Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. Published by MobileReference (mobi).

 
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Thus Spoke Zarathustra (German: Also sprach Zarathustra, sometimes translated Thus Spake Zarathustra), subtitled A Book for All and None (Ein Buch f?r Alle und Keinen), is a written work by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, composed in four parts between 1883 and 1885. Much of the work deals with ideas such as the "eternal recurrence of the same", the parable on the "death of God", and the "prophecy" of the Overman, which were first introduced in The Gay Science.

Described by Nietzsche himself as "the deepest ever written", the book is a dense and esoteric treatise on philosophy and morality, featuring as protagonist a fictionalized Zarathustra. A central irony of the text is that the style of the Bible is used by Nietzsche to present ideas of his which fundamentally oppose Judaeo-Christian morality and tradition.

? Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Customer Reviews:

  • Great Philosophical Work
    Great work by one of the greatest and controversial philosophical and philological minds in history. Difficult to really grasp without a supplemental reader but valuable piece for any philosophy collection....more info
  • Nietzche's Superman - a lengthy but rewarding 'immorality' tale.
    One of the more interesting things about Nietzche is that, as a philosopher, his ideas were always changing - yet popular culture remembers him chiefly as a nihilist. It is in Thus Spoke Zarathustra that he proposes an answer to questions of meaninglessness and devaluation; The Superman. He also touches on eternal recurrence, but only briefly, and only as a means to further justify the Superman. I liked the loose-narrative format of the book - much easier to digest than a pure dissertation, and Nietzsche seems an apt writer of prose. The book itself is a bit on the lengthy side, and feels lengthier still do to excessive reiteration - Nietzche often repeats the same ideas, or explores them multiple times, in different ways. although the work is imbued with eloquence and poetry throughout, it appears that much has been lost in translation. I read the Penguin Classics edition, translated by R.J. Hollingdale, and although the author/translator has written about fifty or so notes on the translation, clever puns and word-plays remain untranslatable - the nuances in language make reading a German copy desirable...if you speak German.
    This is definitely not a one-or two sitting book, and warrants a thorough read and proper digestion. Many of the passages require that you read and re-read them to fully comprehend what Zarathustra is saying - much is clear but much is spoken in parable and metaphor. This is all precisely what the author intended...
    I can recommend this book over Beyond Good and Evil, especially as an introduction to Nietzche, as Beyond Good and Evil is probably too self-referencing for the casual reader, but if you can read both, they are good companion-pieces. If you have the time to commit to it, Nietzche's masterpiece is a great read and a call to arms for those willing to command their ultimate will and become Supermen.

    - Nietzche at his most optimistic -

    ...more info
  • Deep, dark and over-blown...
    Nietzsche is one of the most famous and popular philosophers of all time. While this book sums up much of his ideas, one has to wonder if Nietzsche's eventual full-blown mental illness was not already taking hold of him as he wrote this book. While there are a few passages of thoughtful ideas, much of it rambles. It also gets VERY repetitive, and was actually something of a chore to finish.

    As for the philosophy itself, it is very anti-Christian. In that way it is close to Mark Twain's sarcastic "Letters from Earth". But whereas Twain is always entertaining and amazingly skillful as a writer, Nietzsche is much more thick and esoteric. In fairness, I am comparing Twain's original to Nietzsche's translation.

    Unlike the pessimistic Twain, however, Nietzsche sees hope for mankind in his "ubermensch" or "superman". It is no wonder that the Nazis took Nietzsche's ideas to heart (whether Nietzsche would have liked it or not is unknown). Nietzsche's "superman" is both tender and hard, and Nietzsche praises the soldier and disdains the weak and the beggers. Nietzsche hates pity and warns: "Great indebtedness does not make men grateful, but vengeful; and if a little charity is not forgotten, it turns into a gnawing worm."

    In that sense, he does have a point. I have seen that people tend to build up resentments sometimes after another person tries to help them. I guess this is why people would rather take in a stray dog then a homeless person. Chances are the dog would be very appreciative while the person might try to take advantage of the situation or get resentful and angry.

    All-together, however, I would have to say that I disagree with Nietzsche's thesis. I am a Christian, and I would like to believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ. That being said, I can still enjoy a book written against Christianity if it is well written. I gave Twain's "Letter's from Earth" five stars. I also gave Lin Yutang's celebration of paganism, "The Importance of Living" five stars. However, Nietzsche was just too deep, dark and over-blown for my taste.

    A point of interest if you happen to be female: Nietzsche is not very kind to women in this book. He writes: "A real man wants two things: danger and play. Therefore he wants woman as the most dangerous plaything. Man should be educated for war, and woman for the recreation of the warrior."

    I give this book three stars because it is a "classic" and I felt as though the translation was probably faithful. I wouldn't buy it though. I would borrow it first the library. ...more info
  • Intelligent book
    I am not a student of philosophy and this is my first book to read by the author. Naturally, I didnt find the book an easy read, but I can't blame the author since Im on unfamiliar territory. However, I really enjoyed reading the book and its amazing how many phrases are worth memorizing. The book is very original and very intelligent. From what I read Nietzsche is against organised religion, so I thought it was quite strange that he chose a Prophet to deliver this thoughts to us....more info
  • GREAT BOOK
    I hate long reviews... All I'm gonna say is, you need to have an open mind for this book to really embrace the meaning of his words.... Life changing book... I love Nietzsce, but I specially love this TSZ......more info
  • Even poetic and philosophical greatness has its limits
    Neitzsche's writings helped inspire and were used/ misused by the greatest force for Evil the twentieth century knew. This is not a minor charge that can be dismissed by pointing out how the boorish Nazis misunderstood the complex philosopher. There is in Neitzsche an elitist arrogance, and a prophetic superiority, a tone of contempt for the ' masses' and a suggestion that truly it is only for the ' few ' that real life and thought are possible.
    True, this is one strand and it does not do justice to a great thinker's complex paradoxical and often remarkably insightful thought. But the evil that men do lives after them, and in the file of Neitzsche must too be registered the ' evil done' by those who took his ideas and misused them.
    That said what is there really to give heart and hope to in 'Thus Spake Zarathustra?" Do we want to say Neitzsche is a prophet because like Ray Kurzweill he sees Mankind as a bridge between the ' ape' and the ' super-computer'? Do we want to linger on his cultural definition of Western civilization as being godless and point to the church- empty Europe today as sign of his sociological acuity? Do we wish to look at the Cosmos and say that his 'Eternal Recurrence' shows some kind of possible connection with our sense of ' alternative universes' or with the Indian philosophical understanding of time as vastly beyond our conventional Western frameworks? Do we want to see profundity in the poetical paradoxical or perhaps muddled meaningless utterances of the pseudo - prophetic voice?
    My sense is that in the deep bottom line of things Neitzsche has not given Humanity ideas, dreams, understandings that can truly help us realize our G-d given goal of sanctifying the universe as a whole, of making a tikkun olam in which we improve the lives and the quality of well- being of individual human beings. What Neitzsche has done I think, is to give the human mind another treasure of thought and poetic brilliance. In this sense I see his gift if to use Kierkegaard's terminology far more in the aesthetic realm than in the moral. In the moral realm I do not have much sympathy for his critique of Christianity, of slave - morality .And this because I believe human kindness and goodness are at the heart of what we are as human beings. And that it is not through contempt of others but rather through helping of them that we most live. For me then the man on the mountain can never be Zarathustra. For me the only mountain is Sinai where the most humble of men, Moses receives the Divine Revelation and then goes forth the second time to help Mankind walk in a way which is kinder....more info
  • Shattering.
    Nietzsche's finest work, a mid-point between his break with Schopenhauer and his break with sanity. The book relates the adventures of Zarathustra, who descends from his lonely mountain wilderness in search of the "higher man". The result in a tour de force philosophical blitzkrieg on all philosophical sentiments. This book will make you question, will make you think, will inspire you, but above all, it is a book that, when finished, will make you say, "I do not believe in Nietzsche" as you begin to think for yourself. Exactly what Nietzsche intended.
    "And to ask this once more- today, is greatness possible?"
    -Nietzsche

    Also recommended: Toilet: The Novel by Michael Szymczyk (A Tribute to the Literary Works of Franz Kafka)...more info
  • Worth Reading
    Nietzsche has been said to be one of the greatest influances on modern philosophy, especially the existentialist movement and Zarathustra shows the reader just why he was a large influance. Nietzsche's works are truly like no ohter writer's, however, his philosophy seemed to be ignorant and sexist at times to myself, but none the less I do feel that everyone should read some of Nietzsche's works (or any philosopher's works for that matter). I do enjoy Nietzsche's argument against modern Christianity and the herd mentaility of the masses, but I think those two things would have to be my favorite philosophical views of Nietzsche. I give this book and Nietzsche in general, three stars because, while he will be an influance and is a good read, his philosophy is not the greatest at many points and is often misunderstood by people....more info
  • The "New" Repulic.
    The only other western philosophical text as importnat as this book is Plato's "Republic." We have once again arrived at the cross-roads of Heraclitus v/s Paramendides. I wouldn't recommended jumping into it without a good knowledge of the Western philosophical traditon and religious traditions. (Zarathutra himself calls learning ALL this backround information "the spirit of the camel" or first taking on the burden of knowledge before going about anything else. To not take on this "burden of knowledge" is the main flaw of most Nietzsche critics and mis-understanders.) Also, Nietzsche was an anti-systemic philosopher so it demands to be viewed/critiqued in a different way than traditional philosophy. To begin to grasp Nietzsche's "Zarathustra" I would to recommend first reading his earlier works starting with a couple of short essays. The first one is "Truth and Lie in a Non-Moral Sense" which is about human language, logic and the all-too-human need for these "lies." The other essay is "Homer's Contest" which reveals his legacy as starting from the early Greek tradition.
    Some important things to know about this book to avoid the common misinterpretation that Nietzsche is just a Atheist/Nihilist with a superiority complex:
    -pay very close attention to his critque of mind/body dualsism and what he proposes otherwise.
    -The "Overman" is a conception that only looks toward the future. Later in the book Zarathustra supercedes the "Overman" idea with the cyclical concept of "Eternal Recourence." Even Zarathustra himself has a hard time confronting this view of life and existence. Also, don't make the mistake that eternal reccourence is just a "telos," it is not. Zarathutra speaks in parables not absolutes.
    -One of Nietzsche's most favorite authors was Emerson (who also used the name "Zarathutra" in his some of his writings) and their ideas/project have mainy similarities.
    -The idea of the world/life not being worthy without a metaphysical world behind it is exactaly what Nietzsche was aimed at overcoming.
    -Don't over-simplify will-to-Power as will-to-Overpower.
    -Think hard about this being a "book for all and none," think very hard.
    -Plato's "Sun" is replaced with "sun" of the Self. This "sun" is the "dancing star." For some odd reason, I see few people mention the signifcance of Self-love in "Zarathustra." This is KEY in understanding where Nietzsche is going/taking us.
    -Nietzsche isn't worldly political like the Republic, instead he symbolically speaks of the battle of modern human soul in political terms.

