The Problem of Nietzsche’s Antichrist

The problem of Nietzsche’s Antichrist

John Brusseau

Nietzsche’s error is in thinking that a morality derived from the herd instinct is the origin of self-destruction in mankind, rather than the morality derived from the fear driving our instincts (any instinct, including the herd instinct). Morality conceived in our value-system, that is engendered by fear, produces the self-destructive delusions that are our subjective reasons/purposes for compulsivity and obsession. Those rationalizations of our reactions to un-resolved fear are those coping mechanisms we once called pride. Pride is a fear-driven reaction to unresolved experiences of pain. It matters not at all which instinctual drive is involved in the production of a moral construct. What matters is whether fear is behind it, or not.

It is this error on Nietzsche’s part that renders his almost insightful work, immensely confusing. It is reactionary, and therefore simply a new form of fear-driven morality, and one which must inevitably produce all of the same kinds of destruction that more conventional fear-driven morality produces, only in a swifter time frame.

There is an obvious contradiction (and concomitant hypocrisy) in the mentality of Nietzsche’s Antichrist. It lashes out against the tyranny of the conscience, while proposing a new morality (from which our fear-driven conscience would just as happily tyrannize our existence). And it ignores the only significant conditioning factors involved in human behavior, those of us feeling loved, and the conditioning force of fear, which implies to our subjective consciousness that we are not loved. To ignore these two conditioning factors is simply an expression of the kind of denial that unresolved fear engenders in human thought.

Nietzsche, like all antichrists, is correct in pointing to the tyranny of the conscience (our subjectively constructed value systems) as the great evil undermining our species. Like the Hebrew bible does in the account of the fall of man, Nietzsche saw that our knowledge of good and evil leads to our species destruction. But his ignorance of the fact that it is not our moral constructs themselves that engender our destruction, but the un-faced and unresolved fear driving the construction of our value system that engenders the destruction.

A value-system engendered by the feeling of being loved, is a system that refuses to tyrannize us. It does not insist upon being the basis of our decisions, but only offers whatever experience we have as a possible source of insight into what we are dealing with at present. And it waits to help us evaluate our choices after the fact, thus assisting effectively in the more natural process of learning from experience how to do things better, without demanding that it has the final say in all of our choices. The feeling of being loved engenders pro-activity in our species. Fear engenders re-activity.

These are the core conditioning factors in our species conscious existence, and all of us know this from a lifetime of experience. We are, every one of us, experts on the human condition, and have only awaited someone accurately accounting for the realities of our experience. Nietzsche does not do that. His reactionary constructs muddy the water. They do not clarify things.

The delusional serpent in the Edenic myth is our species instinctual drive to become cognitively aware of ourselves. When this drive for self awareness is imprisoned within our unresolved experiences of fear and pain, it induces us to cling to the subjectively constructed ideas (including ideas about value) that fear naturally engenders, and to rely upon them as a basis for our decisions.

This is the proverbial knowledge of good and evil, which was depicted as the great evil in the biblical story of the Fall of Man. In this story neither the serpent (our drive for self-awareness) nor the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, are portrayed as being inherently evil. They are only evil when co-opted by Satan, the symbolic representation of pride (our coping mechanism’s mentality).

Nietzsche fails to see this reality of the inherent goodness of our instinctual drive for self-awareness, and of the instinctual drive within us to form an awareness of value (symbolized as Eve in this story). And in his fear-driven reaction to his own inner Eve, he proposes to do away with her altogether, while contradictorily proposing a new more masculine version of her.

Nietzsche and his ideology is the product of un-resolved childhood trauma. He was victimized by brutality, and subjectively came to view his victimization as being the result of his weakness, rather than the weakness of the brutalizer. In Hitler, this same kind of victimization led him to vilify the ethnic group he conceived of as being the most vulnerable community in Europe, the Jewish population.

This is a natural, though subjective conclusion, that is generated by unresolved fear of brutality. One subjectively perceives that their victimization is due to their vulnerability and wants to do away with this vulnerability that might lead to future victimization. Nietzsche, by contrast, wanted to do away with the perceived vulnerability of Christianity, and its pathetically weak and unnatural moral values.

