Sunday, June 21, 2009

On the Flies in the Marketplace

Flee, my friend, into your solitude! I see you deafened with the noise of the great men and pricked by the stings of the little men.

Forest and rock know how to be silent with you. Be like the tree again, the wide branching tree which you love: silently and attentively it hangs over the sea.

Where solitude ends, there the marketplace begins; and where the marketplace begins, there begins also the noise of the great actors and buzzing of the poisonous flies.

In the world even the best things are worthless without those who first present them: people call these presenters great men.

The people have little comprehension of greatness, that is to say: creativeness. But around the actors revolve the people and fame: so the world goes.

The actor has spirit, but little conscience of the spirit. He always believes in that which he most powerfully produces belief- produces belief in himself!

Tomorrow he will have a new faith and the day after tomorrow a newer one. He has sharp perception, like the people, and capricious moods.

To overthrow - to him that means: to prove. To drive mad - to him that means to convince. And blood is to him as the best of all arguments.

A truth that penetrates only sensitive ears he calls a lie and nothing. Truly, he he believes only in gods who make a great noise in the world!

The marketplace is full of solemn jesters - and the people boast of their great men! These are their masters of the hour.

But the hour presses them: so they press you. And from you they also want a Yes or a No. Ah would you put you chair between For and Against?

Do not be jealous, lover of truth, of those unconditional and impatient ones! Never yet has truth clung to the arm of the unconditional.

Return to your security because of these abrupt men: only in the marketplace is one assailed by Yes? or No?

The experience of all deep fountains is slow: they must wait long until they know what fallen into their depths.

All that is great takes place away from the marketplace and from fame: the inventors of new values have always lived away from the marketplace and from fame.

Flee, my friend, into your solitude: I see you stung all over by the poisonous flies. Flee to where a rough, strong breeze blows!

Flee into your solitude! You have lived to closely to the small and pitiable. Flee from their invisible vengeance! Towards you they have nothing but vengeance.

Do not raise an arm against them! They are innumerable and it is not your fate to be a fly swatter.

The small and pitiable ones are innumerable; and raindrops and weeds have already been the ruin of many a proud building.

You are not stone, but already these many drops have made you hollow. You will yet break and burst through these many drops.

I see you exhausted by poisonous flies, I see you bloodily torn at a hundred spots; and your pride refuses even to be angry.

They want blood from you in all innocence, their bloodless souls crave blood - and therefore they sting in all innocence.

But you profound one, you suffer too profoundly even from small wounds; and before you have recovered, the same poisonous worm is again crawling over you hand.

You are too proud to kill these sweet tooths. But take care that it does not become your fate to suffer all their poisonous injustice!

They buzz around you even with their praise: and their praise is importunity. They want to be close to your skin and your blood.

They flatter you, as one flatters a god or devil. What does it come to! They are flatterers and whimperers and nothing more.

And they are often kind to you. But that has always been the prudence of the cowardly. Yes! The cowardly are prudent!

They think a great deal about you with their narrow souls - you are always suspicious to them! Whatever is thought about a great deal is at last thought suspicious.

They punish you for all your virtues. They forgive you entirely - your mistakes.

Because you are gentle and just-minded, you say: "They are blameless in their small existence." But their narrow souls think: "All great existence is blameworthy."

Even when you are gentle towards them, they still feel you despise them; and they repay your kindness with secret unkindness.

Your silent pride always offends their taste; they rejoice if ever you are modest enough to be vain.

What we recognize in man we also inflame in him. Therefore be on you guard against the small ones!

In your presence they feel themselves small, and their baseness gleams and glows against you in invisible vengeance.

Did you not see how often they became dumb when you approached them, and how their strength left them like smoke from a dying fire?

Yes, my friend, you are a bad conscience to your neighbors: for they are unworthy of you. Therefore they hate you and would dearly like to suck your blood.

Tour neighbors will always be poisonous flies: what is great in you, that itself must make them more poisonous and even more fly like.

Flee, my friend, into your solitude and to where a rough strong breeze blows. It is not your fate to be a fly swatter. -

Thus spoke Zarathustra.