    As far as translations go, I prefer Kaufmann over Holingdale because he pays more attetntion to the nuances of Nitezsche's word play. But I would recommend reading more than one translation and getting the best out of all of them.

    I also would recommend getting some familiarity with the symbols of alchemy and other mystery traditions. Just as Nietzsche turns Plato's "Theory of the Line" and "Allegory of the Cave" upside-down, he also turns these "mystery" symbols inside-out. No longer is it a connection with anything "beyond" the world that makes it valuable. Instead,It becomes conections with body and the world. "The mind is a herald of the body." For example, consider the "ouroboros" as a symbol of "Eternal Recurrence." In some sense, Zarathutra was very much a prophet of holism as opposed to strict dualism. Carl Jung's 1,500+ page incomplete study of "Zarathura" is a testement to the richness of Zarathustra's symbolism.

    If you can catch a deep enough glance, this book will change your life. And if you keep re-reading it, it will keep on changing your life....more info

  • Nietzscheys audience is the 21st Century Reader
    Nietzsche presents an argument against the will of the `last man' so effectively, many scholars substitute his pure genius as mere hell-raising. One point in time, one moment in present, past, or future, one recognizes the inevitability of death. Certain aspects and beliefs on how immortality can be attained are thrown out like garbage by Nietzsche; thus, many people are upset by his disregard for the immortal. In his work Thus Spoke Zarathustra Friedrich Nietzsche possessed by Iranian Prophet Zarathtustra, yes possessed, instructs the reader on how to attain the position of the `over man.' This position requires much self-sacrifice of the willing and directs the reader to "let go" of the control of the ego on conscious reality. The constant battle between the unconscious Id and conscious Ego is also recognized by Sigmund Freud, other than Nietzsche.

    Three metamorphosis stages that include the camel, the lion, and the child are required by the individual seeking enlightenment towards `over man.' To "let go" of the past, the last man must realize that everything he is given must be given back to his fellow man, without respite or lament. The serpent and the eagle represent the ego and the spirit of the will of everyman; thus, to reach the `over man,' an individual must live for the present like the animal. Most important, his ego must go under.

    The four sections within Thus Spoke Zarathustra define every standpoint Zarathustra selects for the reader to recognize. If an individual accepts the position to forgo justice and vengeance and discern there is no true justice, then the pinnacle of `over man' becomes more clear. The `last man' is consumed by the past and cannot `let go' of regret, ultimately causing the `spirit of revenge' to take hold. Time advances constantly against the `last man' and his conscious reality. Recognition of a timeless unconscious begets the `over man,' because time is only with us in our conscious state

    Have you ever had a dream where you have done so little in such a great amount of time slept?

    Nietzsche's most controversial and unique statement "God is Dead" should not be taken literally. Of course God is not dead. God is dead in the mind of man whose soul dies along with the body, thus, leading to the `despiser of the body.' The person who despises the body because of its mortality has elevated the ego to force repression upon the body. This repression of natural instinct and belief in temperance only works if equilibrium can be kept between body and earth. If equilibrium cannot be attained between body and earth, the `despiser of the body' only lives for what, he can gain without giving back. To be able to give and give without receiving like the sun that lights the earth, precipitates to the status of `over man.'

    Nietzsche's unique view of humanity at the end of the 19th Century exhibits many perspectives on posturing by the `last man.' Thus Spoke Zarathustra delivers great innuendo and prospect for the reader. Nietzsche's main audience is the 21st Century reader looking for answers to questions posed by technological and enlightenment advance. Nietzsche's controversy remains a barrier for many artists looking to express forms of nihilism in their work. Probably the most accurate description of contemporary life seen through the eyes of nihilism comes in the form of Fight Club, but every secondary source, or idea on any philosopher must be taken with caution....more info

  • Outstanding
    Quality and clarity have always been the hallmarks of the Penguin series, and they extend to this one also. Unlike the other translations, dense with tedious bombast and medieval suffixes, the Hollingdale translation is focused and one couldnt ask for a more keen choice of words. With this superb translation I could at least concentrate on the philosophy, rather than trying to decipher the difficult language. While reading this, the words danced rather than gravitated, making reading this book all the more enjoyable.
    As for the content and Nietszche's philosophy, it was intelligent and convincing. However one mustn't take this book literally. The transformation to Ubermensch is figuratively speaking, so is "dancing" and "laughter". In the context of this book one might interpret them as symbols of liberation and ascention. To best explain this one might take a scientist as an example. At first, the scientist burdens himself with study of the discoveries of his predecessors, in which he resembles a camel (1st transformation). After his vigorous study he must assert himself and his independence from others, in which he resembles a lion (2nd transformation). And thirdly, he must develop a distnctive personal style which will distinguish him from the others, in which he becomes like a child (3d transformation). In the 3d and final stage he is liberated from any signs of struggle, giving freedom to his spirit.
    However engaging Nietzsche's philosophy is, it is at times vague and sadly laconic, e.g. his account on the battle of the virtues was not expanded enough and didn't explain what one might do when those battled for supremacy. Also, some might find his philosophy callous and ruthless, as it persuades leaving the helpless behind for the sake of the ascention of few. Ruthless it may be, but accurate and very relevant. In addition, some might find it especially offensive and absurd as it sorns mercy and pity. Regardless of this aspect of it, I would say this book is permeated with the influence of Enlightenment: striving to improvement and liberation. It is slightly atheistic which will deter fervent believers in god, but the atheistic thread is so subtle it would idiotic to sacrifice Nietzsche's philosphy for religious principles. Overall, an outstandingly written book....more info
  • Talk about translations!
    I only want to say one thing here, and I say it primarily because I already love this work. This is the translation to buy. Everyone seems to adore Kaufmann, but the truth is he's much more obtuse and difficult to read (and I don't believe it's necessary, as some may say). Hollingdale gets it right. I'll defend myself with one example from a class I took, where Kaufmann's translation was the required text. I had read both translations (cover-to-cover), and sold my copy of Kaufmann's translation, keeping only my Hollingdale. So, needless to say, I wasn't about to buy Kaufmann again, and went to class with Hollingdale. Slowly, but surely, as the other students read bits of the translation I had, or heard when I spoke pieces aloud, they overwhelmingly agreed with me: Hollingdale is simply more clear, more beautiful, more powerful (less academic, shall we say, which is pure Nietzsche). Ok, over and out, enjoy....more info
  • This Book Will Change Your Life!
    This book is transfinitly excellent! Even if you don't agree with Nietzsche's conclusions or points of view this is still an interesting and worthwhile read. This book should be required reading for all inhabitants of planet earth!...more info
  • outdated translation
    This translation is quite old (now public domain) and riddled with substantial errors. Have a look at the Kaufmann translation instead and spend a few extra bucks -- the book will make far more sense if you do! More enjoyable, too......more info
  • Great!!!
    To fully appreciate the book, one must first accept that "man is the bridge between ape and Overman". Nietzsche's core views revolve around the concept that we (the human race) are a mere rung on the ladder of evolution. From ape, to man, to Overman. Thus Spoke Zarathustra is poetic, logical, insightful, and full of focussed creative effort. I highly recommend it to anyone. Other good philosophical works I reccomend are Heiddeger's Being and Time and Paul Omeziri's Descent into Illusion....more info
  • 80% gibberish and riddles, 20% interesting
    Thus Spoke Zarathustra (R.J. Hollingdale's translation) is quite simply one of the least enjoyable classics I've ever read. It was a chore to get through the 330+ pages and what I was constantly hoping would get better, never did. TSZ attempts to espouse many aspects of Nietzsche's philosophy through, for the most part, meaningless riddles and analogies. You won't understand even half of what Nietzsche's trying to tell you. When I read a book I expect to be able to at least understand the plot or message. TSZ was overall a waste of time.

    There are a couple of redeeming points to consider. Nietzsche's "Superman" philosophy is interesting and he goes into some detail on the inadequacies of man today and what the future Superman will be like. According to Nietzsche, God created everything but then died sometime in the past out of pity for humanity's imperfections. The Superman race will one day come out of man and be perfection in mind and body. Also, Nietsche has unique viewpoints on many aspects of life: work, family, friendships, etc. The fraction of a time that Zarathustra speaks coherently, he's interesting.

    The problem is, Zarathustra spends the vast majority of his time preaching in gibberish and poor poetry. 80% of the dozens of topics in TSZ are practically unreadable. I understand that the original work is German and many of Nietzsche's plays on words cannot be translated properly. However, I can't imagine even the original German prose making much sense to a fluent German speaker.

    Here's an excerpt typical of the prose found throughout the novel, from the section "On the Blissful Islands": "Truly, I have gone my way through a hundred souls and through a hundred cradles and birth-pangs. I have taken many departures, I know the heart-breaking last hours. But my creative will, my destiny, wants it so. Or, to speak more honestly: my will wants precisely such a destiny. All feeling suffers in me and is in prison: but my willing always comes to me as my liberator and bringer of joy. Willing liberates: that is the true doctrine of will and freedom - thus Zarathustra teaches you. No more to will and no more to evaluate and no more to create! ah, that this great lassitude may ever stay far from me!"

    Hmm, so he wants to will and create, but doesn't want to feel? What's his point? He's not making sense here. Now imagine 80% of the book written in mediocre prose like that and you have an idea of what you're getting into. It would have been far better if Nietzsche had simply written a clear one-paragraph summary of Zarathustra's point at the end of each section. Then you could go back and interpret better what Z was talking about. I've read a whole bunch of classics and have a large library of them. I consider my reading comprehension skills to be above-average. Yet this book ranks at or very near the bottom of my list. NOT recommended!...more info

  • Thus Spoke Zarathustra
    And god gave us Nietzsche! Or did he? One of the first discoveries of Nietzsche's main character, Zarathustra, in this fictional work is the revelation(or lack thereof) that God does not exist. An excellent description of Nietzsche's life is provided at the beginning of this translation, along with the traditional editor's notes. If you skip parts of this work, do NOT skip the notes about his life. To connect with Zarathustra, you must know the author. The ever-present references to Nausea hint at Nietzsche's numerous illnesses. The constant references to sleep parallel his insomnia etc etc.

