On the Death of Justice

friedrich-nietzsche-by-edvard-munchHave you heard the news of the awful man who delayed the train this evening? Such a hidious little toad–a lunatic raving between the cars: “I am looking for Justice! I am looking for Justice!”

Many who stood in the train car in their drab suits and blouses of gray snicker at the trollish man, “Oh I didn’t know it was here!” said one. “Has it lost its way from the church? Or was it the courthouse?” said another. “No it must be that it is too busy with the police to come here for you!” The perpetual silence of the train car jiggled with the foreign laugher; a joy disallowed and against the rules at this hour.

The homeless man sprang into their midst, leering deeply into them–their uncomfortable silence and sheepish gazes shift about the train car.

“Where has Justice gone?” he cried. “I will tell you. We have destroyed it — you and I. We are all the corruptors of justice, destroyers of divinity. But how have we done this? How were we able to contort the magnanimity of God? Crush the meaning of goodness? Who gave us this sponge to wipe away the blood of the past? What did we do when we unchained meaning and justice from the moment of now? Where does it go? Where are we now? Away from all meaning? Aren’t we perpetually tumbling, always pushed? Backward, downward, in all directions but forward? Is there any meaning or purpose left? Aren’t we straying as through an infinite nothing, struggling against an omnipotent everything? Do we not feel the empty space close around us? Hasn’t it become colder, and bitter, like the science of law? Does the despondence not grow skywards with each moment passed? Must not lanterns be lit every evening to quietly and humbly morn our loss?

Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying Justice? Do we not smell the putrefaction justice? Justice, too, decomposes, rots under the weight of hollow men. Justice is dead. Justice remains dead. And we watched its death, beaten under truncheons of man, saying nothing. How shall we, the indolent jury of all murderers, comfort ourselves? That which was the most sacred and divine of rights has been brutalized and bled to death under our knives — who will wipe this blood off us? With what wine could we purify ourselves? What indulgences of atonement must we buy, what sacred idols must we invent? Isn’t the greatness of this deed too difficult for us? Must we not ourselves become the sword of justice, the purveyors of divinity simply to seem worthy of it?”

He gazed outward, the holy twinkle of the zeal forward in his eyes:

“There has never been a greater deed — and whoever shall be born after us, for the sake of this deed they shall be part of a higher history than all the history that came before. To forge justice in the image of now, to give meaning to our world again.” Here the homeless man fell silent, an imperceptible stillness of glass set that moment forever as they stared at him in awe and astonishment. At last he ripped a phone from the hands of a bystander and threw it to the ground; it shattered and went out. “You people are not ready for this,” he said then; “the time hasn’t come yet. Building towards this tremendous event is still on its way, still traveling — it is still waiting for The Champion to bring lightness to the dark.

Anger and retribution need time; they must fester, infect, and rape the mind into maddened frenzy. The Champion must commit the deed that shall immortalize that moment in the past, to give meaning to justice, as has been done time and time before so the action of justice can be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than the most distant stars — and yet we must do this ourselves.”

It has also been related that on that same day the homeless man entered various churches and there sang Ode to Joy. Led out and told to shut up, he is said to have retorted each time: “What are these churches now if they are not the tomb of justice and the palace for the most momentous occasion of God’s Death?”

–Corruption of The Gay Science, Section 125: The Madman

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

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