The 60 Most Enlightening Quotes from Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was a German philosopher and author who wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra in several sections between 1883 and 1885. He regarded Zarathustra as his most important work and his later work develops the ideas presented in the Zarathustra series. His works have had a huge impact on Western philosophical thought.

The primary themes of Thus Spoke Zarathustra are his proclamation that “God is dead,” eternal recurrence, and the Ubermensch (“Superman” or “Overman”). Nietzsche felt that man must overcome himself to become something greater.

Thus Spoke Zarathustra Quotes

These 60 quotes are indicative of Zarathustra’s teachings in the series of novels.

  1. “One must be a sea, to receive a polluted stream without becoming impure.”
  2. “No shepherd, and one herd! Everyone wants the same, everyone is the same: whoever feels different goes wilingly into the madhouse.”
  3. “He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary.”
  4. “There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.”
  5. “You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame; how could you rise anew if you have not first become ashes?”
  6. “One must have chaos within oneself, to give birth to a dancing star.”
  7. “You look up when you wish to be exalted. And I look down because I am exalted.”
  8. “The higher we soar the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.”
  9. “Become who you are!”
  10. “I have learned to walk: since then I have run. I have learned to fly: since then I do not have to be pushed in order to move. Now I am nimble, now I fly, now I see myself under myself, now a god dances within me.”
  11. “I would only believe in a god who could dance.”
  12. “It is true: we love life not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving.”
  13. “There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”
  14. “I love those who do not know how to live, except by going under, for they are those who cross over.”
  15. “Our faith in others betrays that we would rather have faith in ourselves. Our longing for a friend is our betrayer. And often with our love we want merely to overcome envy. And often we attack and make ourselves enemies, to conceal that we are vulnerable.”
  16. “But in the loneliest desert happens the second metamorphosis: here the spirit becomes a lion; he will seize his freedom and be master in his own wilderness.”
  17. “Foolish is my happiness, and foolish things will it speak: it is still too young—so have patience with it!”
  18. “But like infection is the petty thought: it creeps and hides, and wants to be nowhere–until the whole body is decayed and withered by the petty infection…”
  19. “And life confided the secret to me: behold, it said, l am that which must always overcome itself.”
  20. “Slow is the experience of all deep fountains: long have they to wait until they know what has fallen into their depths.”
  21. “Good and evil, and joy and pain, and I and you- colored vapors did they seem to me before creative eyes. The creator wished to look away from himself,- and so he created the world.”
  22. “So I ask my pride that it always go along with my wisdom. And when my wisdom leaves me one day alas – it loves to flyway – let my pride then fly with my folly.”
  23. “He who cannot command himself should obey. And many can command themselves, but much is still lacking before they can obey themselves.”
  24. “Creating—that is the great salvation from suffering, and life’s alleviation. But for the creator to appear, suffering itself is needed, and much transformation. Yea, much bitter dying must there be in your life, ye creators! Thus are ye advocates and justifiers of all perishableness. For the creator himself to be the new-born child, he must also be willing to be the child-bearer, and endure the pangs of the child-bearer.”
  25. “Life is hard to bear: but do not pretend to be so delicate!”
  26. “That which you term “moderation”, I call “mediocrity.”
  27. “I overcame myself, the sufferer; I carried my own ashes to the mountains; I invented a brighter flame for myself.”
  28. “I have departed from the house of the scholars, and the door have I also slammed behind me. Too long did my soul sit hungry at their table: not like them have I got the knack of investigating, as the knack of nut-cracking. Freedom do I love, and the air over fresh soil; rather would I sleep on ox-skins than on their honours and dignities.”
  29. “Is not wounded vanity the mother of all tragedies? Where, however, pride is wounded, there groweth up something better than pride.”
  30. “I change too quickly: my today refutes my yesterday. When I ascend I often jump over steps, and no step forgives me that.”
  31. “The real man wants two different things: danger and play. Therefore he wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything.”
  32. “And if a friend does you wrong, then say: “I forgive you what you have done to me; that you have done it to YOURSELF, however–how could I forgive that!”
  33. “Courage, however, and adventure, and delight in the uncertain, in the unattempted—COURAGE seemeth to me the entire primitive history of man.”
  34. “I want to have goblins about me, for I am courageous.”
  35. “I and me are always too deeply in conversation: how could I endure it, if there were not a friend? The friend of the hermit is always the third one: the third one is the float which prevents the conversation of the two from sinking into the depth.”
  36. “Something unappeased, unappeasable, is within me.”
  37. “For fear—that is man’s original and fundamental feeling; through fear everything is explained, original sin and original virtue.”
