Saturday, February 28, 2009

Beware of the Parasite

In his book ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ Friedrich Nietzsche, analyses the condition of the soul as it ascends into higher levels of spirituality as revealed by Zarathustra.

“I form circles around me and holy boundaries; ever fewer ascend with me ever higher mountains: I build a mountain-range out of ever holier mountains.-
But wherever ye would ascend with me, O my brethren, take care lest a parasite ascend with you!
A parasite: that is a reptile, a creeping, cringing reptile that trieth to fatten on your infirm and sore places.
And this is its art: it divineth where ascending souls are weary, in your trouble and dejection, in your sensitive modesty, doth it build its loathsome nest”.

Imagine climbing a mountain like Everest or Kilimanjaro. You need the best of physique. Many of us can feel that we are qualified to climb but it is only the experts who will tell you that to survive in the rarefied atmosphere of the final climb you need the best of lungs to support you. The blood looses the oxygen concentration (Oxygen concentration levels drop from 98% at ground level to 65% above 6000 meters) which can lead one to hallucination and loss of concentration which is so vital in the treacherous slopes at high altitude. Many people dismiss acute headaches at higher altitude as sinus related but it is the onset of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). If untreated it leads to cerebral edema with serious consequences. This is the reason that even expert climbers have many altitude camps to acclimatize the body to varied levels of life giving oxygen.

This is the same process when one intends to take the climb in spiritual journey. So as Zarathustra points out beware of the parasites that are waiting to latch on to you and drag you down.
Parasite is an organism that lives in or on and takes its nourishment from another organism. A parasite cannot live independently. It is the personification of ‘clinging or attachment’.
The higher we climb the more care is to be taken that all parasites are weeded out from our being.

I would like to end by quoting Nietzsche:

“All sciences are now under the obligation to prepare the ground for the future task of the philosopher, which is to solve the problem of value, to determine the true hierarchy of values”.

Love to you all


  1. The higher we climb the more care is to be taken that all parasites are weeded out from our being... are great words.

    These are very relevant to life especially of every person who seeks to work on the self and improve.

    Great words Tib

  2. Nietzsche had himself almost turned a mystic during his last days when he kept repeating that he was standing a thousand miles above Time. People around thought that he had turned mad, because they felt where was there any connection between 'miles' and 'Time'? What they could not understand was Nietzsche meant that he had transcended Time. For this, he was admitted in a mental asylum.
    It is ironical that Nietzsche, in his becoming free from parasite was,in fact, considered by the materialistic people, his well wishers though, to be infected with one. Zarathustra, being a visionary, could say so beautifully about climbing the spiritual mountain. Only the very spiritually healthy can dare to.
    Excellent teaching!

  3. Bhaskar, thanks for the feedback.
    Very illuminative as you have pointed out, it was Nietzsche who was able to think of space and time as one composite dimension from a philosophical perspective before Einstein could come up with the same concept from a scientific perspective. This was a mystical intution.