Jesus Christ King of the Slaves
I'm not saying that this Jesus Christ was wrong, get me? I think in fact he was a good fellow and that he truly existed and died on a Roman cross. I even give it that he was a spiritual, even a mystical being. But spirituality is accessible to anyone rich or poor, educated or not. Mysticism is something else. But in the end he was only a man. Not a god. No man no matter how extraordinary can be a god except to other men (and women by implication). No, he was a teacher who jerked everybody's head out of the cesspool they were living in, stuck in like today in fact. He told them that they didn't have to live that way. They didn't need to be cruel to one another. It was so bad living in those times that they didn't even realize how bad until he came along and told them what they already knew but couldn't say. He was articulate and clever. He was a blast and they couldn't get enough of him. Plus he was strong and manly, not this wimp that the later Christians portrayed. He took a whip to the merchants in the temple which had become only a bank where the graven images of money was god. And it still is. People worship money and long for what it can do for them. That's why they play the lottery. They are trying to bribe god.
He told them to be like him and have faith in the real unknowable god. Today he might call it a higher power but I don't think so. He was up close and personal and people were already accustomed to thinking of the gods as super men. The Greeks the Romans all of them had a host of gods that looked like men and women and acted just as unreasonably as they did. As Schiller said, "When the gods were more like men, men were more divine."
For me, whatever you believe in is okay if it makes you less selfish and by implication happy. But this Jesus took it to an extreme and actually conspired in his own death, his own gory sacrifice, to make a point. He sacrificed himself for the poor. That's a fact. It was spectacular even for those times when death was sudden and awful. They say he was a carpenter and that he even constructed some of those crosses. Now, making a cross is not all that hard so he must have turned out a bunch of them. He must have had a lot of time to think about what he was doing, and after all he was poor himself and most everybody around him were too. I mean, imagine it, most Jews were poor as hell.
The rich ones they called Pharisees and the poor ones were publicans. The Pharisees lived high on the hog and the poor ones lived in the dirt, just like today. There was this class hatred thing going on then just as now. When Jesus had dinner with a Pharisee the publicans accused him of selling out. When he had dinner with the poor the Pharisees asked why he was hanging out with such low types. But Jesus was clever and crafty. He always had an answer and he would answer a question with a question just like Socrates. They couldn't trap him with words so they framed him for something that he didn't do and nailed him up. They murdered him in public to set an example about public protest. But it worked only for a little while because his followers were fanatics by then, always running and hiding from the Romans and their own people the Jews. He taught them how to do what he was doing but they weren't as good at it as he was. But still they spread the word, and in no time at all the subversion got to Rome and then all hell broke loose.
Of course the Jews weren't having any of it because their religion said no graven images. They expected a messiah to come along but they weren't in a hurry for it and still aren't. A messiah could upset the whole ball game and might even get in the temple-bank with a whip again. Waiting for a messiah, well that's where the pleasure is, especially if he (or she) never gets here. So it is the waiting and the vague hope that is important to the Jews. Meanwhile they are making money and getting it together and partying and building armies. If god himself came down and made himself fifty stories high and spat fire out of his mouth and melted the pyramids they'd just call it a miracle and shrug and go back to doing business. And the Jews are scholars, see? That is an endless business believe me. Once you get started on acquiring knowledge you have embarked on a ship that will never reach port. The pleasure is in the journey, and it will never end because there is always something else out there to be learned. That is how the Jews are, and that is how it is for anybody else who buys a ticket on that ship.
But all this stuff about Jesus being a god or the son of god, all that came later. Much later. The early Christians I don't know if they believed it or not. People have always had fancy ideas about gods, them actually being some kind of super humans who are nevertheless just as petty and mean as we are. It wasn't a stretch for them to believe that Jesus was a god. Or at least the son of god, sort of a gentle non-violent Hercules, who if you remember was a half-god that had been born out of the thigh of Zeus. So Jesus being a son, the only son of god was a half-god too. Not as powerful as his old man. And this stuff about Jesus being part of a trinity and actually a god, well the Romans made that up at a council somewhere about 500 years later. There is no evidence among the extant literature that the early Christians believed it.
But like I said Jesus was a teacher first and last. He always had a point to make and he didn't waste any time. He was hypnotic to those poor bastards who had never seen a show like him. They knew he was going to end up on a cross and they followed him like some people followed the Grateful Dead. But his main teaching I think was for people to be self-less, that is to be less selfish. He said if you really wanted to do something and be pure you had to drop everything, all your possessions and family too and be like him, and serve the poor. That was a pretty hard thing to grasp because most of his adorers were poor, and the only thing they had if they had anything at all were their jobs and their families.
So when they saw what happened to Jesus most of them just said fuck that and went back to what they were doing, that is, making a living and keeping their mouth shut just like they do today. Jesus said love one another. That's fine and they tried it for awhile. When they got too public and obnoxious about it the Romans stopped crucifying them and started feeding them to the lions. People paid to see this. What a show! A spectacle. There had never been anything like it. Everybody loved it except the Christians. Some of them put on a pretty good show. One fellow knelt and prayed so hard that even the lion was impressed and refused to tear him apart.
