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is there any connection between Nietzsche's Superman and Jesus?

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#1 dupodong_*



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Posted 03 July 2006 - 08:48 PM

could you please tell me why Nietzsche so violently disagree God and created a superman instead?
what's his plan for his Zarathustra's salvation to men on earth?
and is there any connection between his superman and Hitler?
and was Hitler an God-believer or not?

i'm a newcomer, so i hope could get some reply here.
i'll appreciate you for your kindness.
thanks a million~~

#2 Adanac



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Posted 03 July 2006 - 11:44 PM

Who is Nietzsche for a start?

#3 didymus_*



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Posted 04 July 2006 - 01:04 AM

Friedrich Nietzsche, he was a mid/late-19cent philosopher who coined the phrase, "God is dead" among other things.

Click Nietzsche's Superman for a reasonable start. Other links are available at the bottom of the page.

In short, Nietzsche's "overman" attempts to live for the moment without concern for the afterlife; a life he denies. The concept of being 'saved' is quite foreign; social Darwinism in its survival of the fittest as they progress to the next level of human evolution dominates. This evolution is void of religion and politics and relies on humanity exclusively to make up the rules as it goes along. Nietzsche was a staunch individualist but was prepared to allow lower-class people into his envisioned society, providing the proved themselves useful.

Nietzsche's attitude toward Jews and anti-semites was more straightforward. While he attacked Jews for their "slave-morality," he also attacked Christians for precisely the same reason. And he hated anti-semites. One close-to-home example of this is that he refused to attend the wedding of his sister to the notorious anti-semite, Bernhard Förster. As well, one of the reasons for his split with Richard Wagner was Wagner's anti-semitism. One might also mention that, following his breakdown, he wrote that all anti-semites should be shot.

Given his disgust with anti-semites, it's very ironic that Nietzsche has been so misused by them, by men and women whom he would have despised. A large part of the blame for this lies with his sister, Elizabeth Förster-Nietzsche, who was Nietzsche's literary executor and biographer, and who shared her husband's anti-semitism. Not only did she misrepresent Nietzsche, but late in life she gladly lent Nietzsche's name to the Nazi cause. Thus it's not terribly surprising that a great many of those who, for instance, have seen the photo of Hitler posing by a bust of Nietzsche at the Nietzsche Museum have come to the conclusion that Nietzsche shared Hitler's anti-semitism and political views. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth, and it's highly probable that Nietzsche would have outright hated Hitler. An additional reason for thinking that this is so is that Nietzsche despised the German Reich, which was being consolidated by Bismarck during Nietzsche's adult years.
But the mistaken impression that Nietzsche was a Nazi precursor lingers, and probably will for decades to come. It's a useful myth for both left-wing and right-wing totalitarians who wish to confuse Nietzsche's strident individualism with anti-semitism and Nazism.

At the same time, it must be admitted that many portions of Nietzsche's writings lend themselves to misinterpretation. This is particularly true of his writings on the Superman. The very word seems to conjure up images of blond-haired, blue-eyed Hitler Youth and goose-stepping stormtroopers. But what Nietzsche had in mind was very different: a being who has abandoned crippling Christian "slave-morality," who has full mastery over himself and always acts in his own interests, who looks at the world as it is, free of illusions and irrational beliefs, and who says a triumphant "yes!" to life. In short, Nietzsche's Superman is very much his own man, and is the antithesis of the slavish, blind follower of Hitler.

But again, it must be emphasized that part of the responsibility for the misinterpretation of his works lies with Nietzsche himself. Unfortunately, he repeatedly ignored the maxim, "Good writers have two things in common: they prefer being understood to being admired, and they do not write for the critical and overly shrewd reader." Nietzsche was a fine stylist, and seemingly couldn't resist a good turn of phrase or play on words—sometimes to the detriment of clarity of meaning. He was also prone to hyperbole and often wrote for effect, especially to shock. (Large portions of The Anti-Christ, notably the concluding section, are good illustrations of this.) All this lends itself to misinterpretation.


in blessing, bless

#4 didymus_*



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Posted 04 July 2006 - 01:28 AM

Further thoughts...

