which sustain us and seem to solidly ground our
thinking. "Do you know the fright of him who falls
asleep?" asks Zarathustra. "He is frightened down to his
very toes because the ground gives under him and the
dream begins"(28). In other words, we experience Laing's
"ontological insecurity" when the unconscious aspects of
our minds begin to make themselves felt. Nietzsche
believed that it is neither the unconscious nor the
conscious functions of the mind in themselves which hold
the terrors which the overman must face, but rather that
the disjunction between the two is fearful. He writes,
"Not the height but the precipice is terrible. That
precipice where the glance plunges down and the hand
reaches up. There the heart becomes giddy confronted with
its double will"(29). But the integration of the
conscious and the unconscious, of light and dark, must
occur if our experience is to be liberated. Our conscious
awareness allows us to function autonomously, but this
autonomy is only isolation unless we open ourselves to
the world.
     Freud and his successors often theorize about the
"return of the repressed" to consciousness. Nietzsche,
who preceded Freud, dealt in Zarathustra with the same
phenomenon. Says Zarathustra: "My past burst its tombs;
many a pain that had been buried alive awoke, having
merely slept, hidden in burial shrouds"(30). Thus,
"ego-disintegration" is evidently not just amorphous
anxiety, but a restructuring of the mind into "new"
patterns, sometimes into the patterns of old fears. It is
paradoxical that one might "advance"in consciousness by
returning, at least temporarily, to previous
perspectives, but this is precisely the discovery of
     When the static structures of a restrictive
consciousness break down, life becomes less automatic and
more difficult, but this difficulty is the price that we
pay for the opening of new possibilities. "Is not
everything in flux now?" asks Zarathustra. "Have not all
railings and bridges fallen into the water"(31). One of
the new possibilities is madness, which I cannot attempt
here to define. Laing seems to come close to providing a
suggestion of its nature; he says, "When a person goes
mad, a profound transposition of his place in relation to
all domains of being occurs. His center of experience
moves from ego to self. Mundane time becomes merely
anecdotal, only the eternal matters. The madman is,
however confused, He muddles ego with self, inner with
outer, natural and supernatural"(32). The important thing
to note here is that the experience of madness is not the
experience of meaninglessness. Rather, it is the
experience of the breakdown of old meaning schemes by new
experience and the subsequent confused attempt to
understand the new in old ways. But if, for example, we
are not free, it is improbable that we could understand
our first experiences of freedom in the old terms of our
unfreedom. Similarly, if our consciousness is to broaden,
we cannot expect to understand our "greater" or new
selves in the terms of our "lesser" or old selves. At the
very root of the meaning of Nietzsche's "self-overcoming"
is the idea that we must venture into the unknown!
Kafka's traveller says, "the journey is so long that I
must die of hunger if I don't get anything on the way. No
provisions can save me"(33).
     Nietzsche's interpreters make much of his "will to
power." But they often take this concept out of its
context. Nietzsche is not talking about the authoritarian
personality who, through his objectification and
manipulation of his environment, controls and
"overpowers" it. Rather, he is speaking of will as that
mysterious faculty through which the individual affirms
his autonomy, even as he is open to the world.
"Possession" by the unconscious is fearful because it
forbodes dying itself: the individual is tempted to
renounce his separation from the environment, and discard
the limits of his body-self. Once one begins to renounce
the static patterns of an alienated consciousness, a
continual willing becomes a necessity for survival
itself. But the individual, now conscious, is also free.
"Willing liberates: that is the true teaching of will and
liberty - thus Zarathustra teaches it"(34).
     We have seen some of the fears involved in
self-realization as the individual discovers the world
and himself. But "the world" is of course not only the
realm of nature; there is also the social realm.
Nietzsche was never able to resolve the problem of how
the individual open to the world is able to live in a
repressive society that is subtly or openly violent.
Nietzsche comes to adopt intense suffering as a necessity
and even a moral virtue, and his life ends in insanity.
Janko Lavrin reads in Nietzsche "the history of a
personal Golgotha up to the very moment of
self-crucifixion." But unlike Christ, Nietzsche sometimes
seems to distort his philosophy into a bitter polemic
against the "rabble," and from these tendencies the
fascists gleaned their "validation." What Nietzsche wrote
of the petty bourgeoisie a century ago might be written
today by many radicals: "What you have done to me is more
evil than any murder of human beings; you have taken from
me the irretrievable: thus I speak to you, my enemies.
For you murdered the visions and dearest wonders of my
     The danger of fascism is a real one for the overman,
for he has power over lesser men ("it rings in their ears
like praise when somebody talks straight to all
things")(37) but is utterly lonely because of the
differences from them. In the context of psychotherapy,
the psychiatrist Gitelson wrote, "The sense that one is
in tune' with the patient may be a mark of empathy. But
one must be cautious as to what is the subjective reality
represented by such 'liking' and 'resonance.'
Narcissistic identification and narcissistic infatuation
may also produce 'resonance' feelings"(38). In his desire
to feel a sense of "community" with other men, the
overman may lead or join a totalitarian movement. Perhaps
we can say that unconscious energies, the feelings of
relation with the world, can be discovered in a
mechanical order of society as well as in the harmony of
nature. When this happens, one is much like the madman
who imposes his old meaning schemes on new kinds of

