Who Is Nietzsche's Zarathustra?

Ill will toward time degrades all that passes away. The earthly-Earth and all that pertains to her—is that which properly ought not to be and which ultimately does not really possess true Being. Plato himself called it μὴ ὄν, nonbeing.*

According to Schelling's statements, which simply express the guiding representations of all metaphysics, the prime predicates of Being are "independence from time," "eternity."

Yet the most profound ill will toward time does not consist in the mere disparagement of the earthly. For Nietzsche the most deepseated revenge consists in that reflection which posits supratemporal ideality as absolute. Measured against it, the temporal must perforce degrade itself to nonbeing proper.

Yet how should humanity assume dominion over the earth, how can it take the earth as earth into its protection, so long as it degrades the earthly, so long as the spirit of revenge determines its reflection? If it is a matter of rescuing the earth as earth, then the spirit of revenge will have to vanish beforehand. Thus for Zarathustra redemption from revenge is the bridge to the highest hope.

But in what does redemption from ill will toward transiency consist? Does it consist in a liberation from the will in general—perhaps in the senses suggested by Schopenhauer and in Buddhism? Inasmuch as the Being of beings is will, according to the doctrine of modern metaphysics, redemption from the will would amount to redemption from Being, hence to a collapse into vacuous nothingness. For Nietzsche redemption from revenge is redemption from the repulsive, from defiance and degradation in the will, but by no means the dissolution of all willing.

* Heidegger's remarks recall the decisive words of Mephistopheles in Goethe's Faust, Part One (lines 13 38-40): "...denn alles, was entsteht, / Ist wert, dass es zugrunde geht." "For everything that comes to be is worthy of its own demise." Yet because Heidegger here speaks of Vergehen, Vergängliches, his phrasing has a diabolical way of embracing the concluding words of Part Two (the very words Nietzsche parodied in the first of his Songs of the Outlaw Prince), words that try to reduce "all that passes away" to a mere image of eternity. Thus Mephisto and the chorus mysticus, the good and evil of metaphysics and morals, join voices to chant revenge, to denigrate time and its "It was."