I get that Zarathustra is able to do great work, by the end of the book.

But what I don't get is how those not predestined to greatness could take from Nietzsche body of work, except perhaps a mild dissatisfaction with any attempt to work.

Could Nietzsche set the goal of going over (as Zarathustra is meant to have), not to the higher men he wants liberated from morality, but to the lower type - creating values which free those who can do great things from their own (detestable) smallness.

  • i'm not suggesting that untermensch have nothing to do with the littlest man... i'd suggest they can create a culture in which such a thing thrives [and in turn can potentially create one in which art does]
    – user6917
    Nov 3, 2015 at 13:35
  • What are you referring to in Zarathustra's work?
    – draks ...
    Nov 3, 2015 at 20:10
  • i meant the ending ""That hath had its time! My suffering and my fellow suffering,—what matter about them! Do I then strive after HAPPINESS? I strive after my work! Well! the lion hath come, my children are nigh. Zarathustra hath grown ripe. MY day beginneth: ARISE NOW, ARISE, THOU GREAT NOONDAY!""
    – user6917
    Nov 5, 2015 at 17:21

2 Answers 2


Seung, Thomas K. Nietzsche's Epic of the Soul: Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Lanham, Md. [u.a.: Lexington Books, 2005.

I suggest you read Seung's commentary on Thus Spake Zarathustra if you want to understand what it is all about.

  • You should answer the question in addition to providing a reference, if you want to leave this here. Oct 22, 2017 at 0:26

Yes, this is, I fear, a difficult question. Really Nietzsche was not interested in any but men of the highest achievements and cultivation. And yet, in some way, he may say that he is philanthropic, or altruist, in that in allowing for the great to be great, we are all lifted up. And then, from such works, all can in their own way judge of the situation with human beings.

"Could Nietzsche set the goal of going over (as Zarathustra is meant to have), not to the higher men he wants liberated from morality, but to the lower type - creating values which free those who can do great things from their own (detestable) smallness."

When it is said that the "Chinese dream" (under the PRC's Communism) is of "moderately prosperous society", I think this reminds of Nietzsche's point. The idea of the transcendent value of a mediocre universality. Or, of the social value of normality, proper psychological health, in the United States. What Nietzsche objects to is that someone, of superior capability and accomplishment, should becomes like each other one, as a impressment into service of a supposed community or dreary duty to egalitarianism. I think, in a certain sense, this is not the question of Raskolnikov. It is not about being anti-moral (of the "everything is permitted"), but about being against the leveling down of the human being as the ultimate seed of human life. That the talented should forsake their talent, and the beautiful be made to look average, so as not to harm the others and bring about their envy and misery (I mean, one must consider that Nietzsche was thinking in remote and vast terms, as Kant put it, the human is so constituted so as to be concerned even with the most remote possibilities of the development of the human race). It's not obvious to me that even right-wing Capitalism, in its claim of providing equal opportunity, rather than equal outcome, is not a form of this petty (i.e., the "detestable smallness") opportunity for the average to escape the feeling of being tied to the forced project of leveling down. Supposing that Capitalism never swung over to the full pursuit of the equal outcome of life, rather than the supposed chance to compete. Yet, if history is moving to the equal outcome, than it is very hard to see any but the most exceptional persons wresting themselves. The book Degeneration by Nordau was about this issue, as was, of course, the Max Stirner book. But, the two Max s thought here of men like Paul Gauguin or Neitzsche himself. Not of the ordinary man, told in his cradle, to be "creative". Which, after all, is something commanded (and even thought possible!) of kindergartners.

  • It would be a very good study (for me) to go through very carefully and try to precisely define this aristocratic character that Nietzsche has in mind. I think it is of critical importance, and what with all the journals, I am sure it has already been done. But I need to read them! I have in mind rather a cold, ascetic type character, certainly not a rich powerful lout, maybe something like Plato's philosopher king, but I have not studied this enough.
    – Gordon
    Nov 21, 2017 at 4:40
  • Mabunda suggests a person of great experience and cultivation. I would say, men of instinct but with a natural restraint, but again I have never made a good study of this.
    – Gordon
    Nov 21, 2017 at 4:56
  • The problem today is that many people don't understand proper restraint., there is a tendency to excess, foolishness, casual violence. By all means we want to avoid the type that Caligula was reported to be.
    – Gordon
    Nov 21, 2017 at 5:04

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