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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Despisers of the Body
By Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)
 
From ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’: Translation of Thomas Common

TO the despisers of the body will I speak my word. I wish them neither to learn afresh, nor teach anew, but only to bid farewell to their own bodies,—and thus be dumb.  1
  “Body am I, and soul”—so saith the child. And why should one not speak like children?  2
  But the awakened one, the knowing one, saith: “Body am I entirely, and nothing more; and soul is only the name of something in the body.”  3
  The body is a big sagacity, a plurality with one sense, a war and a peace, a flock and a shepherd.  4
  An instrument of thy body is also thy little sagacity, my brother, which thou callest “spirit”—a little instrument and plaything of thy big sagacity.  5
  “Ego,” sayest thou, and art proud of that word. But the greater thing—in which thou art unwilling to believe—is thy body with its big sagacity; it saith not “ego,” but doeth it.  6
  What the sense feeleth, what the spirit discerneth, hath never its end in itself. But sense and spirit would fain persuade thee that they are the end of all things: so vain are they.  7
  Instruments and playthings are sense and spirit: behind them there is still the Self. The Self seeketh with the eyes of the senses, it hearkeneth also with the ears of the spirit.  8
  Ever hearkeneth the Self, and seeketh; it compareth, mastereth, conquereth, and destroyeth. It ruleth, and is also the ego’s ruler.
*        *        *        *        *
  9
  Still art thou a prisoner—it seemeth to me—who deviseth liberty for himself: ah! sharp becometh the soul of such prisoners, but also deceitful and wicked.  10
  To purify himself, is still necessary for the freedman of the spirit. Much of the prison and the mold still remaineth in him: pure hath his eye still to become.  11
  Yea, I know thy danger. But by my love and hope I conjure thee: cast not thy love and hope away!  12
  Noble thou feelest thyself still, and noble others also feel thee still, though they bear thee a grudge and cast evil looks. Know this, that to everybody a noble one standeth in the way.  13
  Also to the good, a noble one standeth in the way: and even when they call him a good man, they want thereby to put him aside.  14
  The new, would the noble man create, and a new virtue. The old, wanteth the good man, and that the old should be conserved.  15
  But it is not the danger of the noble man to turn a good man, but lest he should become a blusterer, a scoffer, or a destroyer.  16
  Ah! I have known noble ones who lost their highest hope. And then they disparaged all high hopes.  17
  Then lived they shamelessly in temporary pleasures, and beyond the day had hardly an aim.  18
  “Spirit is also voluptuousness,”—said they. Then broke the wings of their spirit; and now it creepeth about, and defileth where it gnaweth.  19
  Once they thought of becoming heroes; but sensualists are they now. A trouble and a terror is the hero to them.  20
  But my love and hope I conjure thee: cast not away the hero in thy soul! Maintain holy thy highest hope!—  21
 
 
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