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Listen to the night, the next time you're up when others are asleep. Everyone has gone to a grateful sleep after whatever they believed would fill their days. Cars go by as others rush to amusement, but the traffic is slower than in daytime, and therefore it is fitful, spurts of lost souls racing over the concrete desert in search of - something: who cares. It is now you alone with the night, with the emptiness, with the lack of certainty, and with that, your future death.
When you are young, of course, it is less present on your consciousness. I'll die, some distant day, you think. Or maybe beneath the level of consciousness that puts things into words you don't believe it will happen to you. That's what goes on with old people, you think, and I'm not old - I have no signs of aging. Perhaps this is why young people like John Keats, afflicted with the certainty of fatal tuberculosis, or those who go bald or grey prematurely, have a wisdom that others do not: they've already seen the death curve and know their time is marked and running out. Slowly, however.
This is not to believe in the fear of death, but to remember to tell death to fuck off via the only means you have of understanding it: recognizing its certainty, and since there is no way of stopping it, finding something to make life worthwhile. To recognize death is to praise life. To feel the emptiness of the night and its lawlessness stir your soul is to accept what you want in the daytime, or that you might have the same things in the face of night: after all, you are the captain of this ship you call your life, and being a good nihilist, you recognize that your life won't mean anything to anyone but you. If you get famous, they remember a name, but they will not know your consciousness. They may remember your art or deeds, but how much of that is you? No: you pass on to dust, as does all knowledge of you. The consciousness that is you literally disappears, or ceases to be.
These morbid meditations will free you, however, in the only sense of the word "free" that is meaningful. You will not gain some absolute freedom, or immortality, as in Jewish-Christian fairy tales, but you will "free" yourself from the mental hell that comes with illusion and denial. Want to beat death? There is only one way: accept death by realizing how much death is needed for life to have meaning. Eternal life... what would you do? You would follow pleasures, or maybe learned pursuits, but either way, your life would have no shape, no form. It would be a series of days. There would be no sweetness in a young love affair, or a family, since that could happen at any time. You'd have innumerable affairs, do uncountable things, and at some point, would face your boredom and find some excuse to die. I didn't notice it was loaded, honest!
It's the temporal nature of life, in part, that makes it sweet. Your time is unique. The choices you make in spending it are delicious. There is a world of conquest in saying "I will do this, but not that." When you make such divisions, you are lord of your own world, in a way that places everything else secondary to you. There is no certainty, but you make a decision anyway; you are telling the world that for your own purposes, you are better informed than they are. And you will not make every decision correctly, but that makes the winning ones far more treasured than a random win, as in a lottery, could ever be. Everything that you have in a metaphysical sense will be things you have built for yourself. Can one imagine a greater poetry than this? The infinite void spans dimensions we cannot even visualize, and yet, somewhere in the midst of it, there is a center of warmth and light that is one's own personality, one's will, one's choices and joys.
We fail to understand the universe because we approach it from a linear, rational aspect. X +/- Y = some tangible result. What if the universe operated emotionally instead? Its goal is not to churn raw materials into product, and to call it "progress" and congratulate itself on being enlightened - its goal is experience, and the feelings that motivate a desire for the same. Why else would life exist? Surely not from some chemical necessity. More likely, there is a consciousness to (but not outside of and controlling) the universe, a unifying principle in the cosmos, and it loves the poetry. It delighted in the sensual contrast of the big bang, between a void so profound it extended to a lack of matter, and then the sudden impulse, the orgasm of exploding data becoming for the first time (this iteration) somethingness. There was that moment of shock where nothingness realized its lack of something, and that very realization created a somethingness, since to know that something can exist is to have made something out of that very thought.