Nietzsche’s ideology is the embodiment of his subjective way of coping with un-faced childhood trauma. Like the subjective, fear-driven coping mechanisms we humans generate in reaction to any other painful circumstance, it is particularly counter-productive, and destructive to us, and it is because it ignores the core issues of un-resolved fear and un-faced experiences of pain.

Nietzsche could see that when our value-system is driven by unresolved fear, it unnaturally suppresses our instinctual life, thus rendering us less capable of thriving. What he didn’t see was that Christianity is not essentially a system of moral values, but a path back to a more natural relationship with our own nature. His identification of Christianity with the hypocritical, tyrannical value system of the Europe of his day, was not merely due to his ignorance of Christianity, but of his unconscious identification of Christianity with his mother, and therefore also with the kind of vulnerability that he subjectively viewed as leading to victimization by brutes.

The mother is our first experience of the archetype of the system. Our conscience is a system, it is our value system. Like all systems, it is acted upon by a catalyst, which engenders some sort of byproduct of this system. The catalyst, the Dad, if it is experienced as being brutish, traumatically brutish, then becomes in the subjective mind of a child experiencing traumatic brutality, the thing one must identify with, and the conscience, our value-system, our mother, the part of us we must avoid identifying with with all of the power generated by our fear of being further victimized.

The force of this fear was that which accounts for the immense power of Nietzsche’s vision and that of his protégé, Adolph Hitler, and of his ambition to rid the world of the Jewish population (the most vulnerable people group in European society). Adolph Hitler did not hate Jewish people so much as he feared the kind of abuse so typically trained on them, and like Nietzsche, subjectively chose to identify with those who brutalized this people rather than those being brutalized.

In this historical event (the holocaust) one may see the real outcome of Nietzsche’s philosophy of life. It can have no other outcome, but that of identification with the fear-driven brute, and all of the destruction born of such fear-driven brutal impulses.

Yes, within human civilization there is a terrible tyranny that suppresses our instinctual life. Yet this tyranny is not the result of Christianity; rather it is that which watered down the core ideas of Christianity among Europeans and rendered European Christianity nothing more than the typical tyrannical value-system that the process of civilization imposes upon our species everywhere.

Civilization is a harlot, to make use of a Christian theme. Babylon (the home and mother of civilization) is the mother of harlots, in Christian theology. Civilization, as has often been noted, is the rule of law (of our value-system) over our instinctual life. It is this civilizing force that has rendered our species so unnatural and so destructive as a result. It is not Christianity that supports the tyranny of our value-system of our instinctual life. It is civilization that infected and diluted the message of Christianity to the point it became just another version of the rule of law.

The essence of the Judeo-Christian religion is that of a restoration of a harmonious relationship with our natural self (and with God, who designed our nature). The law was given through Moses as a teacher who would point us to the core issue our species is facing; that we cannot trust our existence to God (and by extension, to nature – as unfolding from the unconscious mind). The law of Moses was not meant to be a code of ethics, upon which we base our choices. It was designed to be a concept of a natural trusting harmony with God and our natural self.

We need a way to restore our connection with our unconscious mind, which can indeed be (like God) the source of both great destruction and great life. Like the Goddess Kali, in Indian theology, our concept of the unconscious mind is best depicted as a natural force that works to destroy (resolve) our fears (the Asuras/demons) in our mind, and does this by bringing up those destructive impulses and compulsions in order to destroy our artificial, conscientiously suppressed lives and restore our lives to some sort of natural expression.

Why is God depicted as being by our human religions as being so unreasonably destructive, or alternately, as both the mother of life and the dealer of terrifying death? It is because our species has lost a functional connection to its unconscious mind. The unconscious mind will frequently send up some compulsive desire or obsessive emotion for the purpose of destroying the artificial, suppressed and therefore destructive version we have made of our life. It is because our species has lost to ability to understand the symbolically encoded language of our unconscious mind that increasingly have come to view it as being an inherently dangerous and destructive thing. And we have lost this useful conversation with our unconscious mind due to our damaged sense of who we are.

When something fearfully painful happens to us, we subjectively try to understand what this terrible experience means for our identity. How does this event change who I am? It is this process, when driven by unresolved fears, that drives us to cling to our knowledge-base of past experience and the lessons learned from them. This knowledge base is what we know as our conscience, our value-system. It is this knowledge base that has come to tyrannize and wreck our natural human existence. The solution for this psychological issue is not to try to do away with our value-system, but to break free from its fear-driven domination of our life. We need our conscience (Psyche), to become restored to harmony with our Will (our instinctual drive to become conscious of what we need – Eros).

