Thursday, December 30, 2010

Nietzsche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra": A Summary

Your humanity is conditional, and if that makes you uncomfortable, you're doing it wrong. Maybe you didn't hear, but God is dead. And good. fucking. riddance. Except, for some reason, people won't let him go and it's going to destroy humanity. Everything you've ever thought was right or wrong, you thought because someone told you. And they only told you because someone told them. But how the hell could they possibly know better than you? Who the fuck put them in charge? The Great Big Dead Guy in the sky? Fuck that. Let them waste their lives trying to please others who exist and Others who don't. 


Seriously. We have limitless potential, and we're wasting it worrying about sin and Hell and Heaven. And maybe you don't actually believe in any of that. You think that makes you better than anyone else? Wrong answer, asshole. It makes you worse.



At least believers can tell you exactly why they're pissing their lives away; see for yourself. Ask one. "Why do you hate sex, joy, and the human spirit?" "Oh. Because I believe in a non-physical deity who told me that if I hated them, I'd spend the rest of eternity in paradise." It's batshit crazy, right? But at least he's sticking to his guns. Agree to disagree, whatever. But if you don't believe that bullshit, then why the hell are you sitting around wondering what's left? It's because you DO believe that bullshit, you're just too scared to admit it. Fuck, bro, you almost made it out - you saw through the lies and said, "Nope, fuck that." But then you fell into the same old pattern of worrying about right and wrong, about patriotism and politics, about tolerance and government and fairness, about all measure of bullshit - all you've done is replaced the bullshit you know with the bullshit you don't.


I'm not saying nothing matters, and fuck people who think that. What matters? YOU matter. Want to know the secret to being happy? It's easy. I'll tell you. Just do what makes you happy. Oh, shit, look at how easy that is! It's like magic! TA-DA, BITCHES! Stop letting anyone tell you what 'happiness' is, or what should make you happy, or why you should be guilty for being happy. You know what happiness is. You know how to experience joy, or you would if you just let go of how everyone else has told you how to be.


Humanity isn't an end, it's a fork in the road, and you have two options: "Animal" and "Superman". For some reason, people keep going left, the easy way, the way back to where we came from. Fuck 'em. Other people just stand there, staring at the signposts, as if they're going to come alive and tell them what to do or something. Dude, the sign says fucking "SUPERMAN". How much more of a clue do these assholes want? How does that not sound awesome? But they're paralyzed by their fear - "But, that road looks hard to walk." It IS hard, dipshit, but that's what makes it worth it! Fuck.


Look, bro, time goes on forever; everything that can happen is going to happen, and then it's going to happen again. Are you okay with that? Can you stomach the thought of living your life again and again, with no regrets? Not just stomach it; does that thought make you happy? If it doesn't, then you've got some work to do. Here are some good places to start: Dance more often. Laugh at EVERYTHING. And above all else, Thyne own will be done, not anyone else's. Anyone who tells you it's not fair or it's not right or that you should do anything you don't want to is lying to you, and I promise you they're miserable and mediocre. Be done with that. It's not that you only get one life - if only it were that simple. You get more lives than you can imagine, but only one. fucking. chance. to define them for eternity. Stop wasting it. Go and live, now and forever!




Want to read the original? Get it here:
Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and No One (Penguin Classics)

60 comments:

  1. Dude that was beyond awesome! Thanks for doing my request so fast. If you read this, how about some Diogenes next? I can't thank you enough for making this blog. SOMEBODY HURRY UP AND GIVE THIS GUY A BOOK DEAL ALREADY!

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  3. Still waiting for Kierkegaard or Epictetus ;[

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  4. Some Kant or Aquinas as well. Please keep doing this, I look forward to it everyday while I sit in my shitty cubicle.

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  5. This was great. Thanks a lot man.

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  6. Bro, when I first saw you had summarized this great work I thought, no way could he remotely do it justice, but you have put it very succinctly. However, this is still such a massive tapestry that no real summary could ever do complete justice in my view.

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  7. I second, third, or fourth Kant. Either that or Wittgenstein. Those two boarder on ridiculous.

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  8. Dang... Now i want to go for a beer with Nietzsche. I bet we'd have a ball.

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  9. Unbelievable. I was there when Reddit made this happen and I love you for it =)

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  10. Bro, you are the man. Thank you for going right at the signpost and leaving breadcrumbs.