When we look at this poetic universe, we understand the beginnings of idealism. Life is this giant gift that kisses us with its shock of discovery, like a love affair in the teenage years a balance between good and terrible, the goods being so amazing that we cannot describe them, and the lows so profound that our souls shudder and tear at the thought. The contrast is like freefalling in infinite space, or even the lack of space; much as on a painting the brightness of colors is defined by the difference between all colors on the contrast, instead of an absolute, in our lives experience is defined not by some absolute ("good","best value","evil") but by the stream of experience and the differences between its parts. Meaning "is" not; meaning occurs in our minds as a response to what we have known, and we must know something before its opposite has sense. Without pain, pleasure would be a mediocre sensation.
Our world works like our thoughts. Our thoughts are a product of the world. Without our world, our thoughts would have no context or meaning. Without our thoughts, our world would go unnoticed and thus all of our days would have the same impact upon us, leading to a mundane sort of boredom which, if we look at it critically, would be as much of a hell as a heaven where nothing could go wrong and therefore we would exist in a state of perfect tedium in stasis, forever and ever, amen. These permanent beingnesses would bore us to tears, and thankfully, they do not exist - it is instead our poetic one and only life that grasps us, and gives us meaning between the dark and the light, such that we have a situation forced upon us in which we either make meaning or drown from the lack of it. Can you feel its beauty?
Now, it makes no sense to wax spacy about all of this. Idealism is well and good, but it has two components. The first is that both reality and thought have a common ancestor or thread, and the corollary to that says that if we wish our thoughts to become known, we have to carve them out in what we know as physical reality. Your thoughts are profound? Make them so: the world is thought, but thought is of the world, so you must create it by action. "Action" does not necessarily imply the typical idiocy advocated by the Internet people - not just people using the Internet, but people who thrive on the virtuality of the experience, "the Internet people" - of the form of demonstrations, or terrorist acts, or pointless attempts to call attention to ourselves with a narrow guise of ideology as camouflage. Action can mean planting a garden, or starting a war, or writing a book, or cutting a CD, but it only applies when this virus or creation is successful and perpetuates itself. Another bedroom CD-R of music "that matters to me, even if no one else wants" - who cares? If you really felt that way, you would have hummed it to yourself; instead, your excuses are all too visible as the product of a lack of confidence and a fear of rejection. If you make music, thrust it into the world, such that the world changes from its touch. That alone is action.
Our deeds are thoughts, insofar as for the world to think, the ideas must leave the individual and be communicated through space and time and other beings in order to become manifest, to become incarnate, to become corporeal. And what greater way to increase the poetry of existence? To die with a pure thought of realistic poetry on one's lips, even if dying in defeat, is to be achieve a metaphysical victory beyond the bounds of those who never tried; it is greater to die having achieved victory, and knowing that one's idea and contribution is spreading like wildfire across the dry surface of earth. The idea is greater than the life, as the life is a product of the idea - that concept should perhaps be allowed to ferment in the partial form whereby herewith it is expressed. Life is poetry, and poetry is ideas in contrast with nothingness, a perpetual restatement of the process that brought us somethingness in the first place. The big bang? Or the big Eureka!
When you have accomplished the thoughts necessary to digest the above, come back down to earth: nihilism alone is real. Nihilism is the process of removing illusion and staring straight into the world as it is. You cannot will it to be your personal reality; the world is "objective," oh yes, in that it is consistent regardless of your desires for it. "The world is my representation" does not mean "the world is as I desire it," only that world is known through our thoughts of it. And our thoughts can be misinformed, or inaccurate. The smaller the degree of inaccuracy, the greater our success in manifesting our ideas. Sound familiar? It is similar to the scientific method, but where that is linear, this formulation remains open-ended, because life as we experience it is far from linear. Nihilism is a removal of all human artifacts from thinking. It reduces belief to perception, social pressures to observation, and emotion to assessment.
