Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Fundamental Fear of Fundamentalists

The Fundamental Fear of Fundamentalists

Nietzsche in the Gay Science tells us laughter always defeats the seriousness of sour tragedians. The serious professors of values so burdened and burdensome with the unbearable weightiness of their own leaden spirits—the Mullahs of righteousness encased in their sacrosanct academic orthodoxies—will always be surpassed by the joyous laughter of the courageous. Laugh always at the truth-sayers, for their seriousness is in the end the most inane of comedies, they themselves the greatest of unintentional buffoons. The fundamental fear of all fundamentalists, even those amongst us, is that we will laugh at them rather than fear them and their oh-so-serious rules, punishments and oh-so-dour compulsions. The essence of all fundamentalisms is fear, and fear cannot survive laughter. Those who most cherish their rules are the most fearful among us. They are the violently helpless, sharp-toothed mice, whose faith is no more than that their rules will save them, protect them from raucous life.

Yes, we will suffer. Yes, we will die. Yes, there are wicked people in this world who will hurt you if they can. Yes, some people do not fill out forms properly. Yes, some do not use the correct polite terms. Yes, some want to kill infidels. Some fart and belch loudly and leave yellow spots on the toilet seat. Laugh and you will live. The culture of life is a culture of laughter, and this is serious. The culture of death is a culture that confuses human order with the joyous mysteries of the world. When people plan, the gods laugh: this is the genius of the ancient Greeks. To conclude, if there was a Jesus, he certainly was no lover of rules. If Jesus was, he loved life fearlessly, and thus the inevitability of life’s raw most politically dubious humor. “Whose image is this and whose inscription? … Then repay to Caesar what is Caesar’s….” For what is Caesar’s is the coinage of fear. But what is God’s is Joy, Laughter, Acceptance, Life. And that remains the case even if God is dead.


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