Nietzsche: Child and Marriage
I have a question for you alone, my brother: like a sounding lead, I cast this question into your soul that I might know how deep it is.
You are young and wish for a child and marriage. But I ask you: Are you a man entitled to wish for a child? Are you the victorious one, the self-conqueror, the commander of your senses, the master of your virtues? This I ask you. Or is it the animal and need that speak out of your wish? Or loneliness? Or lack of peace with yourself?
Let your victory and your freedom long for a child. You shall build living monuments to your victory and your liberation. You shall build over and beyond yourself, but first you must be built yourself, perpendicular in body and soul. You shall not only reproduce yourself, but produce something higher. May the garden of marriage help you in that!
You shall create a higher body, a first movement, a self-propelled wheel—you shall create a creator.
Marriage: thus I name the will of two to create the one that is more than those who created it. Reverence for each other, as for those willing with such a will, is what I name marriage. Let this be the meaning and truth of your marriage. But that which the all-too-many, the superfluous, call marriage—alas, what shall I name that? Alas, this poverty of the soul in pair! Alas, this filth of the soul in pair! Alas, this wretched contentment in pair! Marriage they call this; and they say that their marriages are made in heaven. Well, I do not like it, this heaven of the superfluous. No, I do not like them—these animals entangled in the heavenly net. And let the god who limps near to bless what he never joined keep his distance from me! Do not laugh at such marriages! What child would not have cause to weep over its parents?
Worthy I deemed this man, and ripe for the sense of the earth; but when I saw his wife, the earth seemed to me a house for the senseless. Indeed, I wished that the earth might tremble in convulsions when a saint mates with a goose.
This one went out like a hero in quest of truths, and eventually he conquered a little dressed-up lie. His marriage he calls it.
That one was reserved and chose choosily. But all at once he spoiled his company forever: his marriage he calls it.
That one sought a maid with the virtues of an angel. But all at once he became the maid of a woman; and now he must turn himself into an angel.
Careful I have found all buyers now, and all of them have cunning eyes. But even the most cunning still buys his wife in a poke.
Many brief follies—that is what you call love. And your marriage concludes many brief follies, as a long stupidity. Your love of woman, and woman's love of man—oh, that it were compassion for suffering, and shrouded gods! But, for the most part, two beasts find each other.
But even your best love is merely an ecstatic parable and a painful ardor. It is a torch that should light up higher paths for you. Over and beyond yourselves you shall love one day. Thus learn first to love. And for that you had to drain the bitter cup of your love. Bitterness lies in the cup of even the best love: thus it arouses longing for the Superman; thus it arouses your thirst, creator. Thirst for the creator, an arrow and longing for the Superman: tell me, my brother, is this your will to marriage? Holy I call such a will and such a marriage.
Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
From Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None by Friedrich Nietzsche, translated by Walter Kaufmann