Sit still with me in the shade of these green trees, which have no weightier thought than the withering of their leaves when autumn arrives, or the stretching of their many stiff fingers into the cold sky of the passing winter. Sit still with me and meditate on how useless effort is, how alien the will, and on how our very meditation is no more useful than effort, and no more our own than the will. Meditate too on how a life that wants nothing can have no weight in the flux of things, but a life the wants everything can likewise have no weight in the flux of things, since it cannot obtain everything, and to obtain less than everything is not worthy of souls that seek the truth.
Do you know what punishments I've endured for my crimes, my sins? None. I am proof of the absurdity of men's most treasured abstractions. A just universe wouldn't tolerate my existence.
If you live today, you breath in nihilism ... it's the gas you breathe. If I hadn't had the Church to fight it with or to tell me the necessity of fighting it, I would be the stinkingest logical positivist you ever saw right now.
It is a self-deception of philosophers and moralists to imagine that they escape decadence by opposing it. That is beyond their will; and, however little they acknowledge it, one later discovers that they were among the most powerful promoters of decadence.
We are living in the era of premeditation and the perfect crime. Our criminals are no longer helpless children who could plead love as their excuse. On the contrary, they are adults and the have the perfect alibi: philosophy, which can be used for any purpose - even for transforming murderers into judges.
The priest therefore saw what the anchorite could not. That God needs no witness. Neither to himself nor against. The truth is rather that if there were no God then there could be no witness for there could be no identity to the world but only each man's opinion of it. The priest saw that there is no man who is elect because there is no man who is not. To God every man is a heretic.
Despite its successes, in the end, philosophical thinking always falls short of its real goal. It involves both the wonder of aspiring toward the Truth and the distress of falling short of that Truth. In this way, philosophy can be characterized as wondrous distress.
Maybe I should have gone into politics. If you were a political activist, election season brought moments of intensity, whichever side you were on, and meanwhile here I was inarguably withering away
What, more realistically, is this “mutation,” the “new man”? He is the rootless man, discontinuous with a past that Nihilism has destroyed, the raw material of every demagogue’s dream; the “free-thinker” and skeptic, closed only to the truth but “open” to each new intellectual fashion because he himself has no intellectual foundation; the “seeker” after some “new revelation,” ready to believe anything new because true faith has been annihilated in him; the planner and experimenter, worshipping “fact” because he has abandoned truth, seeing the world as a vast laboratory in which he is free to determine what is “possible”; the autonomous man, pretending to the humility of only asking his “rights,” yet full of the pride that expects everything to be given him in a world where nothing is authoritatively forbidden; the man of the moment, without conscience or values and thus at the mercy of the strongest “stimulus”; the “rebel,” hating all restraint and authority because he himself is his own and only god; the “mass man,” this new barbarian, thoroughly “reduced” and “simplified” and capable of only the most elementary ideas, yet scornful of anyone who presumes to point out the higher things or the real complexity of life.
Many were incarcerated with the aberrant prosaic possibilities of ataraxia. Only the mentally sensitive few were cognizant of the nuisance to serenity and an actuality that lacked a balance betwixt havoc and sangfroid. The intellectual capabilities of the excellent idiosyncratic talents of a man with an agog outlook for de minimis fringe entities had left the portal ajar for the enlightened few, to get a glimpse of the obsecure reality that most had decided to claim socratic ignorance to evade inquiries.
I see in the fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables, slaves with white collars, advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of the history man, no purpose or place, we have no Great war, no Great depression, our great war is a spiritual war, our great depression is our lives, we've been all raised by television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars, but we won't and we're slowly learning that fact. and we're very very pissed off.
Why did you come in to-night with your heads in the air? 'Make way, we are coming! Give us every right and don't you dare breathe a word before us. Pay us every sort of respect, such as no one's ever heard of, and we shall treat you worse than the lowest lackey!' They strive for justice, they stand on their rights, and yet they've slandered him like infidels in their article. We demand, we don't ask, and you will get no gratitude from us, because you are acting for the satisfaction of your own conscience! Queer sort of reasoning!... He has not borrowed money from you, he doesn't owe you anything, so what are you reckoning on, if not his gratitude? So how can you repudiate it? Lunatics! They regard society as savage and inhuman, because it cries shame on the seduced girl; but if you think society inhuman, you must think that the girl suffers from the censure of society, and if she does, how is it you expose her to society in the newspapers and expect her not to suffer? Lunatics! Vain creatures! They don't believe in God, they don't believe in Christ! Why, you are so eaten up with pride and vanity that you'll end by eating up one another, that's what I prophesy. Isn't that topsy-turvydom, isn't it infamy?
