Thus said Zarathustra

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a world renowned German philosopher, poet, writer, composer, cultural critic and philologist. Due his contribution to religion and philosophy, Friedrich Nietzsche is considered one of the greatest thinkers of all time. In his book titled “Thus Spoke Zarathustra “Friedrich shares an interesting account on how each individual can attain their true purpose in life through self discovery.

In the book, Nietzsche introduces Zarathustra, a Persian prophet who founded Zoroastrianism, an ancient religion that precedes almost all religions, and that is said to have exerted a considerable amount of influence on some of the major religions in the world today including Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Anyhow Nietzsche introduces Zarathustra in two ways; the first Zarathustra is the real Zarathustra, the Prophet, as he is known, the second one is a metaphorical Zarathustra whose purpose in the book is to challenge and even contradict some of the values taught by the real Zarathustra. The real Zarathustra preaches morality, good and evil, conformity to societal norms. The metaphorical Zarathustra is against a conforming approach towards life, he argues that humanity is increasingly becoming tamed and domesticated and would soon breed what he refers to as “the last man”; those who are alike in everything they do like a herd of animals, who take pleasure in mediocrity and simple luxuries in life, afraid in indulging as anything thought of as dangerous or too extreme. In other words, “the last man” is too conformed and is unlikely to live life to its full potential, he doesn’t take risks to venture out and explore what is on the other side; he is content with where he is.

The metaphorical Zarathustra states that the meaning of life is to discover the true self which can be attained by what he refers to as the “undergoing”; living life on the edge, stepping out of our comfort zones regardless of the consequences, taking risks, going to the extreme of exploring life through every possible angle all in an effort to bring out the true self. Nietzsche, through the metaphorical Zarathustra argues that the “undergoing” evokes the “over going” or what he refers to in German as the ‘ubermensch’; a superman, self realized individual who lives life in his own terms, by living his highest ideals and values, and that according to the metaphorical Zarathustra is the meaning of life.

Nietzsche emphasizes that there are three critical stages to ultimately become an “Over-man”; the camel, the lion, and the child. Thus to become an “Over-man,” the human spirit must first become a camel which requires that some sacrifices and tough choices have to be made by the individual seeking these route, some of these sacrifices might include, instilling self discipline and renouncing some discomforts, being a camel requires the spirit to see things from a higher perspective. The spirit then transitions to become the lion; one who craves freedom but is confronted by dragons in every scale which he must oppose and slay by being assertive, resilient, and affirmative of the ultimate success, this stage means that the spirit is rebellious most of the time. The last stage for the spirit is becoming a child; a new beginning, innocent, forgetful, playful, a self propelling wheel. The child is the act of the new creation, who begins afresh giving way to the over-man, the ideal self realized spirit that lives life in accordance to his own terms.

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