The idea of the superman in Nietzsche’s works is a crucial element as he uses it as a foundation from which to attempt to challenge the ingrained values of society. These values behind what is considered to be good and evil, he asserts, having been founded on the Christian faith serve only to hamper human potential and have no basis on our everyday experiences (486-487, The Portable Nietzsche by Viking Press). His aim is to show us that for society to be able to live up to its true potential we need a new system of values which is more suited to our needs. In rejecting the idea of a God who gives us values changeless and transcendent of the everyday world he gives us superman, a real individual who creates values which are firmly rooted in the everyday changing world. This is someone who, by trusting his own intuitive sense of what is good and evil, succeeds better than any other. It is argued that only by following his example can we hope to improve ourselves and our society. Is the necessity of overthrowing the existing established values justified in Nietzsche’s doctrine, and does he in fact prove that his alternatives are any better?

Mankind, in order to justify its existence, has always required some belief in a higher purpose in life. People are never satisfied with the notion that there is no meaning in anything they do or accomplish. Without such a belief, life becomes impossible to bear as the question asked by nihilism is continually before one, "why live at all?"

The idea of God and Christianity was one successful solution to this problem. It redefined the way in which to view the world, telling us that there is actually much more going on than what we are normally aware of. In so doing it makes the idea of God necessary and inextricable from it. God the changeless omnipotent being outside of this world gives us transcendent values about what is good and what is evil which are the same for all men who are supposed to be equal. Christianity holds that this world is inherently evil and to abide by its practices is to be in direct conflict with God’s will. So success in this world is measured not in how well one survives or how much material wealth he accumulates but by how well one adheres to these values. This works for one no matter how miserably he gets along as his eyes presumably are always focused on the rewards or punishments which await in the next life.

One of the key points about Christianity that made it so successful was in the way that it addressed the question of suffering. Ever since there has been man there has been suffering in man, it abounds everywhere and is something which is impossible to ignore. Through the idea of asceticism in this religion, suffering was "interpreted" Nietzsche claims, and put, "in the perspective of guilt" (454).

Nietzsche dismisses this answer to nihilism. As effective as it is he finds fault with it in that it serves to make one feel ashamed of himself and the world. In so doing this belief extinguishes an individual’s hope of fully realizing his own powers and strengths as such things are viewed in a negative light as being worldly thus evil. Nietzsche holds that such suppression tends to undermine an individual making him sickly and weak physically and psychologically (144-145); such a thing imposed upon society would naturally lead to a sick and weak population. Not seeing any overall gain in a system of beliefs which teaches suppression, he purposes to give us a new one which is not only said to be as effective but also frees us of Christianity’s binds. With his doctrine of the superman Nietzsche seeks to give us values that at the same time, create a medium where power is realized and strength flourishes, and define a purpose for life.

The superman is someone who in discovering himself (306) also discovers that it is in his best interests to reject any outside notions about values, trusting rather what he finds within himself. He creates his own good and evil, based on that which helps him to succeed or fail. In this way good is something which helps one to realize his potential and evil is whatever hampers or stands in the way of this effort. Since to Nietzsche everything in the world, including good and evil, is transitory (228) everything is being continually reinvented. The superman embraces this idea of change which to him appears evident, he understands the fact that since there is nothing in the world which is permanent whatever exists must eventually be overcome by something else which comes along. Seeing himself and his values in the same light he knows that these aspects must also be overcome by something stronger if not by him than by someone or something else. So in order to keep up with the times he continuously reinvents himself over and over always building something stronger, more powerful, on top of what went before. The superman therefore is the ideal of someone who has mastered the practice of overcoming himself.

The source of his strength lies in the cherishing of the same natural desires restricted in Christianity. Sex for him is, "a great invigoration of the heart", the lust to rule a "gift giving virtue" (in that it allows new ideas and life to ascend to those "pure and lonely self-sufficient heights" which "should not remain lonely and self sufficient eternally"), and selfishness is "blessed, wholesome [and] healthy" (301-302). He sees these insatiable desires as the best of all possible good since they act as the driving force behind his insatiable need to overcome, they spur him on always seeking their ever demanding satisfaction.

