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Physician, heal thyself: then wilt thou also heal thy patient

Zarathustra Seminars

“Physician, heal thyself: then wilt thou also heal thy patient. Let it be his best cure to see with his eyes him who maketh himself whole.” [Nietzsche]

Nietzsche is realizing certain truths here which are highly important from a psychological point of view. “Physician, heal thyself” is particularly good teaching for our late Christianity.

You see, he assumes that the real cure is made where it is most needed and most immediate.

That is like the rainmaker of Kiau Tschou again.

He does not curse the earth or pray to heaven to behave and produce rain.

He says to himself that he was right when he left his village and when he got here he was wrong.

This place is out of order so he is the one that is wrong; that wrong is nearest to him, and if he wants to do anything for the chaotic condition, it must be done in him-he is the immediate object of himself.

So he asks for that little house and there he locks himself in and works on himself; he remains shut in until he

reconciles heaven and earth in himself, until he is in the right order, and then he has cured the situation: Tao is established.

That is exactly the same idea.

So the best cure for anybody is when the one who thinks about curing has cured himself; inasmuch as he cures himself it is a cure.

If he is in Tao, he has established Tao, and whoever beholds him beholds Tao and enters Tao.

This is a very Eastern idea.

The Western idea-particularly late Christianity-is of course to cure your neighbor, to help him, with no consid- eration of the question, “Who is the helper?”

Perhaps he is not a help, or perhaps he gives something which he takes back with the other hand.

There are plenty of people nowadays who join the life of the community, assume responsibility, and all that stuff, but I say, “Who is assuming responsibility?”

If my business is in a bad condition and a fellow comes along and says he will assume the responsibility and

run the whole thing, I naturally ask him who he is-and then I find he has been bankrupt.

Naturally I don’t want one who is himself a beggar and has given evidence of his own incompetence. Those people who are very helpful need help.
If they are physicians they should treat their own neurosis, otherwise they are just vampires and want to help other people for their own needs. Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Pages 824-825