How can the world be both ideas and physicality, outside of the grim fact that ideas (the product of a electrochemical reaction called a brain) are part of physical reality? One example is biology. We are genetics, but our thoughts influence genetics. If we choose to attempt greater acts, we have a higher chance of losing our lives, but if we succeed, greater influence and wider breeding. If our thoughts lead to higher actions, we play higher stakes, and if our thoughts are disciplined, we might win out. In this way thoughts become not only actions but a genetic heritage by which one's offspring are more likely to behave in similar ways. The crowd would like to believe that at least - at least - 80% of our actions are not determined by genetics, but that's the usual wishful thinking for an equality to obliterate the differences in ability and appearance between us.
Life ain't fair. Intelligent people accept that. Creeping, craven, lying, cognitive dissonance cases and parasites cannot, so they snap back with what they think are convincing arguments. Of course, since most of humanity is brick stupid when it comes to structural argument, most people accept these ideas. However, that in itself is proof of the genetic argument: most people are undifferentiated fools because their ancestors have had little clarity or consistency to their breeding, and thus, are the ones nodding their heads sagely when such foolish lies are presented. Genetics is not "fair" when you compare it on the level of the individual, but it's much better than fair when one looks at history over time. Those who may not have been given the most comfortable place to live or easiest path advance by making intelligent, disciplined decisions, and this equalizes the natural disparity between someone living in a jungle (easy food, warm) and someone living in an icy forest (hard to find food, freezing). In this light, genetics is not only fair, but it's an ingenious form of long-term RAM: if people's genetics encode decision trees, it enables evolution to over time produce individuals with highly abstracted decision-making skills. DNA reflects design, which is an abstraction, but it is encoded in a firm and tangible method. Thoughts form reality; thoughts form reactions which through natural selection, eventually form this code - closer to thought than anything else - which forms reality.
In the same light, we can look at culture and history and see how these are similar methods of encoding thought into physicality. Culture reflects the shared values of a population as established over many generations. Those within a culture succumb to evolution according to its design. Those who naturally live well within that values system, and find it to help their lives, will breed more than those who do not (at least in healthy times, unlike the present, where any idiot who gets a job can breed as much as he is able to tolerate filling out welfare forms). Values systems come into conflict throughout history, and while at first it seems that popularity - lower taxes here, laxer laws about drugs, more whores - will predominate much as climate influences genetics itself, what ultimately determines the difference between a "great" civilization and a merely servicable one is value systems. Great civilizations push themselves, and push their citizens to act not just for the collective but for an abstract ideal which is more universal than the problems in which it will be applied. These civilizations develop more thoroughly and thus, while they're always susceptible to being outnumbered and slaughtered, when it comes to achievement and leadership they dominate. Thoughts become value systems become culture, which is then used to shape genetics, and thus exists as a physical pattern alongside another physical pattern, which is the course of history, in which those with more stringent value systems rise above others. Thoughts compete in a form of evolution like that we encounter in reality. They are then transferred into pattern design which influences reality, and eventually, becomes part of it.
The third form in which it is imperative to study thoughts becoming reality is intellect itself. Our thoughts do not occur in a vacuum, but built upon other thoughts. In order to reach this state, through time we approach any question or problem by attacking its biggest questions first, and drawing conclusions from them, and then building conclusions onto those conclusions until we finally have a tower of logical relations. Since we manage not a few thousand details but millions, when one considers the actual likely number of factors in any multilayered contemplation, it soon becomes necessary to re-assess one's entire concept of the world according to this pyramid of related ideas. In that impulse, these ideas switch from being observations to being valuations, and at that point, the pyramid reflects a method of assessing and analyzing reality as whole; by the very nature of our minds, in which methods of analysis occur before the subject being analyzed, it is thus that thoughts about something become more real than the thing itself, since our perceptions, after all, are only thoughts themselves. Our active thoughts become our assumptions, which then become the mental image of the world (how one knows, without direct experiment, how to predict the response of reality toward any given action). We act upon this image, and thus our thoughts become reality.
If thoughts dictate reality, and reality represents thoughts, then clarity of thinking is of the ultimate importance (hence some of us being zenlike nihilists).
