When Zarathustra arrived at the nearest town which adjoins the forest,
he found many people assembled in the market-place;
for it had been announced that a rope-dancer would give a performance.
And Zarathustra spoke thus to the people:
I TEACH YOU THE SUPERMAN.
Man is something that is to be surpassed.
What have you done to surpass man?
All beings hitherto have created something beyond themselves: and you want to be the ebb of that great tide, and would rather go back to the beast than surpass man?
What is the ape to man?
A laughing-stock, a thing of shame.
And just the same shall man be to the Superman: a laughing-stock, a thing of shame.
You have made your way from the worm to man, and much within you is still worm.
Once were you apes, and even yet man is more of an ape than any of the apes.
Even the wisest among you is only a disharmony and hybrid of plant and phantom.
But do I bid you become phantoms or plants?
Lo, I teach you the Superman!
The Superman is the meaning of the earth.
Let your will say: The Superman SHALL BE the meaning of the earth!
I conjure you, my brethren, REMAIN TRUE TO THE EARTH, and believe not those who speak to you of superearthly hopes!
Poisoners are they, whether they know it or not.
Despisers of life are they, decaying ones and poisoned ones themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so away with them!
Once blasphemy against God was the greatest blasphemy;
but God died, and therewith also those blasphemers.
To blaspheme the earth is now the most dreadful sin, and to rate the heart of the unknowable higher than the meaning of the earth!
Once the soul looked contemptuously on the body,
and then that contempt was the supreme thing:
the soul wished the body meager, ghastly, and famished.
Thus it thought to escape from the body and the earth.
Oh, that soul was itself meager, ghastly, and famished;
and cruelty was the delight of that soul!
But you, also, my brethren, tell me:
What does your body say about your soul?
Is your soul not poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency?