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The Project of World-Transformation in Thus Spoke Zarathustra

The Project of World-Transformation in Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Chapter:
(p.104) Chapter Four The Project of World-Transformation in Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Source:
The Challenge of Nietzsche
Author(s):
Jeremy Fortier
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226679426.003.0005

In Thus Spoke Zarathustra Nietzsche uses the title character as a medium for exploring the project of a cultural founder or creator. Zarathustra’s project fundamentally differs from that of Free Spirits, since the Free Spirit project is in the first place one of self-cultivation, whereas Zarathustra’s project is (or begins as) one of cultivating broader human community. The motivating force that draws Zarathustra into engagement with the broad swath of humanity is his defining trait of love. Zarathustra’s love is not a romantic love that finds satisfaction in a particular person, but it is a kind of neediness which requires others for its fulfillment (others whom it can benefit through its creative activity). The drama of the work consists of Zarathustra’s attempt to fulfill this need (or determine whether it can be fulfilled). Zarathustra's self-understanding therefore evolves over the course of his journey, as he is forced to wrestle the question of how (or whether) his need for love can be made compatible with truth. On this reading, the primary function of the work's famous doctrines of the will to power and the eternal return is to drive forward Zarathustra's drama of evolving self-understanding.

Keywords:   Zarathustra, founder, creator, will to power, eternal return

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