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Chapter 62 - Risa's worldly wisdom.
62,1. At this it becomes silent at the table, but the thirty young Pharisees and Levites become annoyed with one another because their speaker, Hebram, has also ordered silence. Particularly annoyed is a certain Risa, whose parents possess a lot of property which he would inherit after their death as their lone heir. He prickles when Hebram reminds him that he should rather consider the wise words of Mathael and in particular those of the Savior of Nazareth in peace and silence than to whet his mouth about his futile inheritance.
62,2. But Risa makes the dirty counter comment to Hebram, saying, “The poor devils in the end constantly become pious and reach all wisdom because they know that they don’t have much to expect from the world; and the great people and the rich also sometimes become pious and wise so that they can lead the violent poor devils easily back to gentleness and patience and in the future humbly accept their very pressing poverty!
62,3. The rich man goes to the synagogue and prays in the face of the poor man in order to make him believe how pious one must be to be so blessed by God; and the poor man prays just as much, firstly, in order to be blessed by God, and secondly, so that the rich man sees and therefore gives him alms. What is the difference between the two? There is no difference! For the rich man deceives the poor man and the poor man as much as possible the rich man in order to receive something from him. But no-one deceives me, not even a miracle-worker; for the miracle-workers know very well for whom and why they perform their supposed miracles! If they are very great masters of their art, they are positively honored as higher beings and thus become rich and powerful!
62,4. Briefly, it is easy to be a painter for the blind; you paint a bear for them and say: Look, that is an attractive virgin! And they believe you. But if someone performed a miracle before me, he would nevertheless not deceive the eagle-eyed Risa and would deserve and receive no alms!
62,5. Everything in the world is deception; whoever can do it most skillfully is always the highest up! But whoever is somewhat less skilled in his deceptions will never make great progress on the bumpy road to happiness!
62,6. Happy is only he who right from the beginning is the rich owner of all sorts of goods and of the greatest possible perspicacity so that a bear cannot be painted before him instead of a tender virgin! That is my healthy opinion of the world and all its relationships without being befogged by any poor cunning devil! So it has always been and so it will always remain!
62,7. But don’t even talk to me about an eternal life after death! For what follows, every grave as well as every tree in a forest that has fallen through old age shows us. Whatever comes out of the earth, becomes earth again and otherwise there is nothing – except the pious imagination on behalf of the poor devils that are willingly supported by the rich!”
62,8. Hebram, as already mentioned, is very appalled at such comments and says to Risa, “So for you Moses and all the great and small prophets are nothing more than either real or invented deceivers of the blind humanity and the present Savior of Nazareth means not a lot more to you?!”
62,9. Risa says, “If not an evil deceiver, then at least a better sort of deceiver; for everyone knows very well how to present to the blind people, if not a bear, then at least an ape instead of people, and an X instead of a Y!
62,10. As far as the Savior of Nazareth is concerned, however, he certainly became very familiar with the secret powers through study; he can now use them; and we look at the uninitiated like an ox in the new gate and don’t know what is going on!
62,11. But his teaching is good; for if all people had such a religion and followed it, in the end it would have to be good for all people! But who will announce such a religion to all the people on the wide Earth? And if that was somehow enabled, I ask: which unconquerable troubles and hindrances would such a job encounter?!
62,12. For in all things people are more accessible than in the area of their diverse religions and faiths!
62,13. The average person is everywhere much more animal than human. He lacks every higher intelligence and he will not lift himself from out of his thousand-year reasoning despite all its tangible duplicity and sweet foolishness; but the more intelligent person will think: It’s good to live according to the old foolishness, why have something new of which we have no experience of how it should be accepted, and how to live by it? Therefore such enlightenments are suitable only for individual places and should be kept as secretive as possible so that they should keep the value which makes at least a few people happy from the wider world; once such a thing goes into the general public, it loses its value, soon becomes laughable and then no-one pays any attention to it any longer. Whatever a - let’s say – person can effect, thousands then copy him once they have been only a little initiated in the business!
62,14. And so, I think, this otherwise good Master from Nazareth will also soon leave his mark, particularly when he has taught his secret sciences to other people, as we have just seen with the young, fine person who has already achieved a masterful capability in miraculous works!
62,15. But if a disciple already performs such unheard-of things, what remains then for the master to do?! If the disciples can be obediently silent, then at least a profitable institute can be created if it isn’t spoilt by the rulers of the world; for these willingly support such institutes which are quite suitable due to their extraordinary effect to hold the nation in control through great prophecies in the other life to come, consisting usually of reward or endless punishment.
62,16. But as soon as such secret knowledge comes to a nation and the truth is told, then it is over! Finally everything is criticized and mocked, no person thinks anything of it any longer and every previously inspiring noble value is irrevocably lost, and people devise something even more extraordinary but usually cannot find anything more as long as they remain bright. Only after centuries, when some old, sweet foolishness has set in again, can any adventurous smart fellow subjugate some small nation for several centuries if he sells himself cleverly. But if he presents himself even a little stupid, he will soon have to see how he can escape with his skin intact.
62,17. You see, I am truly no prophet as there has probably never ever been before! But I dare to claim now that the temple with its formidable fleecing will hardly remain another century, despite all its supposed care! For once such an institution becomes too profit-seeking, it betrays itself, loses its halo and that’s the end of it! But two thousand years seem to be the longest term that a doctrine can last; then it falls back into obscurity, and one can only get to see individual bits of it in some chronicle or other.
62,18. Only the art that the old Phoenicians are supposed to have invented, and which was much expanded by the Egyptians and the Greeks, can never pass away because it contains truths which are very reasonable for everyone, most useful and therefore they are indestructible.
62,19. But every other religious doctrine which demands all sorts of sacrifices from the people and, if one has picked it up, offers no other advantage than that it makes quite a few sick people healthy again and in emergencies can perform other little miracles, cannot last! For in the first place it does not rest on any mathematically provable basis, and in the second place it never remains, even with the best insurance on behalf of its founder, as simple and pure as it was when created by its founder.
62,20. Usually one begins with all sorts of explanations because every founder of a religion is more or less a subscriber of old mysticism and fills up his otherwise often very wise religion with all sorts of incomprehensible mystical scraps which he probably has not even understood himself at first and which his followers can understand even less. Then gradually a religion becomes wider and wider, the old mysticism in it becomes more and more mystical, great halls are built and all sorts of ceremonies are performed with an awfully serious face in order to make the old holiness of a once very simple religion all the more obvious and vivid. But that is all no good, for in time the eyes of the people are opened through all sorts of appearances from the realms of nature and healthy reason, and then all the old religion is as good as finished; for the pieces that still remain here and there can never be joined again into a complete whole. You see, that is my opinion which I nonetheless do not want to and will not force upon anyone.”
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