Zarathustra teaches the overman because he is the teacher of eternal return of the same. Yet the reverse is also true: Zarathustra teaches eternal return of the same because he is the teacher of overman. These doctrines are conjoined in a circle. In its circling, the teaching corresponds to that which is—to the circle which as eternal recurrence of the same makes out the Being of beings, that is, what is permanent in Becoming.

The teaching, and our thinking of it, will achieve such circling whenever they cross over the bridge called "Redemption from the Spirit of Revenge." In this way prior thinking is to be overcome.

From the period immediately following the completion of the work Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the year 1885, comes a note that has been taken up as number 617 in the book that was pieced together from Nietzsche's literary remains and published under the title The Will to Power. The note bears the underscored title "Recapitulation."* Here Nietzsche with extraordinary perspicuity condenses the principal matter of his thinking into just a few sentences. A parenthetical remark appended to the text makes explicit mention of Zarathustra. Nietzsche's "Recapitulation" begins with the statement: "To stamp Becoming with the character of Being—that is the supreme will to power.

The supreme will to power, that is, what is most vital in all life, comes to pass when transiency is represented as perpetual Becoming in the eternal recurrence of the same, in this way being made stable and permanent. Such representing is a thinking which, as Nietzsche emphatically notes, stamps the character of Being on beings. Such thinking takes Becoming, to which perpetual collision and suffering belong, into its protection and custody.

Does such thinking overcome prior reflection, overcome the spirit of revenge? Or does there not lie concealed in this very stamping—which takes all Becoming into the protection of eternal recurrence of the same—a form of ill will against sheer transiency and thereby a highly spiritualized spirit of revenge?

We no sooner pose this question than the illusion arises that we are trying to discredit Nietzsche, to impute something as most proper to him which is precisely what he wants to overcome.

* See the explanatory note on pp. 201-02, above.

Who Is Nietzsche's Zarathustra?