The Waste Land was written some years after Friedrich Nietzsche's death, and expands upon his theory that a reverence for equality and justice over all other values is another manifestation of ressentiment, the triumph of slave ethics over the noble. In The Waste Land T.S. Eliot echoes Nietzche's nausea at the decadence of the Last Man, and muses over the destiny of a value-free society.

In Part V, WHAT THE THUNDER SAID T.S. Eliot uses the symbols of rocks to represent myths and moralities, as does Nietzsche, who clearly sets up this imagery in the chapter On Old and New Tablets in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Similarly, both poets also evoke water, with its tendency to flow ("the fount of pleasure wells up for me again!" (Zarathustra 210)), to indicate the slippery, mercurial nature of truth.

The passage "What the Thunder Said" envisions humanity's parched destiny in a morass of Nihilism if we were to finally succeed in escaping the clutches of a godly morality without finding something worthwhile with which to replace faith. Both Eliot and Nietzsche warn that without sowing new myths to reflect a rank ordering of society, all values will become equivalent, and the ensuing reign of nihilism will spell the end of creativity, passion and love.

Dry bones can harm no one.

To sacrifice God for the nothing - this paradoxical mystery of the final cruelty was reserved for the generation that is now coming up: all of us know something of this.
(Beyond Good and Evil 55)

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