【P1C9】The Preachers of Death

There are preachers of death: and the earth is full of those to whom renunciation of life must be preached.

The earth is full of the superfluous; life is marred by the all-too-many. May they be tempted out of this life by the “life eternal”!

“The yellow ones”: so are called the preachers of death, or “the black ones.” But I will show them to you in still other colors.

There are the terrible ones who carry about in themselves the beast of prey, and have no choice except lusts or self-laceration. And even their lusts are self-laceration.

They have not yet become men, those terrible ones: may they preach renunciation of life, and pass away themselves!

There are the spiritually consumptive ones: hardly are they born when they begin to die, and long for doctrines of weariness and renunciation.

They would rather be dead, and we should welcome their wish! Let us beware of awakening those dead ones, and of damaging those living coffins!

They meet an invalid, or an old man, or a corpse- and immediately they say: “Life is refuted!”

But only they are refuted, and their eye, which sees only one facet of existence.

Shrouded in thick melancholy, and eager for the little casualties that bring death: thus do they wait, and clench their teeth.

Or else, they grasp at sweetmeats while mocking their childishness: they cling to their straw of life, and mock at their clinging.

Their wisdom speaks thus: “He who remains alive is a fool; but we are all such fools! And that is the most foolish thing in life!”

“Life is only suffering”: say others, and do not lie. Then see to it that you cease! See to it that the life which is only suffering ceases!

And let this be the teaching of your virtue: “Thou shalt kill thyself! thou shalt steal away from thy life!”-

“Lust is sin,”- so say some who preach death- “let us go apart and beget no children!”

“Giving birth is troublesome,”- say others- “why still give birth? One bears only unfortunates!” And they also are preachers of death.

“Pity is necessary,”- so says a third party. “Take what I have! Take what I am! So much less does life bind me!”

If they were overflowing with pity, they would make their neighbors sick of life. To be evil- that would be their true goodness.

But they want to be rid of life; what do they care if they bind others tighter with their chains and gifts!-

And you also, to whom life is unending work and dissatisfaction, are you not very tired of life? Are you not very ripe for the sermon of death?

All you to whom unending work is dear, and all that is quick, new, and strange- you endure yourselves badly; your diligence is escape, and the will to forget yourself.

If you believed more in life, then would you fling yourselves less to the moment. But you do not have enough capacity for waiting- or even for idling!

Everywhere resounds the voices of those who preach death; and the earth is full of those to whom death must be preached.

Or “life eternal”; it is all the same to me- if only they pass away quickly!-

Thus spoke Zarathustra.