Zarathustra’s Stately Idol

Diana of Ephesus1

Somewhere there are still peoples and herds, but not where we live, my brothers:
here there are states. State? What is that? Well then, open your ears to me,
for now I shall speak to you about the death of peoples.

State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters.
Coldly it tells lies too; and this lie crawls out of its mouth:
I, the state, am the people.
That is a lie! It was creators who created peoples
and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life.

It is annihilators who set traps for the many and call them state:
they hang a sword and a hundred appetites over them.

Where there is still a people, it does not understand the state
and hates it as the evil eye and the sin against customs and rights.

This sign I give you: every people speaks its tongue of good and evil, which the neighbor does not understand. It has invented its own language of customs and rights. But the state tells lies in all the tongues of good and evil; and whatever it says it lies—and whatever it has it has stolen. Everything about it is false; it bites with stolen teeth, and bites easily. Even its entrails are false. Confusion of tongues of good and evil: this sign I give you as the sign of the state. Verily, this sign signifies the will to death. Verily, it beckons to the preachers of death.

from Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None
tr. Walter Kaufmann: 1995 Random House


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