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Analysis of on the Despisers of the Body

By vasehuaping Jul 22, 2013 581 Words
Analysis Paper
In Nietzsche’s “On the despisers of the Body”, Zarathustra talks about the despisers of the body are those who have the soul of the last man. Zarathustra speaks to those who despise the body, and those who recognize that it is only the spirit or soul that determines man. He indicates that humans should pay more attention to listen to the true will of his body rather than enjoy the pleasure of the soul and spirit. “’Body am I, and soul’ – thus speaks the child. And why should one not speak like child?” Zarathustra indicates that children are the only ones who have beliefs in soul. He suggests that “the body is a great reason” and the spirit is only the small component inside the body which “is a little instrument and toy of your great reason” to create “as a hand of its will.” What is important to note here is that the body does not merely say ‘I’ but performs the ‘I’. It performs by the instruments it created for itself, such as the spirit and the senses. In the main paragraph, “what the sense feels, what the spirit knows, never has its end in itself. But sense and spirit would persuade you that they are the end of all things: that is how vain they are.” Zarathustra states that the things towards which the spirit and the senses feel or perceive are not the end of all things. He further teaches that the body entails the self that rule over the human body and thus the essence of humanity. The self is responsible for controlling the ego that controls the pains and pleasures of human life. Zarathustra indicates that the goal of man to overcome itself is to “create beyond itself”. He says about the Self that “in your body he dwells, he is your body”. The Self, according to him, is “always the self listens and seeks: it compares, overpowers, conquers, and destroys”. While giving his teachings, there are some complications in the teachings by Zarathustra; one of them is the reason why the self creates pain if it was truly the ruler of everything in a human’s body. Moreover, the reason why some people decide to take their lives is posed as a challenge to this explanation. For these questions, Zarathustra explains that the people that commit suicide or suffer from pain are the ones that despise the body. Therefore despising the body leads to despising individual existence that culminates into the desire to destroy self. He says, “The creative self created respect and contempt; it created pleasure and pain. The creative body created spirit as a hand for its will. Even in your folly and contempt, you despisers of the body, you serve your Self”. Therefore, to despise the body is to die because “for you are no longer able to create beyond yourself” if you despise the power of the body and its purpose of overcoming itself. Thus, the human body should not be viewed as a physical thing and should not be despised. Zarathustra says: “Your self laughs at your ego and at its bold leaps.” What are these leaps and flights of thought to me?" it says to itself. "A detour to my end. I am the leading string of the ego and the prompter of its concepts” Therefore, the body is the overall ruler of human actions.

Work Cited
The portable, Nietzsche. Edited and translated by Walter Kaufmann.

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