  38. “Disobedience- that is the nobility of slaves.”
  39. “You should seek your enemy, you should wage your war – a war for your opinions. And when your opinion is defeatedly our honesty should still cry triumph over that!”
  40. “I want to speak to the despisers of the body. I would not have them learn and teach differently, but merely say farewell to their own bodies-and thus become silent.”
  41. “He whom the flame of jealousy encompasses, will at last, like the scorpion, turn the poisoned sting against himself.”
  42. “I love him whose soul is so overfull that he forgets himself, and all things are in him: thus all things become his going under.”
  43. “You know these things as thoughts, but your thoughts are not your experiences, they are an echo and after-effect of your experiences: as when your room trembles when a carriage goes past. I however am sitting in the carriage, and often I am the carriage itself.In a man who thinks like this, the dichotomy between thinking and feeling, intellect and passion, has really disappeared. He feels his thoughts. He can fall in love with an idea. An idea can make him ill.”
  44. “The greatest events- they are not noisiest but our stillest hours. The world revolves, not around the inventors of new noises, but around the inventors of new values; it revolves inaudibly.”
  45. “In the end one experiences only oneself.”
  46. “Call me however what thou wilt—I am who I must be. I call myself Zarathustra.”
  47. “Write with blood, and you will find that blood is spirit.”
  48. “Rather know nothing than half-know many things! Rather be a fool on one’s own account than a wise man in the opinion of others!”
  49. “I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.”
  50. “Silence is worse; all truths that are kept silent become poisonous.”
  51. “Every one being allowed to learn to read, ruineth in the long run not only writing but also thinking.Once spirit was God, then it became man, and now it even becometh populace.He that writeth in blood and proverbs doth not want to be read, but learnt by heart.In the mountains the shortest way is from peak to peak, but for that route thou must have long legs. Proverbs should be peaks, and those spoken to should be big and tall.The atmosphere rare and pure, danger near and the spirit full of a joyful wickedness: thus are things well matched.”
  52. “I live in my own light, I drink back into myself the flames that break from me.”
  53. “But by my love and hope I beseech you: do not throw away the hero in your soul! Keep sacred your highest hope!”
  54. “You great star, what would your happiness be had you not those for whom you shine?”
  55. “Who is the great dragon whom the spirit will no longer call lord and god? “Thou shalt” is the name of the great dragon. But the spirit of the lion says, “I will.” “Thou shalt” lies in his way, sparkling like gold, an animal covered with scales; and on every scale shines a golden “thou shalt.” Values, thousands of years old, shine on these scales; and thus speaks the mightiest of all the dragons: “All value of all things shines on me. All value has long been created, and I am all created value. Verily, there shall be no more ‘I will.'” Thus speaks the dragon.”
  56. “But the worst enemy you can meet will always be yourself; you lie in wait for yourself in caverns and forests. Lonely one, you are going the way to yourself! And your way goes past yourself, and past your seven devils! You will be a heretic to yourself and witch and soothsayer and fool and doubter and unholy one and villain. “
  57. “In a dream–in the last dream of the morning, I stood in the foothills today–beyond the world, held scales, and weighed the world.”
  58. “The creator seeks companions, not corpses- and not herds or believers either. The creator seeks fellow-creators – those who grave new values on new law-tablets.”
  59. “Our faith in others betrays that we would rather have faith in ourselves.”
  60. “Loneliness is one thing, solitude is another.
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Video: Thus Spoke Zarathustra | Friedrich Nietzsche

Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book For All and None was Nietzsche’s favourite of his creations. It is indeed one of the most fascinating and creative pieces of work in western philosophy.
It presents the journey of Persian prophet Zarathustra, who spends his time in solitude in the mountains for ten years and grows weary of his wisdom, beginning his down-going to humanity to teach them what he has learned. Zarathustra’s principal teachings are: the Übermensch (Overman), the Eternal Recurrence and the Will to Power.


Nietzsche believed that mankind was in the process of becoming something greater – the Ubermensch. He wanted to overturn what he saw as the oppressive constraints of the moral code that first become known under the teachings of Zoroaster, the Persian religious founder of Zoroastrianism. He said that because Zarathustra (Zoroaster) first taught the battle between good and evil, he should be allowed the opportunity to correct his teachings.

We can use these 60 enlightening “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” quotes to consider our ability to overcome ourselves. We can be inspired to be the creators of something greater than ourselves. Nietzsche felt it was our purpose as humans to create something greater. Use these enlightening quotes to remember your need to overcome yourself and become something greater.

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Image Credit: Ferdinand Henning, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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