It is from the example of the superman that we are intended to see how much is actually attainable in the world. The values he creates he continually tests himself always refining them to be better and better still. In this way they rise above the values of the masses (the weaker, the unwise) until they arrive at the top and being superior to any other they serve as the guidelines for the rest of society. They remain on top until another superior system of values comes along and usurps it. In this way a society is created which, by allowing the stronger to prevail, promotes strength. Nietzsche deems this a healthy society as it always strives to heighten its potential and is founded upon the attributes of the healthiest individual who exists. It is a macroscopic version of the same sort of overcoming which occurs in the superman and is labeled healthy because weakness is discouraged in favor of a medium in which strength and superiority are pushed to the level of utmost importance.

In this system the question "why live?" asked by nihilists is answered in man’s striving to overcome himself. The superman sees mankind as a bridge which has no end (310) which always stretches still further and further. Thus mankind is aware of no ultimate limits. Each life is valuable as it can serve mankind by helping to push its potential ever higher, making it that much stronger, elevating it another step out of the comparative wretchedness which existed before this process was begun.

Suffering is also addressed here. We are told that not only can suffering be suppressed but the alleviation of it is also possible. Though suffering is at times necessary the superman redeems himself from it in his constant creating. This creating which allows him to overcome himself and through trial thus leads to improvement he calls his "will’s joy" (199). So if in order to overcome himself he must create and in creating he feels joy if he is constantly overcoming then with all the resulting joy he experiences, naturally, very little room is left for suffering.

Which method best fulfills our needs and which works most effectively in everyday life?

One of the areas in which Nietzsche’s philosophy lacks is that to have any belief in it one must also come to grips with the fact that after death there is nothing more, the best we can hope for is to accomplish as much as we can while we live. This idea makes many uneasy, as the thoughts of at one point being then at another not being can be a frightening prospect. This is the gap which Christianity fills, it tells us that there will never be a point at which an individual ceases to exist, though he may change forms, he never dies. For some this is enough to justify the requirements which Christianity lays on them. But an argument may be made that the idea of an afterlife in a doctrine betrays a fundamental weakness as there is no empirical evidence for it, it could be nothing more than a tempting lure for those afraid of death. It exists and survives only through this key element, this reinventing of the world in a way which can not either be proved or disproved, by placing itself at the center of it. So if the concept of God is broken then nothing else about the system holds true (514). For the superman since there is no proof of an afterlife it would then be a fatal mistake to assume it exists only because someone says so. For him, since there is no afterlife, to do anything other than make the most of this life would be unthinkable.

Ultimately it all boils down to the nature of belief. You cannot convince someone of the superiority of the superman idea to any other if they already have an unshakable faith in Christianity because the two are mutually exclusive. But since, Nietzsche asserts, the idea of Christianity in these modern times is becoming more and more unbelievable, we need to give the vast number of nonbelievers another system in which they can believe. For such individuals Nietzsche’s ideas are designed to make perfect sense. When one comes to terms with the fact that this life is all he has he will love it and strive to extract all the enjoyment he can from it (160). His natural desires not only underline the need to do so but make the enjoyment possible in the first place. So to him nothing could be more foreign and absurd than a system which attacks these roots of passion. Because it is clear that, "an attack on the roots of passion means an attack on the roots of life" (487). To adopt such a practice would serve to destroy the only thing one possesses. In this light, "the practice of the church is hostile to life" (487). Not only that but, carrying this view further, the afterworld is seen as a mere contrivance by the founders of the religion, its only purpose to mislead its followers into believing that the adoption of its values is so vital. From this angle the fact that these values promote a weakening and sickening of society shows it to be just as destructive as the nihilism it seeks to replace.