    Philosophically, Nietzsche is labelled a nihilist by some. Zarathustra is Nietzsche's giving up or "going under" as the book describes it, so in a sense, this may be correct. Zarathustra renounces how the world has lived, and as a hermit, he finds himself and what the world means to him. Without God, who is destroyed by his pity for man, the world means everything to Zarathustra. This life is all he has to live, and he spreads his teachings for hope that one day man will "go over" or rise above, man as it existed 100 years ago, or for that matter, even today. His journey reminds me of a drawn out Fight Club a few centuries old. As Zarathustra drags his theoretical feet through an almost biblical writing style(used in mockery), the reasoning behind Nietzsche's Godlessness take form aside from God's pity for man. He takes a look at preachers of the spirit and how much they're missing in life. Proclaiming that the spirit and body are one and connected as an earthly concept he mocks the preachers of the body and their constant babblings of the "after-life" and a higher spirit while the earthly life is full of suffering. Sometimes going a bit far and portraying the apparent antagonists as a bit over the top, Nietzsche's main character can distance himself from the reader if taken verbatim. Zarathustra does not believe in current society or power and for good reason; what earthly ground do they stand upon? One apparent enigma I remember quite well was Zarathustra's distaste for the wise man. One tends to assume that Zarathustra is poking fun at the reader, you have a choice to drop the book now if you're following it as an instruction book and you've just become his "higher man". Carry on, and you'll find later that this is not an end(consequently neither is Nietzsche, see postmodernism). The term "going under" is really what the entire philosophy is about. I got quite a bit out of the puzzling writing style. It denies convention, as seen in the philosophy and religion of the time, its foothold on society, and without any sort of convention nothing holds up too well to Nietzsche's barrage of destruction within Zarathustra's mind. Simplified, my thoughts are that this constant questioning of ideals and beliefs are what brought on later ideas like Deconstruction in works of Derrida and other authors of similar beliefs. Reading this, it's strange to see where the hell Freud is coming from as far as Nietzsche's works go. Sex is downplayed in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. It's viewed almost as casual as going to the bathroom and reading a newspaper. The ideas presented by Zarathustra are often intriguing and help to solidify the reader's opinion on a topic one way or another.

    As far as writing style, this story is written like the bible. Obviously, it mocks the bible in almost every way, from the dated vocabulary to the stories of animals and silly symbolism. The ridiculous songs and poems poke fun at related portions of the bible. The setting is even pseudo-biblical. I found it somewhat hard at times to get Nietzsche's point out of some of the more muddled passages, and I had to continue on to find later that he'd repeat something a different way and I'd eventually grasp it. While, a progression(or regression depending upon your viewpoint), I feel Zarathustra's journey forward looks backward often, and some of the necessary introductory pieces didn't appeal to me much, as I felt I've already "gone under" these traditions of good and evil.

    This is a necessary read for anyone even somewhat interested in philosophy. Depending upon how familiar you are with works by later authors it might be a bit boring and repetative. As much praise as I give for it, the work doesn't go without flaw. Obvious in Zarathustra is a certain contempt for everything currently around him and an outwardly destructive nature to an extent that isn't directly militant, but it reflects someone shunned by a society and falls to subjectivity at certain points. One or two sections struck me as very sexist and I dismissed them as a result of the time period and Nietzsche's lonliness in life. Shining through where unwanted at times is Nietzsche's praise of solitude and on a much lower level his illness. It leaves the reader unconvinced in specific passages and opens questions of bias(not to say this isn't a biased work).

    Overall, 4/5 stars. A necessary, excellent read. It's a tough read and you'll have to go over a few passages more than once to grab the meaning, but you'll come out with a clear idea of where you stand on some of the issues and maybe a new view on society's conventions....more info

  • A brief comment
    I just had a brief comment to make on TSZ, which, although not my usual sort of reading in philosophy, I still enjoyed and found thought-provoking in many ways.

    My philosophical interests are mainly in 20th-century analytical philosophy and the philosophy of science, but I've read a few books here and there specifically about Nietzsche and his philosophy, and although I sometimes wonder if the exhortatory, highly personal and idiosyncratic, and epigrammatic (not to mention contradictory) approach to expressing his ideas that Nietzsche takes in Zarathustra really does justice to them, there is no doubt the book strikes a responsive chord in readers in a way that none of his other typically more academic-sounding books have.

    I will say, however, that I do agree with a couple of the things he says in the book. I liked the parts where Zarathustra says that "Man has killed God with his indifference," and also, on a more sociological note, "It is not that our institutions are no good anymore; it is we who are no longer any good for our institutions." I can sort of relate to those sentiments, at least, and whether one agrees with many of Zarathustra's statements or not (and actually, despite my reservations about the book's style and presentation, I found I often agreed with what Zarathustra says) the book certainly stands as one of the most dramatic, visionary, and uniquely personal philosophical works ever written....more info

  • You should be there
    The prophet was not meant to be understood; rather to be lived.

    Have you arrived on you own, to a place where you shed all that you know to be true? Then the prophet will guide you.

    You will be indebted to him, for he is as unique as Job....more info

  • Free your mind
    Nietzsche's great gift to mankind is also his greatest joke and his greatest trap. The idea's in it are facinating and complex and invite endless re-reading. That endless re-reading it both the joke and the trap. The joke is on you if you re-read to learn more about Nietzsche. You should only be reading to learn more about yourself. Remember that N looked for those who would "follow him becuase they wished to follow themselves," he would teach them to follow themselves, but then, they must go away, wrestle with him, and reject him. After that rejection, he would return with love. Until that rejection, they were still followers, maybe they would come to belive him again, as levels of understanding increased, ('my today refutes my yesterday') but now he would be a guide and not a leader. I suppose one could even re-embrace chistianity but as an awakened one and not as a slave. Remember that N is not telling you what to think, he is telling you that YOU must think and why he thinks like he does. So read him and reject him ( reject him becuase you think, not becuase you are christian) then read him again. Let him become your best enemy and love him not for what he says but for what he makes you become. But then again, don't just take my word for it.
    as a note on the translation, Kuafmann is probably the best out there. Don't waste your time with Common if you are a cusual reader ( of course if you can read german don't waste your time with either.) However, if you are really hardcore and can't read german than reading more than one translation may give insights as different things may be translated better in one than the other. For example in the prolog Kaufmanns use of the american term "tight rope walker" does not lend the same beuty and clarity to the metaphor as Commons more literal tranlation of "rope dancer" think about it when you re-read the prolog....more info
  • Don't Read this Book! It May Upset Your Applecart!
    I remember the first time my eighth grade teacher scratched a list out on the chalkboard of authors we should never read. Who do you suppose topped the list? Why, Fred Neitzsche (we're on first names after all those years). Just to be clear, I went to Catholic school. I doubt there are many secular private or public schools that care enough about what students are reading to worry about banning any authors, let alone something as powerful as Neitzsche. (I presume they're more interested in banning books that refer to nipples, racial name-calling, or popular drugs.)

    Buy this book now, and buy it in a hard cover edition (like this one). This, contrary to what other reviewers suggest, should be your very first Nietzsche. It is a powerful, allegorical tale that will sweep you in with its powerful tone and ideas. Don't be afraid if you come away confused and unsettled. Just read it again and again. Take it with you everywhere. When you go to class, keep it on your desk in full view. Quote from it all of your school writing projects.

    The truth is, your gut will tell you the man is right about so many things. You can later worry about how Zarathustra plays upon ideas from classic Greek philosophy, or how silly it is to think that Nietzsche's work led to the racist thinking of Germany's National Socialist movement....more info

  • what if God can dance, though?
    i recommend this book with my whole heart. at times it seems as though nietzsche is immature, but what depth and what flashes of brilliant insight! to me, nietzsche seems to (in this book) resemble the prophets of the Old Testament. he confronts all of us, and not just Christians, with a loud message: wake up.
    some of the metaphysical solutions he advances are, to me, simply false. but that will never detract from what i have gained from this book, and some of the chapters were written so beautifully, and some of the images so absolutely vivid and shattering, that i found myself unable to do anything other than meditate spellbound for several minutes.
    i highly recommend this book. i'm a Christian, but i think nietzsche's criticisms are worth our attention. certainly, his call for a dance is worth nothing other than an affirmation....more info
  • Recommending not to begin with Zarathustra
    I would like to advise new readers of Nietzsche to not read Zaruthustra until you have read a number of his other works. The book is cryptic, metaphoric, and employs heavy symbolism that will be easily misinterpreted by those who have not invested in Nietzsche's thinking.

    Better to begin with Genealogy of Morals, or even Beyond Good and Evil (which recounts Zarathustra, but is more accessible), or Kaufmann's "Philosopher, Psychologist, Anti-Christ," or begin from the beginning with Birth of Tragedy and follow the chronology of his writings. A quick introduction to the style and nature of Nietzsche can be had through his Untimely Meditations, or the Gay Science....more info

  • para las personas de habla hispana
    ¨¦ste libro de Nietzsche considerado como una obra maestra de la literatura contempor¨¢nea, no solo es una gran obra para aquel que desea leerla con prop¨®sitos acad¨¦micos, sino para todos lo que mas all¨¢ de querer encontrar respuestas sobre la existencia, est¨¢n buscando preguntas, cuestionarse, abrir los ojos ante todo lo anteriormente cre¨ªdo. Por lo tanto el texto es interpretado de la manera en que cada uno de nosotros lo tomemos, adapt¨¢ndolo as¨ª a nuestro c¨®digo de valores, creencias y madurez cr¨ªtica.
    En el libro se manejan diferentes ideas, una de ellas es la importancia de la voluntad. La voluntad de existir, de creer, de vencer el dolor, de obtener una fortaleza interior que nos permita no ser parte del "reba?o" y ubicarnos en la constante b¨²squeda de la verdad, la espiritualidad, nuestra propia libertad y la "perfecci¨®n". Sostiene el concepto de que todo hombre tiene como mayor aspiraci¨®n ser cada vez mejor. Se maneja la resignaci¨®n y el conformismo como lo contrario a lo que ense?a Zaratustra. Sin embargo, pienso yo, que en vez de resignarnos o al contrario entregarnos a ser demasiado humanos adorando la perfecci¨®n, podr¨ªamos tratar de mejorar y perfeccionar nuestra vida en este mundo.
    Se maneja una iron¨ªa singular, ya que Zaratustra podr¨ªa ser comparado con Cristo ya que ambos son visto como personas no comunes, desconocidas, constantemente cuestionados, pero a al mismo tiempo, las ideas expuestas por Zaratustra resultan ser todo un reto para la ideolog¨ªa cristiana. Por ejemplo, la muestra del ut¨®pico superhombre del que se habla, marca una inferioridad dentro de la raza humana, cosa que en la religi¨®n cuya base es la igualdad entre los hombres, representa una contrariedad severa a sus postulados.
    El superhombre es el estado mas alto al que puede llegar una persona, se expone como aquel que siendo due?o de sus actos y pensamiento es capaz de gobernarse a s¨ª mismo sin necesidad de pertenecer al tan mencionado "reba?o o manada" siendo manipulado y guiado. ¨¦ste superhombre es seguro, independiente y muy individualista, ¨¦ste siente con intensidad, pero sus pasiones est¨¢n frenadas y reprimidas por el poder de su propio razonamiento.
    La obra est¨¢ llena de contrastes. De alguna manera el texto puede ser visto como pesimista mientras que por el otro lado puede ser considerado bello y lleno de esperanza. Suena algo ir¨®nico pero el libro nos hace reflexionar que al destruir el mundo del idealismo mal entendido reflejado en el egocentrismo y el ego¨ªsmo, y los valores falsos, podr¨ªamos encontrar la verdadera esencia que nos hace ser lo que somos y as¨ª poder reconstruir lo aprendido en bases firmes y no falsas o temporales.
    Existen los constantes cuestionamientos existenciales, basados en la preguntas generales de ?Qu¨¦ es un hombre?, ?Cu¨¢l es nuestro potencial?, ?Qu¨¦ es el verdadero ser?, preguntas cuya respuesta es incierta ya que no hay una correcta si no varios puntos de vista que muchas veces difieren entre uno y otro. El texto no busca la falta de disciplina y mucho menos guiarnos hacia el libertinaje como en alg¨²n tiempo se penso, al contrario, se muestra como una reacci¨®n en contra del conformismo de ideas y acciones que prevalece hoy en d¨ªa en nuestra sociedad y que de hecho es bastante com¨²n.
    Otro de los temas tratados es el regreso eterno que plantea una proyecci¨®n c¨ªclica de los eventos, es decir la repetici¨®n de ¨¦stos en lapsos largos de tiempo. Habla sobre la importancia de vivir el presente sin encerrarnos en el pasado ni proyectarnos al futuro. Todas ¨¦stas ideas pueden sonar un tanto extra?as mas a una mentalidad tradicionalista y occidentalizada como la nuestra, donde generalmente se nos ense?a a recurrir al pasado para entender o corregir nuestro presente y prever el futuro. Ideas como ¨¦sta nos hace comprender porque la censura al autor de ¨¦sta obra que permaneci¨® en el anonimato por mucho tiempo acatando las reglas morales y religiosas que prevalec¨ªan no hace mucho tiempo....more info
  • Nietzsche's New Testament
    By far the most famous of Nietzsche's works, but also one of the harder to read. Will write more when I figure out what to really say about it....more info
  • Scripture, not Philosophy
    In my opinion, it helps somewhate to have read prof. Ronald Hayman's excellent biography of Nietzsche to get some idea of the context in which Nietzsche wrote this work.

