Essays and Stories
by Seyed P. Razavi

Zarathustra Spoke

Zarathustra spoke and I was one of the little villagers in the Motley Cow. He told me of his going under. He told me he loved mankind so much that he would forego his prized solitude. He was brimming with wisdom to share. Yet the villagers cried: why does he act like such an angry fool? decrying all that we are? Their mockery turned to hatred and I was in Zarathustra’s skin, as he turned scorn into justification. I was myself again and I was not so sure. I kept listening.

Zarathustra spoke and told us of the Overhuman. How beast was to man, what man was to the Overhuman. Man was a camel weighed down by the Spirit of Heaviness. To liberate himself, man had to become a lion but a lion was not the end state. A lion was proud and ferocious but to overcome, we had to be a child again. We had to lift off the heaviness and become childlike creators. Zarathustra says the ego is the will for creation. Virtue was for us to create. I listened but I wondered: how can it be that I am to create without any context? Is that not in the end entropy and emptiness? I looked at echoes of the future of Zarathustra’s words and I trembled with fear and disgust at what that might mean in hands like mine. It was not fair to blame him for the ways of others but were those not his words in new voices? I was not so sure. I kept listening.

Zarathustra spoke and told me God was dead. I looked out my window, to the society beyond and I could not disagree that for most he had died. I heard him rail against the death cult and the hypocrisy of the clergy. I could not mistake how he laced Scriptures into his speech so fluently. I did not interrupt him because I felt I would embroil myself in a family argument. This didn’t feel like a dispute between man and the eternal. This echoed a feud between son and father. I had witnessed such things around me before but I was not raised in the church. I had no illusions about my own father’s holiness and I had some certainty in his flawed, kind-heartedness. I slid away as a guest politely vanishing into the background when the family argue at dinnertime. I kept listening.

Zarathustra spoke and warned me of the last men. He mocked those who sought only happiness, filling their lives with cravings and culture. He sounded like a prophet and my attention was rapt. He seemed to have seen far into my future and bought a TV. He told us all he loved mankind but he seemed to think most of us were superfluous rabble. He wanted us to be creators, the overcoming of mankind and clearly didn’t think most of us would be able to make such a transition. He seemed to be as pessimistic about us as the death cultists he decried. His views on women disgusted me. I found it harder to keep listening.

Zarathustra spoke to us of loving ourselves and not hiding behind love of the neighbour. He wanted us to use our own will to create, to be virtuous, to overcome tradition. He told us what we had learned as evil (sensuality, lust to rule, selfishness) was misrepresented through the will to power of others. Yet, I could not help think that maybe selflessness was what we were meant to aspire towards. Not just by virtue of divine design, but by being human animals. Perhaps there is nothing flawed to overcome in this. We are born into this world, completely dependent on others. We have nothing to give but our love. We grow and identify ourselves within a web of relations. So much compels us to be in relation and to love, to think beyond ourselves. What is goodness but to know love of the other? To love oneself is to try to hug your own shadow. Zarathustra knows loneliness and thinks of it as weakness, taking him away from the purity of his solitude. Maybe he is not listening to his own self-love. Maybe this is deeper than some other will to power over us. Maybe it is who we are even when we we strip away convention. I kept listening, maybe he would learn.

Zarathustra kept speaking and his words flowed over me. He seemed to soften. He understood himself better. Perhaps he had learned something of value in us too. He wanted us to move beyond the good and evil of tradition but his footing did not assure me he knew the path. I thought the fool would surely fall to his death, alone. Zarathustra had made me think, warned me of half-and-half measures. His prose was ‘verily' from the same place he seemed to decry. Yet his warning against the lack of real existence, of the consequence of God’s death were potent. I could not help but disagree with much of what he said but I was glad he spoke for all of those who were lost, wanting to create virtue anew.