Notes on “Thus Spake Zarathustra”
By Anthony M. Ludovici
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STAND ALONE SA1115
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Anthony Mario Ludovici (1882 – 1971) was one of the first Nietzsche scholars in the Anglosphere, and a philosopher in his own right. A major translator for the first authorized complete works of Nietzsche in English, the Briton had made a living as an artist, and a writer. In his youth he was private secretary to sculptor Auguste Rodin, and later a translator and writer on social topics. He, along with his friend and mentor Oscar Levy, were frequent contributors A.R. Orage’s journal The New Age.
This 36 page booklet reprints Ludovici’s chapter-by-chapter notes on Thus Spake Zarathustra, an incredible and sometimes inscrutable work. You can learn more about the early reception of Nietzsche in the Anglosphere in the booklet SA1095 The Nietzsche Movement in England.
Chapter LV. The Spirit of Gravity.
(See Note on Chap. XLVI.) In part II of this discourse we meet with a doctrine not touched upon hitherto, save indirectly; — I refer to the doctrine of self-love. We should try to understand this perfectly before proceeding; for it is precisely views of this sort which, after having been cut out of the original context, are repeated far and wide as internal evidence proving the general unsoundness of Nietzsche’s philosophy. Already in the last of the “Thoughts out of Season” Nietzsche speaks as follows about modern men: “. . . these modern creatures wish rather to be hunted down, wounded and torn to shreds than to live alone with themselves in solitary calm. Alone with oneself! — this thought terrifies the modern soul; it is his one anxiety, his one ghastly fear” (English edition, p. 141). In his feverish scurry to find entertainment and diversion, whether in a novel, a newspaper, or a play, the modern man condemns his own age utterly; for he shows that in his heart of hearts he despises himself. One cannot change a condition of this sort in a day; to become endurable to oneself an inner transformation is necessary. Too long have we lost ourselves in our friends and entertainments to be able to find ourselves so soon at another’s bidding. “And, verily, it is no commandment for to-day and to-morrow to learn to love oneself. Rather is it of all arts the finest, subtlest, last and patientest.”
In the last verse Nietzsche challenges us to show that our way is the right way. In his teaching he does not coerce us, nor does he overpersuade; he simply says: “I am a law only for mine own, I am not a law for all. This — is now my way, — where is yours?”