We see that an understanding of Nietzsche’s philosophy would not be complete without an understanding of the idea of the superman, the central and most crucial aspect about it. In eliminating the idea of God and the values attached to it in his system he is forced to give us a parallel substitute, that is, another god like figure from whom we may receive our new values in order to fill the void which is created. We get an individual who derives his strength from that which is tangible (namely, his own self) and dismisses that which cannot be plainly observed in the everyday world. Christianity in placing such a level of importance on the conjectures of the unseen (198) and dismissing that which is tangible becomes directly opposed to the former. The two doctrines, therefore, are each other’s exact opposites and can never be reconciled as the one’s good is the other’s evil and vice versa. With our western society having been so long in the habit of conforming to Christian values when a new and unfamiliar set of values is proposed one naturally cannot expect a complete acceptance of them to occur overnight. Nietzsche himself admits that though he believes that to many his ideas will make perfect sense the full realization, for most, of the drastic changes which they imply will not occur for quite some time to come (96). So though we are here given two equally important doctrines it seems for this present day and age, though it may be dying out, the idea of Christianity is more useful in that we as a whole are still far too reluctant to part with its ideas about life.

#5 sarah



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Posted 04 July 2006 - 02:49 AM

well i totally got the wrong end of the stick!!!!!!!! (that is usual for me at the moment!!)

this article was in my inbox today:
He first showed up in the 1930s. And, no, I do not remember it firsthand! They're still making movies about him in the 21st Century. He's one of America's most enduring superheroes. Here's a clue from the 50s TV show about him, "Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's ... Superman!" The Superman story begins with the meltdown of the planet Krypton and the decision by one of its leaders to save his son by launching him in a small rocket he has built. Destination: Earth. In the newest movie about the guy in the red cape and the blue suit with the big letter "S," his father sees that the people of Earth need some help, and he says these words: "I'm sending them my only son."

Superman is just a story. There is a Father who sent His only son to do for us what we could never do for ourselves, and that is not a story. It's history. What God did actually has the power to change your personal destiny. Because God looked down and saw your need and my need, and He said, "I'm sending them My only Son."

In the words of Romans 8:32, our word for today from the Word of God, "He ... did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all." God gave up His Son for us - for you. I remember as our son-in-law held our first grandchild in his arms for the first time. He said, "This is my son; my only son." The thought of giving up that boy was unthinkable. Why would God bid goodbye to His only Son and send Him from the glories of heaven to die with spikes in His hands and feet, suspended on a cross?

The Bible answers that question. It says, "He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." (1 John 4:10) God gave up His Son because He loves you. He loves you that much. He sent Him to be the only sacrifice that could pay for all the things we have done against God; every dishonest thing, every dirty thing, every hurting thing, or every selfish thing. We've kept the God we were made by to the margins of our life and we've hijacked from Him the life He gave us. That's punishable by separation from God, forever. But God said, "They can only be saved if their eternal death penalty is paid. And someone has to die for that." And so, His one and only Son poured out His life in exchange for yours and mine.

That's why what you do with Jesus is so critical. It literally decides where you will spend your eternity. Some years ago, a noted photographer spent months taking pictures of people as they came and went from the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. One morning, before anyone else was there, he noticed a new remembrance at the wall. There was a picture of a soldier, a medal, a picture of Jesus, and a simple, three-word inscription. As he was focusing his lens on the scene, an elderly man came up behind him and put a hand on his shoulder. "Excuse me," he said, "but do you like it?" The photographer told him how impressed he was with it. The man replied, "I'm glad. I put it there." Suddenly, that little three-word inscription came to life for that photographer. It said, "Only one son."

God brings you to a cross where His "only one Son" gave His life for you, and He's asking you, "What do you think?" Jesus' death for you is your only hope. He is the rescuer you either grab and hold onto with total trust, or the rescuer you ignore or push away. You may have known about Jesus' death on the cross for a long time. You may have commemorated His death at church many times. But you've never made what He did on the cross personal for you. Has there every been a time when you said, "Jesus, I'm Yours ... totally Yours." If not, then you're living under the death penalty for your sins; the penalty He already paid for you.

When your little time on earth ends, and only God knows when that is, there's really only one thing that will matter. What did you do with God's Son?

interesting thoughts though not scripturally correct!!!

#6 didymus_*



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Posted 04 July 2006 - 01:22 PM

Hi all,

Sarah- The Superman of comics, radio, tv, and hollywood has much more in common in the Biblical Jesus than does Nietzsche's superman to be sure. I enjoyed reading your post and found myself getting goosebumps with the Viet Nam War Memorial story.