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  11. This is why I fell hard with Nietzsche to begin with. He is such a badass.

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  12. Even for this format, quite the mischaracterization of Nietzsche. His point is surely not "do what you want". The metamorphoses of the spirit has 3 movements - the camel (submitting to the "bullshit" as you put it), the lion (the No-saying, rejection of the bullshit) and the child (true Yes-saying). Your depiction gets someone through the first two, but not the third. The overman is not a *destination*, either.

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  13. Brian's right - 'Don't let anyone tell you what to do - just do what you want' is not a good summary of Nietzche - who does a fab job of telling us how we should live and how we shouldn't. This is an important point too - it's not nit-picking.
    What I loved above all about this was the combination of (half) serious philosophy with a lot of good swearing - thanks so much for that.
    (slightly frustrated philosophy professor)

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  14. Having never read Nietzsche, and reading this, it seems closely aligned with my beliefs. If my understanding of the summary is correct (that you should do whatever you want that makes you happy), then I don't think I agree. And even so, I think the most difficult question is, how should one live? What is the "right" way to live? Is it different for everyone? Nietzsche seems to highly dislike the idea of a non-physical being telling us what to do, but what if that life is a life that is most enjoyable for one person?

    If Nietzsche's point was to just tell us to "fuck what everyone else says, and do whatever makes yourself happy," I don't think he's said much. The real question is how do you live a life that is happy and fulfilling? And I believe the closest way to achieving that is knowing the consequences of your actions, and seeing whether or not you would be happy with those consequences. Life, to a certain extent is almost pointless, but you have to make the most of it. Make the decisions that will allow you to be happy--and I believe that is through making the moral decisions--which is the toughest thing to determine.

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  15. This is really funny stuff. Not the most detailed reflection of what the book contains, which is perhaps why it would not serve as a proper guide to the book. But it is comic gold. Keep it up.

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  16. You are, simply put, awesome.
    Please write a book already. I (and i'm sure a shiton of other people) would readily buy it.
    Keep writing and keep being awesome!

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  17. you might consider reading even Emil Cioran. He's romainian, but spent almost all his writter carrier in Paris. He has some very deep, interesting ideas.

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  18. Dang! Zen wack to the head!
    Now, try Epictetus please.

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  19. Sweet mother of fuck
    this
    THIS
    is why i LOVE Nietszche

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  20. Forget the nose pickers, you rock.

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  21. this was so fucking stupid.

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  22. Dude, a lot of people seem to be reading what you say, and trusting you to summarize philosophy (the spirit of the argument, at least) accurately.
    I've read a couple other summaries of yours, and thought you did very, very well.
    This, however... you either really don't understand Nietzsche's ideas at all, or you're just shitting these out to keep the people happy.
    Either way, just... I don't know, don't suck like this anymore.

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  23. What if raping and murdering and stalking and oppressing people is what makes me happy and gives me a sense of purpose? Is my infinite potential in the oppression department? Should we be genocidal supermen?

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  24. The stupidest piece of 'philosophy' known to mankind. The bottom line is do what makes you happy, it is this blatant individualism that causes all the problems that we are currently face as humanity.

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  25. If this is Nietzsche's distilled philosophy of life, he's not much better than a whiny fratbro with a sense of entitlement rivaled only by his beer gut and penis insecurity.

    Not hard to see why he's so popular, and popularly misunderstood.

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  26. I don't think this summary does it justice, but Nietzsche's logic is quite ridiculous. He doesn't seem to have any reasons.

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  27. I don't entirely agree with this summary, either...although it's pretty hard to summarize Zarathustra. Nietzsche's thoughts on happiness at this stage boil down to a paradox, where chasing happiness leads to unhappiness, while forgetting about chasing happiness and framing your life around some central goal or task leads to you becoming happy. To quote Zarathustra: "What does happiness matter to me...I am striving after my work."

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  28. Neitchze only makes sense if you are wide awake, half mad, and not a total pussy. Or was that half awake, fully mad, and a total pussy...

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  29. if All of you can understand Nietzsche ,,he have to kill himself ....complex mind can think about It

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  30. This is awesome. Altho I kinda agree with the dissenters on this, you kinda totally nailed the "Bro-Nietzsche" I had in my head.

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  31. Fucking badass, except for that dance part. Nietzsche's dance fetish just doesn't seem consistent with the rest of his awesomeness.

