On the Nature of Time, the Will to Power, and the Overman:
Concepts from Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Written in parables, Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra is difficult at best to understand, and near impossible to appreciate. It is not until the work is dissected that the reader can see the material vision of humanity that Zarathustra would have him embrace. The nature of humanity as Zarathustra sees it is quite contrary to the principles of permanence and parity that are characteristic of Christianity’s God or the scholar’s love of truth. Zarathustra’s vision of humanity is rather one of impermanence and constant change. Although the book is extremely uneven, it communicates Zarathustra’s prognosis of the lot or destiny of humankind. A case for the Eternal Return and the Will to Power emerges, but it is important to examine the Spirit of Gravity and the notion of the Overman in order to best understand the implications of the Eternal Return and the Will to Power.
Humanity is bound by what Zarathustra calls the Spirit of Gravity to the ancient teachings of institutions such as the Church and the State. Under the weight of the Spirit of Gravity, man is unable to see that time is eternal. In part III of TSZ, Zarathustra tells a story of a dwarf to his disciples. Zarathustra tells them that he has been mocked by this dwarf, who insisted that despite having tried to soar to great heights, Zarathustra is now doomed to fall like a stone from such heights. The prophet gathers the strength and courage to confront this riddling dwarf. Such courage, according to Zarathustra, is the honor of mankind because man is “the most courageous animal.” (TSZ 157) As he faces the dwarf, it leaps away from Zarathustra and the two find themselves at a gateway labeled “Moment,” away from which two paths stem with lengths reaching eternity. It is at this gateway that Zarathustra issues to the dwarf a riddle of his own: “Must not whatever can walk have...