    As Hayman describes it, it appears this book reflects a kind of genuine religious epiphany/satori experience Nietzsche had while hiking the trails of Sils-Maria while in anguish over his failed relationship with Lou Salome and Paul Ree. For that reason, I personally consider the book to be more scripture than philosophy. Albeit, a scripture informed by the life and learning of an eminent philosopher in the classical tradition.

    In this context, I see the book as the expression of the fruition of a true seeker's lifetime quest for truth and insight.

    The two key concepts that are new in the book: the Ubermensch, and The Eternal Return, have been vastly misunderstood, to often horrific effect. A result not entirely unforseen by Nietzsche himself, of course.

    Personally, even though I was fortunate enought to have studied Nietzsche in college, I never quite grokked the 'eternal return' until I grokked the psychological device of the zen koan via reading Philip Kapleau's 'Three Pillars of Zen'.

    It seems to me that the 'eternal return' fits in quite nicely with the koan tradition, being a 'what if' conundrum that just happened to grab Nietzsche in the right way and propelled him through the transformations he records here, in the later parts of 'Thus Spake Zarathustra'.

    The questions the book challenges us to confront are the classic ones: 'what is it to be human', 'what is the potential of the human', 'what is the self and why is it to be overcome' etc etc

    The sad and untold part of the book is the book's foreshadowing of Nietzsche's final kundalini awakening/epiphany, and subsequent collapse due to the overwhelming power of the kundalini energy, upon rescuing the flogged horse in the town square, in his story of the jester falling from the tightrope.

    but ... 'what matters all happiness?' indeed!...more info

  • An Epic Poem
    Using the New Testament device of the parable, (in part to satirize it) Nietzsche created a prophet with which to deliver his message to the world with the force of characterization. Though he would outline his ideas more clearly later, he never again came so close to poetry and it remained the favorite of all his books....more info
  • Rereadable
    This is a new gospell, as Nietzsche himself described it. Truth is only a few can read the book, but reading it again is always a possibility and each time it will be different. Nietzsche is in fac one of the greatest philosophers, the price of this book is an insult for its real value, well worth it....more info
  • A simple bit of praise
    In all honesty I found this particular piece a joy to read. It is a rich, slghtly long-winded work that has both the joy of a good novel and a treatise on philosophy wrapped together. I hightly recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in philosophy or Nietzsche....more info
  • A New World View
    Before you read this book, realize this: Thus Spoke Zarathustra is considered by Nietzche to be his ultimate gift to us. To truly understand it you must understand the evolution of his thoughts. Thus Spoke is a culmination of his life, and to realize what Nietzche means, beyond the surface and any preconceived notions you might have, you have to know what built up to this book. I suggest reading: "Nietzche: Philosopher, Psychologist, AntiChrist" to gain perspective on what formed this amazing thinker. The thoughts may seem harsh when they stand alone, but as you begin to see the picture that Nietzche paints, you will find it hard to deny the reality of his thoughts and their implications on your view of the world. In one way he can be seen as a pessimistic "nihilist"; at the same time his thoughts are beautiful, full of hope. Ironic, isn't it? We destroy the world of idols and false values so that we may rebuild it, so that we may overcome it....more info
  • Review for the non-philosopher
    There seem to be plenty of reviews debating the philosophical principles of Nietszche and the statements he makes, so, for the non-philosophy students present (i.e. ME) I'll rate it for the layman.

    `TSZ' is very longwinded, and as the introduction states, filled with `excess', but that does not make it a bad book. Every sentence is imbued with its own iconic poetry, and, philosophy aside, the metaphors and similes alone make this book worth reading. It is clear that Nietszche, or perhaps his translator, had a mind better suited to creative expression than most philosophers, or indeed today's authors, and it is in this that lies the book's real strength. Through its use of imagery it not only makes an interesting, inspirational, conjectural read (apart from a few really boring parts that seemed written only to slow down the pace), it makes its message easy to understand and backs it up with surrealistic examples. Whereas sometimes in philosophy, the use of allegory can confuse the issue (More's `Utopia' - mockery of idealism, framework for perfect society, or rambling tale?), in `Zarathustra' the reader, no matter whether they are new to the field or not, cannot fail to discern the message that Man is not a goal but a bridge, a rope over an abyss. As philosophy, and as literature, it succeeds in conveying its point, setting up a platform for discussion or merely to digest individually. Admittedly, some refuse to read Nietszche because of his view of women (`shallow waters'), and because of how his ideas for the Superman allegedly inspired Hitler's Aryan vision for the world, but such people deprive themselves of an interesting viewpoint that defines the meaning of life in human rather than spiritual terms.

    One potential problem for the newcomer to philosophy is the storyline. For a man remembered for the statement `God is dead', Nietszche obviously drew inspiration from the Bible, for Zarathustra is strongly reminiscent of Jesus, recruiting disciples and disappearing into the wilderness with a frequency that Bigfoot would be proud of. The problem with an allegorical tale is the reader's propensity for bringing western narrative expectations to it - `Zarathustra' is a text-book, not a story, but sometimes you do find yourself waiting for the climax, the big show-down, the cinematic denouement. So long as you remember that it is philosophy, not a novel, and so long as you appreciate each segment as an expressive point and not part of a conventional plot, there should be no troubles. I'll leave you with a sample of Nietzsche's verbal wizardry:

    `It is the stillest words which bring the storm. Thoughts that come on doves' feet guide the world.'...more info

  • Apply It To Your Life
    Nietzsche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" is often referred to as one of the most influential works of our century, which he wrote in the latter part of the nineteenth century. I've read numerous critiques, analysis, and interpretations from scholars on "Thus Spoke..." Understanding Friedrich, his life, and his constant pains, give some insight into what may have underlined his beliefs. I think to best understand "Thus Spoke..." a person should read it at least twice. I believe a reader can take many of the themes and metaphors and apply them to his or her belief system, or personal philosophy. We all perceive things in different ways, and we can take what we want out of this work. Individuality, and the constant question and resistance to organized institutions is what I like to take from "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" as Zarathustra walks along the mountains, trails, hills, and towns, in his quest to think for himself and tell others of his thoughts. The style is direct and the many exclamation points give Nietzsche's points a "shout!" Nietzsche notes the importance of individuality and the dangers of becoming one of the lemming-like sheep that follow the herd, whether it be nationalism, religious zealotry, or the unquestioning acceptance of basic societal norms. Nietzsche rakes Christianity and organized religion over the coals, with knockout punch after knockout punch. Another theme I take from "Thus Spoke..." is that one person's vice is another's virtue, and we should focus on ourselves and what we believe in, and not spend time attempting to have others accept our ways, and certainly now want them to accept us. We should simply do our "own-thing." One person's goals and values can be, and often are, abhorrent to another person.

    There is certainly much more to his works, and any person can go deeper than myself, because I read non-fiction primarily. If a person reads this when they are in their late teens or early twenties, perhaps it can help them reinforce who they are. Anyone can benefit from "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" if they allow themselves the opportunity....more info

  • Tale of an Ubermensch
    Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra is probably his most famous work as well as being the work least popular among readers. This is probably partially because it is written in fictional form. Zarathustra is well designed to frustrate twentieth century philosophy of the analytic tradition, which seeks conceptual clarity at the expense of rhetorical form, indeed often insisting on the separation between a concept and the vehicle of its expression. Moreover, the utilization of the work by the Nazi war effort did little to improve the books reception in the Anglo-American world.

    The book is philosophically interesting, in part because it does employ literary tropes and genres to philosophical effect. Zarathustra makes frequent use of parody, particularly of the Platonic dialogues and the New Testament. This strategy immediately places Zarathustra on a par with Socrates and Christ--and as a clear alternative to them. The erudite allusions to works spanning the Western philosophical and literary traditions also play a philosophical role, for they both reveal Nietzsche's construct of the tradition he inherited and flag points at which he views it as problematic.

    Much of the book consists of Zarathustra's speeches on philosophical themes. These often obscure the plotline of the book. The book does involve a plot, however, which includes sections in which Zarathustra is "off-stage," in private reflection, and some in which he seems extremely distressed about the way his teaching and his life are going. Zarathustra attempts to instruct the crowds and the occasional higher man that he encounters in the book; but his most important teaching is his education of the reader, accomplished through demonstrative means. Zarathustra teaches by showing.

    Zarathustra stands in he tradition of the German Bildungsroman, in which a character's development toward spiritual maturity is chronicled. Zarathustra can be seen as a paradigm for the modern, spiritually sensitive individual, one who grapples with nihilism, the contemporary crisis in values in the wake of the collapse of the Christian worldview that assigned humanity a clear place in the world.

    In the popular imagination, Nietzsche's idea of the Ubermensch is one of his most memorable and significant ideals. However, the concept of the Ubermensch is actually discussed little in the book. The topic is the theme of the first speech in "Zarathustra's Prologue," which he presents to a crowd gathered for a circus. The audience interprets Zarathustra as a circus barker and the speech as an introduction to a performance by a tightrope walker. The concept is mentioned recurrently in Part I as something of a refrain to Zarathustra's speeches. But the word Ubermensch rarely occurs after that.