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  32. Someone should revise Nietzsche to a new version, without the trite "happiness in yourself" bullshit. The individualism is badass (ever wonder why every awesome fucker in every movie is always on his own side, selfish individualistic motherfucker.), but instead of "be happy", "be a badass in every way". It would be much more philosophically consistent, and inspire people to do shit that matters rather than embrace "happiness" by masturbating all the fucking time.

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  33. Beppo diSicilia says:
    I have been trying to make a leap of faith, but I just Kant.

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  34. This is the most interesting philosophy site that I've come across so far! I love the way you summarize this great work of Nietzsche! Thanks and keep it up bro!

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  35. To the author of the article: Man oh man, are you ever confused about religion and God. You probably don't feel confused though, but you are. Thoroughly.

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  36. ^ the author's condition is obviously irrelevant to his 'bro' article

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  37. Happiness is not attained by the conscious pursuit of happiness, it is usually a by-product of other pursuits.

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  38. Hey i really hope everyone listens to this comment. The summary above is great for a lot of things, but its really inaccurate on Nietzsche's most important points. Ok, a lot of fucktards maintain they know what's accurate, so instead, just ask yourselves: would a famously intelligent and complicated philosopher's thoughts just boil down to 'do whatever you want?'. if things weren't more complicated than that...well...fuck.

    anyways, here's the deal on Nietzsche. Nietzsche DID think that you shouldn't let others paint the picture for you, but that you should look at the picture yourself...so take an actual class on neitzsche if you're not willing to read him yourself; i only say that because he's SO on the ball, and this summary is pretty off the ball. which only means YOU miss out.
    Neitzsche did NOT think you should do whatever you want. He was a deep believer in the 'sacred'. He only thought that you should not let others tell you that a god is sacred, because until you lived your life fully in the pursuit of something greater than yourself, you would not understand what the term god is supposed to mean...you'd just be worshiping a word, a random idea. But by NO means did he think you should just do whatever the fuck you want. he thought people DONT KNOW what they want. he thought living a full life meant finding out what you truly want, tearing away at all the illusions not just other people, but YOU yourself cast upon you. he thought it was a life long process. to say Nietzsche simply believed you should 'do whatever you want' is to imply that Nietzsche didn't believe in personal responsibility. That's an insult to his thinking. It sucks that a guy can think hard and write something so controversial yet inspring, and then people can boil it down to what it doesn't even mean, and say 'Go Neitzche'! He believed people should have important moral values and priorities, and he thought that living a fulfilling life was impossible without the meaning these moral concerns provide. He just wanted you to define them for yourself.

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    1. "would a famously intelligent and complicated philosopher's thoughts just boil down to 'do whatever you want?'. if things weren't more complicated than that...well...fuck. "

      There are lot's of complicated philosophers that lead to simple conclusions...Wittgenstein's later writings? Max Stirner?
      In fact I'd argue on the whole the deflationist / anti-realist thinkers that cut out posits, make things simpler etc have made some of the most important contributions to philosophy. Have you not read the Philosophical Investigations? Some find so compelling the idea that philosophy is not messy and complicated, but humans are, that they have left philosophy entirely.

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  39. By the way, Nietzsche was a huge opponent of the Catholic Church, not of God or Christianity. He argued vehemently against the fundamentalism of the church in his day, the way they attempted to explain everything in the world in terms of their doctrines, even when it made for crappy explanation. Again, Nietzsche didn't hate god or religion or Christianity, he hated the Catholic Church. and yes, there is a difference.

    'God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we need to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it?' - Nietzsche, from The Gay Science

    a much more accurate interpretation of what Nietzsche meant by his quote above:

    'What Nietzsche is concerned of in relating the above is that God is dead in the hearts of modern men - killed by rationalism and science. This same God however, before becoming dead in men's hearts and minds, had provided the foundation of a "Christian-moral" defining and uniting approach to life as a shared cultural set of beliefs that had defined a social and cutural outlook within which people had lived their lives.
    'Nietzsche seems to be suggesting that the acceptance of the Death of God will also involve the ending of standards of morality and of purpose. Without the former and accepted faith-based standards society is threatened by a nihilistic situation where peoples lives are not particularly constrained by considerations of morality or particularly guided by any faith-related sense of purpose.' - ageofsage.org

    Think about it. He thought the only thing worse than not thinking for yourself was not having a set of morals, being a nihilist. He thought developing a new set of morals (what is sacred to you, what personal responsibility means to you, etc) was the evolution of having a standardized set of morals, and that nihilists were the retarded ones who de-evolved rather than evolving.