The Beauty

     We have just seen some of the ways in which self-
realization can be a fearful experience, Dostoyevsky's
"underground mann tells us, "I swear, gentlemen, that to
be too conscious is an illness - a real thoroughgoing
illness"(39). Dostoyevsky's underground man "knows
himself," but this knowledge does not transform him or
set him free. But he understands himself insofar as he
understands society (and vice versa); unlike Zarathustra,
he is not open to nature.
     One of the most far-reaching differences between the
self-knowledge we gain from society and that we gain from
nature lies in our understanding of time. Society, as the
expression of technology (or the projection of ego)
depends on thought rooted in linear time. The effect of
natural cycles on our thought and behavior is minimized
by technology, which is itself based on linear principles
of cause and effect. We cannot understand Nietzsche's
"myth of eternal recurrence" because it breaks free of
these linear assumptions about time. Zarathustra's final
acceptance of eternal recurrence is the climax of Thus
Spoke Zarathustra, and in fact the main stimulus for
Nietzsche to write the book was a sudden insight (or
revelation) about eternal recurrence.
     We may move toward a better understanding of time if
we listen to Kafka's discussion of Paradise: "The
expulsion from Paradise is in its main significance
eternal: consequently the expulsion from Paradise is
final, and life in this world irrevocable, but the
eternal nature of the occurrence (or, temporally
expressed, the eternal recapitulation of the occurrence)
makes it nevertheless possible that not only could we
live continuously in Paradise, but that we are
continuously there in actual fact, whether we know it
here or not"(40).
     All of this becomes a little clearer if we cease
trying to understand time as we have learned to from our
clocks. Time is not "outside" of us, and it is not the
passing of "minutes," one after another, forever. Rather,
time is for humans an all-encompassing mode of the mind
for organizing reality. Fingarette writes. "The
not in phenomenal time, the 'subjective' time-order; it
is a source of the order of (subjective) time"(41). When
we experience the unconscious, in dreams or perhaps
psychosis, we realize that the time-order, like every
other order of the mind, can become confused or seem to
disappear entirely.
     The concept of "timelessness" often appears in
mystical thought, and perhaps expresses the way that time
is experienced by one who has incorporated his
unconscious potentials for relatedness into his self.
Fingarette says, "Time, for the enlightened one, becomes
light, indeed transparent; for the unenlightened it is
often confused, always a burden"(42). Nietzsche writes
that the "gateway...'Moment'" lies between the two
eternities that "contradict each other eternally"(43),
and perhaps he would describe the fall from paradise as
man's loss of his ability to apprehend the Moment.
     The Moment is an edge, an opening from normal time
into timeless space, we might say into Heaven and Hell.
In Kafka's sense, it is always with us or we are always
in it, but we can rarely be aware of it. Sometimes,
however, when we know the world and ourselves, we sense
that at the horizon is a subtle, impossible "opening"
into timelessness. At such times, we begin to understand
Stendhal's expression that "Beauty is the promise of
     Sometimes we also experience the Moment in
interpersonal relations, perhaps most clearly in erotic
love. Nietzsche writes, "To every soul there belongs
another world; for every soul, every other soul is an
afterworld. Precisely between what is most similar,
illusion lies most beautifully; for the smallest cleft is
the hardest to bridge"(44). Again and again, we try to
speak of the same experience of being and becoming, but
our language points up the differences rather than the
similarities between, say, love and creative thought.
  As C. S. Lewis stresses in The Four Loves, our
relationships with others cannot be based entirely on
Eros. The formulations of this paper can help us in
