In Dionysus and in Christ the martyr is the same, the passion is the same. It is the same phenomenon but in two opposed senses (VP IV 464). On the one hand, the life that justifies suffering, that affirms suffering; on the other hand the suffering that accuses life, that testifies against it, that makes life something that must be justified. For Christianity the fact of suffering in life means primarily that life is not just, that it is even essentially unjust, that it pays for an essential injustice by suffering, it is blameworthy because it suffers. The result of this is that life must be justified, that is to say, redeemed of its injustice or saved. Saved by that suffering which a little while ago accused it: it must suffer since it is blameworthy. These two aspects of Christianity form what Nietzsche calls "bad conscience" or the internalization of pain (GMII). They define truly Christian nihilism, that is to say the way in which Christianity denies life; on the one side the machine for manufacturing guilt, the horrible pain-punishment equation, on the other side the machine to multiply pain, the justification by pain, the dark workshop.9 Even when Christianity sings the praises of love and life what curses there are in these songs, what hatred beneath this love! It loves life like the bird of prey loves the lamb; tender, mutilated and dying. The dialectician posits Christian love as an antithesis, for example as the antithesis of Judaic hatred. But it is the profession and mission of the dialectician to establish antitheses everywhere where there are more delicate evaluations to be made, coordinations to be interpreted. That the flower is the antithesis of the leaf, that it "refutes" the leaf - this is a celebrated discovery dear to the dialectic. This is also the way in which the flower of Christian love "refutes" hate - that is to say, in an entirely fictitious manner. "One should not imagine that love . . . grew up ... as the opposite of Jewish hatred! No, the reverse is true! That love grew out of it as its crown, as its triumphant crown spreading itself farther and farther into the purest brightness and sunlight, driven as it were into the domain of light and the heights in the pursuit of the goals of that hatred-victory, spoil and seduction" (GM 18 p. 35*).10 Christian joy is the joy of "resolving" pain in this way, pain is internalised, offered to God, carried to God, "that ghastly paradox of a 'God on the cross', that mystery of an unimaginable and ultimate cruelty" (GM 18 p. 35), this is truly Christian mania, a mania which is already wholly dialectical.
How different this aspect is from the true Dionysus! The Dionysus of the Birth of Tragedy still "resolved" pain, the joy that he experienced was still the joy of resolving it and also of bearing this resolution in the primeval unity. But now Dionysus has seized the sense and value of his own transformations, he is the god for whom life does not have to be justified, for whom life is essentially just. Moreover it is life which takes charge of justification, "it affirms even the harshest suffering" (VP IV 464). We must be clear, it does not resolve pain by internalising it, it affirms it in the element of its exteriority. And, from this, the opposition of Dionysus and Christ is developed point by point as that of the affirmation of life (its extreme valuation) and the negation of life (its extreme depreciation). Dionysian mama is opposed to Christian mania; Dionysian intoxication to Christian intoxication; Dionysian laceration to crucifixion; Dionysian resurrection to Christian resurrection; Dionysian transvaluation to Christian transubstantiation. For there are two kinds of suffering and sufferers. "Those who suffer from the superabundance of life" make suffering an affirmation in the same way as they make intoxication an activity; in the laceration of Dionysus they recognise the extreme form of affirmation, with no possibility of subtraction, exception or choice. "Those who suffer, on the contrary, from an impoverishment of life" make intoxication a convulsion, a numbness; they make suffering a means of accusing life, of contradicting it and also a means of justifying life, of resolving the contradiction.11 All this in fact goes into the idea of a saviour; there is no more beautiful saviour than the one who would be simultaneously executioner, victim and comforter, the Holy Trinity, the wonderful dream of bad conscience. From the point of view of a saviour, "life must be the path which leads to sainthood". From the point of view of Dionysus, "existence seems holy enough by itself to justify a further immensity of suffering" (VP IV 464). Dionysian laceration is the immediate symbol of multiple affirmation; Christ's cross, the sign of the cross, is the image of contradiction and its solution, life submits to the labour of the negative. "Developed contradiction, solution of the contradiction, reconciliation of the contradictories" - all these notions become foreign to Nietzsche. It is Zarathustra who exclaims, "Something higher than all reconciliation" (Z II "Of Redemption") - affirmation. Something higher than all developed, resolved and suppressed contradiction - transvaluation. This is the common ground between Zarathustra and Dionysus: "Into all abysses I still carry the blessings of my saying Yes (Zarathustra). . .But this is the concept of Dionysus once again" (EH III "Thus spoke Zarathustra" 6 p. 306). The opposition of Dionysus or Zarathustra to Christ is not a dialectical opposition, but opposition to the dialectic itself: differential affirmation against dialectical negation, against all nihilism and against this particular form of it. Nothing is further from the Nietzschean interpretation of Dionysus than that presented later by Otto: a Hegelian Dionysus, dialectical and dialectician!
excerpt from the book: Nietzsche and Philosophy by Gilles Deleuze
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