Blessed Are Those Drowsy Ones

Blessed Are Those Drowsy Ones

. 2 min read
"If life had no sense, and had I to choose nonsense, this would be the desirablest nonsense for me also."

Near the beginning of the book, the main character encounters some people gathering in the town square. The townspeople encouraged Zarathustra to seek the advice of a wise man that lives in the mountains, for the wise man knows how to sleep well and other things. Zarathustra found his way up the mountain and found the wise man talking to some kids that had gathered.

The wise man goes on at length about the importance of sleep and how to ensure you get good sleep. Zarathustra listens intently and, after a while, concludes that this man is not so wise. Thinking to himself, "A fool seemeth this wise man ... but I believe he knoweth well how to sleep."

Here is the actual text,

People commended unto Zarathustra a wise man, as one who could discourse well about sleep and virtue:  greatly was he honoured and rewarded for it, and all the youths sat before his chair.  To him went Zarathustra, and sat among the youths before his chair.  And thus spake the wise man:
Respect and modesty in presence of sleep!  That is the first thing!  And to go out of the way of all who sleep badly and keep awake at night! Modest is even the thief in presence of sleep:  he always stealeth softly through the night.  Immodest, however, is the night-watchman; immodestly he carrieth his horn.
No small art is it to sleep:  it is necessary for that purpose to keep awake all day. Ten times a day must thou overcome thyself:  that causeth wholesome weariness, and is poppy to the soul. Ten times must thou reconcile again with thyself; for overcoming is bitterness, and badly sleep the unreconciled. Ten truths must thou find during the day; otherwise wilt thou seek truth during the night, and thy soul will have been hungry. Ten times must thou laugh during the day, and be cheerful; otherwise thy stomach, the father of affliction, will disturb thee in the night.
Few people know it, but one must have all the virtues in order to sleep well.  Shall I bear false witness?  Shall I commit adultery? Shall I covet my neighbor's maidservant?  All that would ill accord with good sleep. And even if one have all the virtues, there is still one thing needful:  to send the virtues themselves to sleep at the right time. That they may not quarrel with one another, the good females!  And about thee, thou unhappy one!
Peace with God and thy neighbor:  so desireth good sleep.  And peace also with thy neighbor's devil!  Otherwise it will haunt thee in the night.