A Nietzschean Parable of sorts


A long time ago in an ancient kingdom, the young peasant decided one day to go throw rocks at the king’s castle.

As the young peasant was walking along the street with an angry look on his face, an old fellow with a big bushy mustache and a thick German accent came up to the young lad with an inquisitive look upon his face.

“And where might you be going?” asked the old man.

“I am heading to the castle to throw rocks at the king’s windows.”

“And why might you want to do that?”

“What concern of yours is it old man?” the young peasant replied.

“Ah, have you not heard of me? I am the greatest spectacle this town has ever seen. My name is Zarathustra. Many find me crazy. Many others hate me. But I hold out hope that one day someone will grasp my teachings. Until then, it is my curse to be mocked – ever since I came down the mountain to enlighten this…this…herd I have had nothing but mockery!” Zarathustra let out a frustrated laugh that made the young peasant think that this man was truly mad. “Now, let us walk to the castle to throw stones at the windows and along the way tell me why you have such a desire.”

As they walked along the path, the young peasant opened up to Zarathustra and began to tell him why he desired to throw rocks at the king’s castle. The peasant said it all began when his farm was burned to the ground five years ago. He had just inherited it from his father and was beginning to make a profit on the land when raiders from the underworld burned his crop to the ground. The king did not send an army for vengeance; in fact, the peasant theorized there was no army at all. This had happened to other farmers as well – so if there was an army, why weren’t they fighting?

The second incident that raised the ire of the young peasant was that the local town – which was supposedly under the sovereignty of the king – was left lawless. People were left to fend for themselves or to form police forces. This, however, did not stop the constant fighting, brawling, rapes, and even murders. It seemed that if the king were sovereign over such a town, certainly he would intervene to stop such lawlessness.

The third and final incident was when the young peasant passed a group of starving orphans. These children had not eaten for days, but the king’s generosity was no where to be found. The young peasant decided that the king must be responsible for these evils.

“I plan to throw a rock for each evil act I witnessed.” the young peasant said with determination.

“Ah, we shall see.” Zarathustra replied with a smile on his face.

As they walked along, the young peasant saw the gates of the castle, but did not see the tops of the castle. That is odd, he thought to himself. As they approached the gates and he peered in, he saw that there was no castle, just an empty field. What’s more is he saw there were no rocks to throw.

“I…I don’t understand…”

“Would you like me to explain this to you, or would you rather wallow in your disbelief?” Zarathustra asked almost triumphantly.

“Please…explain.”

“There is no king. The king is dead and we have killed him; we murderers of murderers. I do not mean that at some point the king existed, that we rounded him up and beheaded him and then burnt his castle; you see, that’s the great wonder, the king never existed!

“But why would people say a king is there?” cried the young peasant.

“Don’t you see young fool? How many edicts have been passed in the name of the king? How many lords and dukes have become richer because of what they have done in the name of the king? How many other lords and dukes, because of how the nobility acted toward the king’s supposed edicts, have been overthrown by the peasantry?

That is why the “king” is there. The “king” exists solely for the purpose of people exerting their own wills. The people need such a justification.”

“But,” the young man sadly interjected. “Why not create a castle? Why not make a fake one?”

“For what reason? You cannot make what cannot exist. Do you see the beauty of this position? The Monarchists are hard pressed to answer how a good and sovereign king can exist, but evil persists within his borders. Yet, when you realize there is no king, the problem goes away.” Zarathusra said with a smile.

“No! It’s not that simple! Yes, it is hard to explain why a good king would allow destruction in his kingdom, but at least you still have a king to turn to! After seeing that there is no king, I have no grievances! I can throw no rocks! My anger over what I have seen means nothing! I have only a field of grass to answer to, a field of nothingness…” wept the peasant.

“How can I live like this?” the peasant asked after he had finished sobbing.

“If you do not like children starving, then take food from the glutton and give it to the famished. If you do not like barbarians raiding your farm, then kill the barbarians. If you do not like lawlessness, then kill the lawless.”

“But…I am a young man. I am no match for seasoned warriors.” said the distraught peasant.

“Then you must cunningly convince such people that your view of the world is superior and preferable to their view of the world. You must use your wits peasant!” Zarathustra said mockingly.

“I am but a poor peasant. I have never been educated! I have no wits, nor am I cunning.”

“Then you must deal with such a fate. If you cannot will to power your ethical views, then your ethical views do no matter. There is no king, there is no castle, and there are no stones. Any rage you feel toward what you perceive as an injustice has no more moral weight than your like of meat or the type of mattress you like to sleep on.”

“This is a nightmare! This can’t be reality! Such a world has no good or evil; how can such a world exist?” the peasant said, breaking into tears again.

Zarathustra grinned darkly, knowing he was to apply the final blow. “There are no nightmares. There are no dreams. There are simply states of consciousness. There is no good. There is no evil. There are simply acts.

Nature does not care for you. The fire that warms you and cooks your food, or it can take away all your possessions or burn you. Whether it harms you or helps you, it is indifferent. Such is nature – that is the world you have come to realize exists. There is no king to blame, no castle to deface, and no stones to throw. Likewise, there is no king to fix these problems, no solution to the problems, no place of shelter from the problems, and there are no legitimate grievances. These ‘problems’ simply are events that occur, they are not good, they are not bad, they simply are. This is the world without the king.”

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2 thoughts on “A Nietzschean Parable of sorts

  1. this was a neat little read. I remember talking about “will to power” and morals and naturalismt with you back in 1973 on the bibleforums board. we should really finish that conversation someday.

    Oscar “O-train” Kipling

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