Too far did I fly into the future: a horror seized upon me.
And when I looked around me, lo! there time was my sole contemporary.
Then did I fly backwards, homewards--and always faster. Thus did I come unto you, ye present-day men, and into the land of culture.
For the first time brought I an eye to see you, and good desire: verily, with longing in my heart did I come.
But how did it turn out with me? Although so alarmed--I had yet to laugh! Never did mine eye see anything so motley-coloured!
[this echoes Plato's Republic book 7 where the democratic regime is describe as a motley garment of various opinions. Th.]
I laughed and laughed, while my foot still trembled, and my heart as well. "Here forsooth, is the home of all the paintpots,"--said I.
With fifty patches painted on faces and limbs--so sat ye there to mine astonishment, ye present-day men!
And with fifty mirrors around you, which flattered your play of colours, and repeated it!
Verily, ye could wear no better masks, ye present-day men, than your own faces! Who could--RECOGNISE you!
Written all over with the characters of the past, and these characters also pencilled over with new characters--thus have ye concealed yourselves well from all decipherers!
And though one be a trier of the reins, who still believeth that ye have reins! Out of colours ye seem to be baked, and out of glued scraps.
All times and peoples gaze divers-coloured out of your veils; all customs and beliefs speak divers-coloured out of your gestures.
He who would strip you of veils and wrappers, and paints and gestures, would just have enough left to scare the crows.
Verily, I myself am the scared crow that once saw you naked, and without paint; and I flew away when the skeleton ogled at me.
Rather would I be a day-labourer in the nether-world, and among the shades of the by-gone!--Fatter and fuller than ye, are forsooth the nether- worldlings!
This, yea this, is bitterness to my bowels, that I can neither endure you naked nor clothed, ye present-day men!
All that is unhomelike in the future, and whatever maketh strayed birds shiver, is verily more homelike and familiar than your "reality."
For thus speak ye: "Real are we wholly, and without faith and superstition": thus do ye plume yourselves--alas! even without plumes!
Indeed, how would ye be ABLE to believe, ye divers-coloured ones!--ye who are pictures of all that hath ever been believed!
[Without belief -in the super-man- of in self-surpassing- the culture of the last man leads to nihilism. Th.]
Perambulating refutations are ye, of belief itself, and a dislocation of all thought. UNTRUSTWORTHY ONES: thus do I call you, ye real ones!
All periods prate against one another in your spirits; and the dreams and pratings of all periods were even realer than your awakeness!
Unfruitful are ye: THEREFORE do ye lack belief. But he who had to create, had always his presaging dreams and astral premonitions--and believed in believing!--
Half-open doors are ye, at which grave-diggers wait. And this is YOUR reality: "Everything deserveth to perish."
Alas, how ye stand there before me, ye unfruitful ones; how lean your ribs! And many of you surely have had knowledge thereof.
Many a one hath said: "There hath surely a God filched something from me secretly whilst I slept? Verily, enough to make a girl for himself therefrom!
"Amazing is the poverty of my ribs!" thus hath spoken many a present-day man.
[The last man has no solid skeleton, and perhaps even he gives birth without having sex... Th.]
Yea, ye are laughable unto me, ye present-day men! And especially when ye marvel at yourselves!
And woe unto me if I could not laugh at your marvelling, and had to swallow all that is repugnant in your platters!
As it is, however, I will make lighter of you, since I have to carry what is heavy; and what matter if beetles and May-bugs also alight on my load!
Verily, it shall not on that account become heavier to me! And not from you, ye present-day men, shall my great weariness arise.--
Ah, whither shall I now ascend with my longing! From all mountains do I look out for fatherlands and motherlands.
But a home have I found nowhere: unsettled am I in all cities, and decamping at all gates.
Alien to me, and a mockery, are the present-day men, to whom of late my heart impelled me; and exiled am I from fatherlands and motherlands.
Thus do I love only my CHILDREN'S LAND, the undiscovered in the remotest sea: for it do I bid my sails search and search.
Unto my children will I make amends for being the child of my fathers: and unto all the future--for THIS present-day!--
Thus spake Zarathustra.
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