One of the most striking differences is that our heavenly Father gave his son for our redemption and example. Nietzsche's concept of salvation is totally dependent upon the individual's works. What is more is that no sense of reward or punishment enters into this equation. No hope for the resurrection; only the good of the moment, virtue for virtue's sake and this defined not by any absolute truth as to what Virtue is in the first place. Man gets to decide right and wrong via situational ethics which are really no ethics at all.

The archetypical Superman of the comics at least has some parallels to Scripture. Below is an excerpt from a film review that I found interesting:

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, both Jewish, invented Superman in the late 1930's as a typically Jewish mythical hero. Jews were being oppressed by Adolph Hitler at that time and Superman or Super-Jew was their answer to Hitler. The "S" on Superman's shirt also stands for the last names of his creators. Superman comes from the planet Krypton -which sounds like "Tikkum olam" a Hebrew concept of restoring the world's wrongs. Joanne, the wife of the late Jerry Siegel, says she had often heard about the Jewish connection to Superman. Jerry Siegel is listed in the book Jewish 100 as one of the 100 most influential Jews of all time. He is listed along with Moses, Henry Kissinger and Steven Spielberg.

The Jerusalem Post quotes Daniel Schifrin of the US National Federation for Jewish Culture as saying, "The older I got the more I saw there was something profoundly Jewish about Superman, that he was one of us." He further states, "Like Clark Kent we've been Diaspora Jews for so long, being viewed as timid and bookish when underneath there are fierce Hebrew warriors doing God's work."

The 1978 movie was an 80 million dollar blockbuster - a phenomenon in its day. It was written by Mario Puzo (The God Father) and David Newman (Shena) and, of course, based on the comic book series by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

The movie Superman essentially retells the life of Jesus Christ -the ultimate Super Jew. Richard Donner, the director of Superman, had just completed filming The Omen (1976) which was a film about the Antichrist.

When Superman was released in Communist China in 1985 the Worker's Daily called Superman "a brave hero of incomparable strength who clearly distinguishes what to love and hate and culls strength from weakness." Sounds very Christ-like to me. SOURCE

I haven't seen the newest movie but heard that it cost a record 250 million dollars to make. I wonder how many viewers will come to a recognition of Christ by watching the movie? Very few would be my guess. At least it has elements that can lead to such a knowledge, should one care to look beyond the silver screen into the pages of a Bible.

in blessing, bless

#7 dupodong_*



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Posted 05 July 2006 - 12:04 AM

hello, Didymus, Sarah, and Adanac
thanks for all of your kindness and replies indetail.
but still i have some questions that troubling me at times.
there are some theologists said that Nietzsche's doctrine is more near to the Protestant than against it.
what do you think about that?
for i've found something familiar both in Bible and in Nietzsche's works.
here are some examples,
they both hate the hypocrisy,
as in Bible, Jesus said to Pharisees,"they never practise what they preach!"
and in Zarathustra, He said through the mouth of Zarathustra, "And be on thy guard against the good and just! they would fain crucify those who devise their own virtue---- they hate the lonesome ones."(Thus Spake Zarathustra XVII)
as we all know Jesus was crucified by Jews on the cross, for he creat a totally new new virtue of which every Pharisee, Elder, and Scribe and Governor of Judea or from Roma is afaid.
for they knew well, if they accepted his new doctrine, they would like to face the doom of their reign over Jews and Roman itself, and perish all at once, and for ever.
so the priests decided on the Jesus death, for they said, "It's better for one man to die for the poeple, than for the whole nation to be destroyed."(John:11:50)
so they nailed Jesus dead on the cross.