understanding the way in which we are separate and the
way in which we are together. We are separate bodies but
we live our lives in the same world. The desire to be
completely one with the world can lead to suicide; the
tendency to separate ourselves from the world leads to
isolation, another form of dying.
     Nietzsche had a conception of love different from
the idea that humans can merge their personalities; his
insistence upon individual autonomy is the best check
against the above-mentioned totalitarian tendencies. He
expressed his conception of friendship as follows: "I and
me are always too deep in conversation: how could one
stand that if there were no friend? For the hermit the
friend is always the third person: the third is the
'cork' that prevents the conversation of the two from
sinking into the depths"(45). This conscious detachment
from others, however, does not preclude love, and is
perhaps the most responsible form of love. Says
Zarathustra, "Indeed, a lake is within me, solitary and
self-sufficient; but the river of my love carries it
along, down to the sea"(46).
     Because men have separate bodies, it is impossible
that they should ever completely overcome their
isolation. Man cannot ever replace the God who is either
intuited or imagined from our faint experiences of
liberation. Nietzsche dismissed the whole matter of an
omniscient God, and asked that we affirm both our
possibilities and our natural limitations. He wrote,
"even your best love is merely an ecstatic parable and a
painful ardor. It is a torch that should light up higher
paths for you"(47).
     Psychoanalysis has developed the notion that the
Self can be best understood as a "community of
selves"(48), as we might expect if we adopt the
conception of world-self. If this is true, the
possibilities for human community might be discovered
through self-knowledge, just as the self might best be
liberated in a human community. The stakes are then very
high, as we are talking of the possibilities for men to
live in peace. Fingarette describes the moment preceding
'satori', the Zen enlightenment, as "a moment of
uneasiness, despair, death. At this point, by 'letting
go,' the disciple is awakened as from a stupor"(49).
Again, we need to come to terms with dying if we are to
live fully.  Zarathustra says, "Lonely one, you are going
the way to  yourself. And your way leads past yourself
and your seven devils. You will be a heretic to yourself
and a witch and  soothsayer and fool and doubter and
unholy one and a villain. You must wish to consume
yourself in your own flame: how could  you wish to become
new unless you had first become ashes!"(50)
     In the previous section I briefly mentioned madness.
In this section we have been discussing sanity. Sanity is
definitely not normalcy in today's society, and it has
nothing to do with the restricting of the mind until one
can function with relatively little friction (although
perhaps with a great deal of fear) in society. "True
sanity entails in one way or another the dissolution of
the normal ego, that false self completely adjusted to
our alienated social reality; the emergence of the
'inner' archetypal mediators of divine power, and through
this death a rebirth, and the eventual re-establishment
of a new kind of ego-functioning, the ego now being the
servant of the divine, no longer its betrayer"(51).
     "Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily
a barrier"(52). Between a man and an overman there is
necessarily a barrier, and only a few "philosophers,
artists, and saints" have begun to chart the way across.
But on the other hand, every human being was conceived
and born, and it may be possible to remember and re-enact
that terrible, miraculous separation. And every human
being was once a child. We may still find meaning in
Nietzsche's parable of the overman's progress from the
load-bearing camel, to the autonomous lion, to the child.
Zarathustra helps to show the way by which we must break
our chains, become self-sufficient adults, and rediscover
wonder and beauty in the world.


