The Madman — PinoyExchange

The Madman

I've been itching to post this for sometime now...
The Madman. Have you not heard of that madman who lit a
lantern in the bright of morning hours, ran to the market place, and
cried incessantly, "I seek God! I seek God!" As many of those who
do not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked
much laughter. Why, did he get lost? Said one. Did he lose his way
like a child? Said another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us?
Has he gone on a voyage? Or emigrated? Thus they yelled and
laughed. The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with
his glances.

"Whither is God" he cried. "I shall tell you. We have
killed him -- you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how have
we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the
sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we
unchained this earth from the sun? Whither it is moving now? Whither
are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging
continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is
there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite
nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not
become colder? Is not night and more night coming on all the while?
Must not lanterns be lit in the morning? Do we not hear anything yet
of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not
smell anything yet of God's decomposition? Gods too decompose. God
is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we,
the murderers of all murderers, comfort ourselves? What was holiest
and most powerful of all that the world has yet owned has bled to
death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? What water
is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what
sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this
deed to great for us? Must not we ourselves become gods simply to
seem worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever
will be born after us -- for the sake of this deed he will be part of
a higher history than all history hitherto."

Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his
listeners; and they too were silent and stared at him in
astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it
broke and went out. "I come too early," he said then; "my time has
not come yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still
wandering -- it has not yet reached the ears of man. Lightning and
thunder require time, the light of the stars requires time, deeds
require time even after they are done, before they can be seen or
heard. This deed is still more distant from them than the most
distant stars -- and yet they have done it themselves."

It has been related further that on this same day the madman
entered divers churches and there sang his requiem aeternam deo. Led
out and called to account, he is said to have replied each time,
"What are these churches now if there are not the tombs and
sepulchers of God?"

by F. Nietzche


  • Pyros
    Pyros Faith Under Fire
    Nietzsche’s Vision of the Death of God
    Nietzsche had many detailed critiques of Christianity and Judaism, and morality and religion in general, all of which have some interest and great force. Here we can concentrate on just one prong of his truck-full-of-pitchforks-criticism: the death of God. We encounter a compelling statement of this view in the story of "The Madman" from The Gay Science.
    The Madman....
    (Nietzsche, The Gay Science, ¶125; trans. Walter Kaufmann)
    Nietzsche derided rational proofs of God’s non-existence. They have no force; they are boring. The death of God is an historic fact being realized in western culture; it is the destruction—the self-destruction—of the foundation for human goodness, beauty and truth. It is something humans have done to themselves, for Nietzsche, and it is an act of great mystery.

    On the one hand, it can be thought of as a disaster. Western culture is slowly awakening to the realization that there is no sure foundation, that there is no God to command us or to reward us; we have to make our own decisions and live with them, therefore. As the culture awakens to its achievement, there will be gradual panic, for foundationless, responsible existence is incredibly daunting, and impossible for most. People will prefer the world of their illusions, their comfortable pretend games about a real God as a foundation for moral and political decisions. They will react to their impossible situation by being violent and self-destructive, wars will rage, and hopelessness will reign.

    On the other hand, if we survive the madness that results when the death of God is recognized and nihilism takes over, then God’s successor, the self-directed, self-valuing, superior human—the Übermensch—will emerge out of the chaos. The Übermensch is no cruel tyrant, but the one who knows how to overcome the human, who knows how to train the will to power that drives humans in the direction of self-control, self-cultivation, self-direction, the result of which is an abundance of joy and peace.

    What, we must ask, is the character of the Übermensch’s orientation to life? The Übermensch is not the consummate truth seeker. The Übermensch is not the perfect human, living life according to the moral law, for there is no moral law. How, then, should we describe the Übermensch’s life? It is, above all, beautiful: it is a stylish, graceful movement through the world, leaving its glorious mark, rejoicing as it goes. Human life in this vision of it is an artistic creation, it is morality transcending the moral law, truth transcending the truths of human knowledge, love and joy and community created out of nothing while on the way of life, created with courage and humility, created beautifully.

    Thus the heart of Nietzsche’s critique of religion and western culture can be understood as aesthetic in character: religion as it exists is ugly and distorted, bourgeois western culture is ugly and on the point of dissolution, self-denying morality is ugly and twisted. The Death of God is the key to the salvation of humanity, for after the death of God there is no longer any question about where that salvation must come from: it must be a super-human act of the human will, humans receiving human destiny from the hand of God, humans taking responsibility for themselves and their way in the world.

  • well, i think that Nietzche just wanted to tell us that the concept of God is already obsolete. Thus, the dawn of secular humanism.

    the ?bermensch will just be a replacement for God.
  • Beans
    Beans Ubermensch
    actually, the ?bermenschen will be replacing God.

    The ?bermensch status is not only for one. Nietzsche actually hopes to see all the people overcoming themselves.

    The ?bermensch is actually one of the starting links for existential philosophy. Which is really good.

    I have read Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and it's good. Although, a little bit like the bible.
  • bumping up
  • well, i think that Nietzche just wanted to tell us that the concept of God is already obsolete. Thus, the dawn of secular humanism. the ?bermensch will just be a replacement for God.

    Secular Humanism (according to Wikipedia) - ''is a secular philosophy that espouses reason, ethics, and the search for human fulfillment, and specifically rejects supernatural and religious dogma as the basis of morality and decision-making. Secular Humanism is a life stance that focuses on the way human beings can lead happy and functional lives.''

    What is ironic about Nietzsche personal belief about the no God concept and that secular humanism will supposedly lead human beings to have happy and functional lives was the opposite on what really happened on his own personal life. Zacharias commented that...

    ''Nietzsche took the first step and went insane himself. He died in 1900 striking somewhat the same note as the lines from Wordsworth poem .. ''Resolution and Independence.''

    ''We Poets in our youth begin in gladness,...
    But thereof come in the end of despondency and madness.''

    No matter how loudly Nietzsche shouted about a world of supermen who would find a way to live amidst and beyond these blasted ruins of Christian ethics and moral philosophers, his ideology neither answered nor solved the dilemma of a world without God. He relentlessly pursued ''the hygiene of knowledge'', arguing for some kind of disinfecting filter for thought. devoid of extrinsic value from any authority outside of ourselves. Its purpose would be to screen out knowledge that is ''wrong,'' and stain in knowledge that is ''right,'' - by Nietzsche definition. Truth, as a category, he subjected to an embargo, ''Truth is fiction,'' said he. Christian morality he delegitimized. Yet, Nietzsche was never able to produce that ''sanitation'' desired in knowledge. He really left no such legacy, and, in fact, the despair from which he sought to escape haunted him bitterly. In one of his letters he says, '' I feel as though I were a pen, a new pen, being tried out by some superior power on a bit of paper''. - Ravi Zacharias, ''The Real Face of Atheism''.
  • It's a beautiful literary piece. Well written and very much provocative.

    "We have killed him" may mean as an admission that men have turned their backs from the true worship of God. Thus, the implication to Nihilism - a philosophy which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.

    For truly, the true meaning of life is to worship the one and true God. Well, at least, for those who believe in the existence of God.
  • ^ nihilism or post-theism.
  • ^ nihilism or post-theism.

    theologically correct description. *okay*
  • well nihilism is the negative aspect, post-theism is the positive aspect.
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