Saturday, February 12, 2011

what will thou do in the land of the sleepers? (postcard from Zarathustra)


  1. Wow Steve, this is fabulous, but you might have to explain this one to me. A young man alone in a forest with a bird like creature, who is dressed like a monk?

  2. OK, will look that up. I thought after wards that it may have been a comment on the Egyptian crisis.

  3. I'm no Neitchze expert and I fear anything I say will get leaped on by those who are. But. It seems to me that, if Zarathustra is a parable, a telling of a story which is in some perhaps moral sense instructive (and I'm sure there are many compelling contrary arguments I never heard of) then perhaps the end of chapter two of Thus Spake Zarathustra signals the author's revolutionary scope.

    In chapter two Zarathustra encounters a saint in a forest "who had left his holy cot to seek roots". For a moment, we see Zarathustra through another's eyes. The two exchange pleasantries and, after a while, part "laughing like schoolboys".

    When Zarathustra was alone, however, he said to his heart: "Could it be possible! This old saint in the forest hath not yet heard of it, that God is dead!"

    Zarathustra moves on to the nearest town and I am left with an impression of discontinuous change.

    I must have said before I'm interested in Pre Raphaelite painting and poetry, a discourse abundant with forests and unicorns and nymphs. So thinking about Zarathustra in the forest it was easy to construct a kind of neo pre rephaelite parable of the parable that references Zarathustra as a "pure of eye, and no loathing lurking" innocent leaving the saint, and his cumbersome baggage, behind. The unicorn-like saint wears the habit of the medico della peste, fourteenth century medical technology,coloured cardinal red instead of black, to illustrate seniority. The beak would be filled with scented oil against miasmas, and with the red-glassed lenses, hood and leggings, thought to protect against plague. The garb became parodied later in the Italian commedia dell'arte and sometimes crops up on Venetian masks of that tradition.