    Additionally, the notion of the Ubermensch is presented in more imagistic than explanatory terms. The Ubermensch, according to Zarathustra, is continually experimental, willing to risk all for the enhancement of humanity. The Ubermensch aspires to greatness, but Zarathustra does not formulate any more specific characterization of what constitutes the enhancement of humanity or greatness. He does, however, contrast the Ubermensch to the last man, the human type whose sole desire is personal comfort and happiness. Such a person is the "last man" quite literally, incapable of the desire that is required to create beyond oneself in any form, including that of having children.

    Zarathustra's opening speech, besides proposing the Ubermensch as the ideal for humanity also places emphasis on this world as opposed to any future world. In particular, Zarathustra urges that human beings reassess the value of their own bodies, indeed their embodiment. For too long, dreaming of the afterlife, Western humanity has treated the body as a source of sin and error. Zarathustra, in contrast, insists that the body is the ground of all meaning and knowledge, and that health and strength should be recognized and sought as virtues.

    Another prominent theme in Zarathustra is its emphasis on the relative importance of will. In part, this emphasis follows Schopenhauer in claiming that will is more fundamental to human beings than knowledge. However, Nietzsche stresses the will's attempt to enhance its power, whereas he views Schopenhauer as placing greater stress on the will's efforts at self preservation. Nietzsche's famous conception of will to power makes one of its few published appearances in Zarathustra.

    Much of the plot of Zarathustra concerns his efforts to formulate his idea of eternal recurrence. At times, the idea possesses him in the form of visions and dreams. At others, he seems reluctant to state it categorically or to accept its implications. During a particularly despairing moment, he shudders at the implication of his doctrine that "the rabble," the petty people who comprise most of the human race, will also recur. The fact that Zarathustra objects to the recurrence of the rabble is indicative of Nietzsche's elitism. Consistently, Nietzsche and Zarathustra contend that human beings are not equal. Nietzsche objects to the democratic movements of his era in favor of more aristocratic forms of social organization that would place control in the hands of the talented, of necessity, not the majority....more info

  • Great!
    Nietzsche is direct and no-nonsense. At the same time this book is imaginative and poetic. I had no problem with the archaic language of this translation. It is very easy to mentally replace the"ye"s and "thou"s with their modern equivalents. Then the text reads like a charm....more info
  • Nietzsche and Socrates
    Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which was distributed among the German army and read by Hitler, has been long misunderstood. Walter Kaufmann, whose translations of Nietzsche's works are the best available, has been somewhat successful in helping us interpret this great book.

    Friedrich Nietzsche tried in this book and others to undermine the prevailing ethics, namely those of Christianity. Christianity, Nietzsche (and later, Martin Heidegger) believed, stemmed from the moral teachings of Socrates; even modern science is derived from them.

    Nietzsche is the great critic of modern times. He worried that communism would lead to a horrible homogenization of culture and an overextension of the bourgeoisie (which he hated). Throughout Zarathustra, he praises war, the warrior's spirit, cruelty, vanity, etc.- all things denounced by Christianity. This is not so much to bring about "new" values but rather a re-evaluation of all values! Both Nietzsche and Heidegger went back obsessively to the pre-Socratic philosophers, searching for alternatives.

    But Nietzsche does not scorn Socrates; on the contrary, he praises him as the "pied piper" full of "prankish wisdom," terms Nietzsche also applies to himself. And Nietzsche really is on the level Socrates: both are great, prankish, wise, critics of their times and both are philosophers. Both help us understand how to live (and, more importantly, how to die), though there are disagreements between the two. But Nietzsche brings up the great questions of our times: are OUR values the best? should we find others? should we begin anew? Read Zarathustra if you care to explore these things.

    Also, for those interested, I recommend Werner Dannhauser's "Nietzsche's View of Socrates," the section from Allan Bloom's "The Closing of the American Mind" called "From Socrates' Apology to Heidegger's Rektoratsrede," Heidegger's "Being and Time," and of course, the rest of Nietzsche's books....more info

  • Strenght from the ashes
    Many will link Nietzsche to the idea of nihilism, that once god, morality and all values have been emptied out and thrown out of their pedestals, there's very left to hold on to, and life itself becomes meaningless. Well for Nietzsche, the glass is half-full, and Thus Spoke Zarathustra is a guide on the way to overcome, on how to absolve the self from imposed value systems, seing their limitations and the reasoning behind their existance. What Nietzche preaches through his precepts is for a continuous redefinition of values, eventually to see them as arbitrary, normative patterns.
    Nietzche sees this transvaluation as the way to free oneself from ALL power structures, Zarathustra himself teaches in the hope that his students eventually overcome the definitions he gives them. Thus Spoke Zarathustra mixes philosophical enquiries within the narrative of a prophetic journey, but Zarathustra's prophecy is the end of all prophets. The overman breaks away from all forms of divine order and social structuralism, but also from his own definition. ...more info
  • brilliant and creative mind
    I am not educated in philosophy, so I read this book slowly with the help of Sparknotes and ended up really enjoying the book, not only for its philosophy (not all of which I found agreeable, however, tremendously interesting) but also for its creativity, humor and its literary energy and complexity. It is always a treat to read writings of such a brilliant thinker of our time....more info
  • Algora pub./T. Wayne trans. edition is best
    This is an amazing, but also sometimes amazingly difficult to access, work. It is unfortunate that Kauffman's is the most widely used translation, because his translation is clunky and ponderous. T. Wayne's translation, in contrast, is very lyrical and frequently simply makes more sense. In some places it does appear that Mr. Wayne tries too hard to distinguish his translation from that of Kauffman, meaning his difference in word choice does not improve the work but rather makes it worse. However, to be fair, that is rare and the vast majority of the differences mark a substantial improvement. The most disappointing thing about this edition is that the publishers/editors (Algora) did a pretty sloppy job, so there are a number stupid typographical errors that will hopefully be corrected if Algora ever re-publishes it. ...more info
  • An incredibly misunderstood genius!!
    Nietzsche was controversial (and reveled in it), but he was also grossly misunderstood. To pigeonhole his philosophy as simply about glorifying barbaric agresssion does a grave disservice to his quest for uplifting the human soul. Nietzsche was a man who absolutely ABHORRED mediocrity, and dedicated his work into helping man reclaim the "star" that he always potentially possesses, provided he is willing to free himself from the shackles of dogma and conventionality. "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" is Nietzsche's manifesto on how to get there.

    The concept of the "last-man" is brilliant, and unbelievably prescient!! This smug. self-satisfied, herd-like man exists today in overwhelming abundance!! The "last-man," to quote Nietzsche "has no shepherd and one herd! Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse." When you look around and see the mindless banal dreck on televison, in newspapers, and throughout society in general, you see the deleterious effects of the contented "last-man" who can no longer have contempt for himself, therefore, he cannot and will not strive to advance himself!!

    One may not agree with everything in "Thus Spoke Zarathustra," but it is unquestionably a brilliant work that will open up new vistas of the mind and have you examining man's spiritual condition in an utterly profound way. And Nietzsche's writing style is, at its best, almost lyrical!!...more info
  • One of the most challenging works I have ever read
    Thus Spoke Zarathustra (originally Also Sprach Zarathustra) is considered by some (myself included) to have been the crowning work of the nineteenth century German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900). Unlike most modern philosophical works, Zarathustra's format harkens back to the Bible and to the ancient Greek works such as Plato's dialogues. In it, Zarathustra wanders the landscape, talking to people, drawing out the fallacies of what they believe and propounding Nietzsche's philosophy.

    Overall, I found this to be one of the most challenging works I have ever read. Nietzsche's use of paradox and ambiguity tends to obscure his teachings, while at the same time challenging the reader to read closely and understand what he is saying in spite of the ambiguity. But, it is well worth the effort.

    In his seminal work, The End of History and the Last Man, Francis Fukuyama argues that the last philosophy standing that can possibly challenge the reigning philosophy of the West is that of Friedrich Nietzsche. And so, I do believe that it is worth understanding Nietzsche. Is this the best book to read to understand the great philosopher? I can't say. But, it is the book I started with. It is a challenging read, but definitely well worth the effort. I have had a copy of this book since college, and to this day I still periodically take it off the shelf and read it again....more info
  • Become what thou art!!
    "But by my love and hope I beseech you: do not throw away the hero in your soul! Hold holy your highest hope!" ~ Friedrich Nietzsche from "Thus Spoke Zarathustra"

    You ready for some Nietzsche? Let's start with how you say the guy's name shall we? You can pronounce "Nietzsche" either "knee-chee" or "knee-cha." (I prefer the latter...sounds cooler, don't you think? ;)

    With that behind us, you're ready for a warning: Be warned: The man, as they say, delivers his philosophy with a hammer. As Walter Kaufmann brilliantly articulates in the foreword, Nietzsche "is a dedicated enemy of all convention, intent on exposing the stupidity and arbitrariness of custom."

    In "Thus Spoke Zarathustra," we meet the enlightened hero, Zarathustra, who has come down from the mountaintop to deliver a series of scathing rants on everything from his famous proclamation that "God is dead!" to admonitions to forget loving thy neighbor and instead learn to love the farthest.

    It's written in a mock-Biblical style and features Nietzsche's undying commitment to our potential. If you're new to Nietzsche and thinking about reading the book, you'll definitely want a quiet space to read but don't be intimidated. Once you get into it, it flows. ...more info
  • Hail Zarathustra
    Neitzche must've ad a lot of time on his hands (particularly chasing after his sister). This book the well written. It had some deep philosophical logic quotation that really make you say "hmmm." It's a hard, but, great read. Thus Spake the Reviewer.

    ...more info
  • Thus Spoke Zarathustra is excellent and this copy is great
    Very interesting read, and this copy is small enough to carry, I read
    this on trips on the plane, and it flows nicely. Recommend it.
    ...more info
  • Too much thee, thou, doeth for my taste
    Ah, heck. Call me uncouth or whatever, but reading these 150 year old philosophy works can often be taxing on a today-man like myself. Honestly, I wasn't ready for the thee, thou... Anyway, sorry I tarnisheth a worketh such as thiseth. My bad. Otherwise, love Nietzsche so far. I've only read two books of his, and I guess I'm surprised by how far ahead of his time he was on religious matters. Philosophy with a hammer, indeed....more info
  • Unleash the power within
    What a book this is! The announcement, the challenge to humanity, 'I give you, the superman!' God is dead. Many of Nietzsches idea's are so modern, or the foundation of modern life (think of the messiah complexes and beyond good or evil personas of rock stars like Marilyn Manson), it is so hard to believe he wrote this in the Victorian age (not hard then to see why he went insane). The most obvious clue to the era it was written is the longwindness, and difficulty of reading the text through. It is perhaps best to approach it in shortbursts, not only for the ideas but to appreciate the poetry of the text - what a way to present philosophy! So in keeping with the revolutionary nature of the work.

    Thus spake Zarathustra is an ideal book to start reading Nietzsche first hand. If approaching Nietzsche for the first time, or if seeking a more general overview of his thought, I recommend the easy reading, Introducing Nietzsche, Third Edition (Introducing...),' by Laurence Gane. Otherwise enjoy, and go from here to read 'Beyond Good or Evil.'...more info
  • the Realm of Existentialism
    God is dead?
    Do You really care? ...