1.  Nietzsche, Friedrich, "Ecce Home", The Philosophy of
    Nietzsche, Random House, New York, p. 105.
2.  Mann, Thomas, "Nietzsche's Philosophy in the Light of
    Contemporary Events", Library of Congress,
    Washington, D. C., 1947.
3.  Nietzsche, Friedrich, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", The
    Portable Nietzsche, The Viking Press, New York, 1964.
4.  Ibid., p.250.
5.  Ibid., p.242.
6.  Ibid., p.278.
7.  Ibid., p.244.
8.  Jung, Carl, Psychological Reflections, Harper & Row,
    New York, 1961, p.22.
9.  Laing, R.D., The Politics of Experience, Random
    House, New York, 1967, p.48.
10, Fingarette, Herbert The Self in Transformation Harper
    & Row, New York, 1963, p.33.
11. Baudelaire, Charles, "The Cat", The Flowers of Evil,
    The New Directions Publishing Corporation, New York,
    1955, p.53.
12. Fingarette, op. cit,, p, 320.
13. Nietzsche, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", op. cit., p.146.
14. Lauer, Quentin, Phenomenology: Its Genesis and
    Prospect, Harper.& Row, New York, 1965, p.7.
15. Nietzsche, "Thus Spoke 'Zarathustra", op. cit.,
16. Laing, op. cit., p.6.
17. Nietzsche, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", op. cit., p.166.
18. Ibid., p.189.
19. Ibid., p. 187.
20. Lauer, op. cit., p.2.
21. Nietzsche, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", op. cit., p.128.
22, Nietzsche, "Ecce Homo", op. cit., p. 94.
23. Nietzsche, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", op. cit., p.250.
24. Ibid., p.296.
25. Ibid., p.329.
26. Ibid., p.129.
27. Fingarette, op. cit., p.73.
28. Nietzsche, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", op. cit., p.256.
29. Ibid., p.254.
30. Ibid., p.274.
31. Ibid., p.313.
32. Laing, op. cit., p.93.
33. Kafka, Franz, Parables and Paradoxes, Schocken Books,
    New York, 1966, p.189.
34. Nietzsche, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", op. cit., p.198.
35. Lavrin, Janko, Nietzsche and Modern Consciousness,
    W. Collins & Company, London, 1922, p.5.
36. Nietzsche, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", op. cit., p.223.
37. Ibid., p.295.
38. Fingarette, op. cit., p.262.
39. Dostoyevsky, Fyodor, Three Short Novels of
    Dostoyevsky, Doubleday & Company, Garden City, 1960,
40. Kafka, op. cit., p.29.
41. Fingarette, op. cit., p.206.
42. Ibid., p.212.
43. Nietzsche, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", op. cit., p.269.
44. Ibid., p.329.
45. Ibid., p.167.
46. Ibid., p.196.
47. Ibid., p.183.
48. Fingarette, op. cit., p.181.
49. Ibid., p.329.
50. Nietzsche, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", op. cit., p.176.
51. Laing, op. cit., p.101.
52. Fingarette, op. cit., p.222.


Charles Baudelaire, "The Cat", trans, Roy Campbell, The
Flowers of Evil. ed. Marthiel and Jackson Mathews, New
Directions Publishing Corporation, New York, 1955.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, "Notes from the Underground", trans,
Constance Garnett, Three Short Novels of Dostoyevsky, ed.
Avrahm Yarmolinsky, Doubleday & Company, Garden City,

Herbert Fingarette, The Self in Transformation,
Psychoanalysis, Philosophy and the Life of the Spirit,
Harper & Row, New York, 1963.

R. J. Hollingdale, Nietzsche, The Man and his Philosophy,
Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 1965.
Carl G. Jung, Psychological Reflections, Harper & Row,
New York, 1961.

Franz Kafka, "My Destination", trans. Eithne Wilkins,
"Paradise" trans. Willa and Edwin Muir, Parables and
Paradoxes, ed. Nahum N. Glatzer, Schocken Books, New
York, 1966.

Walter Kaufmann, Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist,
Antichrist, The World Publishing Company, Cleveland,

R. D. Laing, The Politics of Experience, Random House,
New York, 1967.

Quentin Lauer,  Phenomenology: Its Genesis and Prospect,
Harper & Row, New York, 1965.

Janko Lavrin, Nietzsche and Modern Consciousness, A
Psycho-Critical Study, W. Collins & Company, London,

Thomas Mann, "Nietzsche's Philosophy in the Light of
Contemporary Events", Library of Congress, Washington,
D. C., 1947.