And the practical way to do that is to incorporate the notion that we are not judged as unacceptable humans by God (by nature) by virtue of the moral quality of our choices, but are worthy of forgiveness, which is to say, worthy of the privilege of learning from our choices how to live better. It is our damaged sense of who we are, our self-loathing that engenders our fear-driven grasping at the knowledge of Good and evil (the unnatural reliance upon our value-system). It is the idea of atonement that serves to restore our lost connection to God, and by extension, our unconscious mind and our natural selves.

Nietzsche, like the Antichrist that both He and the Christian religion powerfully reference is essentially a personification of that destructive coping mechanism our unconscious mind scripts to overthrow our unnatural artificial human existence (because he could not effectively resolve his past experiences with trauma). Yet, not to decode the Antichrist statement from our unconscious mind, to embrace it un-decoded, is to live out all of the destruction and receive none of the salvation intended by this expression of our unconscious mind.

In the Christian Scriptures it is stated that God puts it into the heart of the beast to meet out His judgment upon the Whore (of Babylon). This means that the Christian religion has found a way to incorporate even the most evil impulses we humans experience into our existence in such a way that we come to be better (more natural) people afterward. If we can see the destructive, Goddess Kali-like impulses of our unconscious mind as being designed to undo the tyranny of our fear-drive drive for Identity and our value-system, of the horrific co-operation between Satan/the pride infected Serpent, and Eve the conscience/value-system) we can begin to stop running from our unconscious mind and its unnerving impulses, and grow in our ability to decode its highly insightful statements to us. Adam and Even can stop running from the face of God, and come to be restored s beloved sons and daughters of God and our authentic human nature.

Nietzsche’s Antichrist is not an end state we need to pursue, but a means to the end state of restoration of a natural existence, generated by our unconscious mind, that we will need to endure. Antichrist, like every version of it that has come down the halls of human history (the barbarians to Rome, the Hyksos to the Middle East, Napoleon and Hitler to late European civilization) all represent the horrible destruction our collective unconscious mind brings to the artificial lives (and the hypocritical rule of law of our value-system) civilization has imposed on us.

It is God’s/nature’s terrible, yet effective, way of fixing our species undeveloped relationship with this singular psychical utility, the instinctual drive to become aware of our self. It is this instinctual drive for self-awareness that is responsible for our species more highly developed cognitive function. In as much as every experience changes our idea of who we are, this need in us to know ourselves is constantly driving us to sift through our experiences to a much deeper level than we would do without this need. It is this which renders our species more cognitive.

God is said to have made the serpent, as well as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan, which is an excellent conceptualizing of our coping mechanisms (our pride, our damaged, fear-driven need for identity), has come to co-opt our psychical equipment, and caused it to form the delusional idea of performance-based-acceptance.

This delusional idea is that which is responsible for our compulsively feeding on the knowledge of Good and Evil, of us making decisions based upon our value-system, rather than upon our instinctual drive to become aware of what we need, all things considered (that is, our Will). Eros, our Will, has progressively come to be characterized as a dangerous monster, by our mother-in-law-Venus (Civilization’s rule of law) and is thus unnaturally running, like Psyche from what we want, rather than joyfully embracing it.

Everywhere that our species has settled they have written new scriptures to account for this unnatural divorce between our unconscious mind and our cognitive mind, and the resulting divorce between our Will and our conscience. All of our fertility cults were our unconscious mind telling us that we need restoration of harmony between the inherently complimentary aspects of our psyche, such as the yin and Yang, the Yoni and the Lingam, etc.

Everywhere we look, all across the planet, our species has generated these symbols of the dual aspects of the psyche, in order to remind ourselves that it is not good to support one at the expense of the other, that we need to find a way for these two complimentary aspects of our psyche, the Will and the conscience, to live in a state of harmony within us.

Nietzsche’s limitation is that he could not see that these two aspects of our psyche both need to thrive and live in harmony with each other. He could only see the tyranny of the conscience. And he was truly right about that.