Thus Spoke Penning Panda through Zarathustra

To get you in the mood I’m posting a song that I’ve been listening to quite a bit lately and possibly for the first time actually fits the post. So hopefully Mumford & Sons’ “Awake My Soul” will provide a good background as you read through this blog and get to know the Penning Panda a bit more.

Some of you have heard me talk about how I dig Friedrich Nietzsche’s writing. I’m sure some of you also have your minds racing and are judging me on that statement. But you can put your religious judgments about me aside; remember one of my heroes is Pope John Paul II. Ever since I met him in Kindergarten, everyone else I’ve met since is just a bonus (I’m grateful for you all though, through the good and bad). Keeping that in mind one of my favorite books is Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and a favorite quote from it is:

“One ought to hold on to one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.”

I’d say it was ironic that Nietzsche broke down insane in 1889 and later died from his insanity (if that’s even possible).  But understanding that quote and the life I’ve lead… I can see it.

With my logic, it should follow, that one of my created life mottos is:

Craziness is hard to find. But when you do find it, embrace it.

The motto makes life that much better when you embrace craziness, and at times it gives an understanding to what we may consider crazy moments.

To the actual point of this blog, the following passage/chapter from Thus Spoke Zarathustra is the one that resonates with me the most… and it could, or could not, help to explain a little bit more about me.

The Penning Panda Kixin it With Confucius at the Confucius Temple in Beijing. Yes, Nietzsche, Pope John Paul II, and Confucius all in the same posting... and this isn't even about religion.

The Stillest Hour

What happened to me, my friends?  You see me distracted, driven away, unwillingly obedient, prepared to go-alas, to go away from you.  Indeed, Zarathustra must return once more to his solitude; but this time the bear goes back to his cave without joy.  What happened to me?  Who ordered this?  Alas, my angry mistress wants it, she spoke to me; have I ever yet mentioned her name to you?  Yesterday, toward evening, there spoke to me my stillest hour; that is the name of my awesome mistress.  And thus it happened; for I must tell you everything lest your hearts harden against me for departing suddenly.

Do you know the fright of him who falls asleep?  He is frightened down to his very toes because the ground gives under him and the dream begins.  This I say to you as a parable.  Yesterday, in the stillest hour, the ground gave under me, the dream began.  The hand moved, the clock of my life drew a breath; never had I heard such stillness around me: my heart took fright.

Then it spoke to me without voice: “You know it, Zarathustra?”  And I cried with fright at this whispering, and the blood left my face; but I remained silent.

Then it spoke to me again without voice; “You know it, Zarathustra, but you do not say it!”  And at last I answered defiantly; “Yes, I know it, but I do not want to say it!”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “You do not want to, Zarathustra?  Is this really true?  Do not hide in your defiance.”  And I cried and trembled like a child and spoke: “Alas, I would like to, but how can I?  Let me off from this!  It is beyond my strength!”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “What do you matter, Zarathustra?  Speak your word and break!”

And I answered: “Alas, is it my word? Who am I? I await the worthier one; I am not worthy even being broken by it.”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “What do you matter?  You are not yet humble enough for me.  Humility has the toughest hide.”  And I answered: “What has the hide of my humility not borne?  I dwell at the foot of my height.  How high are my peaks?  No one has told me yet.  But my valleys I know well.”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “O Zarathustra, he who has to move mountains also moves valleys and hollows.”  And I answered: “As yet my words have not moved mountains, and what I said did not reach men.  Indeed, I have gone to men, but as yet I have not arrived.”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “What do you know of that? The dew falls on the grass when the night is most silent.”  And I answered: “They mocked me when I found and went my own way; and in truth my feet were trembling then.  And thus they spoke to me: ‘You have forgotten the way, now you have also forgotten how to walk.’”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “What matters their mockery?  You are one who has forgotten how to obey; now you shall command.  Do you not know who is most needed by all?  He that commands great things.  To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult.  This is what is most unforgivable in you; you have the power, and you do not want to rule.”  And I answered: “I lack the lion’s voice for commanding.”

Then it spoke to me again as a whisper: “It is the stillest words that bring on the storm.  Thoughts that come on doves’ feet guide the world.  O Zarathustra, you shall go as a shadow of that which must come: thus you will command and, commanding, lead the way.”  And I answered: “I am ashamed.”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “You must yet become as a child and without shame.  The pride of youth is still upon you; you have become young late; but whoever would become as a child must overcome his youth too.”  And I reflected for a long time and trembled.  But at last I said what I had said at first: “I do not want to.”

Then laughter surrounded me.  Alas, how this laughter tore my entrails and slit open my heart!  And it spoke to me for the last time: “O Zarathustra, your fruit is ripe, but you are not ripe for your fruit.  Thus you must return to your solitude again; for you must yet become mellow.”  And again it laughed and fled; then it became still around me as with double stillness.  But I lay on the ground and sweat poured from my limbs.

Now you have heard all, and why I must return to my solitude.  Nothing have I kept from you, my friends.  But this too you have heard from me, who is still the most taciturn of all men–and wants to be.  Alas, my friends, I still could tell you something, I still could give you something.  Why do I not give it? Am I stingy?

But when Zarathustra had spoken these words he was overcome by the force of his pain and the nearness of his parting from his friends, and he wept loudly; and no one knew how to comfort him.  At night, however, he went away alone and left his friends.


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