There are still peoples and herds somewhere, but not with us, my brothers: here there are states.
The state? What is that? Well then! Now open your ears, for now I shall speak to you of the death of peoples.
The state is the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies, too; and this lie creeps from its mouth: ‘I, the state, am the people.’
It is a lie! It was creators who created peoples and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life.
It is destroyers who set snares for many and call it the state: they hang a sword and a hundred desires over them.
Where a people still exists, there the people do not understand the state and hate it as the evil eye and sin against custom and law
I offer you this sign: every people speaks its own language of good and evil: its neighbour does not understand this language. It invented this language for itself in custom and law.
But the state lies in all languages of good and evil; and whatever it says, it lies – and whatever it has, it has stolen.
Everything about it is false, it bites with stolen teeth. Even its belly is false.
Confusion of the language of good and evil; I offer you this sign as the sign of the state. Truly, this sign indicates the will to death! Truly, it beckons to the preacher of death!
Many too many are born: the state was invented for the superfluous!
Just see how it lures them, the many-too-many! how it devours them, and chews them, and re-chews them!
‘There is nothing greater on earth than I, the regulating finger of God’ – thus the monster bellows. And not only the long-eared and short-sighted sink to their knees.
Ah, it whispers its dismal lies to you too, you great souls! Ah, it divines the abundant hearts that like to squander themselves!
Yes, it divines too, you conquerors of the old God! You grew wary in battle a now your weariess serves the new idol!
It would like to range heroes and honourable men about it, this new idol! It likes to sun itself in the sunshine of good consciences – this cold monster!
It will give you everything if you worship it, this new idol: thus it buys for itself the lustre of your virtues and the glance of your proud eyes.
It wants to use you to lure the many-too-many. Yes, a cunning device of Hell has here been devised that glorifies itself as life: truly, a heart-felt service to all preachers of death!
I call it the state where everyone, good and bad, is a poison-drinker: the state where eevryone, good and bad, loses himself: the state where universal slow suicide is called – life.
Just look at these superfluous people! They steal for themselves the works of inventors and the treasures of the wise: they call their theft culture – and they turn everything to sickness and calamity.
Just look at these superfluous people! They are always ill, they vomit their bile and call it a newspaper. They devour one another and cannot even digest themselves.
Just look at these superfluous people! They acquire wealth and make themselves poorer with it. They desire power and especially the lever of power, plenty of money – these impotent people!
See them clamber, these nimble apes! They clamber over one another and so scuffle into the mud and the abyss.
They all strive towards the throne: it is a madness they have – as if happiness sat upon the throne! Often filth sits upon the throne – and often the throne upon the filth, too.
They all seem madmen to me and clambering apes and too vehement. Their idol, that cold monster, smells unpleasant to me: all of them, all these idolators, smell unpleasent to me.
My brothers, do you than want to suffocate in the fumes of their animal mouths and appetites? Better to break the window and leap into the open air.
Avoid this bad odour! Leave the idolatry of the superfluous!
Avoid this bad odour! Leave the smoke of these human sacrifices!
The earth still remains free for great souls. Many places – the odour of tranquil seas blowing about them – are still empty for soliaries and solitary couples.
A free life still remains for great souls. Truly, he who possesses little is so much the less possessed: praised be a moderate poverty!
Only there, where the state ceases, does the man who is not superfluous begin: does the song of the necessary man, the unique and irreplaceable melody, begin.
There, where the state ceases – look there, my brother. Do you not see it: the rainbow and the bridges to the Superman?
Thus spoke Zarathustra.