and they both said that the kingdom of heaven is near at hand, and never address people a single word about afterlife.
for Jesus said on the cross to the thief at his side, saying"Today you've already been with me in the kindom of heave."
so the heaven Jesus preached in his life is this world, totally not another one.
but because the kingdom he preached is absolutely different with the kindome of this world, so he called his kindom is in heaven.
and the same like Jesus, Zarathustra also predicted a new world that is to be created by the new humen which is called by name superman.
as he said through Zarathustra,"Verily, a place of healing shall the earth become! And already is a new odour diffused around it, a salvation-bringing odour- and a new hope!"(Thus Spake Zarathustra XXII THE BESTOWING VIRTUE)

and both of them are the lawdestroyer, for in Gospel, Jesus always healed the sick on Sabbath which considered by authority a day for rest in law.
but Jesus said to them in reply,"the Son of Man is master of the sabbath."(LUKE:6:5)

and both of them detest the hypocrital hypocritical socalled Judge and Just.
for Jesus said against them, saying:"Alas for you, scribes and pharisees, you hypocrites. you who shut up the kingdom of heaven in men's faces, neither going in yourselves nor allowing others to go in who watn to."(MT.23:13)
and Zarathustra said in this way, "Leave this town, O Zarathustra,there are too many here who hate thee. The good and just hate thee, and call thee their enemy and despiser; the believers in the orthodox belief hate thee, and call thee a danger to the multitude. It was thy good good fortune to be laughed at: and verily thou spakest like a buffoon."
just like the scribes and pharisees did to Jesus, they(the judge and just) hate Jesus, and call Jesus a liar who was fooling people into a wicked way.
but actually and in fact, the way Jesus lead us on, is the real way to life.
for without his death how can we regain our life?
but Jesus is too hard to handle so they have no choice but to put him to death.

there are too many features in common in both of Jesus and Zarathustra...

so what i want to know is why many people think that Nietzsche is a opposite to Jesus?
they both were rejected by the majority of the society they lived in.and be hated by the socalled judge and just and good.
but we know very well that they both were not bad or criminal.
but in the court of the Jews the real criminal is seated at the chair of Judge, yet the real Judge is under the severe punishment.
how could that happen?
but it's fact.
so could you all help me to explain all of this?

million thanks in advance.

ps.there are still a lot of questions to ask, but please allow me stop here and give you all a rest to read up it.
thanks for your patience and kindness!

Edited by dupodong, 05 July 2006 - 12:21 AM.

#8 didymus_*



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Posted 05 July 2006 - 01:01 AM

Hi dupodong,

Welcome to the forum! The people here have proven themselves very knowledgable about a wealth of topics. So i am confident that someone will be able to help you. Admittedly, i am not an expert in philosophy. Perhaps i know only enough to be dangerous, nonetheless, i will do my best to answer your recent questions. Others of course should feel free to jump in.

so what i want to know is why many people think that Nietzsche is a opposite to Jesus?

My simplest answer to this is that he emphasised the "work" of the human to achieve salvation or to bring about a kind of utopia. He in essence denied God and set man-kind up as the ultimate authority.

...but in the court of the Jews the real criminal is seated at the chair of Judge, yet the real Judge is under the severe punishment.
how could that happen?

Biblically, this was prophesied of the Messiah. It was a part of the Father's plan in the redemption of humanity. Jesus is made Lord and Christ through his obedience and is granted the power to judge at his return. The "how" is laid out in the Bible by God representing Himself to us through the life, death, and resurrection of His son. Take a look here through the Soteriology section of the forum to get a better idea about this.

Something else to consider is that Nietzsche came from a long family history of Lutheran clergy. Several generations of both his mother's and father's fathers were Lutheran ministers. Perhaps he drew from his knowledge of the Bible something of his archetype for the perfect human being? Maybe he was a rebellious 'preacher's kid' who used his intellect to find another way of salvation that made sense to him; one that would circumvent the hypocrisy that he saw in the church of his day, and which has been present throughout history. As you pointed out in your last post, ...both of them detest the hypocrital hypocritical socalled Judge and Just.

Of course, the super-man or god-man archetype goes back a long way in history so any of a number of heroes and mythologies could have provided him with a model to draw from for his Zarathustra.

Others who have employed a similar type for Christ figure have been C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia, in which the lion Aslan bears striking resemblance to Jesus. Kahlil Gibran's, The Prophet is also very similar on a number of counts.

in blessing, bless

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