Our whole family was embroiled in religion around this time, so I mentioned something to the family priest, whose house I had visited to gain advice for an assignment in philosophy of religion.
I said, “My parents don’t seem to like me at all. They’re quite hostile.” This was an understatement. We were three years into the migration process, all of us were barely establishing our bearings, at 18, I was relying on them for financial support, with no end in sight.
The priest immediately informed me that it didn’t matter because my parents loved me very much.I hadn’t expected such a response. I’d actually expected one that said, “What are the signs? Perhaps I can talk to them for you? They might be experiencing a lot of stress.”
Consolations can be wonderful, if they are based on fact, but they do not suffice to paper over real ideological, practical and emotional dilemmas. Since such a glib dismissal of my concerns would not have happened in my previous cultural setting, I knew straight away I was being lied to.
That priest was the first who committed me to two decades where I had to deal with my parents’ anxieties on my own. The outcome of my confusion and attempt to resolve it is my memoir, MINUS THE MORNING. Priestly types will neither touch this book, nor review it, and you can just about tell how priestly they are by the distance they wish to keep from it.
This was my first meeting with an enemy that has successfully targeted me to this day. Nietzsche holds:
Against this theologians’ instinct I wage war: I have found its traces everywhere. Whoever has theologians’ blood in his veins, sees all things in a distorted and dishonest perspective to begin with. The pathos which develops out of this condition calls itself faith: closing one’s eyes to oneself once and for all, lest one suffer the sight of incurable falsehood. This faulty perspective on all things is elevated into a morality, a virtue, a holiness; the good conscience is tied to faulty vision; and no other perspective is conceded any further value once one’s own has been made sacrosanct with the names of “God,” “redemption,” and “eternity.” I have dug up the theologians’ instinct everywhere: it is the most widespread, really subterranean, form of falsehood found on earth.
Whatever a theologian feels to be true must be false: this is almost a criterion of truth. His most basic instinct of self-preservation forbids him to respect reality at any point or even to let it get a word in. Wherever the theologians’ instinct extends, value judgments have been stood on their heads and the concepts of “true” and “false” are of necessity reversed: whatever is most harmful to life is called “true”; whatever elevates it, enhances, affirms, justifies it, and makes it triumphant, is called “false.” When theologians reach out for power through the “conscience” of princes (or of peoples), we need never doubt what really happens at bottom: the will to the end, the nihilistic will, wants power. [emphasis mine]