Chapter 7: Love: The Purest Power
A drunk who smelt of whiskey, cigars, and a cheap perfume, staggered up the steps into the bus, reeled down the aisle, then plopped himself down on a seat next to a Catholic priest.
The drunk took a long look at his offended seat partner and said, “Hey father, I have got a question for you. What causes arthritis?”
The priest’s reply was cold and curt, “Amoral living,” he said, “too much liquor, smoking and consorting with loose women.”
“Well, I’ll be damned!” said the drunk.
They rode in silence for a moment. The priest began to feel guilty, that he had reacted so strongly to a man who obviously needed Christian compassion. He turned to the drunk and said, “I am sorry, my son. I did not mean to be harsh. How long have you suffered from this terrible affliction of arthritis?”
“My affliction?” the drunk said, “I don’t have arthritis. I was just reading in the paper that the pope had it.”
Now, what can you do? Once you have said something, then it all depends on the other person, what he is going to make of it.
But Nietzsche is so immensely important that he has to be cleaned of all the garbage that the Nazis have put on his ideas. And the strangest thing is that not only the Nazis but other philosophers around the world have also misunderstood him. Perhaps he was such a great genius that your so-called great men also were not able to understand him.
He was bringing so many new insights into the world of thinking, that even just a single insight would have made him one of the great philosophers of the world - and he has dozens of insights which are absolutely original, which man has never thought about. If rightly understood, Nietzsche certainly could create the atmosphere and the right soil for the superman to be born. He can help humanity to be transformed.
I have tremendous respect for the man, and also a great sadness that he was misunderstood - not only misunderstood, but forced into a madhouse. The doctors declared that he was mad. His insights were so far away from the ordinary mind that the ordinary mind felt very happy in declaring him mad: “If he is not mad, then we are too ordinary.” He has to be mad, he has to be forced into a madhouse.
My own feeling is, he was never mad. He was just too much ahead of his time, and he was too sincere and too truthful. He said exactly what he experienced without bothering about politicians, priests and other pygmies. But these pygmies are so many and this man was so alone, that they would not hear that he was not mad. And the proof that he was not mad is his last book, which he wrote in the madhouse.