Chapter 15: Of Justice
When you have an enemy, do not requite him good for evil: for that would make him ashamed. But prove that he has done something good to you.
Better to be angry than make ashamed! And when you are cursed, I do not like it that you then want to bless. Rather curse back a little!
And should a great injustice be done you, then quickly do five little injustices besides. He who bears injustice alone is terrible to behold.
Did you know this already? Shared injustice is half justice. And he who can bear it should take the injustice upon himself.
A little revenge is more human than no revenge at all. And if the punishment be not also a right and an honor for the transgressor, then I do not like your punishment.
It is more noble to declare yourself wrong than to maintain you are right, especially when you are right. Only you must be rich enough for it.
I do not like your cold justice; and from the eye of your judges there always gazes only the executioner and his cold steel.
Tell me, where is the justice which is love with seeing eyes to be found?.
How could I be just from the very heart? How can I give everyone what is his? Let this suffice me: I give everyone what is mine.
.Thus spake Zarathustra.
One of the most significant sayings of Jesus is: “If someone slaps you on one side of your face, give him your other side too.”
Zarathustra would not agree with this. And the reason he would not agree is immensely important: If somebody slaps you and you give him the other side of your face also to be slapped, you are reducing his humanity. You are becoming a saint and turning him into a sinner; you are making him embarrassed; you are becoming “holier than thou.” It is an insult; it is not respect towards humanity.
Zarathustra would like you to hit back and remain human - not become holy. That way you are not insulting the other. That way you are showing equality, “I belong to you; you belong to me. I am in no sense higher than you; you are in no sense inferior to me.”
This is a strange way of looking at things. But certainly Zarathustra has a point to be remembered. The point basically is that all so-called holy men are egoists, even in their humbleness, in their humility. They have nothing but contempt for human beings. Deep down they know you are all sinners; you are not even worthy of their anger - they don’t value you in any way equal to themselves.
Zarathustra is very human and he does not want to fulfill your so-called spiritual egoism. Ninety-nine percent of your saints are saints, so that they can call you sinners; their whole joy is not in being a saint, but in being able to call you all sinners, to reduce everybody - to destroy everybody’s dignity is their innermost joy.
Zarathustra’s eyes certainly go deeper than anyone’s into every human relationship. He says:
When you have an enemy, do not requite him good for evil: for that would make him ashamed.
Something evil has been done to you; you have an enemy - do not do good in response to his evil. That’s what all the religions have been teaching you. And superficially, their teaching looks very profound: you are doing good even when the other person is doing evil to you.
But why are you doing good? What is the psychology behind it? Deep in your unconscious are you not enjoying the fact that you have made the other person embarrassed? And can this in any sense be called spiritual? Embarrassing the other.it would have been far better that you had done the same as had been done to you. That would not have embarrassed him and that would not have given you a nourishment to your ego.