    "But he "had" to die: he saw with eyes that saw everything; he saw man's depths and ultimate grounds, all his concealed disgrace and ugliness. His pity knew no shame: he crawled into my dirtiest nooks. This most curious, over obtrusive, over pitying one had to die. He always saw me: on such a witness I wanted to have revenge or not live myself. The god who saw everything, even man---this god had to die! Man cannot bear it that such a witness should live. Thus spoke the Ugliest man."

    After reading Thus Spoke Zarathustra several times, I've decided it is not reviewable and, perhaps, not meant to be reviewed, as it will be something different to each individual mind -- like God, the color blue, or the taste of a fine wine.

    Thus Spoke Zarathustra is absolutely one of the most informative, easy to read, humorous, internationally-debated, philosophical - theological, psychological writings to date -- and still, not many have a clue as to what Nietzsche has brought to the table, or even why. Indeed, this is better than Da Vinci Code (sorry Mr. Brown). It is a book for None and All, to be sure. I dub Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra the 8th Wonder of the World.

    "I walk among this people and keep my eyes open: they do not forgive me that I do not envy their virtues. They bite at me because I say to them: small people need small virtues --- and because I find it hard to accept that small people are needed.

    I am like a rooster in a strange yard, where the hens also bite at him; but I am not angry with the hens on that account. I am polite to them as with all small annoyances; to be prickly to what is small strikes me as wisdom for hedgehogs."

    Highly Recommended! --Katharena Eiermann, 2007, the Realm of Existentialism -- Presidential Hopeful...more info
  • Censored Nietzsche
    Nietzshe's sister, who edited this version, distorted his ideas. Also, the translation is in a quasi-biblical style which may not be suitable for the style of the book....more info
  • German Literature at it's Best
    I don't like Nietzsche. His theories are inhumane, and his insights psychotic. But anyone who reads the man's work knows that even after translation (by the prestigious RJ Hollingdale), Nietzsche's ability to write beautiful prose is an indisputable fact. One must often wonder where his ideas would be today if he had been a mediocre story teller?

    Thus Spoke Zarathustra is, in my humble opinion, the place where anyone who wants to read Nietzsche should start. The ideas are deliniated clearly and the fashion in which they are strew is fully comprehendable. Or, if you prefer, try Beyond Good and Evil.

    RSM...more info
  • Radical and Brilliant
    Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra remains one of the most powerful and cryptic tomes in the history western thought. Is this a work of philosophy or poetry? Due to the immense power of Nietzsche's writing, it remains highly readable, even for those who are not usually comfortable reading philosophy. In the prologue, Nietzsche describes Zarathustra's isolation in the mountains and his intention to descend so that he can teach mankind. Zarathustra proclaims that God is dead and the overman, the sort of man who has overcome his own nature. Zarathustra proclaims: "The time has come for man to set himself a goal. The time has come for man to plant the seed of his highest hope" (17). Nietzsche is passing his philosophical project onto Zarathustra as an author might pass his personal impressions onto a fictional character. Zarathustra is a new symbol of wisdom in the modern era; he teaches that man is now burdened with the task of creating a meaning for himself. In Zarathustra's speeches, he speaks of the "three metamorphoses of the spirit" (25), which include how the spirit becomes a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion a child. For Nietzsche, even the lion of freedom is not sufficient; the child who can create represents the possibility of an overman. Zarathustra says: "The child is innocence and forgetting, a new beginning, a game, a self-propelled wheel, a first movement, a sacred `Yes.' For the game of creation, my brothers, a sacred `Yes' is needed: the spirit now wills his own will, and he who had been lost to the world now conquers his own world" (27). Zarathustra teaches man that God is the result of an act of creation, that man is capable of willing new gods and goals. He says: "this god whom I created was man-made and madness, like all Gods!" (33). Zarathustra might be called the God of the Body as he claims that it was originally the sick and decaying who hated the body and nature and subsequently created heaven. Zarathustra provides and alternative: "Listen rather, my brothers, to the voice of the healthy body: that is a more honest and purer voice. More honestly and purely speaks the healthy body that is perfect and perpendicular: and it speaks of the meaning of the earth" (33). Zarathustra warns man of the power of `Good and Evil,' of preachers of virtues and the soul. However, for all of man's creative efforts in conjuring systems of value, man still is left without a clear goal. Zarathustra concludes the first book by insisting that he will only return when his listeners have denied him, for he desires to cultivate an independence of thought.
    In the second book, Zarathustra returns and begins to speak about creation and pitying. In the second section (Upon the Blessed Isles), he argues that "God is a conjecture; but I desire that your conjectures should not reach beyond your creative will. Could you create a god? Then do not speak to me of any gods. But you could well create the overman [...] of the overman you could recreate yourselves: and let this be your best creation" (86). For Zarathustra, creation is the solution to redeem man from his suffering. Additionally, man's will to power is a potentially liberating capacity. In the fifth section, Zarathustra critically examines different conceptions of traditional virtue. He says: "you are too pure for the filth of the words: revenge, punishment, reward, retribution" (94). After much vivisection and refutation, Zarathustra moves into a discussion of the possible meaning of existence for man in the section On the Tarantulas. Here, he makes a proposal: "For that man be delivered from revenge, that is for me the bridge to the highest hope, and a rainbow after long storms" (99). Zarathustra warns man to mistrust all who have a powerful inclination to seek revenge and enact punishment.In book three, Zarathustra continues his prophetic teachings to mankind, though he insists that he is "Godless" (170). He reflects about the absence of having a true audience; one gets the impression that Zarathustra is echoing Nietzsche's loneliness as a largely unrecognized philosopher and writer. He continues with a transvaluation of all values wherein Zarathustra declares the `three best cursed things,' which are: "sex, the lust to rule, [and] selfishness" (188). He condemns Christianity's disapproval of these things, arguing that sex represents a happiness of the body, the lust to rule is a variant of the will to power, and selfishness is a mode of self enjoyment. Zarathustra is concerned that the dominant institutions of our time have conditioned human beings to hate and fear themselves. Additionally, he teaches man about man's ultimate purpose, which he describes in the third section of `The Old and New Tablets,' where he writes: "There it was too that I picked up the word `overman' by the way, and that man is something that must be overcome-that man is a bridge and no end" (198). For Zarathustra, a going under is a crossing over, a transition. In this way, mankind is taught to confront his own mortality.
    In `The Convalescent,' Zarathustra rests for seven days after a collapse in his cave. He is upset with the animals for watching him in pain, for pain and cruelty (whether it is directed inward or outward) is the greatest flaw of man. It is here that Zarathustra gives his most profound teaching: "Alas, man recurs eternally! The small man recurs eternally!' Zarathustra has established his reason for being: to teach the eternal recurrence of the same. All events and beings of the universe have existed an infinite number of times and will continue to repeat eternally. Zarathustra claims: "I myself belong to the causes of the eternal recurrence. I come again, with this sun, with this earth, with this eagle, with this serpent-not to a new life or a better life or a similar life: I come back eternally to this same, selfsame life, in what is greatest as in what is smallest, to teach again the eternal recurrence of all the things" (221). It is because of the eternal recurrence of the same that mankind should affirm life and will subsequently overcome nihilism. Zarathustra expresses a desire that mankind embrace himself as such, and to be willing to act as a bridge for something greater. He declares: "You are mere bridges: may men higher than you stride over you. You signify steps: therefore do not be angry with him who climbs over you to his height" (283). According to Zarathustra, it is only since God has died that mankind can be resurrected. In `On the Higher Man,' Zarathustra announces the life of the overman, an indication of a higher being able to climb over man. Zarathustra announces: "O my brothers, what I can love in man is that he is an overture and a going under [...] Overcome these masters of today, O my brothers-these small people, they are the overman's greatest danger" (287). Human beings must, in accordance with their nature, be willing to go down in order to go across. They are the bridge to something higher. The thought of eternal return contains many facets and implications. One the one hand, the notion of eternity without the trajectory of a goal and without a definitive close could be viewed as the essence of nihilism or pessimism. However, this is not a complete thought of eternal recurrence. Yet if the thinker understands the relation between nihilism and the eternal recurrence of the same, he can fully affirm life.
    ...more info
  • Very . . . Teutonic . . .
    Nietzsche espouses a desire to create Supermen, who will be superior to modern humans. He vilifies pity, charity and sympathy as being weak and glorifies the warrior and those who would be cruel to create strength in themselves and others. His character Zarathustra speaks in a stilted, medieval way which, I suppose, is supposed to call to mind biblical passages.

    While I accept the importance of this work as philosophy and classic literature, I have to mark it as 3 stars because I felt this was, to a great extent, the philosophy espoused by Nazi Germany - at any rate, I could see where this formed part of the backbone of their society. I did not really enjoy reading it, although I feel it is important to read as many and as varied works as possible in order that I might learn something new all the time. Read it as a classical work, and as a philosophical masterpiece, but if you are troubled by the history of the Nazis, you will likely find the ideals espoused in this text to be uncomfortable....more info
  • Also Sprach Zarathustra - Difficult but Worth the Effort
    To start off with, the Walter Kaufmann translation is by now well known to be probably the authoritative edition of Zarathustra (although the excerpts I've read from the Del Caro Cambridge Texts edition seems to be perhaps a more beautiful style). One of the reasons I originally picked up this edition was because the only translations available over the web were the droning and pedantic Thomas Common versions which are not only dull but muddled. Walter Kaufmann's translation gives a degree of clarity that far surpasses the Common translation, cannot speak to all the differences (however large or small) between it and the Del Caro version.

    The book isn't particularly long, but Nietzsche fills it with metaphors and parables in addition to simple narrative and merriment. This is one of the challenges of the book: you're forced to figure out what is meaningful from what isn't and on top of that what each metaphor means. Nietzsche has never been in the habit of going into intricate detail or clarifying what he's saying to the same degree as some other thinkers, and although the book is a stylistic masterpiece (with narrative deliberately done in a biblical style and herein lies one of the advantages over the Common translation, namely that Common translated everything to mimic the King James version with an overabundance of "thees" "thous" and "ests") the philosophy is at times difficult to comprehend. Again, it's not difficult in the sense that the Critique of Pure Reason is difficult, or at least not nearly to the same degree, it is difficult because it is at times cryptic.

    Additionally, I've seen a lot of reviews suggesting reading Nietzsche just for the pithy phrases or the beauty of the work. And while the work is indeed a very beautiful piece in places and is often quotable (and even considering Nietzsche was very big into each individual making his own meaning, creating his own path or values), I'd caution you against that approach. Although the book has a strong "make your own way" line of thought, that doesn't preclude understanding the ways of others.