To my mind, what has happened with humanity is no different than what happens to an untended garden: weeds crop up, order is lost, and thus there's no efficient breeding. Unlike a forest, it was never good for this kind of order, therefore is a mess. If the land is forest, it is okay. If it is garden, it is okay. In a state in-between, there is nothing but breakdown. Such is the occurrence of humanity now. All of its problems relate back to a lack of order. We are ruled by the crowd, and through their need for competition, consumerism, and thus our values decay. But what caused this crowd rule? A lack of agreement on leadership and, simply put, the weeds outnumbering the gardeners. That is also why "nothing has been done." If 2 people out of a thousand can understand the problem, they face 998 people they either have to manipulate, murder or drug before they can make any positive change. The six thousand people who can figure it out in the USA, for example, have no desire to take on a losing battle, as the braver National Socialists in Germany and ultra-brave Ted Kaczynski did. They're going to live the good life if they can, and get ready to abandon the rest of these morons the instant the Chinese attack. They hate those morons because morons enforce upon us a collective version of reality, based in artificial anthrocentric values and perceptions, as only that makes them feel immune to death and to the inequality of nature.
People love the artificial human reality because it is equalizing and it is safe. No reason for complicated thinking or doubt; it eliminates ambiguity and makes mortal questions (real reality) secondary to our shared worldview and values system. God, money, products, dogma: these are tangible and yet universal, as we see them. They are safer than death. The Crowdist is one who is unstable without this ambiguity crusher, thus one who is dependent on the Crowd for a vision of reality. This is the source of Underman philosophy: a fear of the real world, and therefore, a retreat into a world of what we all agree are comfortable, easily digestible, non-threatening "truths." The more radically reality threatens to intervene, the more extreme the Crowd becomes about imposing this "truth" upon its world; it is classic cognitive dissonance at work. Ambiguity is the dark side of the infinite, and the Undermen values fear more than ambition, and therefore would suppress the Infinite so that the Safe can prevail.
These Undermen form a vicious little community which is, in fact, the majority, because it appeals to those with no skillsets beyond the immediate. Undermen can be rich or poor; undermanness is determined by spiritual attitudes. They can often be found referring to movies as if they're something important you should know about, or talking knowingly about different restaurants and amusements in town. They'll discuss ideas they consider important and imply you should, too. Their single weapon: "the rest of us know this," and it's not that they make it as a promise, more of a passing reference. Guilt. Passivity. Parasitism. Conformity. "Authority." Commerce. Bureaucracy. These are all weapons of the Undermen, as they are weapons which are not even considered by those of leadership capacity; leaders are too busy trying to change reality to use a fake reality to manipulate people radically dumber than themselves. Undermen, however, need a palce to hide.
There is no doctrine to which you can run to escape Undermen, nor any doctrine which encompasses Undermandom. Most Christians are Undermen, but many are also not; it depends on how you interpret Christianity. If you're an Underman, you'll interpret it as Underman dogma, where a healthy person will view it from the standpoint of healthy person dogma, and thus see it as a subset of that. Some things are clearly tools of Undermen - democracy, in its populist sense - but this does not mean their creation was designed to empower Undermen. It was probably a benevolent gesture which was blind to the depravity of most people, something which arises from their fundamental ability to make long-term decisions. The only doctrine which explains Undermen is the psychology of Undermen itself. Where the rest of us explore the idea that thoughts influence physical reality, Undermen look for a "safe" form of this and translate it into the idea that socially-acceptable fantasies are equal to reality. That is illusion, and as illusion always leads to failure, a diseased mental state. Next time you look up at the night sky, and reflect on the poetry of life, resolve to pursue the healthy mental state of realism - even with all of its horrors and beauties, the contrast forming poetry - instead of succumbing to the brain-numbing, soul-killing, logic-ablating virus of Underman dogma.
October 23, 2005