Pity and Suffering.

Any atheist, agnostic or unbeliever who has ever met a Christian at some time or another has been on the receiving end of what is known as pity. Is pity harmless? Or is it hostile?

Take a look at what Friedrich Nietzsche has to say on the subject of pity:

Christianity is called the religion of pity.- Pity stands in opposition to all the tonic passions that augment the energy of the feeling of aliveness: it is a depressant. A man loses power when he pities. Through pity that drain upon strength which suffering works is multiplied a thousandfold. Suffering is made contagious by pity; under certain circumstances it may lead to a total sacrifice of life and living energy–a loss out of all proportion to the magnitude of the cause. This is the first view of it; there is, however, a still more important one. If one measures the effects of pity by the gravity of the reactions it sets up, its character as a menace to life appears in a much clearer light. Pity thwarts the whole law of evolution, which is the law of natural selection. It preserves whatever is ripe for destruction; it fights on the side of those disinherited and condemned by life; by maintaining life in so many of the botched of all kinds, it gives life itself a gloomy and dubious aspect. Mankind has ventured to call pity a virtue (–in every superior moral system it appears as a weakness–); going still further, it has been called the virtue, the source and foundation of all other virtues–but let us always bear in mind that this was from the standpoint of a philosophy that was nihilistic, and upon whose shield the denial of life was inscribed. Schopenhauer was right in this: that by means of pity life is denied, and made worthy of denial–pity is the technic of nihilism. Let me repeat: this depressing and contagious instinct stands against all those instincts which work for the preservation and enhancement of life: in the role of protector of the miserable, it is a prime agent in the promotion of decadence- pity persuades to extinction….

I take it Nietzsche doesn`t like the idea of pity. Didn`t the Ancient Greeks think that pity was an evil because it was a weakness? The idea that a man loses power when he pitites is absolutely demonstratable by the fact that Christians resort to “prayer” for us as pity when they are confronted by the apparent embarrasment of not being able to provide historical facts or a suitable rebuff against OUR argument. When a Christian is blocked into a corner he or she will resort to pity: it is a loss of power, as Nietzsche describes it.

Many Christians no doubt feel and think that pity is a virtue but the Greeks divined otherwise; they thought pity was a vice. I keep on saying this but life is not about virtue but about fitness. Whatever springs from strength must be worthy of life and whatever springs from weakness denies it.

Published in: on January 27, 2007 at 4:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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