    I will admit that this is a contender for one of the more difficult books I've ever read (up there with Kant, though Nietzsche's previous and subsequent books are by far easier to understand). I've noticed that numerous readers recommend reading the book a second time. I'd say that might be useful, but it would take someone with either a lot of free time on their hands or someone with a very great degree of insight to grasp the meaning of each part of this work. What I found useful was having read other works by Nietzsche first. Before reading Zarathustra (which I read for the first time when I was 15 at the urging of a friend who was taking political science and philosophy in college) I had already read On the Genealogy of Morality and Human, All Too Human. My recommendation is to read at least one of Nietzsche's other books, preferably a couple. I'd suggest making Beyond Good and Evil one of your choices. By doing this, you will have already been introduced to Nietzschean philosophy and will be able to more readily grasp the symbolism used.

    Even if you don't choose that approach, you should get the main lines of thought, specifically the eternal recurrence of the same, the overman, and the glorification of struggle, in the work. Either way, this book is a landmark work in the history of philosophy and deserves to be read....more info
  • Worth digging through the lofty language
    This edition has a useful preface written by the translator, explaining why he thinks it is superior to prior transaltions from the German. His interspersed explanations throughout the book were informative. Nietzche, of course, gives the reader more than he/she can handle. Even if you don't understand all his allegories and ideas, there are enough gems in here that anyone can enjoy. I suspect that a second reading would be even more rewarding. ...more info
  • Nietzsche in english
    Ich kenne die Deutche sprach ohne schwierigkeit, best english translation that I am aware of. have read Untermeier tanslation, a disaster, Kaufmann with all due respect too devoted, is OK if nothing else available, but Hollingsdale is a masterpiece, a true work of art. Sometimes it seems to me to excell the very original.
    Salut. Peter...more info
  • Culmination of everything prior
    I do not recommend this book if you are a casual reader, you will misunderstand nearly every line of it. The Gems found in nearly every aphorism of this book must be decoded with years of research and a comprehensive understanding of Nietzsche's entire philosophy. Many will not admit this, or do not understand this because they are thrown off by the fact that Nietzsche was not a systemitizer.

    I, however, do not wish to discourage anyone from reading this book, in fact I wish everyone would, but without a comprehensive understanding of Nietzsche you will be confused and most likely adopt an incorrect view of Nietzsche's philosophy.

    With this said, this is one of the most beautiful achievements of man. From the very first aphorism, one is thrown into the agony of having to question everything one thinks. The beauty of Nietzsche lies not only in his prose, but also in the fact that in reading him, one feels as if one is reading a more elegant and articulate version of the struggle that goes on within. This book will be mirror for many, a mirror that makes the ugly beautiful....more info
  • oblique oblique
    Be careful not to read this too directly. Doing so can make you misunderstand too much. This book operates by association, or more specifically, the associative, and this is the reason it is so powerful. It is reflexive in so far as this operation becomes its subject. If one bears in mind Nietzsche's influential training as a philologist and the burgeoning field of linguistics in the 19thc, as well as an aesthetics of 'performativity' tied to the 'force' of artistic subjectivity in amongst some of those of Nietzsche's circle, such as Richard Wagner, then the allegory he employs can be argued as a kind of acute armature for exploring the obliquity of thought tied to symbols, statements, metaphores, etc, but it is that act of exploration that constitutes the work, not the facts of allegory. This is his persuasiveness, and it comes from Nietszche's study of rhetoric, classics, etc. It is a book about forces, not power, discipline, history, or even subjectivity. The forces or valency of allegory and concept - an immanence within thought - the book does nothing else. The catchy phrases that make it so memorable serve this function. This is not his best work though, as much as it is a step above the 'Birth of Tragedy' which rightly got him ridiculed. A lot of fun and great for broody teenagers. ...more info
  • My First Intro
    This was my first delving into the wonderful world of Nietsche. Very good and very interesting. I've had a passing interest in Philosophy for a while and have gotten into it deeper the past few months and this is a good choice, I feel, for anyone just starting to delve into the philosophy game. ...more info
  • GOD IS DEAD!
    "According to Nietzsche, God created everything but then died sometime in the past out of pity for humanity's imperfections."

    Whoever wrote this has clearly not even come close to understanding not only this book but Nietzsche as a whole. Just because it says "God is dead" doesn't mean that when he was "Alive" he was an actual magical being that "Created everything".

    There are many good reviews already on here so all I'd like to say is beware of any reviewers, like the one stated above, who openly state that they had difficulty understanding the text. I'm not saying it's an easy read, just that if you put the work in (Read and re-read if necessary) you will get the most out of this book. Plenty of people have trouble understanding many great works, that isn't a sign of anything lacking in the text itself....more info
  • The Anti-Christ[ian] Speaks
    Some years before Friedrich Nietzsche resorted to the blunt polemic of his books Twilight of the Idols and The Anti-Christ, he produced a literary masterwork that contained not only the main lines of his [later] philosophy, but combined it with a tremendous poetic sensibility to create an imaginative - and polemical - narrative. That book is Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for None and All. Nietzsche regarded it as his greatest work after he had finished it (although all four books would not be published until after his death - which itself came after a decade of insanity), although he also thought that it was widely misunderstood and wrote several other books to clarify the points contained within it.

    Nietzsche - the "anti-Christ" - very much modeled himself on Jesus of Nazareth - the Christ - and throughout the work, sayings of Zarathustra are inverted forms of the parables or other teachings of Jesus. In some ways, Nietzsche/Zarathustra comes across as a type of photo negative of Jesus. The meek, for Zarathustra, will no longer inherit the earth for it shall go to those who are hard; no longer is love the focus of living but the will to power. Zarathustra, like Christ, has his disciples and his disciples are also bumbling buffoons that fail to catch the depth of Zarathustra's anti-Christ vision. There is a type of manic brilliance - a Dionysian inspiration/possession - that permeates these pages. The constant repetition of "Thus spoke Zarathustra" at the end of his speeches throughout the pages gives it an almost prophetic and religious quality. One sees that Nietzsche felt his own destiny as deeply as he felt isolated from the rest of humanity. Perhaps it is no surprise, then, that this book has been something like a book of Scripture for many - particularly in Germany during the last decade of the 19th century and the first few decades of the 20th.

    In many ways, Thus Spoke Zarathustra is a violent book. Nietzsche strongly advocates the "transvaluation of all values" - a morality beyond morality - that is built upon the rubble of Christian morality. "God is dead" is a theme that is constantly sounded throughout these pages and one of Zarathustra's goals is to try to get people to think on the dust and ashes of the idol that he considered Christianity to be. The course that he sought to encourage people to pursue was the course *to* what he called "the Overman". Zarathustra claims that he is not the Overman - he sounds like St. John the Baptist, "the Forerunner" of Jesus Christ - but that the Overman will come. He sees his disciples as "bridges" to the Overman, but leaves largely unanswered the question of what the Overman will be like. It is like a messianism without a sense of what "messiah" means.

    It is easy to be lost in the sheer drama of this book such that rather than addressing then-current issues and debates in Europe, he was attempting to write a timeless work applicable in all life situations. Any work that attempts to give a "new morality" is necessarily going to anchor itself to a significant degree in a world of Platonic ideals. However, it was in the chaos of late-19th century that Nietzsche wrote - a world beset by tremendous intellectual, scientific, social and spiritual turmoil and change. In some sense, then, Nietzsche's "exhortation" to become hard reflects a real disillusionment with the authoritative institutions of his day. He writes that God died of compassion and exhorts his followers to become hard; there is a real longing for stability to be found througout these pages, and Zarathustra's preaching a new morality is given as a type of answer to that longing.

    This is one of the most important books written during the latter 19th century. Nietzsche knew a number of famous persons during his day - despite his later falling out with Wagner, one hears much of the same Dionysian recklessness in Wagner's music that one hears in Nietzsche's rhetoric. Hitler, along with much of Germany, was deeply inspired by Nietzsche's "vision"; Thus Spoke Zarathustra was carried into the trenches by Germans in both World Wars. He has been alternately hailed as a prophet of a new morality and aestheticism and reviled as a madman whose writings inspired the deaths of millions. At the very least, one ought read his most cogent work, which has shaped the views of millions over the last hundred years. It is unlikely that the influence of the anti-Christ will be silenced any time soon....more info
  • A Rare Treat for Both the Heart and the Mind
    In the old Star Trek episode, "The Gamesters of Triskillion," Captain Kirk is transported beneath a planet's surface, where he carries on a conversation with three disembodied brains. In many respects, that symbolizes the encounter that most people experience with the typical work of philosophy. The author displays none of his own flesh and blood, but serves as a disembodied brain who analyzes the world as "objectively" as possible. What is worse, whereas at least the three Gamesters of Triskillion granted Captain Kirk his human impulses, most philosophers demand little flesh and blood from their readers. Instead of having a dialogue, the philosopher simply communicates dryly from one brain-in-a-vat to another. Even though the topic of the communication is often the life and times of mortal man, the nature of the communication is wooden, which means that the readers can feel free to study all sorts of "truths" but implement as few as possible into their own flesh-and-blood lives.

    Fortunately, none of the above applies to Nietzsche. His works are as moist as most philosophers' are dry. And nowhere is he more lively than in his creation of Zarathustra. The choice of names of his title character was brilliant, as was the philosophy expressed in this story. But above all elsel, Nietzsche's desire to teach philosophy in the form of a story told by a poetic, passionate character is an inspiration to all of us who wish to write about philosophy but to do so in a way that connects with the human heart, and not merely the disembodied mind.

    Thus Spake Zarathustra is the prototype of the philosophical novel. I cannot imagine anyone reading it without being touched on all possible levels, regardless of how much of Nietzsche's theses the reader agrees with. Truly, Nietzsche doesn't expend agreement from his reader so much as engagement. If you're not engaged by his prose, you probably need to check your blood pressure....more info
  • "He was quite mad when he wrote it..."
    Yes, Leo Tolstoy, Nietzsche was quite mad when he wrote his masterpiece.

    Thus Spoke Zarathustra should be regarded as Nietsche's greatest work and since I'm pretty new to Nietzsche, I'd list Ecce Homo as the second best thing he wrote.

    I love how this book is written like the Bible and how mad you can tell Nietzsche was when he wrote it.

    If you are new to Nietzsche and are a literature fan, START HERE!
    Beyond Good and Evil, the standard Kaufmann translation was so hard to read, I understood late Henry James easier.

    ...more info
  • A Classic.....
    This is one of those books filled with those ideas that you've thought all your life but few have the courage to admit, even to themselves.

    Nietzsche takes a brutally honest look at human nature including the uglier things. He rightly shows no mercy towards clergy and the morality of self negation and pity. All is done in a beautiful, poetic style.

    The moral of the story is to be above the masses, to go above your limits and to enjoy yourself while doing it. Its a positive philosophy that if implemented can make someone that rare person who rises above the herd and makes their short time on this earth worth it.



