His death in madness is a condemnation of the whole Western approach. In the East people have been misunderstood, but because there was an underlying meditative silence and peace and contentment, and a deep understanding that this is just how things are – they are bound to be misunderstood – there was a natural acceptance of it. They were not frustrated, they were not angry; they were not going insane or committing suicide.
But in the West it has been almost always the situation with every great philosopher – the misunderstanding from all corners, from all dimensions, and the deep expectation of the person of being understood. He is not a meditator; he cannot accept the situation of misunderstanding, that it is natural, that he cannot do anything about it, that he will be understood when the time is ripe.
He will not be here…. But it does not matter whether he is understood or not: he is perfectly contented that whatever is true to him he is giving to the world. Now it is up to the world when to understand, or not to understand it. He is not dependent in any way on the response of people.
But Western philosophy, Western religion both have missed the quality of meditation. And that creates a new thing. When a man like Nietzsche goes mad, the enemies, who are all around – the people who misunderstood him and drove him mad – take advantage of the situation of his being mad. They start saying that it is his philosophy which is basically wrong, that has driven him mad.
His madness becomes a proof that he is a wrong man – that he is not only mad today, he has always been mad. Whatever he has said is insane. So it becomes a more solid ground on which to refute the person completely, to erase him completely – and that’s what happened with Nietzsche.
But a revival was certain. You cannot continue to misunderstand something which has even a little bit of truth in it – and Nietzsche has tremendous insights. If they can all be understood, it will help the Western mind to change many things.
For example, Nietzsche was the only one – even in his madness he would not sign his name without writing over his signature “Antichrist.” Even in his madness that much was absolutely certain to him: that he was anti-Christ, that Christ has created a tradition which is immensely dangerous to humanity, that he has polluted the human mind, even about small things.
Where Christ had always been praised, people were surprised that Nietzsche would find a very solid criticism. For example, when Christ says, “If somebody slaps you on one cheek, give him the other too,” Nietzsche was the first man to say that this is an insult to the man who has slapped you.
Now, it needs a certain intelligence to understand what he is saying. He is saying, in giving him the other cheek you are reducing him to subhumanity; you are becoming a god. Behave like a human being: give him a good slap the way he has given you one.