It's official: we're living in a world of shit. You know it, and I know it. But too often we discuss the state of the world, repeating it over and over, until we numb our senses and kill our creativity. Instead of reacting to the situation by drawing our sword and pointing it at whatever comes in our way, we hide behind all the horror around us and figure there's not much else to do. We let the world turn us into slaves, instead of mastering the world according to our dreams and desires. We're not warriors, we're servants. Do we feel satisfied letting life pass us by, reassuring ourselves with whatever reminds us of the past? Have we stopped believing in the future? Or did we simply stop believing altogether, waiting for Armageddon? I've got news for you: there won't be any.
Armageddon is a face value, a pre-constructed situation, which only exists within our minds. Most of us will likely not experience any Kali Yuga melt down. We're here to stay, trapped inside the boring prison of modern urban society. Does it scare you? Good, because then you're open to hear what I have to say. Most people I know, from vegans, Neo-Nazis and Catholics, to traditionalists and Platonists, look at the world today and shy away. Their focus is centered on the state of the world and if they see something they don't like, their instincts tell them to hide and wait until things have cleared. This is a fundamentally broken way of living life, because it isolates the individual from the world and draws the incorrect conclusion that the state of the world necessarily dictates our behavioural patterns. It's as if I'd put your house on fire and you'd stand by and exclaim "Oh no, my house is on fire. Did you do that? Oh well, I'll just wait until it's only a heap of ashes left. Nothing can be saved now." Assuming the position of a victim feels comfortable, since it pacifies us and points to an unchangeable situation as justification. But when the house has burnt down to the ground, we say: "I could have acted differently."
Why is that statement so important? Because it reveals that life is full of options, and even more, while the world we live in indeed is shit, it doesn't necessarily follow that we have to live shitty lives. Do you see the difference? When Kant introduced his system of transcendental idealism, he moved the focus away from the world as it is, and wanted to bring more attention to how the world appears to us, e.g. our approach and relation to the world. Kant argued that the world in itself and the world to us differ in a fundamental way, and that we therefore must separate what we take from the world and bring to the world. What you're doing when standing by and watching your house burn to the ground is to see yourself blind on the world as it is, instead of concentrating on how you approach the world. Herein lies the problem.
There are certain things we cannot immediately change about the world in itself. Overpopulation will continue to destroy large ecosystems, international interests will wipe out cultural traditions and replace them with shopping malls, idiots will reproduce like rabbits and overthrow our communities with their self-destructive lifestyles, and money will change hands from the hard working middle class to the wealthy over class elite. It's a fact. No one's denying it. In fact, you'll live your life through a lie until the day you discover the truth about the order of things. That's why you study philosophy and history, make real world observations, experience art, and become involved with politics. But then what?
This is when we reach some conclusions about our society, and immediately we feel overwhelmed. Collecting all the black metal albums in the world, studying Evola 24/7, filling the closet with Hindu statues, or spending the entire summer trying to solve the Gettier problem - it's all suicide. Why? Because it's a retreat. It's a safety valve where you shy away from the world. Don't back out -- face it! How? What I want you to do is to, like Kant, move your focus away from the world, to your approach to the world. This is what's ultimately important. Most of you will see the world in negative terms and therefore respond negatively to it. A negative response is one that's unconstructive and inherently passive in nature. You stop and watch the world crumble. This is behavioural AIDS among intelligent people and for every individual we lose this way, the world will go even more to shit.
Visualize the world in front of you. Recognize the horror. And appreciate it. Don't pretend everything's fine, that all the world's problems no longer exist, but try to play with the thought of an overall appreciation for the state that the world is in. Now you're beginning to open up those possibilities we mentioned earlier. You don't need to be an esoteric master to figure this one out, because as nihilists we've realized this a thousands times throughout our lives: life is war. Literally. Did you honestly think life would be fair? I'm sorry to say it, but justice doesn't exist. You're thrown into this world and you better pick up your sword and continue onward. There's no middle-state where everything's safe. There's no "peace zone" where you can live in quiet solitude without being bothered by the burning empire. The flames will eventually reach your house too, but then it's too late. The battle is here and now, and you engage in it every single day you go up and face the world.
If you change your approach, from the self-pitying "all is shit" to "all is shit - and I'm thankful for it" - you have in theory understood what I'm getting at here. This is not some pseudo-romantic, pagan dream of people running out on the streets and sacrificing enemies on altars. This is real. Your sword is your creativity, your target is the castle of fantasies, and the only enemy is your own negativity. Drive away the negative, sad outlook on things and embrace the world as an open battlefield. Anything can, and will, happen. You will complete your studies, but fail a few tests. You will make new friends - don't trust all of them. You will fall in love (and lose that love, at least once in your lifetime). You will lose possessions, and gain new ones. You will see forests die, and people cry. You will lose direction, and find it again, after much confusion. Sometimes you will receive cuts and bruises. Some people will die on you, but it's your destiny to continue, like all the others. I can promise you right now: you'll never reach your dreams, even though they always peek behind the horizon. But what matters is not reaching those dreams, but walking in the direction they're pointing. Imagination is not "real," but it reflects what may become reality tomorrow, if you fulfil your visions.