The rather difficult antagonists towards the Church consist not nearly of the cruel and heartless, nihilistic intellectuals who hate God and humanity, but the well-meaning spirits who for the most part lack an understanding of the Spirit.
we met one strange summerin a regular tangle of sticky websyou had the air of angels sweet but I--drowned with the damned spiritsin lava oceans fearing your--foreign static frequency and grey-green eyes(I swear they are even if you--think otherwise): stormscalm ones, calmer than my--raging coals, empty and deadyou speak of souls like you believealways an optimist in pessimisticskin of ivory and titanium mesh...
Atheism, true 'existential' atheism burning with hatred of a seemingly unjust or unmerciful God, is a spiritual state; it is a real attempt to grapple with the true God.… Nietzsche, in calling himself Antichrist, proved thereby his intense hunger for Christ.
The melancholy of the antique world seems to me more profound than that of the moderns, all of whom more or less imply that beyond the dark void lies immortality. But for the ancients that ‘black hole’ is infinity itself; their dreams loom and vanish against a background of immutable ebony. No crying out, no convulsions—nothing but the fixity of the pensive gaze.With the gods gone, and Christ not yet come, there was a unique moment, from Cicero to Marcus Aurelius, when man stood alone. Nowhere else do I find that particular grandeur.
As for the belief that humanity is mostly good, Secular humanism, when in that alignment, always presumes the existence of a higher power, or some god-like influence on man. Because it then becomes the belief that people are generally good and should be protected from the wiles of religion, as though this dark, vague and ignorant force once fell from the heavens, latched onto the purer hearts and minds of men and women, and, in all its forms, controlled and polluted the whole of human history. He says, 'When we defeat religion, humanity will be free.' But, if he were duly consistent, if he were really at all as secular as he claims, he might as well admit to what is actually an underlying brand of nihilistic cynicism: 'When we defeat humans, humanity will be free.
Yet I loathe the thought of annihilating myself quite as much now as I ever did. I think with sadness of all the books I’ve read, all the places I’ve seen, all the knowledge I’ve amassed and that will be no more. All the music, all the paintings, all the culture, so many places: and suddenly nothing. ... If it had at least enriched the earth; if it had given birth to… what? A hill? A rocket? But no. Nothing will have taken place. I can still see the hedge of hazel trees flurried by the wind and the promises with which I fed my beating heart while I stood gazing at the gold-mine at my feet: a whole life to live. The promises have all been kept. And yet, turning an incredulous gaze towards that young and credulous girl, I realise with stupor how much I was gypped.
Are we, intellectual sirs, not actively or passively 'producing' more and more words, more books, more articles, ceaselessly refilling the pot-boiler of speech, gorging ourselves on it rather, seizing books and 'experiences', to metamorphose them as quickly as possible into other words, plugging us in here, being plugged in there, just like Mina on her blue squared oilcloth, extending the market and the trade in words of course, but also multiplying the chances of jouissance, scraping up intensities wherever possible, and never being sufficiently dead, for we too are required to go from forty to the hundred a day, and we will never play the whore enough, we will never be dead enough
If I were to share Jaques' existence I would find it hard to hold my own against him, for already I found his nihilism contagious.
Bruno withdrew from the field of history more resolutely than Vigo; that is why I prefer the former’s retrospect but the latter’s prospect. As an anarch, I am determined to go along with nothing, ultimately take nothing seriously – at least not nihilistically, but rather as a border guard in no man’s land, who sharpens his eyes and ears between the tides.
I told myself: 'I am surrounded by unknown things.' I imagined man without ears, suspecting the existence of sound as we suspect so many hidden mysteries, man noting acoustic phenomena whose nature and provenance he cannot determine. And I grew afraid of everything around me – afraid of the air, afraid of the night. From the moment we can know almost nothing, and from the moment that everything is limitless, what remains? Does emptiness actually not exist? What does exist in this apparent emptiness?
