Also sprach Zarathustra was conceived and written by Friedrich Nietzsche during the years 1881-1885; the first three Parts were published in 1883 and 1884. The book formed part of his "campaign against morality", in which Nietzsche explored the ethical consequences of the "death of God".
Heavily critical not only of Christian values but also of their modern replacements, Thus Spoke Zarathustra argues for a new value-system based around the prophecy of the Ubermensch, or Superman. Its appropriation by the National Socialist movement in Germany early in the 20th century has tainted its reputation unjustly; but there are signs that the rehabilitation of Nietzsche, and of this, his most incendiary work, is almost complete.
The translation used in this audiobook is that of Thomas Common.
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Public Domain ©2005 Naxos AudioBooks Ltd.; (P)2005 Naxos AudioBooks Ltd.
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"Not the best translation"
It's a shame the producers of this audiobook used the outdated and often misleading translation of Thomas Common. If you want a more authentic version, either read the original German or find Walter Kaufmann's translation--considered the most thorough and definitive rendering of this classic text.
"OK, it's not _sneakily_ abridged"
After my initial anger at discovering this audiobook was an abridgement, I noticed it says so clearly in the description. My mistake, not Audible's.
"APE IN THE CITY"
The famous literary announcement that “God is Dead” releases the ape in the city. “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” argues that human beings have moved away from God; particularly a Christian God. Friedrich Nietzsche is saying that without God and the church, a new morality must–needs to be designed by man. The ape is the ruler that thinks he/she knows better than his/her citizens. In the 21st century, humanity has generally moved away from organized religion.
To Nietzsche, humankind’s quest is to evolve beyond populism; beyond reliance on majority opinion and theological teaching, and toward a belief in the ability of individuals to rationally order the world. However, Nietzsche’s idea of liberating what he believes to be the potential of mankind, historically leads to the ape in the city; i.e. leaders like Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin who slaughtered millions during and after WWII.
One should not be comforted by belief that it is only WWII’s ape creations. Nietzsche’s idea in “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” strikes at the heart of all known forms of government and organized religion. Whether democratic, fascist, communist, Catholic, Islamic, Judaic or any other major government or religion—each makes and enforces plans for others. As is shown in all histories, when plans are made for others, they inherently discriminate against individuals because of either race, color, or creed. All known forms of government and religion create apes in the city because of what Nietzsche identifies as “a will to power”.
Nietzsche’s philosophy is grounded in individualism. Every human being has a “will to power”. The exercise of that power is to evolve, in Nietzsche’s mind, to create a society that is ruled from the bottom up rather than from a higher-power down.
There is little historical proof that bottom up power structures create either social, economic, or political harmony; let alone unity over extended periods of time. Even familial relationships continue to break down in modern post-industrial societies. Families have been the first and oldest form of social organization. But, the exigencies of modern living require both parents to work, divorce to proliferate, wars to kill, and children to be left behind.
Human nature seems immutable. If “will to power” is an individual characteristic, historically, it lends itself more to hierarchical than egalitarian societies.
"Evoking the Eternal Return!"
Jennings does a great job narrating Thus Spoke Zarathustra. It is very easy to understand and the cadence of his speech is perfect and evocative for total comprehension. This abridged version, however, concludes after the climax of the book, The Seven Seals, and does not continue into the fourth and final part of Nietzsche's most iconic work. Nonetheless, it is a moving and inspiring narration that successfully evokes Zarathustra's devotion to moving man away from false virtue and into an awareness of our eternal return.
It's refreshing to hear this book narrated by someone who seems to actually care about the spirit in which it was written. Quite enjoyed it.
"Is this really Nietzsche?"
If you enjoy reading the King James version of the Bible then you might like this audiobook. However, if you are hoping for muscularly rational argument then you will probably find these lectures to be only cryptic and pedantic.
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