    "Companions, the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and believers. Fellow creators, the creator seeks -- those who write new values on new tablets." - Nietszche, from And Thus Spoke Zarathustra

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  40. I hope you can help here...

    A slogan in the 'occupy wall street' read "1% have gained at the expense of 99%"...

    Given that when the things were good the bankers made money day in and day out, and when they turned ugly, when the bubbles busted, they forced the governments to bail them out. And now when the 99% are suffering coz of them, these bankers still are taking home huge bonuses...

    Given that these are man out smarting the 99%, what would Nietszche have to say about them?? Are they Supermen ?

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  41. Yo, I just want to say that you all need to stop hating. This blog is a strict summary of what philosophers wrote and said, not the primary source itself. It is meant to be used WITH the original, not as a fucking substitute. You all criticize it for being inaccurate and yet refuse to account for the fact that it's nothing more than a collection of ideas without much context. Nietzsche sounds like a crazy fuckwad when he's taken out of context, mostly because he borders on crazy fuckwad even within his own writings.

    All I'm saying is you guys need to lay the fuck off and take this as what it is: a blog. It's a supplement to increase understanding of the material, and have fun doing it. So please, be nice.

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  42. Arash Diba:

    Actually, it does seem that he did hate Christianity for it made people weak and internalize a certain fear or rejection of greatness. The death of God does seem to lead to a nihilistic outlook in the way of life but, in doing so, one seems to give meaning to nihilism. The death of God is not only that of God, but the death of absolutes which the sciences and such attempted to fill up and take the roll of. However, this idea that there are absolutes has a power to weaken one's will.

    Of course, he was no nihilist. We should strive to be yes-sayers, people who can affirm our own lives. People who can achieve greatness. Although, not everyone can. There will be the herd and the leaders and the herd (which was helped by Christian morality) tries to enforce morality to enfeeble the strong.

    But maybe I need to read more Nietzsche. His ideas seem more like he was trying to get something down rather than writing a complete metaphysical system.

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  43. FUCKING GREAT SHIT

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  44. Nietzsche was a fuckin' boss. I need to read more of him.

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  45. I just "stumbled" across this today, and love it. Arash Diba, im sure you are right, because Nietzsche is a little deeper than a bro, but this is blog and and enteretaining, yet still informative one at that. I don't think the average user, capable of deep thought, would read PB's synopsis and just take away, "Alright, thats what I'm talking about! My parents and psychologists didn't know shit, I'm gonna go get some coke and be truly happy." That having been said, Arash I appreciate your further clarification, since i have yet to read this piece by Nietzsche. I did just finish "Exitentialism and Human Emotion." Nietzsche is a hard read sometimes, because you kind of forces you into open-mindedness. By that I mean sometimes to wrap you head around what he's saying, you have to really learn how to think about what hes making you think about; and by thinking about those things bro, you totally start to understand!

    Love your blog man! or... are you just a sneaky woman?

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  46. I would like to ask you one basic and simple question, just to stir some thoughts “of a different kind”: What would become of “you and me” if our parents, especially our mothers, had left us after birth in order to follow their dream and to become a Superman?

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  47. Non sequitur - Bro, you need to set up a tumblr feed. Peace.

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  48. Where has this blog been all my life. Thank.. my good luck I found it in now.

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  49. "Want to know the secret to being happy? It's easy. I'll tell you. Just do what makes you happy. Oh, shit, look at how easy that is! It's like magic! TA-DA, BITCHES!"
    WIN!!

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  50. Loved the outro on this one, real deep bro.

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  51. "Wanna know how to be happy? Just do what makes you happy." Gee bro...thanks. My happiness depends on a lot more complications that just snapping my fingers and saying 'I'm gonna do today what makes me happy!' Sometimes you need to make others happy in order for you to be happy etc. What a grossly oversimplified and generalized column of dribble

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  52. Nietzsche is one of, if not my favorite, philosophers. He was pure genius. But this work of art is crap, in my opinion. I find it hilarious that he considered it his best work. It is just boring and repetitive and totally inferior to the rest of his works, in my humble opinion.

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