There have been several books published in the last few years about Friedrich Nietzsche. This may be because some of Nietzsche’s ideas were misinterpreted, particularly by Nazi German propagandists of the 1930’s. As Stan explained the story, the phrase “god is dead” is spoken by a character in the book known as “the madman.” It was written in the 1880’s in the midst of the great industrialization of Europe and America when massive clouds of soot and ash enveloped all the cities. Inside one of these massive clouds of soot, one could not see anything over a few hundred yards away. Sometimes the soot blotted out the sun.
The madman says we killed god by taking away the horizon and plunging ourselves into darkeness. He pointed out to them that they had to light their lamps in the mornings because the sun did not penetrate the city’s soot. And the madman realizes that no one is listening to him. He says he has come too early for people to recognize what they have done to unchain (i.e. remove the link between) the earth from the sun. He decided that mankind’s grasp of technology had exceeded its grasp of morality and ethics.
So, Nietzsche is an early environmentalist, and one that recognized that the public was not yet ready to understand the magnitude of the damage his fellow men were doing to the earth. Nietzsche had an idea that someday mankind would wake up to what they have done and when that day comes we will have morphed into a better state that Nietzsche called the over-man or Ubermensch.
Unfortunately for Nietzsche, critizism of mankind’s grasp of morals and ethincs brought him to directly criticize Christians and Christianity. It didn’t help that a character of his book could be quoted out of context as having said god is dead and we have killed him. And it REALLY didn’t help that the Nazi’s took his phrase Ubermensch and perverted the idea away from someone with greater understanding into someone who was superior to lesser human beings and deserved to rule over them. It was a natural leap for the Nazis to go from belief in a theoretical superhuman into the belief that they themselves were the superhumans and that distinction there by gave license to them to rule over all the countries of Europe and Aisa. That, they believed, gave them license to use the technology of the industrial age to conduct the most inhuman act of genocide of the century.
So Nietzsche the environmentalist may have been rediscovered in recent times, but the world is not sufficiently educated to tollerate any Unitarians who might publicly declare that they are a huge fan of Nietsche… except for Stan that is…
Next week: The Yin and Yang of Seasons by Kimberly. Earth day is approaching (April 22 for those of you who have been asleep at the recycle bin for the last 40 years.) Columbus Ohio has a history of having one of the largest organized Earth Day observances and this year Columbus will be active again. There will be a big “earth day” related clean up of the planet on the weekend prior to Earth day. Becca will get us more information about participating locally. On April 22, there will be a huge gathering in Franklin Park. There will be environmental stewardship workshops at Miami University next Saturday sponsored by Ohio Interfaith Power and Light – http://www.ohipl.org/. See Becca if you are interested in making the trip.
On March 21 the Three Cranes are celebrating the Spring Equanox. The spring equinox is a time of planting, where the ground is thawed and new things can be initiated. It’s a time to think about plans for the future, and to gather together all the things you will need for the work you will do in the year to come.http://www.threecranes.org/ There wil be a pot luck and a collection of donations of appropriate things for the animal shelter.
There will be a pot-luck at the church next Saturday night with a “green” theme.