Thus Spoke Zarathustra or having an additional translated name which is Thus Spake Zarathustra, A Book for All and None, a philosophical novel more like a self-help guide by the German cultural critic, philosopher and scholar Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. Most of Nietzsche’s life, he suffered from several illnesses increasing to ill health, migraines, insomnia, and near blindness for the rest of his life. Nietzsche declared ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ as one of his most culminating and important works he has done, as it is work about overcoming oneself and man is held back from nothing and is in the process to be ‘overman’ referred by Nietzsche. Thus Spoke Zarathustra is also one of Nietzsche’s most popular and famous works. This novel includes many of the philosopher’s ideas and concepts like ‘God is dead’ which basically means that old foundations, practices and religious beliefs that are dead and the concept of good and bad have been tampered and has been changed. The main idea of Nietzsche in this novel which is the most popular concept in this review which is of the ‘Overman’ that has been explained through the story and journey of Zarathustra. And that is what we will be reviewing today.
The story starts with telling the readers about when at the age of around thirty, Zarathustra left his home and the lake of his house to live in the wilderness up in the cave of the mountains in utmost solitude and to be with only his spirit for about ten years he stayed up there and then one morning he witnesses the sun from the sunrise and has a change of heart. His heart is transformed and elevated, giving him the brimming wisdom inside of him that he is eager to share with mankind. He has this conversation with the sun and then proclaims to the sun that he has enough wisdom which he wants to share with the world and he admires the sun of how the sun lets its light flow onto everything and similarly Zarathustra wants to share his wisdom with the people. And so, as the Sun sets and goes down for him, Zarathustra too as well as mentioned by Nietzsche is ‘down-going’. But for Zarathustra he can witness the ability of mankind to go down and overgo or overcome the pains and pleasures of life. In more simpler words down-going means from the herd mentality towards nihilism or to an understanding that basically life is meaningless with past foundations and beliefs and religious values being void and going up or overcoming is the starting from nihilism to reaching a status of Ubermensch, the Overman.
While coming down the mountain Zarathustra he meets with an old man or saint who now lives in solitude as well after growing sick from mankind who the saint ones admired. The old man remembers Zarathustra pass by to go to the mountains years ago and has witnessed that he is transformed now. The old man warns him not to go to civilization with the brimming fire of wisdom inside of him as he would be considered a false guy and a criminal. The old man has given up on mankind and on humanity but Zarathustra has not, the old man is proclaiming that the mankind is imperfect and that Zarathustra should probably just be in conversation with God and live in solitude away from mankind, by hearing this Zarathustra is astonished that the old saint as wise as him does not know that “God is dead”. Nietzsche is not implying that God literally does not exist, but that God isn’t accepted by the entire world and universe to give meaning to mankind and to our lives. Nietzsche believes his era and generation is described truly by nihilism, lacking true strong, positive ideas and goals. And thus, overman is the solution to nihilism.
While entering the town and meeting the people of it Zarathustra starts explaining them after witnessing a tightrope walker that man is none other than a rope stretched across between a beast and the Ubermensch which is the Overman explaining them that as if the man laughs at the actions of the apes, the overman will laugh at the actions and ideas of man. By this Nietzsche is trying to remind the readers that evolution process as explained by Charles Darwin has not exactly come to a final end, but instead he tries to explain that man is not the destination that the journey of evolution keeps continuing making an overman.
An overman is someone who is liberated from all the biases and prejudice and even the virtues and moralities of humanity, man relies more upon its animal instincts making him bias, superficial and rely upon faith while on the other hand the overman does not rely upon faith of God and human nature and qualities instead he relies upon himself and puts all the faith on him and nothing else which in turn will give rise to overman which is considered by Nietzsche as dangerous task but necessary. But in the end Zarathustra realizes that by sharing his wisdom and talking to the people in the town he felt like he was carrying a corpse with him and landed on an opinion that he needs to find disciples and like-minded companions who would share his beliefs.