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People still fall out, but are soon reconciled - otherwise it spoileth their stomachs.

From Thus spake Zarathustra, Chapter 5, the part about the last men.

  • Last men are conformists that put their comfort above all else. If they fall out of line it is not for long enough to threaten it. "They have their little pleasures for the day, and their little pleasures for the night, but they have a regard for health. “We have discovered happiness,” — say the last men, and blink thereby", it continues. – Conifold Sep 19 at 9:10
  • doubt he meant slander or disagreeableness, wasn't nietzsche a bit like that? he means gossip – another_name Sep 19 at 23:26
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This quote appears in chapter 5. Consider what has happened up to that point.

In chapter 1, Zarathustra leaves the mountain after spending ten years there to return to his village and tell them what he has learnt as a gift.

In chapter 2, he meets an old man, a saint, who takes a more negative view of humanity suggesting Zarathustra not bother telling them anything.

In chapter 3, Zarathustra enters the market-place and begins speaking of the Superman to those present. They laugh at him.

In chapter 4, he continues his preaching of the Superman.

In chapter 5, he realizes they are still laughing at him and decides to tell them instead of the last man. Here are some descriptions of that last man from this chapter:

There cometh the time of the most despicable man, who can no longer despise himself.

Not only is this last man "despicable", but he "hops".

The earth hath then become small, and on it there hoppeth the last man who makes everything small.

They have proudly discovered happiness.

"We have discovered happiness" - say the last man, and blink thereby.

Like hopping, the rather mindless action of blinking shows Nietzsche's contempt for this discovery.

One still loveth one's neighbour and rubbeth against him; for one needeth warmth.

Love is reduced to rubbing one's neighbor for warmth. They are wary. They work only to pass the time. No one wants to be burdened being rich or poor, to rule or obey. Everyone is equal. They are a herd with no shepherd. They think the people of the past were "insane".

Now comes the paragraph containing the passage in question:

They are clever and know all that hath happened: so there is no end to their raillery. People still fall out, but are soon reconciled - otherwise it spoileth their stomachs.

"Raillery" is witty, mocking, good-humored teasing. They are clever and know everything, or perhaps given the raillery, they think they are clever and know everything.

If this good-humored teasing leads to conflict, if they "still fall out", they quickly reconcile. Why do they reconcile? They reconcile out of no nobler reason than not to reconcile would give them indigestion. This reference to their stomach has the same purpose as references to their bodily actions of hopping, rubbing and blinking. It is a way for Nietzsche to express his contempt for these last men.


Nietzsche, F. Thus spake Zarathustra: a book for all and none. Translated by Thomas Common. Retrieved on September 19, 2019, from Internet Archive at https://archive.org/details/NietzscheFriedrichThusSpakeZarathustraEN406P./page/n22

  • Indigestion of what?Usual ‘pleasures’?Fear of ostracized? – Hak Sep 19 at 14:42
  • @Hak Indigestion is how I read "spoileth their stomachs". Alternatively the falling out might make them lose their appetites for the usual pleasures of eating. That might be caused by fear or anger. But they get over these things quickly - "soon reconciled" - so I don't think actual ostracism is likely. – Frank Hubeny Sep 19 at 14:49
  • So they don’t keep track?So they are either scared of other or angry(contempt as nietschze writes here) ,are they not at this part most closest to change.You know the dragon slaying part? – Hak Sep 19 at 15:46
  • @Hak I imagine those leading toward the Superman to be the one's able to challenge that dragon "Thou-Shalt" in the tenth chapter, not the last men. Those in the market-place were like the last men. Zarathustra is no longer addressing them. – Frank Hubeny Sep 19 at 16:43
  • What I meant was that these last men were(coz of anger or fear ="possible contempt”) start the path to the Ubermensch – Hak Sep 20 at 10:22

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