Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market-place,
and cried incessantly: "I am looking for God! I am looking for God!" As many of those who did not believe in God were standing together there, he excited considerable laughter.
Have you lost him, then? said one. Did he lose his way like a child? said another. Or is he hiding?
Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? or emigrated? Thus they shouted and laughed. The madman
sprang into their midst and pierced them with his glances.
"Where has God gone?" he cried. "I shall tell you. We have killed him - you and I. We are his murderers.
But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the
entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained the earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now?
Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward,
forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite
nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is it not more and more
night coming on all the time? Must not lanterns be lit in the morning? Do we not hear anything yet of
the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell anything yet of God's decomposition?
Gods too decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all
murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet
possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we
purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we need to invent? Is not the
greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it?
There has never been a greater deed; and whosoever shall be born after us - for the sake of this deed
he shall be part of a higher history than all history hitherto."
Here the madman fell silent and again regarded his listeners; and they too were silent and stared at him
in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern to the ground, and it broke and went out. "I have come too
early," he said then; "my time has not come yet. The tremendous event is still on its way, still travelling
- it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time, the light of the stars
requires time, deeds require time even after they are done, before they can be seen and heard. This deed
is still more distant from them than the distant stars - and yet they have done it themselves."
It has been further related that on that same day the madman entered divers churches and there sang a
requiem. Led out and quietened, he is said to have retorted each time: "what are these churches now if
they are not the tombs and sepulchres of God?"
The Overman (‹bermensch, Super-Human) emerges:
"I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?
All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great
flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughingstock
or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the overman: a laughingstock or a painful
by Friedrich Nietzsche
Thus spoke Zarathustra -
Beyond Good & Evil -
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will often be lonely, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."
"Alas, I can see that you do not know what it means to be alone. Wherever there have been powerful societies, governments, religions, or public opinions - in short, wherever there was any kind of tyranny, it has hated the lonely philosopher; for philosophy opens up a refuge for man where no tyranny can reach: the cave of inwardness, the labyrinth of the breast; and that annoys all tyrants."