Do you realize the change you've gone through, just by picking up that sword again and waging it against the world you came to loathe? Suddenly you understand what I've been trying to tell you all along: there never was any fairy tale world. Life was always struggle, and here you're standing in the middle of your existential journey, wondering "what to do." Moving onward, what else? Not with a mocking smile; there's nothing to make fun of. Not with a sad look; there's nothing to be sorry about. Not with blazing anger; there's nothing to hate or despair. Not with a defensive fear; there's nothing left to be afraid of. You've reached the complete downfall of the world, but as a nihilist, you don't pass judgement. As the Muslims say, the greatest war is not outside of you, but inside of you. The honour, nobility, strength and power cannot be found anywhere in the world. It's inside of you, and it's waiting to come forward and raise some hell.
I emphasize humour, because while the state of our world is serious, no one will survive by shutting down all emotions and turning into a war machine, whose basic attitude towards life is "alone against all." You're not fighting against the world, you're fighting with it, and you do it joyfully. Like an artist, you capture an instant of a moment and immortalize it through your bare hands. The world is like a canvas, waiting to be painted, and it's up to you to colour it beautiful. For every building we destroy, we need to build a new one. It doesn't require a smile; the joy consists of a positive, constructive, out-going spirit. Facing resistance? It's your lucky day; fight back and continue creating. Only slaves back down when they feel things are getting rough. A nihilist appraises the situation and tests his or her limits to understand the world by participating with it. Participation is the gateway to the fulfilment of your dreams and passions. "The world is my representation," said Schopenhauer, and by that he meant that the world is also our world. You cannot separate yourself from it. A world of shit is still our world and consequently we still have a way of impacting and changing it.
There are no secret messages in this text. No fancy metaphors, outside of what's already obvious. There are no esoteric principles, no mystical revelations - not even the faintest spiritual guidance. This is as simple as it's ever going to get, and you'll either apply this to your life, here and now, or rot away forever as a dying corpse among millions of other dead people. Yes, they're breathing and reproducing, but their souls are dead. Because they fear death, they choose to kill their creativity and will to overcome. Don't commit the same mistake. I'm unable to say this in a gentler way, even though every word is one out of love: you're a warrior and you're born to fight. Whenever you stop and say "I'm done," you cease to live. This was the pact Faust made with the devil, and see what Faust accomplished. He conquered his world, just like Schopenhauer conquered his, and we have to conquer ours. You'll never be "complete" as an individual, in the sense that you're always (in the words of Nietzsche) striving to become who you are and what you can be. Therefore it's correct to say that you cannot lose, unless you give up on yourself, regardless of the world around you. What ultimately leads to change is not whether some supernatural god will save us from all terror, but how we see ourselves as part of the world. If the world is your enemy, you automatically turn against yourself.
I have been through all the stages, from he who came to realize things, to he who took revenge against the world, to he who forgave its misery. Now I am finally ready to pick up my sword. I see people all around me, dying, calling for help. I see a world consumed by flames. I see gods and goddesses who fight the demonic powers that possess our people. I see the reckless power in their eyes; they're not afraid! Why would they be? Ever since the dawn of time, they have known and predicted their downfall. And now they face that fall, without hate, revenge or sadness. It's a time of death, but also a time of fierce struggle. We're cleaning out the garbage to clear space for new beauty. It's a state in which we all find ourselves in the midst of life, armed with weapons, but unsure of where we should go. Maybe we ought to stop looking for a way out, and instead fight our way onward into whatever direction our intuition tells us is right. For that we don't need holy words to guide us - the true compass is within our hearts.
I want every person reading this to immediately cast all doubts and fears aside. Enter the world with a wish to reach the castle of your dreams, however it might look, wherever it might lie, whenever it might reveal itself to you. You won't find it in the history books, in your music albums, among your friends, or in any religion ever founded. These are all methods. The dreams you're looking for have always been inside of you and they are able to manifest themselves in the smallest of insignificant details. Don't let the world of shit obscure what you believe in, and most importantly, see yourself and the world as one. You've never been apart from each other, and now, more than ever, the world reflects the true state of our existence. This is it. This is the time to truly be alive. This is when we raise our swords to the sky and ride onwards, yes, onwards, into countless battles. I will be there, and so will all of those who choose to fight by my side. A brave new day has begun - seize it, because it's yours, for the moment of a lifetime!
May 22, 2008
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