Zarathustra vs Judy Garland

Thus Spoke Zarathustra – First Part – Chapter 11: ‘On the New Idol’
vs “Over the Rainbow”, Judy Garland (The Wizard of Oz, 1939)

We can turn to Will to Power – once again – to enlighten us on Chapter 11. In Section 75, Nietzsche writes: ‘An able craftsmen or scholar cuts a fine figure when he takes pride in his art and looks on life content and satisfied.’ However, ‘in addition to the real workers… in all fields and departments…’ we discover ‘“representatives”; e.g., besides the scholars also scribblers, besides the suffering classes also… ne’er-do-wells who “represent” this suffering, not to speak of the professional politicians who are well off while “representing” distress with powerful lungs before a parliament’. Such a situation – according to Nietzsche – is a consequence of the state-function, and ‘the state has an absurdly fat stomach’.

Such is the idea behind ‘On the New Idol’, with its criticism of the state and its ‘superfluous creatures’: or, more pointedly – ‘for the superfluous was the state invented!’ Accordingly in the wake of the death of god, the state becomes the new idol, that which – according to Zarathustra – must be worshipped. All hail the state: culture industry (the production of shit reality TV), the (tabloid – gossip mongering) newspapers, capitalists (with their off-shore tax havens). My commentaries on the examples that Nietzsche gives us – and he has his own words for all such representatives of the state, such superfluous creatures.

And there is probably little more to say except to listen to Zarathustra once more: ‘There where the state ceases, only there does the human being begin who is not superfluous: there the song of the one who is necessary begins, the unique and irreplaceable melody’. I can hear that unique and irreplaceable melody now, and a lyric which dreams (yes, dreams) of a place beyond the state. I can hear the wonderful voice of the young Judy Garland.


‘There's a land that I've heard of / once in a lullaby’. Zarathustra’s final words of Chapter 11: ‘There where the state ceases – cast your glance over there, my brothers! Do you not see it, the rainbow and the bridges of the Overhuman?’

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