What Did Jesus Christ and Friedrich Nietzsche Have in Common?
This is a serious question – probably the toughest one I have ever attempted to answer – and I am not sure I can handle it – but of course I will try. My guide here is James S. Hans, a man you probably never heard of – and never will, since he seems to resist having a fan club.
Jesus, of course, has not such problem. If anything he has the opposite problem: he has too many fans, and too many personalities. All we have is a collections of stories that had nothing to do with the real man – of whom we know practically nothing. Of this collection, a number are remarkable for their display of loving-kindness (to use a Buddhist term). It is to this tradition I refer to.
Hans starts with Nietzsche’s belief that man’s biggest stumbling block is his insistence on revenge for injustices committed against him in the past. I can relate to relate to this problem at once, since I am obsessed with it – as you probably have noticed. Like most, I had a miserable childhood – and a working life that was almost as bad.
But I have an advantage: I am aware of it – although I keep being surprised by how little I really understand it! Most are not in the least, and spend their lives slaying dragons – or having dragons slay them. Revenge never dies – and like he predicted, will probably be the end of us.
“So,” you may say,”What’s the problem? All we have to do is change ourselves.” But this is like asking why we don’t change our DNA: it’s not that easy – as a matter of fact, it’s damn near impossible. One thread leads to another thread, and soon we have a whole big snarl of it, with no way of untangling the whole thing.
This is common sense, but a part of our common sense we resist with all our might. We are probably the stubbornest species on earth – we invented stubbornness, and insist on perfecting it.
The problem is capable of analysis: and Hans does so in a original way – showing what a tangle it is. Does anyone give a shit? No.