George A. Morgan, What Nietzsche Means, Harper & Row, New
York, 1965.

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Ecce Home", trans. Thomas Common,
The Philosophy of Nietzsche, Random House, New York.

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", trans.
Walter Kaufmann, The Portable Nietzsche, ed. Walter
Kaufmann, The Viking Press, New York, 1964.


               The Unknown God

Once again, before I go on
sending my glance into the future,
I lift my clasped hands
upwards to You, to You I flee,
I in a deepening bond
consecrated on the solemn altar,
that always
sounds again with your Voice.

There deeply glowing are written
the words:  the Unknown God.
Being am I, from the bloody sacrilege
even to the present hour:
being am I - and I sense the noose,
from which I struggle to get out
from which...I fled,
yet which compels me to your service.

Unknowable, I shall know you,
who deep in my captive soul,
range through my life like a storm,
you Undoer, my relative!
I shall know You, which is to serve You.

               -Friedrich Nietzsche-
              translated by D. Ohmans

               To the Glacier

At noon, when first
summer in the mountains begins,
the youth with weary, burning eyes:
then he too speaks,
we hear only his speaking.
His breath catches, like a sick man's breath catches
during a fever.
There is an ice-field and a fir and a spring
to answer him,
we hear only their answer,
downward from the rocks plunges
the brook like a greeting
as white quivering columns freezing
their longing.
The firs look darker and more real
than they looked,
and between the ice and dead gray rocks
sudden light breaks out--
I saw such light before:  thus we interpret it. -
Also a dead man's eyes
will once again show light,
when his grieving child
is his embrace and kiss:
once more grief kindles
the flame of light, luminiscent speak
the dead eyes:  "Child!
o child, you know, that I love you!" -
Glowing thus all things speak -ice-field
and fir and spring-
they appear as the same words:
"We love you!
o child, you know, we love, love you!"
And he,
the youth with weary, burning eyes,
he kissed them with his grief,
his constant ardor
and would not leave;
he cast his words like a veil
over his mouth,
his bitter words:
"My greeting is farewell,
my coming is my going,
I die young."

It hears him struggle
and barely breathe:
no bird sings.
Then overcome
it shudders, like
a chimera, the mountain.
It thinks his struggle -
and is silent--
It was at noon,
at noon, when first
summer in the mountains begins,
the youth with weary, burning eyes.

               -Friedrich Nietzsche-
              translated by D. Ohmans

               To Malwida von Meysenbug

Does nothing of Sorrento's fragrance still remain?
Is everything mountainous, frigid and wild,
beneath autumn sun-rays loveless disdain?
Part of me to beech forests still is beguiled:
at your altar, I present this better part
to friend, mother and physician, which thou art.

               -Friedrich Nietzsche-
              translated by D. Ohmans

               The Autumn

This is the autumn:  which - breaks the heart!
Be gone!  be gone!
The sun sneaks to the mountain
climbs and climbs
resting at each step.
What wilted the world!
Playing on frayed stretched strings
the wind makes song.
Hope disappeared -
it went its way.

This is the autumn:  which - breaks the heart!
Be gone!  be gone!
O fruit on the trees,
you tremble, do you fall?
When a secret is told you
at night,
that shivers your cheeks
and turns them purple? -
You are silent, don't you answer?
Who still speaks? --

This is the autumn:  which - breaks the heart!
Be gone!  be gone!
"I am not beautiful"
-says the sunflower- ,
"yet I love man
and I comfort man -
he still should need flowers,
so he bends over
ah!  and breaks me off -
in his eyes glistens
memories of more beautiful flowers: -
- I see that, I see that - and thus die!" -

This is the autumn:  which - breaks the heart!
Be gone!  be gone!

               -Friedrich Nietzsche-
              translated by D. Ohmans

               On the Third Skin

As soon as I bend down to break your skin,
I am filled with new urges,
so many have already digested the earth,
toward the earth I tend like the snake.

Already I crawl between stone and grass
hungry along crooked furrows,
to eat that, which always I ate,
you food for serpents, you earth.

               -Friedrich Nietzsche-
              translated by D. Ohmans