Word of this and other things got around and so many poor people became Christians that after awhile even the emperor got into it and became a Christian too. Then he started rewriting the book about Jesus and after awhile the emperor was having the last supper every Friday night with twelve disciples at the table. Many books were written about Jesus and the ones that got it right were burned. The important thing about Jesus was not so much what he said as what he did not say. He said for people to love but he did not say not to hate. Because hate is not the opposite of love. Indifference is the opposite of love. Hate is almost the same as love. It is passionate like love. Indifference is neutral and gray. It is blah who cares? But hate is tear your tongue out cut off your penis and stuff it in your throat. That is what hate is. Hate is victory or death. Love has nothing to do with it. If you win then you can love. I saw this in Nicaragua when the Sandinista Revolution was being consolidated, the Sandinista men and women, exhausted from fighting Somoza and still enduring the ongoing trouble of fighting Ronald Reagan, and pausing to get some loving between battles, lovers were everywhere deeply in love with the romance of it all, and the major song wafting from the windows was Stevie Wonder's, "I Just Called To Say I Love You." It was so obvious and symbolic for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.
Human beings hate. It is part of their nature to hate. Nobody hates better than the Christians because they hide it with a message of love. Nobody hates better than the Christians, Jews, and Muslims, I should say, because they all in their different ways hate anybody who disagrees with them, hate them like hell. The Muslims who do it right out in the open and preach hate, well they might as well be Jews and vice-versa, because their thing about no graven images and not eating pork and a lot of other things are the same. They even have the same grandfather, Abraham. Jews are much more subtle than Muslims though.
But the Christians are the best at hating because they hide it so well, and after all they have made war and conquered most of the world. Hiding your hate with love, well that is a good trick. It works on the poor especially because they are exhausted and most of them don't have time to think and are ready to grab at anything for a break. The poor are walking wrecks because most of them are the descendants of slaves. I mean, that's a fact. There have always been slaves going as far back in human history as you can go. And the slaves have never stopped breeding. That is why there are so many poor people. Most poor people are the direct descendants of slaves although some of them like to imagine that their ancestors were princes and even kings and philosophers and statesmen who got run out of town.
Even after the rich people supposedly set them free, slaves were encouraged or let go to breed more slaves. The rich always need workers to die in the mines, and even a surplus of slaves to keep the costs of labor down when the slaves start organizing and demanding higher pay. That besides the heavy lifting and other kinds of servitude was and is their main function. To breed more slaves hungry for work who are now called workers out of politeness. Now it is out of control of course and there are too many slaves. But slaves can identify with the underdog because that is what they are. Under the dogs.
Human beings hate. It is part of their nature to hate because fear is an instinct to survive and to fear is to hate and to hate is to fear. I know it sounds crazy but I believe that is how it really is. I can hear the great lovers and modern dancers and effete queers and educated spiritual hypocrites scoffing and snorting and pitying my ignorance already. Their problem is that they have too much money and too much time on their hands. Let them go out and stand in a Labor Ready line at 3 in the morning to wait with a bunch of drunken violent Indians for a smoky office no bigger than a walk-in closet that opens at seven and then go out and dig a fourteen foot ditch eight feet deep and four feet wide through frozen dirt and tangled roots in 22 degree weather with no gloves and no lunch and then get paid $35 at the end of the day with a check that they have to cash with torn up cracked hands in the company store for a $5 fee and they will get my point. They will hate the son of a bitch who set it up.
Slaves hate their masters and love them too. It is a paradox that I can't figure out, but to me hate is a natural thing. It is almost unnatural not to hate, and I think maybe that is why Jesus fascinates people. Hate is fear and fear is hate. Of course the masters hate them back and fear that they will get out of control, as they sometimes do. But the slaves sometimes get the message of love and put their X on the dotted line. But still they hate and it confuses them. How can you love and hate at the same time? They can't help hating the son of a bitch who is keeping them down and beating them up. So they try to hide their hate. And ancient instinct tells them to go with the winner so they end up cooperating in their oppression, even voting if they vote at all for the very ones who are keeping them down. On the other hand they want to bust loose and kill their masters, rape their daughters and wives, and pillage their stores and banks. The rich people know this, and that and the necessity to keep the balance of power between slave owners is basically why we have hydrogen bombs and standing armies. The rich know what class they belong to, and they make entrance to the dinner party so expensive that no slave can ever hope to sit at the table unless they bring him in to be a clown or a jester for their own amusement.
I don't see how it can be any other way except to hate if you are going to fight a real war. You cannot love the people that you set out to kill. Nobody proved this more than the Vietnamese. They instructed their people and their soldiers to hate their enemies. But that is another story altogether. I think that if Jesus were still around he probably would agree with me. He never said not to hate. At least there is no record of it. Sure he said love your enemies, but maybe he meant after you have done them in.