You crowd around your neighbor and have fine words for it. But I say unto you: your love of the neighbor is your bad love of yourselves. You flee to your neighbour from yourselves and would like to make a virtue out of that but I see through your “selflessness.”
The you is older than the I; the you has been pronounced holy, but not yet the I so man crowds toward his neighbor.
Do I recommend love of the neighbor to you? Sooner I should even recommend flight from the neighbor and love of the farthest. Higher than love of the neighbor is love of the farthest and the future; higher yet than the love of human beings I esteem the love of things and ghosts. This ghost that runs after you, my brother, is more beautiful than you. Why do you not give him your flesh and your bones? But you are afraid and run to your neighbor.
You cannot endure yourselves and do not love yourselves enough: now you want to seduce your neighbor to love, and then gild yourselves with his error. Would that you could not endure all sorts of neighbors and their neighbors; then you would have to create your friend and his overflowing heart out of yourselves.
You invite a witness when you want to speak well of yourselves; and when you have seduced him to think well of you, then you think well of yourselves. Not only are they liars who speak when they know better, but even more those who speak when they know nothing. And thus you speak of yourselves to others and deceive the neighbor with yourselves.
Thus speaks the fool: “Association with other people corrupts one’s character especially if one has none.”
One man goes to his neighbor because he seeks himself; another because he would lose himself. Your bad love of yourselves turns your solitude into a prison. It is those farther away who must pay for your love of your neighbor; and even if five of you are together, there is always a sixth who must die.
I do not love your festivals either: I found too many actors there, and the spectators, too, often behaved like actors.
I teach you not the neighbor, but the friend. The friend should be the festival of the earth to you and an anticipation of the overman. I teach you the friend and his overflowing heart. But one must learn to be a sponge if one wants to be loved by hearts that overflow.
I teach you the friend in whom the world stands completed, a bowl of goodness– the creating friend who always has a completed world to give away.
And as the world rolled apart for him, it rolls together again in circles for him, as the becoming of that good through evil, as the becoming of purpose out of accident.
Let the future and the farthest be for you the cause of your today: in your friend you shall love the overman as your cause.
My brothers, love of the neighbor I do not recommend to you: I recommend to you love of the farthest.
Thus spoke Zarathustra.