    ...more info
  • A teenager's review...
    I am no literary or philosophical scholar, however even at my stage inlife it is clearly apparent that this is an important and yes dare I say "life-changing" read. This book presents the kind of ideas that ran through my head as a child making my way through the Catholic education system and so I obviously found it to be an utterly fascinating and entrancing read. ...more info
  • Pregnant With Ideas
    This is cleary a work of passion from a philosopher who said "yes" to life. What a wealth of ideas Nietzsche presents, from a man with an excessively intense mind. Philosophical, poetic, psychological, and sociological all juxposized into a amazing free flowing work of fiction from a philosopher and self proclaimed psychologist. Nietzsche had a torn yet brilliant mind, due to his excessive solitude and health problems.
    I have read this book three times and I never read a book more then once. One must read this book several times because all the ideas and insights crammed into such a short book. TSZ is Nietzsche at his best.
    ...more info
  • only read fred's book when high as helium
    bla bla bla, important book, bla bla bla, tremendous ideas, bla bla bla...

    dudes, what happened? the spirit of gravity has got y'all down and you're trying to groove with sir nose d'voidafunk

    read this book when you're feeling light. you won't understand a thing of what fred means if you read it in a "philosophical" mood.

    if you approach this book with those droopy-frowny "serious literature" glasses and gloves on, you'll see only the reflection of your own sad-dog unfunkitude!

    this is a MYTH, this is a play, this is something that came to fred when he was skipping around Italian mountainsides!

    this is a book to read a bit of while dancing

    if you treat it like the Bible, then that's exactly what you'll get

    and that's not what fred wants you to get

    so turn your mind upside down and read this book as if you randomly found it written on notebook paper in a dumpster frequented by hobos and started to read it with nothing better to do

    might not be the best way to read it, but it's miles ahead of treating it with that terrible seriousness that makes everything heavy...more info
  • One of the most important books of mankind
    Clearly one of the most important books of mankind. Nietzsche has a tremendous influence on the thoughts of the 20th and 21st century, and in "Zarathustra", his ideas are put in an incredibly powerful poetic/rhethoric form that will influence you dramatically, no matter if you then like or dislike the book.
    Is is extremely rare that there is such a density of ideas and messages, hence this book must be read several times and together with other works by Nietzsche, preferably "twilight of the idols", "beyond good and evil" and/or "the dawn".
    Nietzsche wanted to create the bible for the individualistic, atheistic, independent man. He succeeded, and Zarathustra does not ask for faith and fellowship but critcal reflection, courage and independence.
    In this book, the foundation of modern existentialism is laid and the philosophically educated reader will find the origins of an enormous amount of philosophical concepts of the 20th century....more info
  • Tossing so many intellectual cookies
    It is tempting to think that reading the Bible, or Goethe, Kant, and Hegel, or even some gloomy portion of Schopenhauer in which `common' is called an expression of contempt, might be advised to prepare some reader to begin THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA. But it might be wiser to suggest that almost everyone is already wise enough to see how THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA is the book in which Nietzsche fought for philosophy's right to party until it pukes. Irony in philosophy ought to be compared to the mathematical technique of refuting some hypothesis by showing that an analysis of its logic leads directly to a contradiction of itself or some cherished principle. In THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA, Nietzsche shows that mastery of philosophy includes a strong sense of when life has reached the desire to toss its cookies. Socrates set the most striking standard in philosophy for when hemlock might be the drink best suited for making an example of one's belief. Deadly party techniques have not disappeared in the 2400 years that have passed since the ancient Greeks let jurors decide the fate of individuals who had their own ideas about religion. Nietzsche has a series of sections in the first part of THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA "on the Preachers of Death" and "On War and Warriors" (THE PORTABLE NIETZSCHE, pp. 156-160), but embraces the paradox of free death wholeheartedly in "On Free Death" (TPN, pp. 183-186) while suggesting that it was not quite right with Jesus: "and for many it has become a calamity that he died too early. . . . Would that he had remained in the wilderness and far from the good and the just! Perhaps he would have learned to live and love the earth--and laughter too. Believe me, my brothers! He died too early; he himself would have recanted his teaching, had he reached my age." (TPN, p. 185). As far as age goes, Nietzsche considers Jesus, who was once like a twelve-year-old in the temple, was not yet mature enough to be the sacrifice we need. "But in the man there is more of the child than in the youth, and less melancholy: he knows better how to die and to live. Free to die and free in death, able to say a holy No when the time for Yes has passed: thus he knows how to die and how to live." (TPN, p. 185).

    THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA challenges the notion that things happen in their proper time, and reading this book is hardly the most appropriate way to understand any particular moment, but the combination of ideas might help us understand how violent changes can occur when the mass of people feel "Would that a storm came to shake all this worm-eaten rot from the tree." (TPN, p. 185). Pious platitudes are the cookies that get thoroughly masticated and swallowed with "sour apples, to be sure, whose lot requires that they wait till the last day of autumn: and they become ripe, yellow, and wrinkled all at once" (TPN, p. 184), beer and potato chips, or whatever yellow party food Nietzsche got down before he found the logical conclusion:

    "Verily, Zarathustra had a goal; he threw his ball: now you, my friends, are the heirs of my goal; to you I throw my golden ball. More than anything, I like to see you, my friends, throwing the golden ball. And so I still linger a little on the earth: forgive me for that." (TPN, p. 186)....more info
  • A chilling forecast of what we have become!
    Nietzsche advocates social change in order for humankind to rise above its present deplorable condition. He says that God is dead and is no longer a model for moral leadership. He counsels us that redirecting our focus from the unknowable to the knowable will guide us towards the journey to humankind's next incarnation - the Superman. In order to begin this evolutionary journey we will first have to experience a great revulsion at the current human condition. In this "hour of great contempt" we will deny all of our previous, favorable conceptions concerning happiness, reason, virtue, justice, sympathy, and sin. Instead, we will embrace over-going, down-going, despisers, earth-worshipers, seekers of practical knowledge, workers, inventors, true virtue, altruists, achievers, and free spirits.

    Nietzsche believes that all of the present, negative social trends will culminate in the most contemptible of all beings - the last man - who is no longer capable of despising himself. This last man will live in a condition which he has helped create of fear, false happiness, pleasure-seeking, working as a pastime, over-concern for the feelings of others, egalitarianism, and cleverness without wisdom. Further, once the last man evolves, the social environment that has created him (and he has also, reflexively, created this environment) will be somewhat permanent because it will tend to absorb all differences of opinion, merge them into a consensus, and reflect them back into society through an opinion-shaping filter of egalitarianism voiced in politically correct terms. In a moment of irony, the crowd called-out to the sage, Zarathustra, to "make us into these last men."

    It is arguable that the last man is alive and well in contemporary society, and that the intellectual, social, and regional diversities which once generated the rich and vibrant hues of the American canvas are being replaced with a drab, homogeniety of sterile sameness. Nietzsche feels that the ultimate, inevitable revulsion against and overthrow of the kingdom of the last man will give rise to its polar opposite - the spiritually elevating, authentic world of the Superman.

    The author has an almost compelling thesis, however, his bipolar construct ranging from the last man to the Superman seems to minimize the fact that objective reality represents only a small group of choices from an infinite pool of alternatives. The world will not long march to the tune of a single drummer, be he the last man or Superman, because of how unchanging human nature is constituted. A first constant of human nature seems to be that we are well aware of our own situation, but only remotely aware of others' concerns. A second constant seems to be that we will, on the average, tend to maximize our chances for immediate personal benefit over chances for potentially greater long-term gain. Therefore, we will, on balance, tend to act in ways which maximize our own short-term self-interest. We probably always have and likely always will. If history is any guide to the future, attempts to reshape the world modelled after the vision of a Superman (or even the last man) will be morphed to unrecognizable dimensions by the unfolding, collective self-interest of individuals in the day-to-day process of following their own, personal stars.

    Although I feel that Nietzsche's prescribed alternatives are distortions of reality through oversimplification, misdirection, and projection to a whole from a subset, his work is a highly-influential, excellent read....more info
  • Zarathustra
    In a world of cheap thrills and fast money, Thus Spoke Zarathustra offers an eciting journey into a path very often left dark. It is a book for unbelievers, for synics, for lovers of culuture and art. It is not a book for scholars who would simply like to master one more book to add to their arsenal and then to be able to bring it up in coversation to impress people. Zarathustra written in beautiful prose, means everything and absolutly nothing all in one. It challenges all values and offers ideas for one to discover oneself. Never telling one how to discover oneself, but simply that one must leave behind many things to rise out of the depths that are ones emotions, Nietzsche gives anyone looking to enjoy a good book what they want. ...more info
  • A book for those who search
    This book does not have any easy answers. It is not the purpose of the book. The purpose of the book is to make the reader think for themselves. I find the book a comforting read - it gives hope and meaning to everyone that is dissatisfied with the answers given by organized religion, political parties, or just the usual howling mobs of sheep that think that just because they are members of a group they are wolves.
    Nietzsche probably understood suffering and loss better than most, but he also understood hope better than most. True spiritual strength does not come from religious dogma or membership of a group. It comes from within, we all have it. For Nietzsche the only eternal truth is that we should always work for our betterment. We need no God or Leader to tell us what to do. In the end Nietzsche wants us to reject even him - he cannot tell us what we should do!
    It can be said that horrible crimes have been committed in Nietzsche's name, but can we ignore that even more horrible crimes have been committed in God's or Allah's name? Or in the guise of "the common good" so favoured by our politicians?...more info
  • AN INTRODUCTION: WISDOM CULMINATING IN "UEBERMENSCH" IDEAL
    Before an extensive, in-depth review about this work, I give here a short synopsis of the German genius philosopher's most important work. The ideas of Friedrich NIETZSCHE are still very strongly influencing our thoughts and actions of today, even if we shouldn't notice instantly or after having had a first look around.

    As a classic philologist, poet, moralist and philosopher we cannot deny his enormous impact on our culture, early 21st century (and before as FREUD didn't want to read Nietzsche - who had written down the basic elements for psychoanalysis - to keep his mind clear, focussing on his own work...). THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA is Nietzsche's magnus opum, his most important, overwhelming oeuvre. He identifies himself in this writing with an old Persian sage (Zoroaster...): THE FIRST HUMAN WHO MADE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIGHT AND DARK, BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL.

    This superb masterpiece is NO LESS THAN A BRILLIANT COLLECTION OF MAXIMS AND APHORISMS, without any intellectual allusions, but full of "DIRECT" WISDOM OF LIFE. Wisdom about life as he understands it, FORCING THE ISSUE OF LIFE, WHICH ULTIMATELY MUST CULMINATE IN HIS IDEAL, HIS PRINCIPLE OF THE "UEBERMENSCH".

    "Thus spoke Zarathustra" is a brilliant work, by far OUT OF CATEGORY, that - once again - will influence us (for certain!) for times and times to come. It is as if this true genius (honour to whom it deserves!) "ENLIGHTENS" the reader. OPPOSITE to what is so often said and published, THIS BOOK IS FAR BETTER READABLE than generally thought.
    VERY WARMLY RECOMMENDED TO YOU ALL, FROM THE DEEPEST OF MY HEART, MY WHOLE BEING. A book you will never regret to have read and ... never ever forget for the rest of your life....more info