Of The Otherworldsmen

Friedrich Nietzsche, the self-confessed Antichrist (though admirer of that untimely hippy), was far too kind toward religion. He tells an amazing story about how the noble-hating, life-denying spirit-diseased purveyors of hate-dressed-as-love overturned the ancient Apollonian ideals and poisoned their worthy possessors. A story unimportant as to whether it is true or false, because it is beautiful. It is an ugly consequence, of course, for all earthly joy and affirmation to be turned to abnegation and eschatology (and you can’t spell ‘eschatology’ without ‘scatology’). Nietzsche said at the least this priestly method of conquering – by raising weakness and misery as hieratic (something far more achievable for most than their opposites), until the few paragons of higher spirit cannot hold out – made mankind more interesting. Too kind! More complex, perhaps. Certainly no other animal could achieve the kind of oblivious double-thinking idiocy to believe the reason why we justify suffering now is because over the hills and above the clouds is eternal bliss.

Personally I would have liked a counter-example. I would have liked to have seen the result of the history of life without that poison, without the whisperings of those sick and ugly spirits. I would have liked to have seen a world where good did not come to mean bad, and bad to mean good – not least because superficially reading that would ascribe some kind of triumphant revival of pre-christian values to American urban sub-culture.

Nietzsche condemned christianity, leaving me without sufficiently stronger concepts to outline my thoughts. That nothing of value came from it. Not art, not music, not literature, not depth, not love, not joy.

It is a hideous chimerical monster. When it teaches us to love our neighbour it tells us only to hate those further from us – further from us not in distance, but in thought and value. Besides, we hate our neighbour, anyway. If we deem our neighbour better than us, we resent him. If we deem our neighbour less than us, we condemn him. And yes so what? That is simple evaluation – we wouldn’t judge something better or worse unless we respectively valued or deprecated those things, and so equally respectively wanted or didn’t want those things. A joyful spirit can encompass and let go of these all-too-human feelings without marring itself, but when you are obligated to pretend (and not just pretend, to believe) an attitude of love? Is it any wonder it sticks in collective throats, hiding fractiously behind the eyes and lifting hands to strike as if it were a caress?

Nietzsche was not only too kind, he was too optimistic. Although he knew the time was not yet come, he proposed another revaluation to come, where the death of god reopened our eyes, brought us back to the earth and our own capacity to bring meaning to the here and now. Christianity managed what even Carthage could not achieve (and they managed to send a fictional princess 3000 years into the future to enjoy impressive chart success), it killed Rome. Could those who have spent millennia grinding under the heel of christ’s sandaled feet truly rise once more? Individuals, perhaps. Now and then.


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