Of Love of One’s Neighbor
You flee to your neighbor away from yourselves and would like to make a virtue of it: but I see through your “selflessness”…. Do I exhort you to love of your neighbor? I exhort you rather to flight from your neighbor and to love of the most distant!
Higher than love of one’s neighbor stands love of the most distant man and of the man of the future; higher still than love of man I account love of causes and of phantoms.
This phantom that runs along behind you, my brother, is fairer than you; why do you not give it your flesh and bones? But you are afraid and you run to your neighbor….
You invite in a witness when you want to speak well of yourselves; and when you have misled him into thinking well of you, you then think well of yourselves….
One man runs to his neighbor because he is looking for himself, and another because he wants to lose himself. Your bad love of yourselves makes solitude a prison to you….
I do not teach you the neighbor but the friend. May the friend be to you a festival of the earth and a foretaste of the superman. I teach you the friend and his overflowing heart. But you must understand how to be a sponge if you want to be loved by overflowing hearts.
I teach you the friend in whom the world stands complete, a vessel of the good – the creative friend, who always has a complete world to bestow. And as the world once dispersed for him, so it comes back to him again, as the evolution of good through evil, as the evolution of design from chance.
May the future and the most distant be the principle of your today: in your friend you should love the superman as your principle.
…Thus spake Zarathustra.
Zarathustra has many original insights. Just a single, original insight could have made him one of the greatest men that has ever lived, but he has so many, about each and everything. His vision is not of the ordinary. Perhaps that is the reason why people have forgotten him.
He has been giving tremendous insights and truths, but they have passed over people’s heads. It seems very easy to understand when Jesus says: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is nothing original in it. Buddha has said it, Mahavira has said it. There is not anything that you cannot understand. With Zarathustra, you have to be very silent, remembering that you are encountering an utterly unique person who speaks to the depths of your very being, of which you are not aware.
He is not a moral teacher in the usual sense; he is a perfect master. He is not interested in the trivia; his interest is in transforming you into a new man. The world is too burdened with the small man. He wants the whole of humanity to have wings for the heights, to have courage to go deep down in the earth to find water for its roots.
Zarathustra expects too much, but whatever he expects is possible. He exposes man too much, but whatever he says is absolutely true. It may hurt you, it may destroy your old conceptions, it may destroy you – because only upon your destruction can this new man arrive.
His each word is a seed. If you allow it to settle in your heart, you will never be the same man again.
Zarathustra is the most potential man the world has ever known. It has known great men, and many of them, but they were in a certain way still understandable. They used your language, they used your prejudices. Rather than giving you a new light they have supported you as you are. You call them great because they have supported you, they have made you comfortable with yourself. Zarathustra creates discomfort, discontent, because without a great discontent the superman is not possible. Your other great men have been teaching you to be contented, to be desireless.
Zarathustra teaches you a divine discontent, and a longing for the stars. And I agree with him absolutely, that unless you have a longing for the stars, you cannot grow, and you cannot become your true self; you cannot achieve your potential to its fullness. Hence, listen to his words, not just as words, but as seeds.
You flee to your neighbor away from yourselves.