The Lying Poets (Pt. 1)

London after Midnight

“Since I have known the body better” – said Zarathustra to one of his disciples – “the spirit has only been to me symbolically spirit; and all the ‘imperishable’ – that is also but a simile.”

“So have I heard you say once before,” answered the disciple, ” and then you added: ‘But the poets lie too much.’ Why didst you say that the poets lie too much?”

“Why?” said Zarathustra. “you ask why? I do not belong to those who may be asked after their Why. Is my experience but of yesterday? It is long ago that I experienced the reasons for my opinions. Should I not have to be a cask of memory, if I also wanted to have my reasons with me? It is already too much for me even to retain my opinions; and many a bird flies away. And sometimes, also, do I find a fugitive creature in my dovecote, which is alien to me, and trembles when I lay my hand upon it. But what did Zarathustra once say to you? That the poets lie too much? – But Zarathustra also is a poet. Do you believe that he there spoke the truth? Why do you believe it?”

The disciple answered: “I believe in Zarathustra.” But Zarathustra shook his head and smiled.
“Belief does not sanctify me”, said he, “least of all the belief in myself. But granting that someone did say in all seriousness that the poets lie too much: he was right – we do lie too much.”


from: Thus Spoke Zarathustra  by  F. Nietzsche (Ed: Bill Chapko)

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