The Tarantulas

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Thus do I speak unto you in parable, ye who make the soul giddy, ye preachers of EQUALITY! Tarantulas are ye unto me, and secretly revengeful ones! But I will soon bring your hiding-places to the light: therefore do I laugh in your face my laughter of the height. Therefore do I tear at your web, that your rage may lure you out of your den of lies, and that your revenge may leap forth from behind your word “justice.” Because, FOR MAN TO BE REDEEMED FROM REVENGE—that is for me the bridge to the highest hope, and a rainbow after long storms.

Otherwise, however, would the tarantulas have it. “Let it be very justice for the world to become full of the storms of our vengeance”—thus do they talk to one another. “Vengeance will we use, and insult, against all who are not like us”—thus do the tarantula-hearts pledge themselves. “And ‘Will to Equality’—that itself shall henceforth be the name of virtue; and against all that hath power will we raise an outcry!” Ye preachers of equality, the tyrant-frenzy of impotence crieth thus in you for “equality”: your most secret tyrant-longings disguise themselves thus in virtue-words! Fretted conceit and suppressed envy—perhaps your fathers’ conceit and envy: in you break they forth as flame and frenzy of vengeance. What the father hath hid cometh out in the son; and oft have I found in the son the father’s revealed secret. Inspired ones they resemble: but it is not the heart that inspireth them—but vengeance.

And when they become subtle and cold, it is not spirit, but envy, that maketh them so. Their jealousy leadeth them also into thinkers’ paths; and this is the sign of their jealousy—they always go too far: so that their fatigue hath at last to go to sleep on the snow. In all their lamentations soundeth vengeance, in all their eulogies is maleficence; and being judge seemeth to them bliss.

But thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful! They are people of bad race and lineage; out of their countenances peer the hangman and the sleuth-hound. Distrust all those who talk much of their justice! Verily, in their souls not only honey is lacking. And when they call themselves “the good and just,” forget not, that for them to be Pharisees, nothing is lacking but—power!

My friends, I will not be mixed up and confounded with others. There are those who preach my doctrine of life, and are at the same time preachers of equality, and tarantulas. That they speak in favour of life, though they sit in their den, these poison-spiders, and withdrawn from life—is because they would thereby do injury. To those would they thereby do injury who have power at present: for with those the preaching of death is still most at home. Were it otherwise, then would the tarantulas teach otherwise: and they themselves were formerly the best world-maligners and heretic-burners. With these preachers of equality will I not be mixed up and confounded. For thus speaketh justice UNTO ME: “Men are not equal.”

Excerpted from Friedrich Nietzsche, THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA (Modern Classics Series)

About the Author

Colin Turfus
Colin Turfus is a quantitative risk manager with 12 years experience in investment banking. He has a PhD in applied mathematics from Cambridge University and has published research in fluid dynamics, astronomy and quantitative finance.

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