She got up and he saw the skin of her thigh for a moment above the artificial silk, and a prick of sexual desire disturbed him like a sickness. That was what happened to a man in the end: the stuffy room, the wakeful children, the Saturday night movements from the other bed. Was there no escape––anywhere––for anyone? It was worth murdering a world.
The continuation of man’s life is more attributable to his fear of death than it is to his desire to live. As a matter of fact, in countless cases, it is attributable to only the former.
This rock has seen billions of years of living organisms and will see many more once we die and turn to dirt. Our life is but one tiny, brief, insignificant piece of this vast universe. So, why, the nihilist argues, do people really think that it is important to be a “good person”, get good grades, or get a good job? What difference could that possibly make to anything?Nihilism is an honest evaluation of what a universe without God would look like. Nietzsche was right about that. Where he went wrong was in thinking this was true of the actual universe.
Virtue is under certain circumstances merely an honorable form of stupidity: who could be ill-disposed toward it on that account? And this kind of virtue has not been outlived even today. A kind of sturdy peasant simplicity, which, however, is possible in all classes and can be encountered only with respect and a smile, believes even today that everything is in good hands, namely in the hands of God; and when it maintains this proportion with the same modest certainty as it would that two and two make four, we others certainly refrain from contradicting. Why disturb THIS pure foolishness? Why darken it with our worries about man, people, goal, future? And even if we wanted to do it, we could not. They project their own honorable stupidity and goodness into the heart of things (the old God, deus myops, still lives among them!); we others — we read something else into the heart of things: our own enigmatic nature, our contradictions, our deeper, more painful, more mistrustful wisdom.
It was sometimes feebly argued, as the political and military war against this enemy ran into difficulties, that it was 'a war without end.' I never saw the point of this plaintive objection. The war against superstition and the totalitarian mentality is an endless war. In protean forms, it is fought and refought in every country and every generation. In bin Ladenism we confront again the awful combination of the highly authoritarian personality with the chaotically nihilist and anarchic one. Temporary victories can be registered against this, but not permanent ones. As Bertold Brecht's character says over the corpse of the terrible Arturo Ui, the bitch that bore him is always in heat. But it is in this struggle that we develop the muscles and sinews that enable us to defend civilization, and the moral courage to name it as something worth fighting for.
In matters of conscience and basic convictions it is unlawful and pernicious for anyone to forcibly intrude upon another's beliefs; therefore, because I am a man of rational convictions, I will not go out and demolish churches, drown monks, or rip down icons from my friends' walls because in so doing I will not spread my convictions; human beings must be educated, not coerced, I am not the enemy, I am not the tyrant of the conscience of true believers.
Dalin must have whiffed the anarch in me, a man with no ties to state or society. Still, he was unable to sense an autonomy that puts up with these forces as objective facts but without recognizing them. What he lacked was a grounding in history.Opposition is collaboration; this was something from which Dalin, without realizing it, could not stay free. Basically, he damaged order less than he confirmed it. The emergence of the anarchic nihilist is like a goad that convinces society of its unity.The anarch, in contrast, not only recognizes society a priori as imperfect, he actually acknowledges it with that limitation. He is more or less repulsed by state and society, yet there are times and places in which the invisible harmony shimmers through the visible harmony. This is obviously chiefly in the work of art. In that case, one serves joyfully.But the anarchic nihilist thinks the exact opposite. The Temple of Artemis, to cite an example, would inspire him to commit arson. The anarch, however, would have no qualms about entering the temple in order to meditate and to participate with an offering. This is possible in any temple worthy of the name.
(...) pick up your axe, start at the rootsdon't miss the trunk, never forget:to end life truly and finallystart at the roots or end there.
Maybe I should stop while I'm aheadNay, I swim with sea-demons no sweet summer tuned radioover my sunless desertscapehow does it burn without the sun?
I think the suicide rate is so high among writers because we force ourselves to stand still, take an outsider’s perspective, and realise how quickly a life passes by, and how futile we are. The exhilarating upside is that at a moment’s glance all your worries fade away, and you can work on making the most of it.
All suffer and none should have to. But why not? If suffering makes life seem more real or more abstract, both circumstances are infinitely more bearable than the disturbing reality of mundane work-to-live-then-die-bored life.